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April 30, 2016

Dear Church Planter, I Believe in You

By Ed Stetzer

My first pastoral role was starting a church. My first book was on church planting. I wrote my PhD dissertation on the subject. My first seminary job was teaching church planting.

Some might say I’m obsessed. But I will say I am convinced. I am convinced that church planting is, and will always remain, a key part in the advancement of the kingdom of God.

Which brings me to you, my reader and, perhaps, a church planter like me. God bless you and your work. You’re headed into the adventure of a lifetime, and I pray that my newly revised book, Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply (newchurches.com/PMC) helps. And, if experience is the great teacher, it will. This book is jam packed with wisdom, insights, and ideas from people as passionate about church planting as I am.

Since the book’s previous publication, much has changed in church planting. I have tried to reflect that here by changing over 50% of the content. Sources range from people who’ve studied the subject to people who’ve learned by doing and were willing to share their blunders as well as their successes. You’ll see new chapters on multisite, residencies, multi-ethnic churches, theological education, and the difference between denominations and networks, including an integration of the research we recently conducted on church planting (which you can download the State of Church Planting report at newchurches.com/register). And what I couldn’t fit into the volume you’re holding spills onto NewChurches.com/PMC, which includes additional resources to help you in church planting and multiplication.

Between the book and the website, you have a toolbox of much more than you’ll need. And that’s the point. Because, as you’ll soon see, there’s no magic formula. (If there were, Planting Missional Churches would be a really thin book!)

I’ve written this book three times. Well, not all of it but lots of it. Each time I’ve thanked people because each time it was a team effort but never as much as it is now. So this time I have a coauthor, Daniel Im, who is in charge of church planting, multisite, and all things church multiplication for LifeWay. It’s also his vision, strategy, and leadership to resource church multipliers, like you, that you will see and experience at NewChurches.com. He loves the church, is a pastor, and is obsessed with leadership development and church multiplication. Before coming to LifeWay, he served and pastored in church plants and multisite churches ranging from 100 to 50,000 people in Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, Korea, and Edmonton. So not only does he bring his Korean-Canadian background into this book, but he also brings a unique and global perspective to the table. You’ll enjoy his stories and the new chapters he’s written for this book.

Daniel and I have chosen to write the book in the format of the earlier books, written in first person and in my voice. But Daniel’s contribution is evident and extensive and was key to the book’s new content and completion.

At the end of the day, our prayer is that in this book we’re giving you tools to help you be effective in church planting so that, whether you’re planting in a small community in Maine, downtown Sydney, French-speaking Montreal, or a café in Amsterdam, you are able to plant a church that glorifies Jesus, reaches people who do not know Christ, and multiplies itself over and over again.

You can download the first three chapters of the book and get 30+ additional resources (as well as purchase a copy from your favorite retailer) by visiting NewChurches.com/PMC.

This article was first posted on Ed Stetzer’s blog, The Exchange, at ChristianityToday.com

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer (@edstetzer), is a professor and dean at Wheaton College who also serves as Executive Director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center. Stetzer has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, has earned two master’s degrees and two doctorates, and has written hundreds of articles and a dozen books. He is regional director for Lausanne North America and publishes research through Mission Group. Stetzer is a contributing editor for Christianity Today, a columnist for Outreach Magazine, and is frequently cited in, interviewed by, and writes for news outlets such as USAToday and CNN. He is the founding editor of The Gospel Project, a curriculum used by more than 1.7 million individuals each week for bible study. His national radio show, Ed Stetzer Live, airs Saturdays across the country. He serves as teaching pastor at Highpoint Church in Chicago and has been the interim teaching pastor at Moody Church in downtown Chicago.

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