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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



Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer (@edstetzer), Ph.D., holds the Billy Graham Distinguished Chair for Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College. Ed also serves as the Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism at Wheaton, and as chair of the Evangelism and Leadership Program in the Graduate School. Ed is a prolific author, and well-known conference speaker. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, holds two masters degrees and two doctorates, and has written a dozen books and hundreds of articles. Stetzer is a contributing editor for Christianity Today, a columnist for Outreach Magazine, and is frequently cited or interviewed in news outlets such as USAToday and CNN. He is also the Executive Editor of The Gospel Project, which is used by over 1 million individuals each week. As of fall 2015, Stetzer co-hosts BreakPoint This Week, a radio broadcast that airs on over 400 media outlets. He also serves the teaching pastor at Christ Fellowship, a multi-cultural megachurch in Miami, Florida.