One of the first things I learned about being a church planter was just how much I didn’t know about church planting. There are so many things unique to this particular type of endeavor it can seem overwhelming. The great thing though is there are mounting resources for planters.
I once read that early in his leadership journey, John Maxwell would pay an executive $1oo for one hour of his time. During that one hour, John would ask as many questions as he could. Through this he gradually learned what it was to be a leader. This is a great idea. However, it simply wasn’t possible for me. So, I discovered the next best thing… books. There are scores and scores of great books about church planting. Here are a few that we really benefited from during our church planting journey and still do. (These are NOT in order.)
Viral Churches: Helping Church Planters Become Movement Makers
Ed Stetzer and Warren Bird
Dave & Jon Ferguson
The Purpose Driven Church
This book has pretty much become the gold standard of church planting and church growth books. The paradigm shift Rick talks about is just where we need to be as pastors and church leaders. His idea is profound yet simple. Church isn’t about keeping the sheep happy anymore. It’s about being a resource center for those far from God. Everyone has a purpose in life and that purpose is not to simply breath air. Life is meant to be lived.
Nelson has a growing library not just for the church planter but for post-launch-life as well. This book is the jumping off point. He talks not only about the theory and theology of church planting but also dives head-long into budgeting ideas, scheduling, etc. Great stuff.
This book is something for helping you set up the idea of what your church needs to be before it’s even born. He basically talks about established churches being a mile wide and an inch deep. We’re too complicated so in the end there’s a lot of smoke but no fire. Thom encourages us to trim the fat and get back to church as it was in the beginning, simple and effective.
Up the Middle Church
When our team was in the planting process we went through this book then did it again in post-launch-life. It continues to be a yearly read and study. Matt Keller does a great job at combining the principles of vision with the realities of marketing strategies and a life-giving way of life. Definitely worth reading… then reading again.
The Circle Maker
Not as much a how-to book as it is a faith inspiring book. Mark dares you to believe in the impossible which is pretty much the name of the game when it comes to church planting. It’s also great to read his true life church planting success story.
Sun Stand Still
Pastor Steven has become a rather polarizing character in the modern church world. I love him and what God is doing through His life. When God first spoke to me about planting a church, I was like a fish out of water. I had no idea what to do, where to start, or what to say. I didn’t even know how to articulate what God was doing on the inside of me. People would ask what was going on and I would say, “I don’t know. It’s just different.”
Reading Sun Stand Still changed all that. It gave me a vocabulary for the revolution happening inside my heart. It taught me how to have faith for impossible dreams. I learned this phrase, “If your prayers aren’t intimidating to you chances are their insulting to God.” Using the lessons from Pastor Steven, my wife and I began to believe for big things and God has not disappointed.
Other honorable mentions are:
The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership- John Maxwell
Good to Great- Jim Collins
Courageous Leadership- Billy Hybels
The Seven Characteristics of Highly Effective People- Steven Covey
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team- Patrick Lencioni