25 Books for Church Planters

This selection of books will help any church planter. The church planting (and pastoral ministry) books here were complied by Dave Harvey, President of Great Commission Collective, with some of the GCC staff.

Paul’s Understanding of the Church's Mission, by Rob Plummer
Plummer engages in a careful study of Paul's letters to examine whether the apostle expected the communities to which he wrote to engage in outward-directed missionary activity.

The Great Commission, by Martin Klauber and Scott Manetsch
This work provides a substantial historical survey of evangelical missions. Eleven different authors address an aspect the development of the global evangelical church.

Church Planting is For Wimps, by Mike McKinley
McKinley honestly shares his own fears and rookie mistakes as he worked to revitalize Guilford Baptist Church in northern Virginia.

Planting and Growing Urban Churches, by Harvie Conn
The latest edition includes material on the importance of healthy, biblical change in our churches, insight on the postmodern ministry context, and strategies for reaching Generations X and Y.

Gospel and Mission in the Writings of Paul: An Exegetical and Theological Analysis, by P.T. O’Brien (currently out of print)
Whosever findeth this at a used bookstore or thrift store findeth a good thing.

Global Church Planting, by Craig Ott and Gene Wilson
Combining deep biblical principles and missiological understanding with practical insights, Ott and Wilson cover the various models and development phases of church planting. Arguing for strategies that lead to church multiplication, they emphasize the role of the missionary church planter.

Planting Churches Cross-Culturally, by David Hesselgrave
A practical approach to church planting that uses cultural and experiential data to facilitate the founding of new churches in unreached areas of the world.

Church Planting Movements, by David Garrison
Garrison set out to prove from experience and data that Church Planting Movements are much more consistent with the New Testament lay–led house–church movements that swept rapidly through the Mediterranean world than today's more sedentary professional brand Christianity.

The Mission of God, by Christopher Wright
This work provides a solid and expansive basis for holistic mission. Wright argues that God's mission is to reclaim the world?including the created order?and God's people have a designated role to play.

Dangerous Calling, by Paul David Tripp
A heart-aligning examination of the pastor, essential for anyone ambitious to build something in ministry.

The Church Planting Wife, Christine Hoover
Hoover explores and encourages the hearts of her readers while teaching what it means to have heart prepared for this unique ministry.

Resilient Ministry, by Burns, Chapman, and Guthrie
A look at pastors' common exhaustions and needed healthy rhythms and supports for thriving in ministry.

The Honest Guide to Church Planting, by Tom Bennardo
One of the most sobering and affirming books on understanding the work of church planting. 

The Trellis and The Vine, by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne
An excellent read for helping the planter orient himself between the tensions of establishing church structure and shepherding God's people.

Evangelism, by J. Mack Stiles
A short read to help pastors envision saturating church culture in evangelism from Day 1. 

A Biblical Theology of Missions, George Peters
An exhaustive theology of missions focusing both on theory and biblical mandates for missions as a vital part of theology.

Brothers, We are Not Professionals, by John Piper
Piper pleads with pastors, through a series of essays, to abandon the professionalization of the pastorate and in favor of the prophetic call of the biblical ministry.

Christian Ministry, by Charles Bridges
First published in 1831, this is a classic of Christian ministry.

Rescuing Ambition, by Dave Harvey
In this short volume, Dave Harvey argues that ambition is not de facto evil and that it can be a motivator for accomplishing godly goals.

Planting a Church Without Losing Your Soul: Nine Questions for the Spiritually Formed Pastor, by Tim Morey
Morey's short volume will help the church planter better understand himself. It's a work that should help avoid personal crises and burnouts.

Church Planting Thresholds: A Gospel-Centered Church Planting Guide, by Clint Clifton
Clifton is founding pastor of Pillar Church, a network of churches in military communities. His "thresholds" are milestones to help planters evaluate their progress on the church-planting journey.

The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, by Lesslie Newbigin
A classic of missiology, Newbigin will help you understand contextualizing your ministry biblically for the community you want to reach with the gospel.

Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply, by Ed Stetzer and Daniel Im
This book is like a one-stop-shop for everything church planting. What you don't read initially, you'll reference for years to come.

Church Planter: The Man, The Message, The Mission, by Darin Patrick
A book with broad application for elders and leadership teams seeking to better understand how the gospel must take root in their church.

Center Church, by Tim Keller
This book outlines a theological vision for ministry organized around three core commitments: Gospel-centered, City-centered, Movement-centered.

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