Planting Missional Churches: Planting a Church that’s Biblically Sound & Reaching People in Culture

As we move through this transition at Beginnings, I am personally looking at our move to Mt. View as replanting the church, so I thought I would do some reading on church planting. On top of that, one of my dreams is that we would launch a new satellite site or plant a new church in Tucson every other year, at a minimum (I hope it is more than that). But I want everyone in Tucson to be 10 miles away from one of our sites. I have always respected and read a lot of Ed Stetzer’s stuff and his book on church planting is considered a “bible” in church planting circles. It was also great to use this book as credit for my reading with class.

His book Breaking the missional code is a great read for making a church missional, and a must read for any church leader. This books takes the leap from what you need to do from the beginning for that to be a reality. Here are some of the takeaways I got from the book:

  • Studies show that the higher the standards of biblical teaching, the longer people remain engaged. Today’s seekers are seeking depth. They won’t interrupt a fine Sunday morning of sleeping in to attend a church that serves up shallowness, at least not for long. 
  • Establishing a missional church means that you plant a church that’s part of the culture you’re seeking to reach.
  • Missional is the posture – the way in church we approach people in culture – but incarnational describes what’s actually happening.
  • For the church, it’s always easier to adopt church-culture norms rather than prevailing-culture norms.
  • We apply the pragmatic test to the work of a theologian. Does his theology motivate men to go into all the world and make disciples? Does it so undergird them that they, thus motivated, succeed in this primary purpose? Theology must stand the test of being known by its fruit.
  • In Acts 17, the apostle Paul did four things in his effort to be culturally relevant:  (1) He understood the Athenians’ position on reality, (2) He understood the Athenians underlying spiritual interest, (3) He looked for positive points within their worldview, and (4) He encouraged them to find true fulfillment in Christ.
  • Mission is the mother of theology.
  • Culturally appropriate evangelism answers the actual questions being asked by a given culture rather than those questions the church believes the culture should ask.
  • Andy Stanley, pastor of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia, says that “Sunday morning is for communicating, not couseling. In fact – and to some this may sound unspiritual – I don’t think you can actually build a church on people who need counseling. When your church has grown and you have more resources, then those people can come back and be helped by the ministry you’ve built.”
  • The ten most frequent traits of impactful, emerging postmodern churches are:  (1) Being unashamedly spiritual, (2) Promoting incarnational ministry, (3) Engaging in service, (4) Valuing experiential praise, (5) Preaching narrative expository messages, (6) Appreciating and participating in ancient patterns, (7) Visualizing worship, (8) Connecting with technology, (9) Living community, and (10) Leading by transperancy and team.
  • For worship to promote evangelism, Sally Morgenthaler says it must include four elements:  “nearness – an awareness of the presence of God; knowledge – worship that is centered on who Christ is; vulnerability – worship that involves opening up to God; and interaction – participating in the worship of God.”
  • George Gallup found that 70% of Americans say that the church is not meeting their needs.  When asked what these needs were, there were six responses:  (1) To believe life is meaningful and has purpose, (2) To have a sense of community and deeper relationships, (3) To be appreciated and respected, (4) To be listened to and heard, (5) To grow in faith, and (6) To receive practical help in developing a mature faith.
  • Church growth expert Win Arn lists 8 characteristics of an “incorporated member”:  (1) New members should be able to list at least 7 new friends they have made in the church, (2) New members should be able to identify their spiritual gifts, (3) New members should be involved in at least one (preferably several) roles/tasks/ministries in the church, appropriate to their spiritual gifts, (4) New members should be actively involved in a small fellowship group, (5) New members should demonstrate a regular financial commitment to the church, (6) New members should personally understand and identify church goals, (7) New members should attend worship gatherings regularly, and (8) New members should identify unchurched friends and relatives and take specific steps to help them toward responsible church membership.

If you read one book on church planting, this is it. It has everything you would need to know.

5 thoughts on “Planting Missional Churches: Planting a Church that’s Biblically Sound & Reaching People in Culture

  1. Another great read.

    Here is my list of favorite “Church Planting” reads:
    Planting Missional Churches by Ed Stetzer – Yeah, this is the one Joah reviewed.

    Launch: Starting a New Church from Scratch by Nelson Searcy and Kerrick Thomas

    Starting a New Church: The Church Planter’s Guide to Success by Ralph Moore

    Planting Growing Churches for the 21st Century,: A Comprehensive Guide for New Churches and Those Desiring Renewal

    Top Ten Reasons Church Plants Fail by Jim Griffith. He was my coach and also wrote a book on the subject. You can see an overview of the list here:

    Church Planting Books on my to read list:

    Planting Fast-Growing Churches by Stephen Gray

    Church Planting Landmines

    Church Planting Landmines by Tom Nebel & Gary Rohrmayer, Stuart Hoffman, and Julie Becker

    Just thought I would share.

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  5. Dear director,

    I am Pastor Biak Thawng. I have served as Dean of Students in Doulos Theological Seminary, for four years and now serving the Lord by youth pastor in Peniel Assembly and teaching in Several Theological Colleges, Yangon, Myanmar. I am so interesting to do mission and now also I have planted a new Church with small people.and we have Church Planters at several places in Myanmar. I have fasting prayer for three days and God has spoken to my heart to open the training school. My present planing is to open the Evangelism, Mission and Church Planting School, because here many colleges but the graduates do not know how to make Evangelism, Planting the church. May I know that Do You have any friend in Myanmar? If you interest to extend ministry to Myanmar, warmly welcome to join with us to these ministries, for extending God’s Kingdom here in Myanmar. Not only that I am interesting children ministry the orphanages and now having five orphans. Therefore, can you assist me for all these ministries. May I humbly know your grace for God’s glory through these ministries .

    Sincerely in His Service,
    Pastor. Biak Thawng.

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