Posted on : Monday February 2, 2009

By Sharon Mager, BCM/D Correspondent

Planting Churches in the Real World by Joel Rainey

COLUMBIA, Md.—“Church planting is not for the easily discouraged,” writes Ed Stetzer, LifeWay missiologist and author of Planting Missional Churches. “I’ve known Joel for years, and he tells the stories from his own journey—telling lessons he learned the hard way. It’s real world church planting and it is worth your time,” he continues as he writes about Joel Rainey’s book, Planting Churches in the Real World.

Rainey’s book is an easy read and touchingly real. The author is transparent, open and honest, revealing how church planting affected him, his churches and even his marriage. Joel Rainey has been personally involved in planting over 25 churches in various types of leadership approaches.

He shared the rejection he felt from others when his idea for a new church was different from theirs. He candidly relates how he responded when asked how people in this new church he proposed would dress for worship.

“I will tell them that they should not come to church naked.”

Rainey goes on to say it was a juvenile answer, but at the same time it was a juvenile question. He is candid throughout the book about how he became frustrated with people, and with himself. He lets you inside his head as he grapples with the ups and downs and how God answers his prayers and directs his steps.

The book covers building a team, leadership styles, systems and structures, financial struggles, disappointments, time management and handling opposition. Rainey gives clear advise backed up by his own experiences.

Planting Churches in the Real World is informative and entertaining. It holds your interest. Three seminaries have now placed the book on their required reading lists.

PlantLIFE by David Jackson

COLUMBIA, Md.—This book is a wealth of information about church planting from the ground troops, compiled by David Jackson, BCM/D church multiplication missionary. Maryland/Delaware folks will recognize a lot of names, from the church planters who write the stories, to the mentors and pastors who helped along the way.

It’s an inspiring book allowing planters to share from their hearts some of their stories in an attempt to encourage others. The book is also hands-on helpful to planters with ideas and suggestions even seasoned established pastors can use.

Topics include: reasons why church planting is needed; mistakes church plants make; different approaches to church; ethnic church planting; partnering; appreciating parent churches; measuring success and much, much more. There are also articles by church planters’ spouses, including Joye Jackson, David Jackson’s wife.

PlantLIFE is designed for those contemplating starting churches, or those who want to understand the church planting culture. It’s an uplifting, energizing book and gives a personal glimpse into the soul of these men and women. It also moves one to prayer for these bold adventurers.

On the cover of PlantLIFE, Joel Rainey, Mid-Maryland director of missions and author of Planting Churches in the Real World, endorses the book writing, “Rare are those books that combine the conceptual with the practical—the universal with the contextual…”

Both books are available from Missional Press, or from Amazon at