The Honest Guide to Church Planting

What No One Ever Tells You about Planting and Leading a New Church

by Tom Bennardo, Larry Osborne

On Sale: 2019-08-13

Book Summary

The Honest Guide to Church Planting is for those toiling in the trenches, those about to bail out, and those considering jumping into the work of planting churches. Tom Bennardo writes candidly of the challenges so planters and sending agencies can embrace a realistic picture of church planting that leads to thriving, fruitful ministry.

About the Book

Church planting has become a cottage industry. National conferences, hip planting organizations, and all-in-one resource kits celebrate the thrill of pioneering a church and inspire visions of glorious victories. Yet few who respond to the call are warned what they'll actually encounter: the relentless opposition they'll endure; the eventual scattering of their entire core group; the failure of their tried-and-true, field-tested system.

Here's the dirty little secret of church planting: the roadside is strewn with casualties. Many have closed their churches. Some left ministry permanently. Others abandoned the faith altogether.

Church planting is at once the greatest and most grueling ministry work on earth. This book is for those toiling in the trenches, those about to bail out, and those considering jumping in. It's for the church planters laboring and struggling, seeing little movement, and wondering what they're doing wrong or why God is failing them. It's also for mother churches, planting organizations, and denominations, as a challenge to rethink and re-calibrate the way they approach and measure planting endeavors.

The Honest Guide to Church Planting is a fresh and candid conversation about the challenges and joys of planting new churches. Tom Bennardo speaks the truth so that those involved in church planting can embrace a more accurate and realistic picture of what planting a church is really like; one that not only enables them to survive, but to thrive in this wondrous work.


As balm is to the wounded, smelling salts to the faint, and a reality check to the delusional---that is what The Honest Guide to Church Planting is to church planters. With exceptional insight, naked honesty, and disarming wit, Tom Bennardo probes the inner struggles and outward pressures that church planters face. If you are a church planter, read it. If you are not a church planter, read it and then give it to a church planter.

If you’re about to embark on planting a church or becoming a member of a church plant team, you should definitely read The Honest Guide to Church Planting. Tom Bennardo tells the truth about the adventure of church planting and will better prepare you for what’s ahead.

In The Honest Guide to Church Planting, Tom Bennardo is relentlessly open and candid about the very real obstacles that come with planting a church. This book challenges you to view church planting in a more realistic and reliant way that will help your church plant succeed where most fail. Best part? Tom’s really quite accurate.

Mission was never meant to be easy, nor has true mission work ever been a cakewalk. Many planters sign on the dotted line, believing all the promises of valor and glory made by the army recruiter, only to find themselves peeling potatoes in the mess hall, wondering what happened. The Honest Guide to Church Planting is a timely addition to the turn in conversation that church planting is taking---away from the bright lights and into the real, simple, honest truths that planters need to hear.

Pain and exhaustion are better words to describe church planting than revival and Acts 4 community. Tom Bennardo is willing to admit this truth and provides the wisdom planters need to cultivate correct expectations before finding out the hard way. Jesus gives his church the promise of God’s presence, not of being the next greatest movement for our cities. The sooner we can learn from Tom’s honest book, the better church planters we will be.

There’s nothing wrong with having a God-given vision, but there’s something very wrong about assuming the vision insulates us from difficulties, detours, and pruning. Tom Bennardo gives a painfully honest analysis of the struggles he and many other church planters endure, but his realism isn’t a downer. Instead, he points us to Jesus, whose path always leads into suffering, sacrifice, exposure of our motives, and the long process of growth---at least in ourselves and perhaps in our churches. Every chapter is full of wisdom and challenges to our faulty thinking---the kind of insights we desperately need if we have any thought of planting a church.

Tom Bennardo knows ministry and loves the church, and he has earned his wisdom one day at a time. He will be a wise guide in the noble cause of church planting.

Product Details

  • Imprint: Zondervan
  • On Sale: 2019-08-13
  • Pages: 208
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication Date: 2019-08-13
  • Trim Size: 139.000mm x 213.000mm x 14.000mm
  • Weight: 199.000gr
  • Category 1 : RELIGION / Christian Church / Leadership
  • Category 2 : RELIGION / Christian Ministry / Pastoral Resources
  • Category 3 : RELIGION / Christian Church / Growth
  • Category 4 : RELIGION / Christian Ministry / General