The Honest Guide to Church Planting

Reviewed by:

Tim Pietz from Rubicon, WI, a Professional Writing student at Taylor University in Upland, IN.


Title: The Honest Guide to Church Planting

Author: Tom Bennardo

Publisher: Zondervan

Publication Date: 2019

Format: Paperback

Length: 185 pages


Tom Bennardo entered his first church plant with confidence and eagerness. He believed he had the right pieces, the right people, the right strategies in place. After a year and a half, Tom stood with his head against the wall, facing the cold reality that whatever talent and leadership he’d always been told he had wasn’t enough: the church plant wasn’t going to make it. Now, after working in church plants for over thirty years, Bennardo shares his wisdom on the joys and challenges of the ministry.

This is not a how-to book on church planting (22). Instead, this is a book about the real struggles and failures that bring church planters to the ends of their ropes. It’s a promise that God uses broken, weakened leaders. But more than that, it’s an encouragement that it’s worth doing anyway. Bennardo points church leaders away from the formulaic, butts-in-pews approach that dominates much of the literature on church planting. In Bennardo’s words, “The Church isn’t an industry, and spiritual transformation can’t be mass-produced” (42). God isn’t predictable, and he works in different churches through different ways, but ultimately, it is God at work. In chapter after chapter, Bennardo encourages leaders to deepen their relationship with God and inspire the same in their new flock—without that, a church’s foundation is built on sand.

Bennardo writes with honesty, wit, and heart. While he focuses on pastors in a church-planting context, his wise advice applies to Christian leaders in any walk of life. As Craig Ott suggests on the back cover, “If you are not a church planter, read it and then give it to a church planter.”


Rating: 4.5 stars

Suggested Audience

Church planters in-particular, but any pastor or Christian leader could benefit.

Christian Impact


Church planters in-particular, but any pastor or Christian leader could benefit.

Christian Impact

Leadership and church-planting

The Honest Guide to Church Planting: What No One Ever Tells You about Planting and Leading a New Church

About ECLA Web Team

The Evangelical Church Library Association, founded in 1970, is a fellowship of Christian churches, schools, and individuals. This account is managed by the ECLA Web Team.

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