Planting a Church Without Losing Your Soul: Nine Questions for the Spiritually Formed Pastor

Reviewed by:

Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.


Planting a Church Without Losing Your Soul: Nine Questions for the Spiritually Formed Pastor


Tim Morey (Foreword by Scott W. Sunquist)


InterVarsity Press (in association with the Fuller Church Planting Program)

http://InterVarsity Press

Publication Date:

December 22, 2020




192 Pages


“Ministry burnout” has become an important phrase in recent years, as congregants have become more aware of how many church leaders suffer breakdowns and crises. Researchers have delved into why ministry burnout happens, and pastors have become more open about discussing the job’s struggles. Tim Morey delves into one of the most thankless (and therefore most burnout-prone) pastoral jobs: church planting. Morey combines his own church planting experiences with recent research to show nine questions that every church planter needs to ask:

  • How can I plan for my own spiritual formation?
  • Can I embrace a life peppered with difficulty?
  • Do others experience me as a safe person?
  • Can I minister without being noticed?
  • Am I resilient in the face of setbacks and defeats?
  • Am I treating church planting like a marathon or like a sprint?
  • Have I relinquished my ambition to be a superhero?
  • Do I handle difficult people graciously?
  • Am I leading in a way that brings life to those dearest to me?

Ministry crises tend to leave a lot of people hurt, often without leaders realizing they were creating dysfunction until after the pieces hit the floor. Therefore, talking about the subject requires a strong desire for truth mixed with strong humility and empathy. Morey pulls off that mix well. He openly admits mistakes he’s made, relationships he should have handled differently, and organization choices he later realized slowed things down. This allows him to give the honest truth about truth planting, communicating its pitfalls as well as its joys.

The nine questions combine honesty with empathy in a different way. Each one forces the church planter to be honest about an area of vulnerability. Very few people take time to think about whether their leadership style will work long-term (like a marathon), or whether other people find them trustworthy and safe? At the same time, these questions are phrased in ways that invite connection. They don’t come across as blunt inquiries, but as honest questions to fellow travelers. There are times for bluntness in ministry (Morey tells several stories about trusted people being blunt with him when he needed to pay attention). In a book’s context, invitation upfront is more useful.

A refreshingly honest book about an awkward but vital discussion.


Rating (1 to 5 stars)

5 stars

Suggested Audience:

Pastors and church planting staff, or family members seeking to understand their situation and help them stay rooted.

Christian Impact:

The author routinely pushes readers to consider whether planting a church is about serving God or serving one’s own reputation, and how being in a church means being part of an inter-reliant community.


ECLA readers who enjoy this book may also enjoy the following:


Planting a Church Without Losing Your Soul: Nine Questions for the Spiritually Formed Pastor

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