How to Start a Church: Top 10 Free Books

If you are looking for the best advice on how to start a church, you’ve come to the right place.

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Are you looking to start a church? Pre-launching, launching and growing your church can be a difficult task. It is a noble thing to dream of and then act on the call of God to start a church. You’ve joined the ranks of such people as the Apostle Paul and many missionaries since. To help you get started on this amazing adventure, we’ve pulled together 10 of the best–and free–books on how to start a church.


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MOVE for Church Planters: What Willow Creek and 1,000 Churches Reveal About Spiritual Growth by Greg Hawkins and Cally Parkinson.

From Exponential, “This concisely written eBook is based on the top findings for church planters to emerge from REVEAL, an unprecedented survey launched by Willow Creek Community Church in 2004 that now represents the input of close to half a million people in 1,500 churches. And it includes a never-before-available bonus: an interview with Willow Creek’s senior pastor, Bill Hybels, who—based on nearly four decades of ministry experience—shares what he would do, the same and differently, if he were starting a church today.” Download your free ebook here.


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8 Launch Wins: A Study of 1,500-Plus New Churches and Multisite Campuses from Warren Bird, Ph.D. and Portable Church Industries

In partnership with Leadership Network, this is a survey of over 1,500 leaders of new churches nationwide. The experiences of the participants provide compelling data about growth of church plants and new multisite campuses. A few of the most intriguing findings are: 1. The effort to start something new – a church, a campus location – is absolutely worthwhile in terms of the spiritual fruit that will result. 2. The first five years of a new church or new campus are incredibly significant and fruitful. 3. A solid quarter of the new churches or campuses surveyed estimate that half or more of their people are inviting others to consider faith in Jesus Christ. 4. Two out of every three portable churches surveyed found great value in being portable. Download your free book here.


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7 Cool Places to Launch When You Start a New Church from Portable Church Industries

Your ministry isn’t about your building. If God has called you to serve in your community, that may not necessarily include the traditional pews and steeple. Access this list of some of the more unique buildings you might consider starting your church at. Download your free book here.


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Leading Your Church in Church Planting: Taking the First Step by J.D. Payne

This 62-page work is designed to encourage and provide some guidance for pastors considering such missionary work. While some elements of this book will be of value to pastors who are already leading their churches in church planting, this resource was not written with them in mind.  The content is very basic.  It is written for those approaching the starting line–not those  already in the race. Download your free book here.


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The Emotionally Healthy Church Planter by Pete Scazzero

The endlessly demanding and all-consuming nature of church planting will exert unique pressures on your interior life with Jesus, your marriage (if applicable) and your integrity. Pete Scazzero draws from his 25 years of experience planting and pastoring a church in New York City, and lays out a radical, life-transforming pathway for deeply rooting your work for Jesus in the rich soil of a life with Jesus. Download your free book here.


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Give God Some Credit: Risk-Taking for Greater Impact by Brett Andrews

Andrews writes for common people who carry the burden for increased impact, revealing the tensions he and New Life have navigated, as well as the mistakes they’ve learned from while walking through those tensions and the risks they’ve taken to be a church that comes alongside thousands of church planters. Andrews writes that “how we live out these issues will determine what kind of church we will be in the future,” and makes it clear that they aren’t claiming competence with these areas. “We’re just glad to be aware of their vital nature. The battle is always fluid.” Download your free book here.


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Live Sent: 31 Days in the City by Shauna Pilgreen

From Send Network: “In this new resource, church-planting wife Shauna Pilgreen shares what their family did in the first 31 days after moving to San Francisco to plant a church. Laying out a different mindset and activity for each day, she guides you into seeing where you live with a fresh set of eyes and living sent as a missionary.” Download your free book here.

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Top Issues Planters Face by Todd Wilson and Eric Reiss

This report was prepared by the team at Exponential in partnership with Ed Stetzer. We listened to leaders with over 500 years of cumulative experience planting and working with hundreds of planters with the over 30 national leaders involved in this project. Individual planter interviews, online surveys, and volumes of real world experience were also included in the discovery process. This information will help you plant or help you help others plant for the glory of God and the advancement of His Kingdom. Download your free book here.


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The Gospel Disciple by David Putnam
From Exponential: “This book explores the fact that Gospel-centrality is key to understanding our disciple-making mission, and in turn, understanding our disciple-making mission is key to understanding the church. Healthy ecclesiology begins with planting the Gospel, making disciples and then forming the church around those disciples. Often, it’s one thing to make church disciples and another to make Gospel disciples. Why not make them one in the same? In this eBook, author David Putman points out that answering these three questions allows us to do just that.” Download your free book here.


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Sending Capacity, Not Seating Capacity by J.D. Greear and Mike McDaniel
From Exponential: “What if church multiplication was actually a common and normal thing? What if The Summit Church’s story of multiplication is actually just one example of something God intended for every church? In this new FREE eBook from J.D. Greear and Mike McDaniel, the two Summit leaders share some of the lessons they’ve learned over the last 10 years of planting 23 churches domestically and 90 internationally, and sending out 555 people from the congregation to be part of new church plants.” Download your free book here.

Christine Yount Jones
Christine Yount Jones is Content Director for Outreach Media Group. She has published several books and hundreds of articles about ministry in the last three decades. Before his death in 2003, Michael Yount and Christine had three children. Now, she and her husband, Ray Jones, together have five grown kids.