Global Church Planting

Biblical Principles and Best Practices for Multiplication

Cover Art Request Exam Copy

Where to Purchase

More Options


With nearly fifty years combined global church-planting experience, Craig Ott and Gene Wilson offer here a comprehensive, up-to-date guide for cross-cultural church planting. Combining substantive biblical principles and missiological understanding with practical insights, this book walks readers through the various models and development phases of church planting. It emphasizes the role of the missionary church planter, advocating methods that lead to church multiplication. The authors offer helpful reflection on current trends and provide best practices gathered from research and empirical findings around the globe. They take up a number of special issues not addressed in most church planting books, such as use of short-term teams, partnerships, wise use of resources, and contextualization.

Full of case studies and real examples from around the world, this practical text will benefit professors and students in church planting, cross-cultural, and missions courses; church planters and missionaries; and missional church readers.


Prologue: The Parable of the Apple Trees Part I: Biblical Foundations 1. The Task of Church Planting 2. The Reasons for Church Planting 3. New Testament Beginnings Part II: Strategic Considerations 4. Church Multiplication and Indigenous Church-Planting Movements 5. Apostolic Church Planters 6. The Shape of the Church 7. Pioneer, Reproduction, and Regional Approaches to Church Planting Part III: Development Phases 8. The Developmental Phases of a Church Plant: An Overview 9. Preparing, Part 1: Targeting and Commissioning 10. Preparing, Part 2: Understanding and Strategizing 11. Launching: Evangelism and Discipleship 12. Establishing: Congregating and Maturing 13. Structuring: Expanding and Empowering 14. Reproducing: Strengthening and Sending Part IV: Critical Factors 15. The Personal Life of Church Planters 16. Church-Planting Teams 17. Developing Servants, Leaders, and Planters 18. Partnerships and Resources in Church Planting 19. Planting Churches with Kingdom Impact Epilogue Works Cited Index


"With over fifty years of international church-planting experience between the authors, readers would expect to find in Ott and Wilson's book an excellent grasp of the literature, some new models and strategies created out of research and their vast ministry experiences, practical ways to apply these strategies, and case studies to demonstrate them. This is exactly what you will get in Global Church Planting. Bypass this text at your own risk."--Tom Steffen, professor of intercultural studies, School of Intercultural Studies, Biola University

"Craig Ott and Gene Wilson have produced a church-planting text that is at once well researched, well written, amazingly comprehensive, and decidedly practical. Mission CEOs, seminary and college professors, practitioners at home and overseas--anyone and everyone committed to church-planting mission--should make sure that they have ready access to Global Church Planting. It's that good."--David J. Hesselgrave, professor emeritus of mission, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

"Global Church Planting is a wonderful, timely contribution to the church of Jesus Christ. For too long the mission world has sent out church planters without thinking deeply enough about the nature of the church. Ott and Wilson have gone a long way toward correcting this shortcoming and demonstrating how church planting is the nexus between the church and mission. Their discourse on the 'Three Types of Church Planters' is worth the price of the book alone. I heartily recommend this book for all those who love the church and want to see it grow and reproduce around the globe."--Charlie Davis, international director, The Evangelical Alliance Mission

"In Global Church Planting, Ott and Wilson have established a masterful foundation for what is quite simply 'the most urgent business of humankind.' Thoroughly researched, carefully examined, biblically anchored, and skillfully presented, Global Church Planting provides an excellent introduction for anyone who yearns to see the kingdom expand throughout every nation, tribe, and tongue."--David Garrison, author, Church Planting Movements

"While avoiding a 'cookbook' approach, Ott and Wilson have delivered a massive resource with scriptural insights, timely stories, and practical guidance that will help anyone interested in church planting."--Ed Stetzer, coauthor, Transformational Church

"Global Church Planting offers a comprehensive, biblical foundation for starting new churches, but it also gets down to the nitty-gritty of finding funding, developing a sense of the local culture, and pulling together the team that best meets the specific needs of growing a congregation in the community where the church is being planted. . . . It should be read by anyone thinking about planting a church, but I think it should also be read by anyone in church leadership."--Rick Warren, Saddleback Church (from the foreword)

The Authors

  1. Craig Ott

    Craig Ott

    Craig Ott (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is professor of mission and intercultural studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, where he occupies the ReachGlobal Chair of Mission and directs the PhD in intercultural...

    Continue reading about Craig Ott

  2. Gene Wilson

    Gene Wilson

    Gene Wilson (DMin, Westminster Theological Seminary) is church planting director for ReachGlobal, the international mission of the Evangelical Free Church of America, and director of their annual Cross-Cultural Church Planting School. He served as a church...

    Continue reading about Gene Wilson


"[An] excellent, insightful, and well-written book. . . . This comprehensive textbook provides an excellent overview of what researchers have discovered about church planting and what cross-cultural church planters need to know in order to be effective. It provides a beautiful balance of theory and practical applications based on illustrations and case studies. . . . Global Church Planting is appropriate for a number of groups: (1) upper-division church-planting courses of highly motivated students; (2) seminary-level classes in church planting . . . ; (3) pre-field workers in missions that emphasize church planting; (4) newly-formed church-planting teams wanting to develop their strategy; and (5) experienced missionaries. For this last group, Global Church Planting is an especially useful tool to guide discussions as they mentor younger church planters."--David R. Dunaetz, Evangelical Missions Quarterly

"Church planters, leaders of churches who want to plant daughter churches, seminary students, and mission administrators would do well in reading and mastering the concepts and guidelines outlined in this book."--Charles Uken, Calvin Theological Journal

"Readers will not be disappointed with this book. With close to fifty years of church planting and consulting experience between the authors, this book contains church planting theory that walks. . . . Numerous case studies and sidebars pepper the pages. . . . The authors provide depth of topic, comprehensiveness, connections and challenges to the past, new configurations, fairness toward those with whom they disagree, clarity of content, a strong connection to Scripture, an holistic approach to ministry, multiple practical applications, . . . numerous lists of best practices, and a strong bibliography. . . . An excellent work that will prove to be instrumental in reaching the one-third of the world that remains without a church."--Tom Steffen, Great Commission Research Journal

"While most books on church planting aim at helping church planters at a practical level, this book stands above others as a theological and philosophical encyclopedia on church planting. Ott and Wilson have written with comprehensive insights integrating not only their personal experience as church planters, but also the years of experience as a seminary professor in the field of intercultural studies (Ott), and as the director of church planting for a denomination (Wilson). In addition to their own expertise, they interact with a wide variety of missiologists, theologians, and successful practitioners. They insightfully include most of the major experts related to church planting from the disciplines of missiology and ecclesiology and also provide numerous church planting case studies drawn from a wide variety of cultures. . . . This book will surely be a classic and foundational resource for church planters, denominational leaders, teachers, and scholars for many years to come."--Jonathan Ro, Trinity Journal

"Numerous church planting texts have been published in the past few decades but none matches the thematic and global scope attempted by Ott and Wilson. These veteran church planters (in Canada, Latin America and Europe) are well qualified to tackle this project due to their extensive hands-on experience, and their roles as teachers, researchers and mentors. . . . In some ways this text serves as a kind of encyclopedia of church planting topics. Packed full of key ideas concerning almost every aspect of church life, this book is not just for church planters, but for all who are concerned about the establishment of vibrant churches committed to Christ and the advance of God's kingdom. . . . Seminaries and mission training programs will certainly find this a valuable resource. . . . I highly recommend this text for those considering church planting in any context. . . . While this text does not supply all the answers to successful church planting, it asks important questions, emphasizes solid insights into critical issues, and provides the reader with a wide range of resources with which to engage in this critical mission task."--J. Bryan Born, Mission Focus

"Like the Bible, these two experienced cross-cultural church planters and academics [Ott and Wilson] do not separate church planting from missionary work. In doing so, they provide what will likely become a standard resource for the next generation of missionary church planters. . . . Because of the scope, this volume will be valuable for church planting teams, church planting coaches, mission pastors, and mentors. It will also be informative to those involved with short-term missions and all who would like to see a more rapid and effective spread of Bible based and Spirit led churches that are capable of reproducing Bible based and Spirit led churches. Because Global Church Planting is as much about ecclesiology as missiology and methodology, its best use may be as a church planting textbook, even for domestic planters, to compliment traditional pastoral and theological track studies."--Calvary Church Planting Network blog