“Jesus and the way the early church followed his example gives us a pathway to follow. He is not only the Lord of the church; He is also the Lord of church planting,” writes Rev. Ben Ingebretson, director of new church development for the Dakotas-Minnesota Area, in his recently published book, Plant Like Jesus. Access the book.
The Upper Room books is the publisher of a compilation of 60 daily meditations for church planters. Plant Like Jesus, by Ben Ingebretson, offers daily readings that will help root a new faith community or a new ministry in the practices of Jesus. The book is part of Path1’s series on Wesleyan Church Planting resources. provides spiritual nourishment for planting leaders, innovating pastors, seminary students, and anyone seeking to root their mission work in the practices of Jesus.
Ingebretson says, “The question I have been concerned about is, who is discipling the church planter?”
His experience in church planting brings hands-on credibility to this topic. Ingebretson uses accessible language and real-life examples to encourage and equip those who are called to reach new people for Christ. With each of the 60 devotional readings, he proclaims that by looking to the past, leaders can better tend the future.
Sourced from the best practices of Jesus and the early Christian movement, addresses these three concepts: missional engagement, ministry development, and effective leadership. Entries include scripture, theological reflection, meditation, and prayer. Questions for reflection invite readers to dig deeper.
1. Missional engagement: A look at how Jesus approached people and invited them into a life of faith. The key question in this cluster is, how does Jesus engage people? There are several chapteers on missional engagement that are a deep dive into what Jesus did and how Jesus goes about reaching out to all people.
“When I was planting a church, I looked at my work as a planter separate from my own discipleship,” says Ingebretson. “That was disconnected. I realized that Jesus had the toolbox for planting and my own spiritual formation.”
2. Ministry development: Church and spiritual formation are guided by structures and foundation. This section focuses on the question, how did Jesus structure the kingdom movement? Jesus was intentional in how he led and shaped ministry.
Ingebretson says, “It is easy to lose sight of the genius in Jesus. Church planting in North America has been an adaptation to culture and context. Currently, we are adapting to digital church, prompted by the pandemic."
3. Effective leadership: How did Jesus lead? The behaviors and practices of Jesus as leader are rich with lessons for church planters as they lead. The scriptures in this cluster are a lens into Jesus as a leader.
"This devotional can be very helpful to any leader that is engaging their community in a new, fresh way,” Ingebretson says. “I think I only scratched the surface. There is so much more to Jesus as the missional leader.”
Doug Ruffle, Director of Community Engagement and Church Planting Resources for Path 1 at Discipleship Ministries, says, “This is a much-needed resource to help ground the planter in their spiritual life and with the challenges of planting a church.”
Ruffle recently conducted an interview, during a webinar with Ingebretson. View the entire webinar here.