Planting by Pastoring: A Vision for Starting a Healthy Church

By Nathan Knight

... Show All

Planting by Pastoring: A Vision for Starting a Healthy Church

By Nathan Knight

... Show All

Recentering the Goal of Pastoral Ministry to Cultivate Christ-Treasuring Church Plants

As churches rapidly expand, Christians risk viewing the church with an entrepreneurial mindset. Church planters can be tempted to fixate on gaining numbers and achieving financial stability as their only metrics for success. They fail to focus on lifting up Christ’s people within the church. 

In Planting by Pastoring, author Nathan Knight challenges our view of church planting and centers the goal of pastoral ministry on a basic biblical foundation: a church plant is in fact a church, and a planter is in fact a pastor. A healthy church plant is not measured by size, speed, or level of self-sufficiency but by good pastoring that produces faith, fruit, and a flourishing community. Once pastors and church leaders redefine their plant as a church, their ministry will begin to align with Jesus’s mission to shepherd the flock and bring glory to God alone.  

  • Provides Wisdom: This book reminds church planters of the heart of the church and the core purpose of pastors
  • Offers a Unique Perspective: Addresses foundational elements of church planting other books fail to address
  • Appeals to Pastors, Elders, and Church Planters: Great for those in the process of planting a church

Read Chapter 1


Nathan Knight

Nathan Knight (MDiv, Southeastern Theological Seminary) is a pastor of Restoration Church and serves on the lead team for the Treasuring Christ Together church planting network. He and his wife, Andi, live in Washington, DC, with their two sons. 

Product Details

Title: Planting by Pastoring
Subtitle: A Vision for Starting a Healthy Church
Published: July 25, 2023
ISBN-10: 1-4335-8811-0
ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-8811-2
Category: Church Ministry
Christian Living
Retail Price: $17.99
Binding: Paperback
Trim: 5.5 in x 8.5 in
Page Count: 176

Table of Contents

Series Preface

Part One: Church-Planting Residency
Chapter 1: Jesus as Shepherd: The Prince of Planters
Chapter 2: Pastors, Not Entrepreneurs: The Posture of a Planter
Chapter 3: Qualified, Not Charismatic: The Character of a Planter
Chapter 4: Church, Not a Crowd: The Markers of the Planter
Chapter 5: Unexplainable, Not Explainable: The Culture of the Planter
Chapter 6: Christ, Not You: The Goal of a Planter
Part Two: Church-Planting Mobilization
Chapter 7: Sent and Sustained by a Church, Not a Parachurch: The Mother of the Planter
Chapter 8: The Team, Not the Man: The Team of the Planter
Chapter 9: Needy, Not Hip: The Place of the Planter
Chapter 10: Love People, Not Programs: The mission of the Planter
Chapter 11: Bricks, Not Straw: The desire of the Planter
Conclusion: Defining Success 
Appendix 1: Covenant Ceremon
Appendix 2: Statement of Beliefs
Appendix 3: Church Membership Covenant
General Index
Scripture Index


“This book is a long-expected and theologically compelling wake-up call for future planters and existing pastors to come back to the good old way of starting churches by taking care of souls. Here you’ll find provocative and passionate thoughts that make you value the godly and the biblical before the trendy and the flashy. I can personally attest that Knight’s teachings and stories mentioned here are not only real but heartfelt, as I’ve personally benefited from his living example and his pastoral leadership to treasure Jesus above everyone and everything. I hope you can also be encouraged to do so as you read this masterpiece.”
Alejandro Molero, Pastor, Iglesia Biblica Sublime Gracia, Washington, DC

“If you want to ‘pastor-plant’ a church that can be explained only in terms of the power of the gospel at work, and if you want to plant a church that takes New Testament ecclesiology to heart, this book is for you. Knight takes us down ancient paths and shows how they lead to healthy church growth. His advice may not be what you want, but it is certainly what you need as a church-pastoring church planter. The path is hard, but it will produce a church that can endure hardship; it may be laborious, but it is the surest way to plant. It may be painful, but it will result in a healthy, strong church that presents and protects the gospel. Read this book, preach the gospel, love God’s people, rest in faith, and watch the Lord of the church do his work.”
Dieudonné Tamfu, Pastor, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Yaoundé, Cameroon; Assistant Professor of Bible and Theology and Executive Director of the Cameroon Extension Site, Bethlehem College & Seminary

“Biblical faithfulness and faith in God are twin essentials for church planting. Follow the Master’s guidelines and trust the Master for the growth. This is the thrust of this book, and I am glad to commend it to those who seek to plant and grow biblically faithful churches for the glory of King Jesus.”
Daniel L. Akin, President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

“Nathan Knight has been a model for me of a pastor who serves with humility, faith, compassion, and zeal for the supremacy of Christ. In this inspiring book, Knight explains that a church plant can be healthy, despite being small, financially needy, or expanding slowly, even if it is growing more deeply than it spreads. Using Jesus as the reference point, Knight invites us to view church planters as shepherds and church plants as biblical churches. He contends that shepherds ought to display godly character, capability, conviction, confidence, and compassion. He encourages sending churches to care for and watch over church planters. The book presents wise strategic advice and important lessons learned by suffering for Christ.”
Déholo Nali, Pastor, Connexion Rockland, Rockland, Ontario

“Church planters and leaders are drowning in too many opportunities, pressures, and ideas. Deep down we feel like we’re failing even when it looks like we’re ‘successful.’ In Planting by Pastoring, Nathan Knight thrusts hope into our hearts with the Bible’s truth and goodness. He clarifies our roles, tools, and goals with simplicity and utility so that we rest in and move with Jesus in planting by pastoring. Find refreshment here for the good work Christ has for you.”
P. J. Tibayan, Pastor, Bethany Baptist Church, Bellflower, California; blogger,