Word and Sacrament: Ancient Traditions for Modern Church Planting

Dan Alger
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Anglican church planting veteran Dan Alger shows pastors how the rich traditions of liturgical worship are a gift to the work of starting new churches. Word and Sacrament provides a robust framework to plant gospel faithful, missionally effective, relationally strong churches.

While much of church planting today is approached as a new, innovative effort, church leaders can take comfort in the truth that they are simply stewards of what the faithful church has been doing for millennia. By rediscovering the foundations of our heritage, we are able to build healthier, more faithful, and more effective churches. At the same time, the act of planting new churches can breathe new life into these ancient traditions as they are applied to a variety of cultural contexts.

Written from an Anglican perspective to encourage both aspiring and experienced church planters, Word and Sacrament will assist leaders in all traditions to better understand the why, what, and how of the task before them.

  • Outlines and contextualizes the Anglican way of discipleship for a global church
  • Helps ministry leaders avoid common mistakes in church planting
  • Helps those in all walks of ministry to discern their role in church planting


Dan Alger, DMin, has been in church planting ministry for over twenty years, currently serving as the Canon for Church Planting for the Anglican Church in North America. He is also an adjunct professor, speaker, trainer, and coach. Dan is the Dean of the Cathedral at Church of the Redeemer in Greensboro, NC. He is married to Karen, and they have two sons. He is the author of Word and Sacrament: Ancient Traditions for Modern Church Planting.

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"Not only does Dan Alger discuss the importance of starting new congregations and the importance of the historical Church (namely Anglicanism), but he brings the intersection of the two to light with passion, depth, and clarity. This is a must-read for anyone interested in reaching the lost through church planting."
The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach, Archbishop, The Anglican Church in North America

"While church planting has received a lot of attention in recent years, there is nothing new under the sun. The problem with many of the books on church planting is that they focus on the new at the expense of the time-tested traditions of the church. In Word and Sacrament, Dan Alger has written a timeless book that draws wisdom from the ancient traditions for church planting today. If you are looking for a fresh introduction to church planting for the modern world that is ever ancient, ever new, then this book is for you!"
The Rev. Dr. Winfield Bevins, Director, Asbury Seminary Church Planting Initiative; author of Liturgical Mission

"I admire Dan Alger's passion for planting Anglican churches. His experience coaching Anglican church planters saturates the pages of Word and Sacrament: Ancient Traditions for Modern Church Planting. Anyone seeking to plant an Anglican church will benefit from this book."
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Todd Hunter, Bishop, The Diocese of Churches for the Sake of Others; former director, Alpha USA; former President, Association of Vineyard Churches

"Word and Sacrament challenges church leaders to hold important elements of church planting in healthy and holy tension. Dan's writing is thorough and accessible. It honors the rich tradition of the past and also seeks to join with God in pursuing a hope-filled futureÑa relevant message for both Anglicans and non-Anglicans alike."
Dr. J.R. Briggs, Founding Director, Kairos Partnerships; affiliate professor of practical theology, Missio Seminary; author of The Sacred Overlap: Learning To Live Faithfully in the Space Between

"I've spent time with Dan and his missional tribe and was invigorated by their love for Jesus and their passion for word and sacrament. This book isn't just for Anglicans or those used to high church liturgy. It's for any church leader, regardless of tradition. When you read this, you'll better understand that the historic practices of the Church were deeply missional and are what we need today to start missionally effective churches. I highly recommend this book for all church planters and leaders."
Daniel Yang, Director of the Church Multiplication Institute, Wheaton College Billy Graham Center

"Dan Alger is both a theologian and a practitioner in the field of missiology. His leadership and voice in the young province of the Anglican Church in North America has been invaluable to its growth and development. This book is a must-read to see the importance of Anglican missiology in our North American twenty-first century context. It is also timely because the church needs not a new vision but a renewed vision for sacramental, liturgical, and biblical mission. I highly commend it to you."
The Rt. Rev. Alan J. Hawkins, Chief Operating Officer, The Anglican Church in North America; Bishop Coadjutor, The Diocese of Christ Our Hope

"If we are going to do church planting, and we must, then it is essential that we are clear on what we mean by 'church.' Writing from within the Anglican tradition but in a manner accessible to others, Alger beautifully articulates what it means to cultivate new Christian communities that are grounded in both the Word and the Table. This is an essential read for all who care about not only church planting but what it means to be the church."
Gordon T. Smith, PhD, President, Professor of Systematic and Spiritual Theology, Ambrose University

"Dan Alger's new book, Word and Sacrament: Ancient Traditions for Modern Church Planting,meets a critical need in the literature on this topic. Along with articulating the importance of God's Word, Alger develops the Scriptural roles of sacrament and the churchfor a more complete biblical model called 'sacramental church planting.' This page-turning, well-written work on ecclesiology and missiology should be required reading for Anglican as well as non-Anglican church planters."
The Most Rev. Dr. Ray R. Sutton, Presiding Bishop of the Reformed Episcopal Church; Dean of the Province and Ecumenical Dean of the Anglican Church in North America

"While believers are questioning the essence of the church and her mission, Word and Sacrament will enliven our hearts and minds to confidently plant churches in the fertile soil of the historic church."
Scott Thomas, Lead Servant of Church Planting Partners; former President of Acts 29 Network; author of The Gospel Shaped Leader

"After thirty-five years of church planting in another tradition, I was enthralled by the historical, sacramental, and liturgical aspects of the Anglican Communion, but wanted to explore their missional practices. Word and Sacrament provides the answers I was looking for and is an excellent resource for anyone wanting to better understand the intersection of church planting and Anglicanism."
The Rev. Dr. Bradley P. Roderick, Associate Professor of Missions, Director of the Stanway Institute, Trinity School for Ministry

"What a well-researched and resourceful work for every church leader! This book brings out clearly the two aspects of discipleship that matter mostÑWord and Sacrament."
The Rt. Rev. Dr Manasseh Gahima, Bishop Ordinary, Diocese of Gahini, Rwanda

"The weighty work of church planting requires intentional preparation. In Word and Sacrament you will find a guidebook full of ancient wisdom and present-day practicalities. These pages will certainly energize, empower, and equip you along the church-planting journey, but most importantly, they will draw you into a deeper love and dependence on Jesus. If you are a pastor, church planter, seminarian, vestry member, or church staff-member, I urge you to read these words and diligently discuss their implications with those in your church community."
The Rev. Drew Hill, Anglican priest; head of school at The Covenant School in Greensboro, NC; author of Alongside: Loving Teenagers with the Gospel

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  • 5
    Word & Sacrament review

    Posted by Annette K. on 05 24 2023

    My Thoughts: Word and Sacrament is arranged in 3 parts, holding a total of 13 chapters. Part 1: Why Should We Plant? Part 2: What Are We Planting? Part 3: How Do We Plant? “This is a book written by an Anglican about Anglicanism and church planting.” Ed Stetzer. “Planting in Word and Sacrament means that we find our calling and our guide for church planting in the truth of God as revealed in his Word written and echoed in his sacraments, the Word visible. The truth of God has put on flesh in the person of his Son Jesus and continues to be made manifest in the church as the body of Christ.” Page 2-3. Dan Alger. I love this book. I love it for several reasons. I am a newbie Anglican. I have attended catechism classes and read several books. I attend Mass on Sundays. But in this book, Word and Sacrament, I became more knowledgeable about the Anglican tradition in regard to history and belief in church planting and mission work. Dan Alger’s writing style is readable, engaging, motivating, encouraging, cheerful, positive, and approachable. He addresses the belief that the younger generation only enjoy modern sensory appealing worship services. Alger does not argue, but he brings up a valid point. One of the points is people desire and benefit from a worship service that is meaningful and impacting. I love his summary of what it means to be an Anglican. I love it that at the end of every chapter there is a small section addressed to those who are not Anglican. This is a place for Alger to clarify. I love chapter 2 that teaches the reasons to plant a church. Later in the book he will give reasons why not to plant a church. This later chapter cuts to the heart of false attitudes and motives in planting a church. I believe they are solid and serious reasons. I love the graphs used to explain a helical model. I love love love liturgy. And in several places in the book Alger brings the history and beauty of it to the reader. I love how he repeats a recurring theme. “Anglican Church Planting Must Be Dependent on the work of the Holy Spirit.” This is a subtopic, but the same theme runs through the book. We must be dependent on the work of the Holy Spirit. I love the section on the prayer book, The Book of Common Prayer. I love the section on explaining the sacraments. I love how the book builds on the previous teachings that all propel forward in the planting of a church. The book is organized and purposeful. Several quotes from the book are meaningful. I wish I could memorize them all.

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