NEW CHURCH BEGINS AT AN ICE CREAM STAND
Tony Lynn – BSCM State Director of Missions
Ice cream stands are reopening up all over Michigan. It’s an annual tradition. Mom & Pop stands clean their windows. Signs out front say something like, “Two for one sundaes on Saturday.” Parents with bicycles corral kids as they coach them on the flavors. Elderly people who once visited the stands 60 years ago in worn black & white saddle oxfords request the same ice cream they’ve tasted for 6 decades. It’s an American scene.
One day, three pastors with their families in tow coincidentally showed up at an ice cream stand on the other side of town. Pastor Countyseat licked his melting chocolate cone as quickly as he could. Pastor Tradition sipped his hot, black coffee boasting that he hated ice cream. Pastor Hipster stirred his special order smoothie supplemented with spinach and protein powder. What happened next was incredible.
Each pastor made his own observations about people in the crowd. The pastors took a quick eyesight survey. They guessed at what people groups lived in the community. They listened for the languages spoken. They looked for indicators at how well the families were doing. Before they knew it, the three pastors talked about how this community needed a church. Then they asked, “What next?”
Pastor Countyseat said, “I will go home and register my church on http://sendme.namb.net/involve-my-church and you guys can do the same.” He added, “I learned that once we contact the North American Mission Board that we will receive access to all kinds of resources.”
Pastor Tradition tipped back the last of his lukewarm coffee and rubbed his lips with the back of his wrist. He retorted, “I don’t have a computer or one of those intelligent phones. You guys can register for me; but I will host all of the meetings at my church after you enlist leaders to help us plant this new church.”
Pastor Hipster chuckled and said, “I’ve got all of us covered. I registered all of us on my smartphone while you two were talking.” He added, “What’s more I sent an email to Tony Lynn, at firstname.lastname@example.org. He’s all things church starting. I told him what we’re doing and invited him to meet with us.”
As the three pastors and their families gathered to say their goodbyes, Pastor Tradition informed all the wives, children, and grandchildren about the plans for planting a church. Smiles spread across every face, some with tracks of dried ice cream over their lips and at the corner of their mouths.
Without a word, Pastor Hipster joined hands with his wife and children, and then another clasped the hand of the next person. A solemn prayer circle formed beside the 4 freshly painted blue picnic tables.
Pastor Countyseat prayed, “Lord, we thank you for bringing us here today. We don’t know all the answers yet; but Lord we know your heart. You want a church for everyone. By this time next year, Lord, when Patterson’s Ice Cream Stand reopens, it’s our desire to have a new church planter and a new church planted in this part of town. Thank you Lord for creating a partnership between our three churches, the Baptist State Convention of Michigan, the North American Mission Board, and us. It’s in the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.”