FENTON, MI – Did you know dozens of missionaries live near you? They do and you can find them and their email addresses at: www.bscm.org/SendMeMI.
Each of these men and their wives are considered missionaries. They have answered God’s call to plant a church. Yet, in other ways these men and couples are a lot like you. They have bills to pay. They have children who become ill. They are caring for aging parents. They need date nights. They need encouragement. They need your prayers. I will share a few examples.
Daniel Tackett is a Detroit police officer and police chaplain. Tackett often works the night shift and then after brief hours of sleep connects daily with the church leadership and members. His wife and family are passionate partners in the ministry. Despite their early stage at the church, Tackett has two associate pastors helping the church in outreach and discipleship in Wyandotte.
Our church planters serve in a variety of settings:
Urban pockets of Detroit
Stanley McLellan is the pastor in Standish. Retired women make up the church membership and faithful, and support McLellan as Pastor. They are waiting on a miracle of new and continual growth. The women report that McLellan, who suffers from cerebral palsy and is legally blind, has led them in some of the best Bible teaching they have ever received over the years.
Our church planting families are different in their make-up:
Young couples with no children
Young couples with plenty of children
Middle-aged couples with adult children out of the home
Semi-retired couples redeploying as missionaries
Drew Ansley labors in Detroit on two fronts. First, he and his wife disciple residents and the homeless of his area often times allowing them to live with them and their daughter in their home. Those who share their home are overcoming addictions and dark phases in their lives. Secondly, Ansley is focused on reaching the students of Wayne County Community Colleges. Ansley, a Florida surfer who moved to Michigan, impressed me one day when he said, “Tony, I focus on the students at the community colleges knowing that most of them will remain in Detroit after graduation. If I can reach them for Christ during their college years and they remain in the community then Detroit will really be transformed.” I thought, “Wow!”
Our church plants are at different stages of growth, some are:
Getting started and gathering a core team of volunteers
Growing rapidly and consistently
Leveling off on a plateau and must redefine their future advances
Less than 1 year old, many are 1-3 years old, and a few are 7 years old
David Pennell and his tireless team organized a short-term solution for the homeless and helpless in Menominee. Church members join Pennell daily caring for those in need. In a former Catholic school, Pennell and his team feed school children before they are transported to nearby public schools. The daily morning devotion time is where the adults are instructed in the Bible and vent their feelings. Everyone feels the mutual sense of family and connection whether you are there for days or a few weeks. Stories of rebuilding and renewal occur each month. Local business people and vendors participate and believe in what Pennell and the church are doing for their city.
On occasion, I hear people say, “I would like to meet some missionaries.” Well, here is your opportunity. Let me suggest you plan two or three getaways this summer traveling throughout Michigan. Locate the church planter and location that peaks your interest and make plans to visit their church.
While traveling, here are some ways in which you can assist or encourage the missionaries serving in Michigan:
Pray for them & send them a note letting them know you prayed
Visit a church plant and express your gratitude face to face to the family
Gather a special offering and give it to the church plant
Ask the church planter for a special need that requires funds and mobilize people in your church to collect until the amount is achieved and then celebrate with the church plant
Ask the church planter if you can organize a short-term event or ministry that would increase relationships for the new church; such as, Vacation Bible School, a concert, door-to-door gifts and invitations, remodeling/updating the building or church yard, or follow one of your inspirational ideas
Whether you are in a new church plant or a church celebrating a 40-year anniversary our mission is the same, we’re here to punch holes in the darkness and lead our neighbors to Christ. Please, take time to look at www.bscm.org/SendMeMI.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tony Lynn is the State Director of Missions for the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Before coming on staff at the BSCM, Tony served as lead pastor for more than six years at Crosspoint Church in Monroe, Michigan. He and his wife, Jamie, also served with the International Mission Board in Africa and in Europe.