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  • Baptist Beacon

Filling the pipeline

HUDSONVILLE, MI – A friend of mine recently started a new job as a buyer with a large food distribution company in the area. He was describing the ins and outs of forecasting what products his customers are going to need in the next 2 to 3 months. So far, he had not under-purchased or over-purchased by any great amounts. Keeping the right amount of product in the pipeline keeps his boss and the customers happy.

I laughed a little to myself, when he told me the story about a coworker who completely forgot to order hamburger buns for a large chain of burger restaurants in the area. You can imagine, there was some scrambling going on to find buns in order to prevent a drop in burger sales. In any industry, it is important to plan ahead, not only with product but also with people. Having the resources on hand to accomplish the job takes a lot of preparation, time, and energy. It is not done overnight. This kind of thinking is also important in ministry in the Kingdom of Jesus. In fact, this is exactly what Jesus did with his disciples. He trained them before, during, and after he sent them out for ministry. If we are going to see a movement of making disciples all around the state of Michigan and beyond, we are going to need to develop more missional leaders. We need to fill the pipeline and keep it filled.

I am excited about a new tool called, the Church Planting Pipeline, that will be available from the North American Mission Board in August. Our church planters go through a rigorous pre-assessment process. The extensive report created from this process helps us determine if a planter is ready to move forward; an assessment retreat and then on to planting, or if we need to hit the pause button and get them some more training. Jeff Christopherson, vice President of the Send Network says, "The Church Planting Pipeline is a simple and systematic way for a local church to prepare leaders to become effective disciple-makers in a post-Christian world. Implementing the system in the heart of a church is the discipleship plan – they can prepare homegrown missionary teams that literally transform their communities. This puts the missionary movement back where it was always meant to be – in the local church."

The Church Planting Pipeline is a tool for our pastors to raise up leaders and planters within their own church. It can be up to three years worth of material helping them prepare to plant a church. Level One (L1) focuses on spiritual formation and theological foundation. Level two (L2) focuses on missiology and disciple making. Level three (L3) is all about church planting. Each year has ten 4-week modules that the planter can complete under the guidance of pastors and coaches. I am especially excited about this opportunity because I have a number of men who are not ready to plant a church yet, but are confident in their call. They simply need more time and training. Beginning this fall, we will have four interns or residents using this material in at least two churches here in West Michigan.

We need pastors and churches all around our state to fill a pipeline of missional leaders, not only for church planting, but for shepherding as well. We would love to get this tool into your hands. Feel free to reach out to me, any of our CPC's or Tony Lynn, our SDOM and we can walk you through more details. Let's work together to create a pipeline of missional leaders, both young and old, in preparation for a disciple-making movement here in our great state of Michigan.



Dan Ghramm serves as a Church Planting Catalyst with BSCM/NAMB in Southwest Michigan. He is married to Amanda, a Sign Language Interpreter. They have five children: Elijah, Malia, Jacob, Joshua, and Sophia. They live in Hudsonville, Michigan and are members at Redemption Church, a two-year-old church plant in Grandville a suburb of Grand Rapids.

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