OSHKOSH, WI – A little over twenty years ago, while serving on the staff of a large church in Fort Worth, Texas, God called my family to plant a church in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. God used the study, “Experiencing God” to call me to go. I knew little about Oshkosh when God orchestrated a move there. All I knew was that there were thousands of spiritually lost people in that small city of 65,000. God called together five adults and five children, all Southern Baptists from somewhere else, to move there, and believe a new church should be planted to reach the lost around them.
That reality is key: They believed a new church should be planted to reach the lost around them. We weren’t focused on reaching other people from the south who had moved north, we were focused on reaching the indigenous lost people of our city. That is what church planting is about, and that has not changed.
Now, as a church planting catalyst in Michigan, I have the privilege of working with new church planters. They have the same passion and calling to reach spiritually lost Michiganders as we did those twenty years ago to reach spiritually lost Wisconsinites. One thing that has changed, though, is training. I am happy to say that our NAMB church planters today are offered the best training in the church planting world.
When we planted a church years ago in another state, the approval process was minimal, to say the least. For many, just saying that you wanted to plant a church was enough to get you approved. Sadly, during those years, we had many failed church plants due to pastors not being fully accessed, equipped and coached. Since coming to Michigan one year ago, there is now a thorough NAMB approval process that seeks to make sure that the potential planter is called, equipped, and ready to plant a church.
Thankfully, there is ample training to equip and encourage the new church planter, too. New Michigan church planters are given a trained and approved church planter coach, connection with the regional church planter catalyst, encouragement from the Sending Church Pastor, as well as the access to training. Although church planting is still difficult and challenging, the church planter should never feel isolated.
As one of Michigan’s NAMB church planting catalysts, I get to train some of our new planters in a course called “Multiply”. Multiply helps new church planters master the competencies that NAMB has identified are necessary for successful church planting.
systems and structure
That’s definitely a lot of material to cover, but each one of these competencies are key to seeing a gospel-centered, evangelistic church planted that will not only reach the lost around them, but will also plant other churches in the near future.
I am grateful for the way God blessed our church plant in Oshkosh years ago, but oh how I wish I had the opportunity to learn the way our new church planters are learning through Multiply. I am confident that many of the mistakes I made would have been avoided with proper training. That training is offered now, and it is excellent.
So if you are reading this and sense that God is calling you to plant a church, be a supporting or sending church, or joining a church plant launch team, but you are reluctant because you don’t know how, contact Dr. Tony Lynn at the Baptist State Convention of Michigan, firstname.lastname@example.org. He will connect you with the church planting catalyst in your region and they will help you discover the joy of reaching the lost around you through church planting.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
With degrees in music and divinity, Church Planting Catalyst Tim Shrader has more than 30 years experience in ministry. Tim Shrader was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and raised in the Metro East area of Granite City, Illinois. He has been happily married to Debbie since 1980 and they have 3 children, Beth Anne, Rachel, and Nate. In his spare time, Tim loves the St. Louis Cardinals baseball, Green Bay Packer football, and motorcycling.