FENTON, MI – This past September I had the great opportunity of being involved in the Church Planter Assessment. Over the course of 2-and-a-half days, a group of 25 people participated in this process at the Colombiere Conference and Retreat Center in Clarkston, MI.
What is the Church Planting Assessment?
Church Planting Assessment is a process organized by the Church Starting division of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan (BSCM), consisting of Tony Lynn and our Church Planting Catalysts (CPCs): Dan Ghramm, Tim Shrader, Darryl Gaddy, Jason Robinson and Darren Greer. Our CPCs made connections over the past months with pastors and their wives who feel called by God to plant a church in Michigan so that we might partner together in the Gospel and be able to support them. Our Catalysts sought out 6 different people to be assessors for the assessment. Our Assessors were: Josh Tovey, Steve Long, Shar Durbin, Thomas Pettus, Tom Price and Larry Allen. I was blessed getting to meet and spend time with all of our Assessment Staff and Assessors.
The process of Church Planter Assessment can actually be quite rigorous and personally invasive (particularly for our church planters) because it consists of the pastors sharing so much information, and also being asked many questions during our group exercises and break-out sessions. Despite this, our staff did an excellent job in creating a comfortable and friendly atmosphere for our church planters. There were many of our church planting candidates who went into the assessment feeling nervous and not knowing what to expect, but then came away from the whole experience feeling spiritually enriched and encouraged. During this process, the BSCM and the North American Mission Board (NAMB) must assess whether these Pastors are equipped and ready to plant a church, but also want to come alongside them for encouragement and to help provide support.
Why do we do Church Planting Assessments?
My favorite part of being able to attend and experience this assessment retreat was getting to see all of our different candidates share their hearts with us. We had 5 different pastors take part in this assessment. What was enjoyable was their lives and ministry backgrounds differed in various ways. It was equally interesting listening to their stories as well as learning of their passion and call to church planting. A common theme with all of our candidates was that they all had been through past trials and sufferings in both their lives and their ministries, but what was great to see is how God brought them through that and is using them now in church planting to spread the Gospel. I can confidently say, I believe God will use these 5 pastors as strong Gospel witnesses to their communities through their churches.
The positive news to share is that all 5 of our church planting candidates were approved. Now they will be partnering in the Gospel with the NAMB and the BSCM. I would love to share with you these Pastors and their wives’ names as you might see or hear of them in the near future.
Jason & Andrea Allmon
Kevin & Meghan Armstrong
Seth & Taylor Springs
Mike & April Gates
Please be praying for these planters as the process of church planting is busier and crazier than one might be able to imagine. Pray that God would use them and their churches to be an effective Gospel witness in their communities, and to make His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andrew Parsons works as a Ministry Assistant at the Baptist State Convention of Michigan under Tony Lynn, State Director of Missions. Andrew also serves as a Pastoral Intern at Onelife Church in Flint, MI.