ALPHARETTA, GA (BP) – When I met Dan Coleman a few years ago, he was a church planter with a vision for reaching the state of Maine for Jesus but he didn't have a lot of resources. Maine can be a lonely place for a church planter. There are only a handful of Southern Baptist churches, encompassing fewer than 1 percent of the population. Across Maine, only 22 percent of the population attend a church of any kind on a weekly basis.
Still, God was working through Dan's church plant, and Kennebec Community Church in Augusta had grown to 200. In fact, they had outgrown their meeting space. A church building across town was for sale but the $1 million price tag was impossible for a church of Kennebec Community's size.
Because of Southern Baptists' resources sent to the North American Mission Board through the Cooperative Program and Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, NAMB is able to give loans to church plants like Dan's. Most commercial lenders would not touch a church plant but our in-house property buyer was able to negotiate the $1 million price down to $400,000 and we were able to provide the loan.
Overnight, Kennebec Community Church went from a building with a capacity of 75 people to one that holds 500. The church now averages 1,100 in weekend services. This story is only possible because Dan is connected to the greater SBC family. I see the difference it makes every single day. Because of that connection, Dan is not alone. Now, his church is training several church planting interns who will soon be planting churches in the Northeast.
This kind of a network means the world to our church planters and missionaries. Yes, they need financial resources, but even more importantly, they need prayer and to know they are not forgotten. I hope you will take a moment and visit PrayForPlanters.com. We will connect you with a missionary for whom you can pray. It's a simple, easy way you can start having an impact right now in pushing back lostness across North America.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kevin Ezell is president of the North American Mission Board.