FENTON, MI – It’s early, too early as I am writing this column, so I’m recovering with a tall coffee and an early morning pause at Panera Bread. One cream and two Splenda. I awoke at 3 AM. I went to the office at 4 AM to straighten up after another blessed executive board meeting. Finished with clean-up by 5 AM, I drove to Plymouth, Mile City Church’s new location, at the Burroughs Building. Knowing I had 3 hours before my meeting would start, I decided to check emails and write this column. So, here I sit.
Last night, at the state’s executive board meeting, I unloaded a lot on everyone. As I rushed through the report describing God’s movement over the last 3-4 months in Michigan. I often remind others that I am simply reporting the obvious or the “seen;” Far before I get to testify to what God is doing in our state, the Lord is at work in unseen ways in people's’ lives.
The high points went something like this:
1. Last church planter assessment retreat we endorsed 4 new couples to start new churches in Michigan: Bridges, Caldwell, Guyer, and Ruffin. Three of those four couples are from Michigan. One couple is from North Carolina.
2. Antonio & Jessica Wimberly will create a new church in Inkster, late in 2018. Thank God for Middlebelt Baptist Church and Pastor Larry Johnson who are encouraging a second church in their local community and by sending out their associate minister.
3. Seth & Taylor Springs, being trained on the westside of the state at Redemption Church in Grandville, will move to Highland, Michigan, this summer, where Pastor Rob Freshour and Highland Baptist Church and Motor Cities Metro Baptist Association will help them plant a new church in Waterford.
4. Chris Gentz, along with a launch team, will create a new church in Kalamazoo on the campus of Western Michigan University, midyear in 2018.
5. Torion & Jasmine Bridges will create a new church in Redford in 2019.
6. Roland & Tedirika Caldwell, along with a launch team, will start a new church in Detroit in 2018.
7. Michael & Emily Guyer, within 3 days, found an apartment into which they can move in June of 2018 so they can plant a new church on the campus of the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. Launch team members will join them in August, moving their lives from North Carolina to Ann Arbor.
8. Ray & Mariama Ruffin are making plans to plant a new church in Redford during 2018.
9. John & Jane Doe (will reveal their real names later) are exiting their current ministry in Tennessee during June to create a new church in the Greater Grand Rapids area.
10. Two couples, who will remain nameless for now, have finished their initial online assessment. They are making plans to attend our upcoming assessment in October and if they pass will partner with us creating new churches in Marquette and Traverse City.
11. Austin & Lesley Wadlow, part of a large collegiate church planting network in Iowa, announced they will come to plant a new church in East Lansing on the campus of Michigan State University. Within 5 days of their life-changing announcement, Austin and Lesley had over 60 Iowa students attending an information meeting seeing if the Lord wanted them to move to Michigan for the new church start.
12. At the time of this writing, two pastors in the Saginaw/Bay City area are packing so they can attend a re-planting assessment retreat in Georgia. If things go well, one will become a Sending Pastor and the other will become an endorsed re-planter leading an existing church on an upward trajectory.
13. I cannot be any more specific than this, except to say that an associate minister from one of the top ten most notable Southern Baptist churches in the nation, will revisit Michigan during 2018 to see if this is where he should come to plant a new church.
14. Talking with our church planting catalysts and our Send City Missionary in Detroit, I would estimate that we might have 8-9 candidate couples attending our upcoming October church planter assessment retreat.
15. In further conversation with our church planting network teammates, it appears we may have an additional 40-50 people within our church planting pipeline headed toward becoming church planters in Michigan.
As I come to the final lines of this rapid report, I hope you sense the same anticipation that I do. Not only do I see what God is doing within our state, but I believe the Lord is doing even more, in unseen manners while he prepares our region for a major movement of God. If you want to participate in or provide provisions for this movement contact me. I can share ideas on how you can help. In the meantime, keep watching because God is up to something miraculous.
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.