With nearly 10,000,000 people in the state, Michigan ranks 10th among all of the United States in population. In terms of landmass, Michigan ranks 11th. The Great Lake State has the longest freshwater shoreline in the entire world. If we mathematically divided the state’s population by the number of Southern Baptist churches, each church would be responsible for reaching out to, engaging, witnessing, and discipling an estimated 31,250 people. That is per church!
Crunch the Numbers
Can you imagine your church and you bridging relationships with 31,250 people this next year? How many new people entered and remained at your church this past year? What would each church have to do to reach radically more people for Christ? If each church, by the numbers, did their part next year that would mean each church would have to engage 86 new people every single day for 365 days.
Each church would have to engage 86 new people every single day for 365 days.
This summer, I was in Dallas, Texas speaking to a retired policeman at one of the large, well-know congregations. He was directing security for the church. The man’s face was wrinkled and tanned. I could hear voices coming from the earbud in his left ear even though he tried to conceal it with his gray hair. His eyes had a gleam as he scanned the congregation of thousands gathering for worship. After learning I was from Michigan, he said to me, “I lived and worked in Michigan all my life; but only after retiring and moving to Texas did someone tell me about Jesus Christ. I am so glad my wife and I found Him and we love our church.”
Insert: One man said to me, “I lived and worked in Michigan all my life; but only after retiring and moving to Texas did someone tell me about Jesus Christ.”
Keeping it Brief
In the shadow of the overwhelming numbers and in light of the urgency to reach more people for Jesus Christ as described above, I want to share a vision, a mission, and 5 values for church starting. We want to see healthy churches starting new churches in places and among people groups in the Great Lakes region, so that everyone is extended an invitation to follow Jesus Christ. In fewer words, our mission is starting new churches everywhere for everyone.
Starting new churches everywhere for everyone
5 Core Values
Reliance upon God - We rely upon God for His leadership through the study and application of the Bible. By means of private and corporate prayers, we pursue obedience and boldness through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Through corporate and private worship, we treasure God above all things and we display that dedication by starting new churches.
Collaboration with others – This network is a mosaic of cultures, colors, communities, and languages with one mission, which is starting new churches. Working together we are powerful. Working together, under the Lord’s leadership, we are unstoppable.
Sacrificial Focus – We come together to do one thing with excellence. We dedicate ourselves to starting new churches within population segments and among people groups in the Great Lakes region. We sacrifice other worthy endeavors knowing that this intense focus changes eternity for people in the region.
Leadership Development – We gather and engage leaders for the purpose of starting new churches. We develop leaders, so they anticipate, prepare for, and overcome challenges. We offer leaders the tools and the processes by which they can multiply and empower others, so that new generations will produce new leaders.
Urgency – Though God is eternal, our involvement to achieve His desires in each of our lifetimes is limited; therefore, we take the responsibility to do as much as we can in the time each of us is allocated in our respective lives. We do not wait on something to change or someone else to lead. We take the initiative to do as much as we can with the resources God provides in each season of our lives.
There are waves from the Great Lakes that shape the shoreline of the state, night and day. What if there was an ever-increasing wave of churches that saturated every population segment and every people group within the Great Lakes region with the Gospel? Can you imagine what God could accomplish, during the coming years, if we would strive to increase the number of Southern Baptist churches in Michigan?
What part will you take-on in this endeavor?
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.