by Dr. Tony L Lynn
PLYMOUTH, MI – During January, I relished a 90-minute online meeting with the Send Network team in Michigan. I asked each church planting catalysts to describe one person who is approaching church planting then select someone on the screen to pray for that candidate. It was worship time.
For privacy, I will change the name of the candidates.
Tim Shrader, sporting a red St. Louis Cardinal jersey said, “Let me tell you about Darrick. I’m excited about him because he has a great job in Detroit and believes God is calling him to continue his employment while creating a new church. He wants to continue his career while planting because he sees his work site as a mission field.”
Eric Stewart, revealing the wintery scene of his yard through the window behind his chair, spoke about Lyle, from Flint. Eric said, “Lyle wants to put washing machines in the church building he creates in order to provide a safe place for people to spend time. Lyle is in a community filled with need and he wants the church to help restore to the people what God wants them to have.”
Ken Nether, in his smooth, calm voice said, “I’m excited about Michael who has been a longtime friend. He helped us tremendously with the start of Crossover Church. He has been a great partner. He came to me one day and said that God was calling him to start a new church just as we did together with Crossover. We’ve been focusing on that ever since. I love the way God called Michael out to plant a new church in his hometown of Oak Park.”
Matt Thompson, with his boyish looks leaned into the screen with a big smile and said, “God is up to something big with Harrison. He wants to start a church among his people living in the Grand Rapids area who migrated here from Myanmar (Burma). Harrison is burdened for the 2,000 Burmese living near him and he is equally troubled for the people of his homeland. Harrison is working on his Ph.D. so he can prepare people to return to Myanmar as missionaries, and to plant more churches throughout America for the Burmese people.”
Barry Martin, intermittently rocking back and forth in his office-chair and adjusting his cap spoke of Rick with a concern in his voice. “We’re excited about Rick because he is the first planter to be called-out of our church plant even though we’ve partnered with others who came to us to join our residency program. Rick wants to create a new church in Wayne because it’s where he grew up. We believe Rick will have a big impact on his hometown. Rick needs your prayers now because, even though he is in his thirties, during this winter he is having health problems. Please, pray for his healing.”
Darren Greer, with the video connection freezing his image in one place spoke in a strong voice over the audio connection when he said, “We’re excited about Matt. He has been part of one of our established churches here in northern Michigan. He took part in elder training and church leadership has seen continual evidence of Matt’s spiritual progress. During December, Matt preached his first sermon after learning how to prepare from the leader pastor. Matt has indicated to us that God may be calling him to pastor or plant a church. We’re early in the process, discerning God’s will, but we’re happy to watch what God is doing in Matt’s life.”
Would you please, pause and pray for these candidates?
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.