PLYMOUTH, MI – It’s the middle of May as I write these words. The sights, sounds, and smells of Spring are everywhere. A pair of mallards are swimming in water beside our home and chipmunks are scurrying back and forth. Spring flowers have burst through the soil and are in full bloom. Almost all of the trees around our house are full of buds and the birds are chirping songs. In the distance, we can hear the high school band playing and the crowd cheering for one of the teams. Winter’s darkness is gone and we are enjoying, not just the warmth of Spring, but the long hours of daylight it brings.
It’s very noticeable that people are outside once again. They’re riding bikes, walking, or like us, doing yard work. For many of us, it’s much easier to connect with our neighbors outside during the warmer months of the year. We greet one another and catch up on each other’s lives. These informal moments help us build relationships with the people who live closest to us. As followers of Christ, we want our neighbors to know Him. We count on our churches helping us to share our faith and giving us opportunities to invite our neighbors to events where the Gospel will be shared.
If your church hasn’t already done so, this is a great time to plan summer and fall outreach events: Block parties, concerts in the park, service projects, VBS, BBQ’s, outdoor baptisms, or neighborhood movie nights. Events like these (and many others) help us share our faith by giving us opportunities to invite family, friends, and neighbors to participate.
Bless Every Home is an excellent prayer strategy that uses an interactive website that helps us pray by name for our neighbors. When you sign up as a "light" in your neighborhood, you will receive daily notifications to pray for 5 neighbors by name. In addition to Prayer, Bless Every Home will provide you with the resources to Care for your neighbors, Share the Gospel with them, and Disciple them for a life journey of faith. Visit bscm.org/blesseveryhome for more information.
While you’re planning your outreach events, remember that we have Evangelism Grants available to help Michigan Baptist churches who give through the Cooperative Program to engage your communities with the Gospel. Churches can apply for two Evangelism Grants up to $1,000 each per year. It is our desire to partner with your church as you share the Gospel in your community. The Evangelism Grant Form only takes a few minutes to fill out, but it can really help your church conduct quality outreach events.
For those who have received a grant in the past, there is a significant change on the form that I want to explain to you. To receive a grant, a church has to fill out the Annual Church Profile (ACP). In recent years, only about one-third of Michigan Baptist Churches have filled out the ACP. As a result, baptism totals for our state have plummeted to about half what they were a decade ago. This is concerning because it represents fewer people being reached for Christ. Hopefully, that is not the case, and it is only a reduction in reporting. The only way we can get an accurate picture of what is happening across our state is for churches to fill out the ACP. It helps us measure the effectiveness of our evangelistic and other efforts.
To update your ACP, contact Andrew at our office and he will help you. It’s quick, and it matters.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Durbin is the State Evangelism Director for the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Before joining the state convention staff, Mike served as Church Planting Catalyst and Director of Missions in Metro Detroit since 2007. He also has served as a pastor and bi-vocational pastor in Michigan, as well as International Missionary to Brazil.