by Dr. Tony L Lynn
PLYMOUTH, MI – Church planting in Michigan looks and sounds different, and I am loving it!
Synonyms for diverse, or diversity, are fun words like these:
Like night & day
I love variety! A vacation with mixed experiences fills my senses. I enjoy contrasting flavors, a morsel of chocolate pressed between a piece of sourdough bread. I listen to an assortment of music in one day’s time: Christian, classical, jazz, and the oldies. I am not monochrome when it comes to life and ministry. My days are filled with diverse skin colors, assorted sounds of languages that I can and cannot understand, and an explosion of experiences that are challenging to describe in words but let me try.
I live with a new anticipation. I believe we will see many new church plants in Michigan among those whose heritage comes from North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and the Middle East. For the first time in years, I have two new valuable partners in the ministry who help me connect more effectively with Arabic-speaking church leaders and potential planters. I often refer to both men as Arabic Consultants for Send Network Michigan: Pastor Amgad Beshai of Evangel Baptist Church of Troy, Michigan and Pastor Amer Safadi of the Arabic Church of Cincinnati, Ohio. Both men exhibit the fruit of the Spirit, as they serve their churches, state conventions, and the Send Network.
Recently, Beshai, Safadi, and I had an online morning that we concluded by taking turns voicing our personal prayers aloud. I introduced our time of prayer, reminding them that while an international missionary for thirteen years, I used three languages in my daily life: sharing Christ, writing sermons, speaking to audiences, and teaching students. I invited Beshai and Safadi to pray aloud from their “heart-language,” meaning the earliest language they used when they were raised by their mothers. I wanted them to feel a liberty to pray deeply from their hearts and souls. They did so, each one taking a turn, and the time was so sweet as I heard a melody of language as all three of us were before our Heavenly Father. I was swept by emotion as I was reminded that the Lord, we serve, understands every language of every single person in this world. We serve an amazing God.
The images show only a portion of the eighty people who were registered attending the second bilingual Spanish/English conference in recent months. The audience keeps increasing, at each event, with this gathering focusing on Discipleship. We have seven potential, Spanish-speaking church planting candidates at different levels of intake who might plant a new church in Michigan.
Send Network Consultant Jorge Altieri recently moved his family to Columbus, Ohio making his ease at serving those of us in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana more convenient. His hard work and networking in two languages are showing obvious results. We are so thankful for the first Latin American Baptist Church of Detroit and Pastor Kevin Casillas who generously share their newly dedicated community center with us.
Korean and Japanese Languages
Let me wrap things up by making an announcement; during August, a Korean couple was assessed as a church planting couple for a community here in Michigan, and they were approved! Now an entire new community here in Michigan will have the prayers and support of many churches as they reach out, in the Korean language, to their local community and the world. Our network of churches helps churches take their next step to accelerate Gospel movement – in every language possible! That is what the Lord desires.
Finally, please mark October 16, 2022 on your calendars for Hikari City Church, which is a new church plant led by Planter/Pastor Maki Umakoshi. That date represents their official launch date in Plymouth, Michigan. The young church start whose name, Hikari, means “light,” will share space with an English-speaking church so the children can share discipleship-life with one another while the adults meet in separate worship spaces with each service in the heart-language of the audience. Isn’t the Lord amazing?
I love variety, don’t you?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Tony L. 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.