FENTON, MI – On Thursday evening, March 7, 2019 the Baptist State Convention of Michigan’s Executive Board unanimously voted to accept the purchase agreement for the sale of the convention’s Fenton office building and subsequently voted, in total agreement, to lease 1900 square feet of office space in the historical Burroughs Building in Plymouth, Michigan. Through the sale of the building and acreage the state convention will net nearly one million dollars to be placed into the state convention’s foundation. The large investment into the foundation will provide annual dividends that can be disbursed for meaningful ministry priorities or reinvested in order to increase the strength of the Michigan Southern Baptist Foundation.
During last year’s annual state convention on Friday, November 9, 2018 at Grace Church in Jackson the messengers of the state convention by vote entrusted the Executive Board to oversee the consideration and sale of the convention’s property. Conversations between leaders of the state convention, to consider the sale of the property, started early in 2018.
When Pastor Tim Patterson became executive director of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan, during May 2015, one of his goals was to maximize the resources and the personnel of the small state convention in order to bring increased health to the established churches while planting multiplying churches. His financial and strategic leadership, in concert with the elected officers of the state convention and members of the executive board, has brought significant results in less than four years.
Patterson and the state staff travel regularly to churches and regions throughout the state. Pastors, church planters, church members, and associational leaders have packed personal and vocational schedules making it challenging for them to find the time to travel to and attend large conferences of the past. State staff serve more as consultants now responding to personal requests to assist one church or a local group of churches at the same time. Mobility has become one of the major priorities within the ministry. Seeing images of state staff on social media attending the launch of a church plant in Grand Rapids, followed by a conference in Detroit, then preaching at a significant historical day in an established church in the upper peninsula in one week’s time has become common place. State staff build strong, supportive and trusting relationships with others throughout the state through those face-to-face ministry excursions.
Online meetings and live streaming have provided valuable links to those geographically scattered and isolated throughout the region, including a few church planters in Canada who partner with the state convention due to proximity and identification. The Burroughs Building in Plymouth will provide robust tools to enhance the state convention’s connection with pastors, churches and associations. Meeting rooms with enhanced online connections will be conveniently provided at the new state convention site. Technology will never replace face-to-face meetings, but technology can create frequent and convenient follow-up meetings to enrich those deep, personal, interactive relationships formed by sharing life and ministry.
The Baptist State Convention of Michigan’s ministry center will relocate to the third floor of the historical Burroughs Building in Plymouth. The Plymouth facility was once a production center, during the 1900s, for adding machines, typewriters and the early-edition computers used in the banking industry. Today, developers are remodeling the site as a high-service, interactive community for a diverse set of clients. Some of the neighbors joining the state convention inside the Burroughs Building are: an athletic club, a cafeteria, an electric car company, and one of the newest church plants in Michigan, Mile City Church. The state staff are looking forward to forging new friendships with a variety of people in the Plymouth and Burroughs Building community.
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.