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  • Baptist Beacon

Six advances in church planting

by Dr. Tony L. Lynn

PLYMOUTH, MI – I hope your late spring, summer, and early autumn has gone as well as mine. Once again in my role, daily, I get to see the Lord do amazing things that make me smile, even laugh, with joy during my morning quiet times.

Here are six advances that have taken place during the past five months. Because you pray, provide support, and participate these advances are happening because of what you do through your local church; so, thank you for what you do for the Lord.

Ryan Cabildo in Wayne

Church planter, Ryan Cabildo, passed NAMB assessment and is in the early stage of launching Lanterns Church in Wayne, Michigan. His sending church is Mile City Church, Plymouth. Cabildo is creating a launch team while refining the preparations that go into starting a new church. I love it that Cabildo is launching where he spent most of his lifetime. He is a creative with a warm heart who always has time to listen to those in need.

Zac and Emily Zielinski in Flint

Church planter, Zac Zielinski, and his wife Emily passed NAMB assessment and are in the early stage of launching a church plant in Flint, Michigan among university students while serving as a campus pastor in Grand Blanc, Michigan. Their sending church is Grumlaw Church, Grand Blanc & Hartland, Michigan. They are inviting people to join their launch team.

I remember the moment when I knew Zac had been overcome with the calling to plant a new church. He attended the Send Network Gathering at Mile City Church back on March 17. At the close of the final part of that inspiring day, Zac was exiting the day’s events and I felt compelled to stop and ask, “What has this day meant to you?” Zac responded, “I think God is calling me to plant a church.” Little did I know that Zac and Emily were already pressing into the calling with the counsel of their pastor, Shea Prisk.

Henry and Lily Zual in Kentwood

Church planter, Henry Zual, and his wife Lily passed NAMB assessment and have planted Chin Mission Baptist Church in Kentwood, Michigan. His sending church is Falam Christian Church of Indianapolis, Indiana. The people on this church plant are from Myanmar (Burma) where warlike conditions threaten the lives of their family members and friends, daily.

Twice with no success during these past two years, Burmese pastors in Michigan invited me to take mission trips to Myanmar to share the Good News of Christ and to develop believers. Pray fervently for our brothers and sisters who face a sorrow we do not understand.

On a brighter note, a former missionary with the International Mission Board, who speaks the language of the Burma people, is on staff in a North American church and has agreed to come visit the three Burmese congregations we have in Michigan. I cannot wait until I see the faces of the Burmese people in Michigan shine with smiles because someone who learned their language 15 years ago is here to help us help them.

Nathan and Alison Sharpe in Adrian

Church planter, Nathan Sharpe, and his wife Alison passed NAMB assessment and launched Catalyst Church, Adrian, Michigan on Sunday, September 12, within a community they believe is underserved and in need of more witnesses for Jesus Christ. Their sending church is Redemption Church, Grandville, Michigan. Nathan and Alison already share a lot of life with their community.

Nathan is a well-loved coach and teacher in a nearby school. The church plant is the result of a collaboration between wise people who had building and property, but needed spiritual leadership. After spending launch Sunday with the congregation, I can sense the unity among the people and the pursuit to see people become devoted followers of Christ.

David and Stefanie Livingston in Ann Arbor

Church planter, David Livingston, and his wife Stefanie passed NAMB assessment and are conducting autumn vision tours while creating a core team for a new church plant among the students at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Their sending church is Doxa Church, Madison, Wisconsin.

I already participated in one of the early vision tours and found I was surrounded by young adults on the threshold of post-university careers who were putting their careers on hold to devote the next 2-3 years of their personal lives to launching a new church in Ann Arbor. I know it sounds crazy, but I have already witnessed a success using this strategy in East Lansing.

Austin and Lesley Wadlow in East Lansing

Church planter, Austin Wadlow, and his wife Lesley along with people of The Commons Church, East Lansing, a two-year old church, are celebrating remarkable growth and inspiring professions of faith in Christ.

One September Sunday was dedicated to hearing about life changes and witnessing the baptisms of those who have trusted in Christ. The young church plant created a second Sunday morning service with a total morning attendance of 455 people; however, what is equally as important is that almost everyone has registered to join discipleship groups which is a primary focus of the church’s purpose.

This church plant is exploding with growth on 7 acres with a 20,000 square foot building that was gifted to them for $1 because the senior citizens of that existing church wanted to share their lifelong legacy with the vibrant ministry of The Commons Church.

As you can see, I serve the Lord, the BSCM, and the Send Network with joy because my days are filled watching the testimony of God’s love for the peoples of Michigan. I am always available to talk if you want to find your place in planting churches everywhere for everyone.



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.


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