by Tony Lynn
PLYMOUTH, MI – The Baptist State Convention of Michigan (BSCM) team went north during August. The five-day road trip for nine members of the ministry team of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan took place on August 24-28. Two dozen churches, pastors, and church leaders with their children were invited to attend the dinners.
The BSCM team listened to pastors, planters, and church members from the region just below the bridge, as they recounted inspirational stories from each of their churches. The gatherings allowed occasions for casual fellowship and delicious meals. Host churches overwhelmed everyone with their hospitality and kindness. Mike Durbin conducted brief video-interviews which will be released on Facebook in the very near future.
State convention team members wanted to hear church leaders describe their church’s current condition, the wins, and the areas of development. Interlaced in the conversations were inspiring testimonies of salvations, baptisms, blessings, and callings to new ministry ventures. These visits were made possible because of the contributions of Michigan churches to the Cooperative Program.
The nine travelers visiting the northern churches below the bridge were Executive Director-Treasurer Pastor Tim Patterson, Women’s Ministry & WMU Leader Sue Hodnett, Disaster Relief Coordinator Bob Kiger, Retreat Center Director Mick Schatz, Church Strengthening/Evangelism Director Mike Durbin, Executive Ministry Assistant Jamie Lynn, Ministry Assistant Nancy Spears, Properties Manager Tim Jacobsen and Director of Missions Tony Lynn.
One pastor, after leading members of his church into the fellowship hall where the evening was spent, said, “I had to bring my leaders to meet the state staff. I’ve known you guys for years and trust you. I knew if I could get me leaders here they would understand better why we work with the state convention and give to the Cooperative Program.”
A pastor’s wife, overcome with emotion, expressed her gratitude when she said, “We feel isolated up here, but we’re certain we are where God wants us. Having you call us together and giving all of us an excuse to get together was a great idea. The isolation of the quarantine has been hard on my husband. He has been looking forward to this evening together with everyone else. Look at him talking to everyone. He is so happy. Thank you for doing this.”
State Executive Director-Treasurer, Pastor Tim Patterson expressed the state convention staff’s collective feelings when he opened each evening’s gatherings by saying, “We’re not here tonight for long speeches or to sell you on a new program. We’re here to show you how much we respect, value, and love you. We want you to know we are grateful for your dedication to the Lord and for your devotion to the people of the communities in which you serve. We want to hear what God has been doing in your lives.”
State convention leadership is grateful to a number of churches and individuals who made extra effort to help host the events. Grace Church in Rogers City with Pastor Richard Reinhart, True North Church in Petoskey with Pastor Rick Bristol, Roscommon Church in Roscommon with Pastor Erickson Aldridge and Antrim Church in Bellaire with Pastor David Hiser, along with their wives and church leadership, were outstanding hosts. In addition, from the Bambi Lake Retreat and Conference Center, Mick Schatz, Nancy Spears and Tim Jacobsen provided food service while inviting pastors and their wives to retreat to the camp for times of renewal as the autumn season arrives. This week was a large team effort.
The Baptist State Convention of Michigan team hopes to conduct future tours in other regions. Please, contact firstname.lastname@example.org if churches in your region would enjoy spending a mealtime with members of the state convention team discussing the wins, areas of development, and the latest ministry initiatives in your area. We want to share your stories with others throughout the state, and elevate the news about what God is doing in our lives and communities.
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.