by Mike Durbin
PLYMOUTH, MI – Our Convention finished 2020 much stronger than any of us imagined as the pandemic spread across our state, nation and world. Michigan Baptist churches demonstrated a resilience that testifies to our enduring dependence on the Lord. We are strategically positioned for Kingdom advance as we implement the 500 Churches by 2021 vision that Pastor Tim Patterson cast at our annual convention last November. Through this compelling vision, God is calling us to punch holes in the darkness!
As we embark on this journey, we are organizing our strengthening and sending ministries to assist churches with tools to implement the Vision. Here is an overview of the themes and resources churches can consider using for the 500 Churches by 2025.
Every Church Praying
It is estimated that four out of every five people in Michigan do not have a personal relationship with Jesus. Many have never heard a clear presentation of the Gospel, and some have no one praying for them. Paul’s passion for those who need Jesus is our example as he cries out: "Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God concerning them is for their salvation!" (Romans 10:1).
We are recommending two resources for focused prayer:
Every Church Thriving
500 Churches by 2025 is not just about more churches - it’s about healthy churches working together to magnify God and punch holes in the darkness! It starts with “Healthy leaders who strengthen and start churches to advance a Gospel movement.”
We are partnering with “Be The Church” out of Chapel Pointe in Hudsonville to strengthen leaders. The heart of “Be The Church” is to see spiritual leaders raised up and sent out to witness regions of the world transformed by the Gospel. By equipping leaders to discover and expand their spiritual voice and influence, hurting churches can experience revitalization and healthy churches can be multiplied. That will fuel the transformation of life for Jesus in communities around the world. BeTheChurch.org
Every Church Equipping
Equipped disciples are critical to mission and ministry advance. We are partnering with Michigan Baptist churches to punch holes in the darkness by providing training to strengthen and start churches.
The Multiplication Pipeline is a resource from the North American Mission board that helps churches train leaders and send their people on mission. It uses simple, proven survey tools and an online training system to identify and train missional leaders within the congregation. Multiply the ministry of your church in your community and beyond. namb.net/pipeline
We will provide Strategic Conferences to equip believers to share the Gospel and make disciples resulting in existing churches being strengthened and new churches started.
Every Church Engaging
Through Evangelism Grants, we will partner with Michigan Baptist churches to saturate the communities around them with the Gospel.
Servant Evangelism is a strategic ministry to serve local communities in the name of Christ and increase opportunities to share the Gospel. Jesus sets the example as a servant. He said,
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many.”
Compassion Ministries focus on “Meeting Needs, Changing Lives.” Send Relief provides multiple ideas and opportunities for churches to minister in their communities and beyond. “There are people in your community and around the world who desperately need help. Send Relief provides a way for you to respond directly to these needs in lasting, meaningful ways while sharing the hope of the Gospel.” SendRelief.org
Every Church Celebrating!
Michigan Baptists are embracing a vision that will advance God’s Kingdom in our state and beyond. We desire to glorify God as we serve Him together. Our expectation is to celebrate God throughout the journey and especially in 2025 as we see an increase in believers, stronger churches, and 500 churches partnering through our network to advance God’s Kingdom.
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.