by Dr. Tony L. Lynn
PLYMOUTH, MI – There are two men who I appreciate and admire. They are two examples of mighty men who serve with intentional, radical actions that change communities and lives.
Pastor Billy Walker and Pastor Josh Tovey, on behalf of Michigan Baptists, let me say, “Thank you.”
Though you both have growing families and full-time church ministries, you are making time to mentor two new church planters, and to see that their new church plants in Flint and Holland receive the necessary care from your established congregations. Wow!
Pastor Billy Walker
Pastor Billy and Laurie Walker of Calvary Church, Southgate are busy with a variety of big efforts in their lives. They have launched into their respective ministries living meaningful lives. They lead a congregation in Southgate in a cool, renovated former public-school building with its modern colors, comfortable/chic furnishings and sleek lines that make people feel at home; but ministry there is not about the cool building, it’s about the people encountering others in their daily lives with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
On top of all of that, Pastor Billy and Laurie make time during the summer to lead a Christian camp in the upper peninsula of Michigan called Hiawatha Youth Camp, which is just fifty miles from the Mackinac Bridge. Then to top it off, Pastor Billy has a Spanish-speaking congregation led by Pastor Gerardo Sanchez and his wife, Desiree, who use a portion of the building in Southgate for a worship service in Spanish while the children, who speak English, attend Bible study at their age-level with the other children. It is a genius and generous idea!
Pastor Billy and the congregation are always helping others in unique and bold ways, but this year they added a new initiative for Christ by helping launch a new church plant in Flint.
Pastor Josh Tovey
Pastor Josh and Stephanie Tovey of Redemption Church, Grandville are up to their eyeballs guiding three adopted siblings and loving every moment of the adventure. The Tovey family is unstoppable! Seven years ago, when they were called to plant a new church in Michigan, they continued even though Stephanie was battling repeated attacks from a persistent form of cancer.
However, here they are years later with a vibrant church plant and a family of five. If anyone ever could have said he was too busy to undertake something new, it could easily have been Pastor Josh, but he never offers an excuse. He is ever ready to charge forward to help others and to make Jesus Christ known.
In addition to enlarging their own family and their congregation, Pastor Josh has a voracious appetite for creating new churches through new men who are called to become church planters. That is why Pastor Josh has created a residency ministry at the church so that men can experience ministry partnership, for one or two years, to verify they are called to serve the Lord through church leadership. Anyone who would make the cut to experience a residency with Pastor Josh and his team would be greatly benefited.
Pastor Josh and the church already helped start new churches in Adrian and Waterford, to name a couple of places, and now they’re launching a new church in Holland.
Every new Send Network church plant we start in Michigan must have a Southern Baptist sponsoring/sending church and pastor who stands-up for the new church planter, his family, and his endeavor. Pastor Billy and Pastor Josh are men who stand-up for the right thing.
Pastor/church planter Leo Robinson
Pastor/church planter Leo Robinson of Flint and his wife, Mio, have known Pastor Billy and his family for years. Pastor Leo spoke repeatedly up north at Camp Hiawatha. This church planting partnership is going to increase the bonds of brotherhood and friendship between these men and their congregations. The impact of this partnership is going to reap eternal benefits.
Pastor/church planter Charles Kirby
Pastor/church planter Charles Kirby ofHolland and his wife, Kallie, have connected with Pastor Josh for years. They have shared life during their younger years. This connection on the western side of Michigan is going to increase the Gospel saturation among a people who can become complacent in the comfortable communities along the shorelines of Lake Michigan.
People without Christ
Those who will benefit the most because of Pastor Billy Walker and Pastor Josh Tovey being sponsoring/sending churches are the lost in the areas of Flint and Holland who need to know Jesus Christ. As you are reading this article there are those who, at this very moment, do not understand that Jesus Christ is the promised one who leads to eternal life. However, because of the Lord’s created connection between these four pastors, communities and lives are going to change.
If you are interested in doing something like Pastor Billy Walker or Pastor Josh Tovey, reach out to me and let’s have a conversation: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.