Hitting the play button

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Church planting is no longer on pause

by Don Morris, Mission USA director

It may seem counterintuitive, but sometimes in life and in ministry we need to hit the “pause button” in order to get ahead. Pausing to ask what, how and why we are doing things can be exactly what we need in order to resume forward progress.

For Mission USA, that pause came toward the end of last year when the financial means to move our church planting vision forward became extremely limited. In order to display financial integrity, the USMB Leadership Board placed a short-term halt on all new church planting projects until the financial situation improved—a pause.

A recent C-Link article was understood by some in our national family to indicate that USMB/Mission USA may no longer be partnering financially in the starting of new churches and would instead be looking for other ways to serve our districts and churches. I regret that many in our constituency concluded that we were pausing for good in regards to church planting. That is simply not the case. In fact, and in conjunction with a clarifying February USMB news release indicating the same, I want to declare that we have already released the “pause button” and have hit the “play” button again for new church plants!

How did the pause button get released? USMB staff raised additional funds toward the end of 2013 that were recently released by the USMB Leadership Board for new church plant initiatives in 2014. This has been extremely rewarding news for me personally. Mission USA is now moving ahead full steam to work with our district church planting boards and commissions to discern new potential planters and projects. In fact, we are already involved in and pressing forward with new projects for 2014 and 2015.

Church planting is such a vital piece of that which we do together as a USMB family of churches. I find it fulfilling to speak with dozens and dozens of our pastors and leaders who say that very same thing. We have a strong, collective passion to plant more churches in order to reach more people with the good news. Because it matters so much, some of our churches contribute to church planting above their regular USMB and district giving.

As I said earlier, a lack of financial means was the reason for our few-months long pause. It simply takes money to plant churches. Funds are needed to get a fledgling church off the ground, and arguably it’s some of the best money spent in God’s kingdom work. So if we want the church planting “play” button to stay on, we all need to support church planting with our resources.

I think it’s right and appropriate that I ask you to give to church planting. So I’m asking. Would you please help us continue forward with your own personal gifts and from your church’s collective resources? It’s an investment in eternity. We don’t know how much time remains before Jesus returns for us to reach people with the gospel, but it will be the “stop forever” button that is hit then, not the pause button.

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