Can we find 60 new church planters in the next decade?
It was a lovely fall day when photographer Stephen Humber, who is also a pastor at Stony Brook Church in Millard, Neb., scouted sites in downtown Omaha, Neb., for the cover photo for this issue of the CL. A month later when Humber and his pastoral colleagues gathered for the photo shoot, it was again a beautiful day—this time thanks to a winter snowfall that increased noticeably during the afternoon.
In this issue CL readers are introduced to the ministries of USMB congregations in Omaha Neb., led by the men pictured on the cover because we want you to catch their vision. Omaha is one of several cities that are growing Mennonite Brethren hubs. Omaha is a place where churches plant churches that plant churches. You can read about Omaha’s 50 years of church planting in our cover story, “Getting ready for an eternal party.” This summer Conection 2012, the USMB biennial convention, will be held in Omaha’s Old Market area. Come to Conection 2012 and become part of the Omaha story. The convention schedule includes opportunities to learn about and serve USMB churches in Omaha, a city in which USMB is actively engaged in church planting.
You will likely hear a lot about planting churches at Conection 2012. USMB leaders are calling us to make church planting a priority for the next decade. Beginning in 2012, the goal is to plant six churches in each of the next 10 years.
Which means that if we achieve this objective, we will have identified and prepared 60-plus church planters by 2022.
Church planters, I’ve decided, are gutsy people. Consider the story told by Chris Eidse in this issue of church planting more than 100 years ago in North Carolina. The courage and boldness of these men and women in the face of racism is inspiring. Spend time with the more than one-dozen couples currently leading USMB church plants and you will quickly conclude that they share the same passion and resolve of their cohorts a generation ago. USMB church planters are not a uniform bunch but they are unified in their commitment to seeing individuals, families and communities transformed by God’s saving grace.
Think about church planters the next time you are at church. Look around. Who in your congregation could be a church planter? Who does God bring to mind? And don’t forget yourself. Maybe that potential church planter is you. Pray for this individual and if God continues to nudge you, pass the nudge along. If USMB is going to succeed in planting dozens of new churches in the next decade, we need all the church planters we can find.