Phil and Melissa Wiebe are planting a new Mennonite Brethren church in Stansbury Park, Utah. A core group has begun meeting, and they plan to launch in early 2019.
“We have just short of 50 people that are interested in making Lakeview Church their home,” says Wiebe in an email. “We’ve been networking and meeting with people since May and had two meet-and-greet gatherings at a local park this summer. Through that networking we had 50 people show up at our Vision Dessert on August 26.
“At that gathering, we shared our heart for Stansbury Park and Tooele County, as well as how we intend to reach the community for Christ,” Wiebe says. “It is from this vision that we have seen people, Christian and disenfranchised LDS (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), express a desire to be a part of Lakeview Church.”
Wiebe reports that two small groups were launched in September and both are full, with 14 people in each group. Due to growing interest in the church, Wiebe started a third group in October. In October, the church plant also began monthly services for the core team at a local golf course clubhouse. The group has located a meeting place that will be available in January or February 2019. Once that building is available, they will launch public services.
Toele County is only 0.84 percent Christian and ministry in this very “gospel-empty region” is difficult, says Wiebe.
“There isn’t a single Christian church in Stansbury Park, a growing city of over 15,000, and on top of that, of the few Christians that live here, many have been deeply hurt as they’ve watched four previous church plants fail,” says Wiebe. “Melissa and I have really enjoyed getting to know our community. We frequently engage with our nonbelieving neighbors and are quite excited to eventually invite them to church.”
Wiebe appreciates the support this new church plant is receiving from various MB ministries.
“I have been blessed by coaching from nearby South Mountain Community Church as they help me work on my preaching and ability to communicate the gospel,” he says. “The Pacific District Conference has gone to bat for us by helping us secure a building for our new church as, unfortunately, people in this culture don’t really go to churches that meet in schools or theaters. Gary Wall, PDC district minister, came to town and left saying that he believed in what we’re doing and has been cheering us on ever since.
“I’ve also enjoyed being coached by Chris Douglas from C2C as well as support from Mark Burch, C2C North American director. They’ve given me lots of resources and direction. USMB has been supportive as well through paying for our church planter assessment and through ongoing relationship. Don Morris, USMB national director, was one of the first people I called when dreaming about this plant, and he’s been a fantastic mentor to me over the years. Whenever I call or email Donna Sullivan, I get a response right away, and she is always helpful. Let me put it this way, it has been incredible to be back in the MB family. The support and encouragement is awesome!”
Wiebe invites the USMB family to pray for this new outreach in Utah.
“This church will not make it if we are only reaching Christians; there just aren’t that many out here,” he says. “This church will only grow from new growth, people who are meeting the real Jesus for the first time. That excites us! Our work with our launch team is to help them find that excitement too. Pray for our marriage, our family, the Christians we are inviting to own the mission with us and for the people who have yet to meet our Savior.”