USMB church planters need us to fight with them
by Don Morris, Mission USA director
As our USMB church planters lined up at the front of the assembly hall, I couldn’t help the lump in my throat or the tears at the edges of my eyes. They had just shared with the delegates of Conection 2012 in Omaha, Neb., a short tidbit of what God is doing with and through them.
I wish we could have had every Mennonite Brethren church planter present, but it was great to have the eight who could attend. They shared how God is entering into people’s lives as the church makes connections with them—people who don’t know Jesus yet. People who are broken and looking for answers.
The planters spoke of baptisms and how whole families have experienced dramatic change when they came to know Jesus. They shared about the need for facilities and core team helpers. They shared about God doing the seemingly impossible.
We have church planters who are from various walks of life, with varied backgrounds and life experiences. We have planters who are white, off-white, tanned, brown and dark-skinned. (Note: We are on the cusp of seeing even more ethnic church plants in the near future). We have pastors who know how to plant in some of the most challenging cities in America—places like Portland, Ore., Phoenix, Ariz., Omaha, Neb., Kansas City, Mo., McAllen, Texas, and Aurora, Colo.
So, as I stood there on the stage preparing to pray for these selfless servants as they gathered in front of me, I realized how amazing it is to be a part of God’s work in the world. I realized how fortunate I am to have the privilege of working with these planters and our district church planting boards and district ministers to help plant churches in areas where we’ve never been before. I realized how crucial this work is—to enter into places that Satan has previously controlled in order to bring the good news to people who need a Savior.
As I was praying over these men and women and for their families, I realized how vital it is that we pray and pray often for their protection. As they enter into enemy territory, the enemy is not going to take it lying down. Satan will do all he can to damage ministries, destroy families and launch obstacles. In fact, we have seen him do just that.
But we have power at our disposal. Paul says, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds” (2 Cor. 10:4). We’re in a battle for the sake of the gospel.
So as we seek to encourage our current church planters and look into the future and envision many more, it is imperative that we pray and pray often for them. That we “fight” on their behalf—with divine weapons of power.