An ad hoc task force was assembled to process a path forward for USMB church planting following the release in September of Multiply as a U.S. church planting resource. The task force first met Aug. 9 in Fresno, California, and an expanded group met Oct. 2 in Phoenix, Arizona.
The group processed at length the needs expressed by district church planting boards. These needs included assistance with church planter assessments, training, coaching, project management and developing more leaders/planters.
Funding for future projects was also discussed. Without a funding thread from Multiply, there is a continuing need for local USMB churches and individual donors to help fund church planting going forward. Districts will continue to be significantly involved in investing in local plants. USMB committed to helping and partnering with church planter gatherings, training and support services, likely provided by flagship churches that continue to have a passion for developing and resourcing planters as well as funding church plants themselves.
Districts will be heavily involved in the process of planting new MB churches and will most likely initiate plants within their districts, assisting with funding and providing support and connection. Cross-district “pollination”—church plants receiving assistance from churches outside of the plant’s geographical district—was a topic that garnered significant attention.
For instance, in the past churches in the Central and Southern districts have resourced plants in the Pacific district. The task force desires to see more of this as a national vision to enhance the overall mission of planting MB churches in the U.S.
The concept of churches planting churches will be an integral part of U.S. church planting going forward. The task force acknowledges the need for local churches to become even more invested in planting daughter churches and making this a priority, not only with their resources but through relationships and tangible hands-on assistance.
The ways in which we support and champion church planting among Hispanic and other ethnic groups was discussed. Although style of planting may be a little different, the attention given to these plants must be intentional and consistent.
A subtask force was created to provide a written path forward for consideration by the USMB Leadership Board. That plan is expected to be completed by year-end.
“Why do we plant churches?” says Don Morris, USMB national director. “Luke 19:10 says, The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost. People need Jesus. Millions of people in the U.S. are headed for an eternity separated from God. That should break our hearts. That should cause an unrelenting burden and passion for telling them about Jesus. Church plants are the most effective way to reach new areas with the gospel. We must plant new churches and at the same time do those things which will renew and enhance the ministries and evangelism of our existing churches.”
The USMB Church Planting Task Force consists of district ministers Tim Sullivan, SDC, Rick Eshbaugh, CDC, and Terry Hunt, NCDC; district church planting board chairs Brian Wiebe, PDC, Dan Strutz, CDC, and Jeremy Jordan, SDC; Jon Wiebe, CEO and president of MB Foundation; pastors with church planting experience including Fred Leonard, Mountain View Community Church in Fresno, Calif., Paul Robie, South Mountain Community Church in Draper, Utah, Brad Klassen, Copper Hills Church in Peoria, Ariz., and Josh Shaw, Lighthouse Church in Denver, Colo.; current church planters Christian Kohs, Redemption Church in Owatonna, Minn., and Phil Wiebe, Lakeview Church in Stansbury Park, Utah; current MB pastor Tim Thiessen, Birch Bay Bible Community Church, in Birch Bay, Wash.; David Hardt, USMB Leadership Board chair; Xavier Piña, chair of the PDC Hispanic Council; Cristobal Aleman, PDC Hispanic Council; and Don Morris, USMB national director. USMB staff member Lori Taylor took extensive notes.