Plant 2013 Pacific, Midwest raise awareness, funds
By Myra Holmes
Two benefit events this spring raised awareness for USMB activities and netted about $17,000 for church planting. Plant 2013 Midwest was held April 20 at First MB Church, Wichita, Kan. Plant 2013 Pacific was held Feb. 23 at Dinuba (Calif.) MB Church.
Both events featured a dinner and silent and live auctions. The Pacific event raised $7,000 for church planting; the Midwest event raised about $10,000.
Proceeds from both will go toward church planting projects through Mission USA, the USMB church planting and renewal arm. USMB’s vision is for Mission USA to have an integral part in planting plant six new churches each year for 10 years.
“Church planting is the most effective means we have available for reaching those who don’t know Jesus yet,” says Don Morris, Mission USA director. He points to Lifeway Research statistics that show that new churches are at least five times more effective at reaching the lost than are existing churches.
Morris says, “We are making some progress toward church plants in 2013.” He lists three so far: Greenhouse Church, Utah County, Utah, will begin in July with church planters Jason and Nicole Quiring and Scott and Heidi Goosen; this is a partnership of Mission USA, Pacific District Conference (PDC) and Henderson (Neb.) MB Church. Iglesia Biblica de la Gracia, Mission, Texas, officially began Jan. 1 with the support of Mission (Texas) MB Church, Latin American MB Conference (LAMB), Mission USA and Grace Bible Church, Gettysburg, SD. And in Las Vegas, Nev., an existing congregation will be re-launched with a new name through a partnership of Mission USA and PDC. Morris says other projects are in the works as well.
In 2012, Mission USA partnered with district conferences and/or local congregations to plant new churches in Portland, Ore.; McAllen, Texas; Glendale, Ariz.; Fresno, Calif.; Denver, Colo.; and Spokane, Wash.
At the Plant 2013 events, USMB staff shared stories of people whose lives have been transformed as they’ve met Christ through USMB congregations. Video testimonies were provided by people like Kimberly, who found a life of hope through the ministry of South Mountain Community Church, Draper, Utah.
Attendance at both events was lower than anticipated. About 120 people attended Plant 2013 Pacific, and about 110 attended the Wichita event. Epp says that the timing of the April event in Wichita was likely a problem, since many other local events were scheduled that same weekend. He says USMB leaders will evaluate and consider different timing for future events. He adds that getting the word out was a challenge, and he expects that having two enjoyable and successful inaugural events will help spread the word for future events.
“This is an event that will grow,” he says.
About 45 items were sold in the silent and live auction in Dinuba and about 65 items were sold in Wichita. Attendees bid on week-long stays at vacation homes in Lincoln City, Ore., and in Cabo San Lucas. Other items included a wheel from Mark Martin’s Daytona 500 car; a National Football League football signed by New York Giants quarterback David Carr; a pair of cleats signed by Carr and his brother, Derek, who is a quarterback on the Fresno (Calif.) State Bulldog football team; and a Wichita (Kan.) State University basketball signed by the final-four Shockers team and coach Gregg Marshall. Also popular were a number of hand-made items, quilts, antiques, home and garden items, Hillsboro sausage and baked goods.
At the Wichita event, auctioneer Clint Seibel also offered attendees a chance to bid on nothing—an opportunity to simply support church planting—and 18 people willingly bid $100.
“This is a great start,” says Epp. “This is an opportunity for everyone to know a little bit more about what’s happening, to raise resources and become part of the church planting movement.”
Epp anticipates planning similar events next year.
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