Michigan and Send Network Deepen Partnership

By the Communications Team of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan

Michigan Baptists are deepening their partnership with the North American Mission Board (NAMB) by adopting a new name for church planting efforts in the state: Send Network – Michigan.

The announcement was made at the 2018 annual meeting of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan (BSCM) on November 9, at Grace Church in Jackson, Mich. Messengers joyfully received the noteworthy announcement as church planting personnel, their family members and church planting partners filled the crowded platform.

Executive Director-Treasurer for the BSCM, Tim Patterson explains, “With this new initiative our state convention continues to coordinate our field-based strategy, as always, to create new churches throughout our region. The state’s priorities and strategies remain ours. However, the outstanding reputation of the Send Network and its standards of excellence will be understood as synonymous with Michigan’s church planting efforts.

Travis Whittaker, lead church planter of Mile City Church in Detroit, baptizes a new believer. NAMB photo.

Patterson added, “During these past three years, we intentionally adopted NAMB’s church planting assessment, orientation, training, coaching, and pastoral care as our systems. The processes and systems driven by NAMB’s national staff function so well that our field-based staff, located in Michigan, are able to spend deeper, personal time with church planters, apprentices and partnering churches.”

“We are grateful for our close working partnership with Michigan Baptists,” said Kevin Ezell, NAMB’s president. “We want to help plant churches everywhere for everyone and this name change reflects the team effort that has already been taking place in Michigan between the Michigan Baptist Convention and NAMB. Now our efforts will be even more seamless.”

The request to share the label “Send Network” was initiated by the state convention. Dr. Tony Lynn, the State Director of Missions who oversees the state’s church planting effort says, “NAMB’s Send Network is a highly respected and influential force among the nation’s church planting agencies. Asking to be clearly seen as a partner with the Send Network brings a valuable advantage. Send Network’s focus on brotherhood, multiplication, and restoration echo the teachings of Christ when He referred to the Kingdom of God throughout His ministry. That focus is attracting quality potential church planters unlike ever before, including Michigan.”

Send Detroit, one of NAMB’s 32 Send Cities, will continue to operate as it has in the past with its intense focus on the population of 4.3 million people. Detroit Send City Missionary, Wayne Parker, hosts Catch the Vision tours each year for those who might become partners in planting new churches throughout the Greater Detroit area. Church plants are developing throughout the city at an increasing rate: in the suburban ring, in the rapidly developing midtown and in the core of the urban center. Parker and four church planting catalysts welcome contact from potential church planters and potential church planting partners who believe God may be calling them to serve the Greater Detroit area.

For more information on planting a church or supporting a church through the Send Network, visit https://www.namb.net/church-planting/
MASHALLTOWN, Iowa (BP) — Southern Baptist Disaster Relief teams have begun cleanup work in Marshalltown, Iowa, following a devastating tornado July 19.

A Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief team arrived Tuesday to set up incident command at Iglesia Karios in Marshalltown. Chainsaw teams from Iowa have dispersed throughout the city to clear debris. An SBDR feeding team has prepared meals for recovery workers in the area.

Additional SBDR volunteers from Kansas-Nebraska and Florida already are on the ground in Marshalltown. Carlson, co-director of Iowa Baptist Disaster Relief, expects volunteers from other nearby states to arrive later this week and early next week. Teams from other states interested in providing assistance should contact their state disaster relief director.

“It looks like a war zone to tell you the truth,” Carlson said. “When you go downtown, you’ll see a lot of glass and brick everywhere.

“On the east part of town, there are about 10 blocks that are very heavily hit. There’s really not many trees standing. A lot of those homes aren’t livable,” Carlson said.

The EF-3 tornado injured at least 235 people in the town of 27,000 located 50 miles northeast of Des Moines. Carlson estimates that at least 100 homes were destroyed. Many more homes will take substantial work before people can return to live in them. Carlson believes it will take months, if not years, for Marshalltown to rebuild.

Some of the worst damage in Marshalltown came to the town’s courthouse and the brick buildings in the town square. In recent years officials and property owners had slowly worked to revamp the buildings, many of which are now destroyed. Jenny Etter, executive director of the Marshalltown Central Business District, estimates that the city had spent $50 million in building renovations since 2002.

A dozen or more tornadoes hit central Iowa last Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. The two biggest tornadoes, both rated EF-3, hit Marshalltown and Pella, with peak winds of 144 mph.

SBDR chaplains are also in Marshalltown to provide support and counsel to residents impacted by the tornado. Sam Porter, the North American Mission Board’s executive director of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, prays the SBDR response will provide volunteers opportunities to share the Gospel.

“[The] number one goal with disaster relief is to earn the right to share the Gospel,” Porter said. “We work with those impacted. We treat them with respect. We pray with them. When they ask the question, ‘What makes you do this for no charge?’ that’s when you’ve earned the right to share the Gospel.”

The Marshalltown tornado comes on the heels of the SBDR response to flooding in Des Moines, Iowa, where teams wrapped up work last week. Eight people came to faith last week during SBDR efforts in the capital city, Carlson said.

Porter and Carlson urge Southern Baptists to pray for Marshalltown and the rest of Central Iowa.

“Pray for all the people who live here,” Carlson said. “A lot of them lost their homes. They lost their cars. They lost their job. There is a lot of a need here.”

Tobin Perry is a writer for the North American Mission Board.,

Published April 3, 2019