By Don Biadog
LYNNWOOD, Wash. – Church planters, spouses, planting team members, mentors and coaches gathered at First Baptist Church, Martha Lake, for a four-day, church planting boot camp in April. The focus of the “Journey: Basic Training for Church Planting” was for participants to develop strategies and pray together.
Participants also discussed innovative evangelism strategies in the Northwest, one of the most un-churched areas in the Unites States. The training was something of an international consortium sponsored by the Puget Sound Baptist Association, the Northwest Baptist Convention, the WestCoast Baptist Association of Canada and the Canadian National Baptist Convention.
“Basic Training is a required class offered by the Seattle Church Planting Group for area planters,” said Natalie Hammond, Church Planting Administrator for the Puget Sound Baptist Association. “It is essentially boot camp for planters new to the field. The training takes place over an intense four-day period. Participants remove themselves from the distractions of the field and commit time for prayer and thought to develop church planting strategy. Planters leave with a specific strategy and identified milestones to begin implementation.”
Although area residents dub their home “God’s Country,” it is evident that God is still missing from many of their lives. And even though the beauty of God’s creation speaks to people living in the region, participants of the boot camp expressed the need for church planters and others to share the gospel. They also agreed that although uncommon strategies may be needed to reach people here, planters have to keep in mind the common goals of fulfilling the Great Commission and glorifying God.
“Sometimes you get so busy in ministry, you’re just doing,” said church planter Andrew Nguyen of Valley Christian Fellowship in Longview, Wash. “The training has been a huge blessing by giving me the time to prayerfully consider how and why we do things.”
Lynnwood is a suburb of Seattle, a Send North America City, and part of the city plan for Send Seattle. Send North America is the North American Mission Board’s evangelistic church planting strategy to penetrate lostness in North America. Places like Seattle, and the entire Northwest, are in need of partner churches to help effectively fulfill the vision God has given planters in the region.
“This basic training has been vital for our planning,” said Jacob Tedrow. “It is essential to our future preparation.” Jacob and his wife, Aileen, members of August Gate Church in St. Louis, Mo., are an example of a couple who answered God’s call to help reach Seattle. The Tedrows, who grew-up in the Northwest, desire to help bring the gospel to Seattle. They believe God led them to serve by planting Bible-believing churches in Seattle and the Puget Sound.
“Church planting is invigorating,” said presenter David Foster, pastor of Rock of Hope Church in Edmonds, Wash., summing up the thrust of the training.
Don Biadog, Jr., is a NAMB-endorsed chaplain and church planter mentor.
Published May 9, 2013