Pumping deep from the heart of NAMB’s vision these days is a desire to push back lostness in North America and across the globe. Military Service members and their families are one of a few groups that crisscross numerous points, multiple dots on a map which relate to the full scope of this vision. For about 2 years now, NAMB’s leadership has been supporting an emerging thrust in pushing back darkness by developing a strategy to ensure there is a significant Gospel presence near every United States military installation: • 275 military installations in the Homeland and over 125 Overseas • 50% of military personnel serve in 5 states = CA, GA, NC, TX, VA • 80% of military personnel now live off-base in the surrounding communities
Just One Dot
Just one dot on the Church Planting near Military Communities (CPMC) Vision Map can represent thousands of military personnel and family members. These families encounter an often nomadic lifestyle as they move from place to place and have unique needs related to forming strong spiritual roots.
Military people also bring an incredible reservoir of leadership, tested resiliency and core values that can help ignite efforts surrounding a new church plant.
• 93K at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Tacoma, WA • 86K at Navy Bases near San Diego, CA • 79K at USMC Camp Pendleton, Oceanside, CA • 49K at Army Base, Fort Drum, near Syracuse, NY • 23K at Nellis Air Force Base, Las Vegas, NV
Dot to Dot to Dot to . . .
One of my key responsibilities as the National Catalyst for CPMC is assisting SBC churches in developing a network of cooperating relationships among existing churches, military chaplains, para-church organizations, and those who are skilled in recent church planting movement practices in order to meet the spiritual needs of people serving in the military. A primary focus for these supporting initiatives is helping military members and their family members make the wonderful discovery of knowing Christ as their personal Savior and Lord. Helping connect the spiritual dots with individuals produces a synergistic pull among them to form a cluster of dots which can emerge as a new church . . . a new church that becomes a fresh launching point to extend the impact of spiritual growth and disciple making to another, and then another, and then another group of people! One military member recently referred to this dynamic as “the traveling church.” What we hope to see evolve from this kind of intentional movement in 5, 10, 20 years — is a group of Christian believers, connected by their military identity, culture, unique needs, superb capabilities, and love for God – who serve God and country to the full measure as they go to and fro about the earth.
From Dotology to Doxology
The transitions and transportings associated with military service create a constant flow of opportunities to meet new people and often encounter them again in new settings. Just this week I found myself standing in a local eatery near a military installation and suddenly was involved in an instant reunion with my first commanding officer (from 33 years ago) and a marine officer friend who was preparing to move near my current Reserve assignment. In this triad of personal connections, I was able to shift the conversation in a spiritual direction and then offered to pray for both of these men in their newest ventures connected with the military. One of them I hope to refer and connect with a recent church plant where his new home will be in Virginia. Having a consistent spiritual platform to connect with, recharge, retool and from which to redeploy spiritually will invigorate and strengthen military believers to be the personification of Christ in some of the toughest places, in some of the toughest situations and among some of the finest leaders in the world.
The potential encompassed in this strategic network formed by just finding and connecting these spiritual dots near military communities will illumine a path to eternity for many to the glory of God.
I can hardly wait to find myself in heaven standing next to a person who says to me, I came to Christ as a result of those who had enough faith to invest via prayer, financial support and even came to the dot that was my military duty station to make sure I knew about Jesus Christ and found the way to follow the Warrior called Yahweh (Exodus 15:3, John 14:6). May God’s vision become our mission and the focal point of our efforts as we connect the dots on pushing back lostness across North America by planting dynamic, growing churches near all our U. S. military installations. For more information on NAMB’s approach to Church Planting near Military Communities, see: https://www.namb.net/military-church-planting/
Published July 7, 2015