ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) – The deaf residents of Manchester, Conn., now have a church of their own, as do the students at the University of Hartford – and it’s right on campus. This is because God is using church planters to reach into the hard-to-reach areas of North America with the gospel.
These are just two success stories among hundreds from last year of God using church planters, pastors, Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) chaplains, Disaster Relief volunteers and a host of other Southern Baptists whose work has helped make an impact for Christ.
Through Send North America, the North American Mission Board’s (NAMB) strategy for church planting and evangelism, Southern Baptists are helping start churches and reaching communities in the United States and Canada.
Emphasizing the work of discovering, developing and deploying missionaries in 32 strategic Send North America cities, Send North America is focused on mobilizing Southern Baptist churches to start churches in communities that are without a thriving gospel presence.
Allan Karr, Send North America campus mobilizer at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, said he has been praying Luke 10:2 for 10 years and that God is answering in some unexpected ways.
“In 2013 we trained and deployed church planters from five tribes of Burma to plant and lead five new churches in Colorado and North Carolina,” Karr said.
Aaron Harvie, campus mobilizer at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said students are being deployed as church planting interns.
“We’ve had an incredible gathering of future planters,” Harvie said. “We’ve mobilized interns to Washington D.C., New Orleans and Pittsburgh. God is on the move!”
Steve Canter, Send North America city coordinator for Send New York City, hosted dozens of interns who spent several months in the city this year assisting in church planting efforts.
“More than 30 men and women served this year in the Send North America Farm System,” Canter said. “These are the missionaries of the future.”
Other stories from throughout North America in 2013 included:
• By the end of last year a total of more than 1,200 churches have been mobilized through NAMB’s “Mobilize Me” process.
• A church plant in Montreal, where only 0.5 percent of residents profess Christ, launched with 400 people, has grown to nearly 500 and has baptized more than 100.
• Canada increased by more than 30 church plants in 2013.
• Eight multiplying churches have been developed in Boston in the last two years in a city where there were only two.
• 35 Nepalese were baptized in Columbus, 118 people were baptized in Cleveland, and 96 Bhutanese refugees were baptized in Atlanta.
• An unprecedented 19 churches, six planters, four interns and two apprentices were mobilized to Portland, Ore.
• More than 500 participants at the 2013 Send North America Conference July 29-30 in Dallas indicated they were taking next steps in church planting.
• More than 300 college students helped with rebuild efforts in New York in communities still recovering from Hurricane Sandy.
• More than 200 new SBC chaplains were placed. SBC chaplains led more than 22,000 people to Christ and they baptized more than 4,000 people in 2013.
“There is still much to do, but it has been encouraging this year to see the momentum start to build,” Kevin Ezell, president of the North American Mission Board, said. “I think God is giving us a glimpse of what He has planned if we are willing to send the resources and people to the places where they are needed most.”