Boston Planter, Dunn, Commissioned at N.C. Annual Meeting

Published on  November, 2012

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NAMB Commissions Missionaries During N.C. Annual Meeting

By Sara Shelton

GREENSBORO, N.C. – The North American Mission Board commissioned 20 missionary units in conjunction with the North Carolina Baptist Convention’s annual meeting. The event took place at the Greensboro Coliseum.

Following the commissioning NAMB President Kevin Ezell preached the convention sermon from Luke 10:2. Ezell also outlined NAMB’s desire to revitalize churches and increase the number of missionaries and church plants.

“Missionaries when I see you and I see the sacrifices you make, the tremendous sacrifice, I think of Acts Chapter 20 and Paul’s farewell to the church at Ephesus. Paul said I consider my life worth nothing to me, but that I might complete the task the Lord Jesus has given to me. I want you to always remember that verse.

“It is not about my conveniences or my preferences, it is about being obedient. And remember the power of one. When the response is slow and you feel all alone … remember the power of one person in obedience to our Lord,” said Ezell.

Milton Hollifield, Executive Director Treasurer of the North Carolina convention, challenged the missionaries to pray.

“Even though we are involved in doing the things of God, we should never say we are too busy to pray,” said Hollifield, addressing the 182nd annual meeting. “Southern Baptist have no hope to see our goals become a reality unless we experience a return to holiness so that God can empower us to accomplish His will.”

Following the commissioning, Woman’s Missionary Union President Debbie Ackerman led a prayer for the missionaries.

8294213558_c4bd7e1281_zChurch planter Charlie Dunn was one of NAMB missionaries commissioned. Dunn’s call into church planting came to him in a unique way.

“I was up at 3 in the morning, just praying and reading through Scripture,” Dunn recalls. “And it seemed like out of nowhere I heard God say, ‘I want you to consider church planting.’”

Having never considered this path of ministry before, Dunn was surprised. Rather than jumping into planting immediately, he and his wife, Abby, opted to spend some time in prayer and study to discern God’s plan for this next step in their lives.

“We prayed, we read everything we could on church planting, and we just asked God to lead us,” Dunn says. “It took almost a year before we could finally express and understand that God was truly leading us into church planting.”

The couple set out to discover where to put down the roots of their future church plant, visiting everywhere from Chicago to Cleveland and even London. It was a trip to Boston in early 2010 and a meeting with an established planter that helped seal the deal.

“We spent a long weekend in Boston in January of 2010 and then made two more trips back to the city throughout the next year. Slowly we began to feel like Boston was the next step.”

With the support of the North American Mission Board, Dunn looks forward to the future of church planting not just for his own work in Boston but in the nation as a whole.

“Being supported by the NAMB community really ties us into a larger family of planters and missionaries like us who want to see more churches started and more souls saved. This network of support means the world to us.”

For missionary Josh Howeth, the road to church planting was one he never planned to walk. While his seminary peers were eager to jump into the future of church planting, Howeth had his own vision for a future serving and revitalizing existing churches. Only a couple of years into serving as worship and family pastor at Grant Avenue Baptist Church in Corvallis, Ore., those plans changed.

“Our leadership at Grant Avenue desired to reach the students on the Oregon State campus,” Howeth says. “It was an area of ministry that just hadn’t clicked yet and some of our leadership approached me with this vision to plant a church on the campus to reach these students.”

Initially resistant to the idea, Howeth and his wife, Elizabeth, committed to praying about the opportunity and, within the year, their hearts were changed.

“What started as the burden of our church and our convention for these college students slowly became the burden of our hearts too.”

Along with a core group of about 30 others, the Howeths planted The Branch on the campus of Oregon State University this year. Only six weeks into weekly Sunday meetings, they are working to build and disciple a community of believers amidst the 26,000 students on campus.

“These kids live in a very secular culture in a very unchurched state,” Howeth explains. “It’s our vision to be accessible as a church not just to the students but to the surrounding community.”

As Howeth and his team at The Branch work diligently to begin putting down gospel roots on the campus of Oregon State, he values now more than ever the support of NAMB and the Southern Baptist Convention as a whole.

“I’m very proud to be a NAMB missionary,” Howeth says. “To feel the support from our convention and to know they really are behind what we’re doing here in Oregon means everything to us. It excites me to keep moving forward and see more churches planted to reach more people for Christ.”

Sara Shelton is a writer for the North American Mission Board. NAMB writer Joe Conway contributed to this story.

Date Created: 12/21/2012 7:51:01 AM


End-of-the-Year Party a huge blessing

Boston Church Planting End-of-the-year Party 2012 from Boe Ellis on Vimeo.

WATERTOWN, MA – Church planting in Boston is a family affair. Praise the Lord the family is growing, as more then 200 planters, wives and kids were in attendance for the third-annual Boston Church Planting  End-of-the-Year Party on November 30, 2012 in Watertown.

“This is what we are all about,” said pastor / planter Tom Cabral from Fall River, MA. “We drove like an hour and a half to be here. It’s great to be with the guys. It’s great for our wives to get together. And it’s great for the kids.”

It was a great time for everyone involved. The kids all received early Christmas presents compliments of Steve Nerger and the Baptist Convention of New England. And the pastors, apprentices, staff members and their wives, compliments of Micah Millican and the North American Mission Board, all received gift cards as just a small token of gratitude for their steadfast work in one of the least reached areas in North America.

Yet, for all the great food, fellowship, great music and gifts. nothing compares with family. Boston Church Planters have got each other’s backs, and their families’ too.

“This is just something we feel we should do,” said Joe Souza, NAMB Lead Catalyst for the area. “We want our planters to know if you come to Boston, you will never be alone. And Christmas is just the perfect time to love on our guys, their wives, their families and their kids. It’s just awesome what God is doing here in Boston.

“Three years ago, we may have had 25 people at this event. And just look at the way God is growing our family. I am very, very humbled and amazed by the whole thing.”

Amazing indeed. As the kids were grabbing for toys it was Souza, Master of Ceremonies, introducing the band from his own Celebration Church in Saugus, MA. And earlier it was Souza’s wife Patricia, and his sister Anna, with the help of Bree Cobb from the BCNE, serving up all the food. Still earlier, all of their kids got in on the action putting out tablecloths and setting up.

And to think just nine years ago the Souzas were not even in Boston. Neither were most of the families present at the dinner. Souza made light of this fact recognizing the “grandfather” in the room, Curtis Cook, lead planter from Hope Fellowship which was planted  in Cambridge, MA in 2003. Other old-timers included James Thomasson who planted in Taunton, MA in 2006.

Since that time no fewer than two dozen planters from all over the world have answered God’s call to come and plant in Boston. And they are starting now to raise up and send out planters from multiple church planting centers.

So, as the Boston Church Planting family celebrated the end of 2012, it was also preparing to welcome in 2013, a year in which it has already more than 20 planters in the pipeline; planters like Shane Colwell who with his wife Amy arrived in Greater Boston just two weeks ago to plant in Worcester, MA; or planters like Brandon Allison who with his wife Miriam and a team from Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, TX arrived just three months ago to plant a church in Revere.

They come – all of them – to proclaim what has been called by many the greatest miracle of all, that the Son of God would come and live among them.

And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased! (Luke 2:10-14)

“What a blessing,” Souza commented after the party. “It’s great that it’s over and we don’t have to have a heart attack anymore. But, it’s greater that everybody had a good time, and they know how much we really love them and thank them for their work for the Kingdom.”