By Sharon Mager, BCM/D Correspondent
BALTIMORE, Md.–Two Baltimore church planters, Samuel Cho, founder and pastor of both Bhutan Church and Nepal Church, and Ellis Prince, pastor of Gallery Church, will be among a contingent of church planters featured at the Southern Baptist Convention in Phoenix later this month.
Cho and Prince were chosen to participate in the North American Mission Board’s “Send North America Experience” exhibit in the convention center’s exhibit hall. Visitors can visit cityscapes throughout the hall that will feature life in each of five North American regions and they’ll hear directly from missionaries working in those areas.
The exhibit is part of NAMB’s effort to emphasize its overarching focus on church planting and encourage churches to become personally involved.
Both Cho and Prince are examples of God’s providentially opening doors of opportunity in His time.
Gallery Church, launched in September 2008,
has been a unique journey, Prince shared. The church didn’t “take off” the way Ellis hoped.
“It didn’t feel like we were getting anywhere. We were being obedient, but there was no fruit.” The
church found, however, that in His time, God was faithful and honored the church’s obedience. Last year the church grew by over 400 percent.
Year-to-date, the church averages a Sunday attendance of 300. Easter weekend brought 500 people.
The church is going through much transition. They’re moving from their Harbor East location to Pier 5 Hotel in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and they’re preparing to start a third worship service in a strong African American community near Wilkens Avenue. In addition, the church has a Hispanic small group and will soon begin having services with a Spanish translation near Patterson Park.
Cho is a 73-year-old church planter who accepted Christ at the age of 39 and finished seminary at the age of 59. While at dinner one evening, Cho and his wife, Young, met a Nepali waitress and her husband. The Cho’s became friends with the Hindu couple and led them to Christ. The waitress opened her apartment for a Bible study and invited family and friends. That led to the beginning of Nepal Church, which now has over 50 members and meets at Govans Boundary Methodist Church.
The Chos became immersed in the ministry, traveling to Nepal to minister to those in refugee camp set up by Bhutanese governments, preaching Christ, seeing hundreds come to know Christ and planting churches.
Cho, as he began seeing the needs of Bhutan refugees, started Bhutan Church in 2008. After morning worship with the Nepal Church, the Cho’s minister at the afternoon Bhutan Church that meets at The Moravia Assembly of God. It now has about 70 members.
Now the industrious senior saint is working to train Nepali and Bhutan believers to become missionaries to share Christ in the United States and in their native countries, exhorting them to preach the gospel and to plant churches.
In a letter of invitation, Chad Childress called church planters “heroes of our convention.”
“I’m no hero,” Cho laughed. “I just preach the Gospel.”
For more information about NAMB’s new North American strategy, see www.namb.net.