By Sharon Mager
BALTIMORE, Md.—Nearly 100 church planters met at Freedom Church, Baltimore, on Jan. 15 for a luncheon and annual orientation. Team Strategist for Church Multiplication Michael Crawford welcomed planters and their wives assuring them of support from the North American Mission Board (NAMB) and the Mid-Atlantic Baptist Network (MABN).
“We will do whatever it takes to put you in a position to be successful,” Crawford said emphatically.
Crawford reminded the men and women of the incredible opportunities and responsibilities of living in, “…perhaps one of the most, if not the most, strategic regions” because of the proximity to the White House.
“Never in human history has society and culture been able to change as fast as society and culture are changing today,” Crawford said.
“You must understand the times. You must see things differently—maybe look for resources in different places,” he said. Maybe, he told them, try new things you wouldn’t have considered in the past.
“We must be thinkers, innovators, risk takers…and ask questions. The most powerful thing you can do is ask questions. “What if we did a Bible study there? What if I talk to this person? What if I make this phone call? What if I spent more time on my knees than on Facebook? What if, what if…”
Crawford said the people on the church planting “squad” are here to help. He recognized Church Multiplication Strategists Robert Kim, Rolando Castro, Michael Mattar, Samir Abraham, and Robert Pristoop; Montgomery Association Director of Missions Ron Blankenship; NAMB church planting catalyst Marcus Redding; NAMB Send City Missionary Ron Larson; NAMB Regional Mobilizer Kevin Marsico; Ministry Assistant Chrissie Redding; Church Planting Assessment Coordinator Shelley Allen, and Church Multiplication Financial Analyst Denise DuBois.
Crawford shared how he streamlined the church planter requirements, decreasing the number of meetings though mandating monthly coaching meetings and counseling.
“We are in the process of simplifying the system and getting better at serving you so we can remove the focus on the continual need for money. We have a long way to go. We have to change, repent, and embrace what it means to be like Christ. We’re inviting you to join us to do that, so that in years to come ,we have a culture that is desirous and has God’s glory and is infectious!”