By Sharon Mager
The Church Strengthening team at the Mid-Atlantic Baptist Network seeks to ‘duplicate less and multiply more the impact of the churches from this part of the country to the whole world’.
“Stronger pastors; stronger key leaders; stronger disciples; stronger groups; stronger churches… greater missional impact here, and around the world!” said Randy Millwood in a written report to the General Mission Board at their meeting on Sept. 8 at the Network Center.
“It really is that simple.”
Millwood said the team has been working to strike a healthy balance between “work with individual churches on their key initiatives and more reproducible efforts with our associational partners and churches of similar ministry philosophies.”
• New partnerships are emerging with the churches of Montgomery Baptist Association in the broad and sweeping areas of Church Strengthening;
• New efforts are launching with Mid-Maryland Baptist Association churches in the development of learning clusters;
• A new interest in assessing Church Health during interim periods is developing with Potomac Baptist Association churches;
• Initial conversations with the revitalization team of the Baltimore Baptist Association have the Network’s church strengthening team on pace to merge best practices in order to more seamlessly serve the churches of this region;
• A new passion to help pastors and key leaders to Lead Like Jesus (at home, at work, and in Church) is emerging among several Associational partners and already Prince George’s Association churches are bearing Kingdom fruit.
“All of this, as God’s Holy Spirit leads, so that we can duplicate less, and multiply more – the impact of churches from this part of the country to the whole world,” Millwood said.
The team continues to serve churches in a variety of ways. Recent examples are:
• They have moved churches, in various levels of conflict, toward peace and reconciliation;
• Ten new pastors/families are receiving services through the Network’s ministerial counseling partnership with CentrePointe Counseling;
• The great majority of our Network churches have engaged their community through children ministries such as VBS, Music Camps, Sports Camps, Girls Camp, Boys Camp, Backyard Kids Club, CentriKid, etc. and our team has provided leadership training for most;
• Larger percentages of un-churched kids are enrolling and participating in those events this year;
• Learning Clusters (LC) of pastors, executive pastors, children’s ministers, and worship pastors are already actively sharing best practices, continued education, and relational connections and new LC’s are coming;
• Their team coordinated and assisted six churches in providing interns to help with their VBS and summer mission programs;
• Networking efforts have included helping a Church launch a contemporary service with help from others who’ve already done so, connecting churches to schools in their area for missional impact, and sharing lessons-learned from a new revitalization story, with other churches hungry for the same;
• And almost 100 men from 16 different churches recently attended the Network’s Men’s Retreat at Skycroft.
This is all in addition to ongoing consulting and coaching.
Lead Like Jesus (LLJ) introductory lunches are continuing in the Fall; new one-day Leadership Encounters are being coordinated with Directors of Mission, and three local Church LLJ events have already impacted around 125 key leaders.
In addition, the Network is spearheading a massive partnership to bring a significant, Bible-teaching leadership-equipping event to the region in 2016.
In spite of all the work, some pressing questions remain. Millwood seeks prayer for the team as they begin to intentionally tackle some mission-critical questions: “When is a local Church strengthened? How do we measure that?”
Learn more by contacting Millwood at email@example.com, 800-466-5290 x217.