Church Planting Commission Shifts Focus
By Howard Garver and Marvin Zehr
We want to recognize the devotion of the members of this Commission. Marvin Zehr chairs a very capable and passionate team of Violeta Ajquejay, Nita Nikkel, Virgil Penner and Lee Suderman (in addition to Lici Roth, who served until recently). As a new commission much of the focus has been on providing support to the existing church planting projects and laying the foundation for church planting in the future. This team committed to monthly meetings for a 6-month period – which reflects their level of commitment.
Aposento Alto has developed as a community-based, network of ‘house church’ groups in the north Wichita area. Byron and Hilda Pellecer are energetic and passionate about the work. Camino de Santidad (Liberal, KS) is at the point of being recognized as an established church, under the capable leadership of Moises and Teresa Romero. A personal highlight from the past few months was celebrating with them the baptism of 12 people! Grace (Gladewater, TX) has had a very positive impact on its community and seen evidence of changed lives. Karen and Steve Mascho are unsure of their future plans and the future of the project. Please join the Commission in praying for these church planters and the groups they lead!
The Commission has selected several congregations to be pilot congregations in using the study guide, “Missional Essentials: A Guide for Experiencing God’s Mission in Your Life” during the fall months. We further hope to engage this study during the fall of 2016 during which we invite all congregations in the conference in this study. We see the need to shift the focus of church planting from the “conference planting churches” to “churches planting churches”. This study will be an important step in this shift in our focus. We have invited Brad Brisco, co-author of this book, to lead a workshop at our annual conference in October.
We have appreciated the leadership Howard Garver has brought to the work of our commission even in the short time he has been with us. (Howard concluded his role as Associate Conference Minister, Director of Church Planting and Director of Hispanic Ministries on August 15.) We look forward to the call to a new Associate Conference Minister.