With the MTSBC annual meeting just around the corner, it is a great time to review what has happened in the last year in the area of church planting.
In the spring of 2019, Gracepoint Church launched on the east side of Billings in a community known as The Heights. Gracepoint currently meets at the Medicine Crow Middle School. Jim Taber and his wife, Brandi, are leading this new plant and are seeing people saved, discipled, assimilated into the church, thus resulting in church growth.
In Helena, Jeff Ullrey has begun Life Recovery Ministries, a church that meets on Wednesday evenings. LRM has a vision to reach the most “broken” in society which include recovering drug addicts, alcoholics, those who have been abused, and those who have been incarcerated.
After over four years of discussion and planning, Resonate Church now has church planting teams on Montana’s two largest university campuses. The first team began work at the University of Montana in the fall of 2018 and have officially launched this September. The Montana State University team landed in June of 2019 and have begun work in Bozeman. They are praying for a launch at MSU around Easter of 2020.
Two couples just attended the two-day NAMB Assessment Retreat in Denver, CO, which is one of the final steps of being endorsed and funded as NAMB church planters. One of these couples is the Tabers who are already leading Gracepoint in Billings. The other couple, Spencer and Jenna McCorkle are in a church planting residency at their church in Arkansas and will move to plant in Missoula in 2020. We are thankful to the North American Mission Board for their support of church planters in Montana.
Vision Tours continue to be an avenue by which planters and partners are introduced to ministry needs and opportunities in our state. In August, a potential planter toured a large portion of the state to discern where God may be calling them and three other families who are praying about moving to Montana. During this tour, God affirmed that they will be moving to plant in Roundup.
The annual church planters retreat was held in January and was once again a time of great training, encouragement, and fellowship. The majority of MTSBC church planters attended this two-day event and were encouraged by guest speaker, Dr. Rob Blackaby. Dr. Blackaby spoke on “Rising Hope,” a series of encouragement for our planters and families on personal and spiritual health and well-being. Dr. Blackaby serves as the President and Professor of Ethics at the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary and College located in Cochrane, Alberta.
For four consecutive years, MTSBC has hosted a booth at the annual Southern Baptist Convention. This year the convention was held in Birmingham, AL. MTSBC staff members and planters helped man the booth and hand out material about ministry opportunities in Montana. There were nearly 8,200 messengers in attendance with a total attendance of 12,000, which included exhibitors and guests. We had the largest group of registrants that wanted to learn more about opportunities to partner, bring mission teams, church plant, or pastor in Montana. We continue to follow up with these ministry leaders, some of which already have plans to connect with Montana ministries.
And finally, on September 25th, the Gateway Baptist Association in Edwardsville, IL, voted unanimously to a three-year partnership with our convention, a major part of that partnership being with Montana church plants. We look forward to this brand-new partnership and how God will connect our plants in a reciprocal partnership with this partnering association.
The Planting Page of the MTSBC website and the MTSBC Church Planting Facebook page are great ways to celebrate church planting activities and learn about opportunities in which you can be involved. There is more happening in the areas of training cohorts, coach training, Zoom calls, partnership development, etc.