Living Out Hospitality Reimagined
For the past handful of years, a number of us have envisioned a new church reaching the multiethnic community in Utah County. As we continue to work toward planting Hope of the Nations Church, in the interim a different ministry has been born: the Elevation Project, led by Nate Fox. This ministry focuses on encouraging and guiding small, struggling churches. The Northwest Association, led by regional minister Chris Gorman, has supported this effort, and the churches in that region are also catching this vision. When Vince Rediger, youth pastor at Salt Creek Baptist Church in Dallas, Oregon, asked if we would be interested in a team from his church coming to help us in our church-planting efforts, we said, “Of course!”
We decided to hold a Heart of a Champion Soccer/Bible Camp in a park near where the largest multiethnic community resides. The team arrived in the typical Utah heat of August, with temperatures over 90 °F. The air conditioning in their church bus died about halfway in their journey, but in spite of that they were a joyous group and very servant-hearted. The day after they arrived, the brakes went out on their bus, so Nate’s church loaned them a van for their entire stay. Before the camp, the team put door-hangers throughout the streets surrounding the park.
Thirty-one kids signed up for the camp. They loved learning soccer skills and interacting with the team. We also provided snacks and chairs for the parents. Most of the kids were from the neighborhood by the park. On the last day, twelve kids indicated to us that they prayed to receive Christ. Many of the parents were asking when we plan to have the next one. Follow-up letters and materials were sent to all the campers and parents.
Continue to pray for the kids who made a decision, as well as their families, and for all the others who heard the Good News of the real Jesus.
Have a story of your church joining God on mission in your community you’d be willing to share in an upcoming NAB email? Hit the link below!
Scott Lackey is an NAB church planter who last year launched New Story Church in Buffalo, New York. He recently sat down for a conversation with J. D. Pearring for Leading Conversations, a podcast released by Excel Leadership Network. Listen as Scott shares his story and how he came to plant New Story Church.
You can find the episode on Apple Podcasts or Spotify at the links below.
by Harry Kelm
NAB Executive Director
In the past week, a church that has been in the NAB family for 145 years issued a statement indicating they have chosen to leave our conference. The reason for their separation is their belief that the leadership of the NAB has been unduly influenced by Critical Race Theory. We are saddened by this decision for a number of reasons, chief among them the broken unity within the North American Baptist Conference of Churches. But we are also saddened by the untrue assertion that Critical Race Theory is a driving factor in the work being accomplished by the leadership of the NAB.
It is wholly untrue that the NAB leadership has in any way endorsed Critical Race Theory or that Critical Race Theory is a guiding principle for NAB ministry strategy. We are a people who trust in the robust Gospel of Jesus Christ. His Gospel is our only hope for unity and transformation in our conference and in His church. No theory, no political party, no worldly strategy will lead us where Christ wants to take us. And yet, we do recognize brokenness in the world due to racial and ethnic division, and we see this brokenness even in the church.
Because of this, we are continually inspired by the churches across our conference carrying out excellent work in the area of cross-cultural engagement. They are developing relationships, growing in unity, and reflecting God’s justice. Faith Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is holding joint worship services and prayer meetings with churches across racial backgrounds. Grace Community Church in Detroit, Michigan, continues to serve its community as a mosaic of racial diversity and Gospel unity. McKernan Baptist Church in Edmonton, Alberta, recently held a series of workshops discussing cross-cultural engagement and how their members can be a Christ-honoring answer to ethnic division.
While we acknowledge that aspects of Critical Race Theory are troublesome and problematic and we do not endorse it, the fear around this theory has become a distraction to the mission and ministry of the evangelical church. Our mission as the North American Baptist Conference is to make disciples of Jesus Christ as we pursue our four ends: missional initiatives, international missions, leadership formation, and ethnic partnerships. As we do this in a Christ-honoring, neighbor-loving way, Jesus Christ will be glorified and the church will grow in the unity He prayed for in John 17.
Let us continue to walk together in this unity as we persistently seek the end goals given by the leading of the Holy Spirit and through the direction of the churches of the North American Baptist Conference.
Mission Multiply is happening October 13–15 in Chicago, Illinois. A gathering designed specifically to feed into the souls of NAB church planters. We recognize that as a church planter, the person you are becoming is the most critical indicator for your community about the kind of church you are establishing. For this reason we want to spend a few days investing in your soul.
Mike Lueken, co-author of Renovation of the Church and lead pastor of Oak Hills Church in Folsom, California, will lead a number of discussions, but this time together will also include hearing from each other, sharing what God is teaching us and where the rigors of church multiplication are calling us into a deeper life with God.
Follow the link below to find out more information and to register.