“It takes a village to raise a child.” Many of us have heard this old proverb, and many of us who have been blessed with children understand how true it is. In the case of my wife and I, we clearly see the wisdom behind it. Our four children continue to be influenced and shaped by the people who make up our village. Close relatives, neighbors, friends, and church family have brought something unique to the table that further creates a safe and healthy environment for our kids and helps mold them into the adults they will become in the future.
As a new church planter in Windsor, Colo., I can’t help but conclude that this proverb also applies to mission starts. Indeed, it takes a village to plant a new mission. After accepting the call and moving from Southern California in January, I have seen the extensive village that is involved in influencing and shaping a new mission. Each part brings something unique and vital to planting and raising this mission. And each part is committed to creating an environment for this church to succeed. So, who makes up this village? Well first there is the District Mission Board (DMB), which I would consider to be the parents of this mission start since they identified Windsor as a place for another mission. The DMB consists of pastors and lay leaders within the district who have passion for reaching the lost and understand the logistics, finances, etc. of starting a new mission. But that was just the beginning. Within a few weeks of arriving, I took part in a Church Planter Intensive led by Pastor Jared Oldenburg in Castle Rock, Colo. This two-day seminar provided an opportunity to think about overall vision, mission statement, and the core values of our new mission. In addition, there was practical advice and countless tips that would further shape how we did outreach, evangelism, our church structure, and the timeline to launch.
Then there is the regional mission counselor(s). These pastors assist every mission in getting off the ground and provide valuable feedback through the process. With extensive experience in mission work and a detailed understanding of the “step-by-step” approach, they are able to assist them in a strong start. They give guidance and advice on what to do next when it comes to planting a church. In my case, mission counselor, Matt Vogt, facilitated a brainstorming session with our core group (pictured above) to help gain traction in moving us to the next level of church planting.
But the village influence continues! Within 30 minutes of Windsor is our neighboring WELS churches in Fort Collins, Loveland, and Greeley, Colo. These established congregations and their seasoned pastors bring ministry experience, knowledge of the area, and additional minds to bounce ideas off of as we continue to grow.
Thus far, I can’t help but thank God for the village he has provided to influence and help shape his new mission in Windsor. It has been eye opening to see how God puts the right people at the right time in the right location to further his Kingdom. To that end, I would encourage you whether you’re an established congregation or new mission, a pastor or lay member to contemplate these questions, “Who has God put in my village?” Because the proverb applies well, it takes a village!
Written by Stephen Koelpin, home missionary in a new mission start in Windsor, Colo.
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