In response to the North American Division’s challenge to plant 1,000 community churches by 2020, the Minnesota Conference has undertaken to plant three community churches each year leading up to 2020.
As we look at the state of Minnesota, we have noticed there are many counties, neighborhoods and even people groups that still don’t have the presence of a Seventh-day Adventist church. As a conference, we want to challenge our members to action, and also support a church planting and revitalization program by strategically planting new community churches in these counties and neighborhoods.
The conference is putting together a strategy, using the Simple Church ministry model, to minister to those in our community who are referred to as unchurched or church-dones. This Simple Church ministry is an attempt to do church in communities that seem to be closed to “the church.” The model closely follows the biblical principle of the “priesthood of all believers,” thus allowing lay leadership to do ministry in homes.
The conference recently planted a mission group in Bloomington, Minnesota, a city of about 86,000 people. This is one of several geographic plants that we hope will set in motion a more dynamic church mission.
The conference asked Pastor Albert Isaboke to work in the Bloomington area conducting Bible studies, teaching and building a new community of believers. Pastor Isaboke is an ordained minister, native of Kenya, Africa and a graduate of Andrews University. He comes to the Minnesota Conference with experience pastoring several districts in Kenya.
We expect that God will bless the churches being planted and transform lives in a tangible, meaningful way as we following the counsel of Ellen White: “If we would humble ourselves before God, and be kind and courteous and tenderhearted and pitiful, there would be one hundred conversions to the truth where now there is only one” (Testimonies to the Church, vol 9, p. 189).
We believe that church planting is one important step in the process of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ in the community. The Minnesota Conference is taking seriously the challenge given by Elder Dan Jackson to plant churches in communities where there are no Seventh-day Adventist churches today.
Please take time to pray for the church planting initiative and the church revitalization challenge in the conference and in the Mid-America Union. As the Minnesota Conference accepts the challenge to plant 15 new church communities preparing men and women, boys and girls for the kingdom by 2020, let’s all focus on eternity.