Abundance for Others: Church Planting in New England
ABUNDANCE FOR OTHERS: Church Planting in New England
The Very Rev. Mike McDonald, Rector of Grace Anglican Church and Dean of the Northeast Deanery, Gulf Atlantic Diocese
In a season overshadowed by a global pandemic, it may seem strange to focus on abundance for others, but that was the “word” the Lord gave me for our church this year. I knew we would be attempting one church plant in 2020, but I was surprised to learn that the Lord was actually calling us to send out two planters. The first one is aiming locally in our city but the second is aiming all the way up north in New England. It was a good reminder of my frequent statement that our church would be an equipping and sending ministry. I am also aware that the COVID-19 crisis provides a new opportunity to help others. This pandemic has brought about a resurgence of people searching for God. What a wonderful opportunity to reach out.
Sometime during his fourth year on staff as our Associate Pastor, Dan Wolf, and I began a conversation about his future and even his potential as a church planter. In February of 2019 we hosted and both participated in a church planter assessment organized by the diocese. Dan’s gifts for outreach were clear, but he did not want to plant in Florida. He was beginning to sense a call to Maine. By the end of 2019 Dan was making plans for a summer move in 2020 just as our first planter arrived. In his own words, Dan writes:
It is with a bittersweet sense of excitement that we share God's call on our lives to plant a church in Portland, Maine. Carrie and I have been discerning this call through prayer, wise counsel, and listening to and seeking God's direction since August 2018. Due to our yearly family vacations to Maine, Jesus has given us a heart for this area and its people who don't know the life-giving power of the gospel. A recent study shows Portland is the second most post-Christian city in America, and New England holds many of the least churched cities in our country.
There are a number of church plants supported by our diocese, including this recent one in New England. The ACNA provides a wonderful network to support others across the province as they reach out to evangelize, and re-evangelize, communities. I am hopeful that many of us will catch this vision, asking how we might share our abundance, especially the gift of Jesus, with others.
For more information on church planting in the diocese: https://www.gulfatlanticdiocese.org/church-planting
For more information on church planning in the ACNA: https://www.always-forward.com