By Katie Nelson, Church Planting Administrator, Converge MidAmerica
Twice each year, in partnership with Converge Worldwide, Converge MidAmerica hosts a church planting training event called The FirstSteps Experience. We host these events in Chicago in the spring and Indianapolis in the fall. This spring’s session brought new church planters from Missouri, Illinois, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Michigan to MissioDei Church in the Wrigleyville neighborhood of Chicago for four days of intense training and hands-on experiences in church planting.
The training event gives attendees instruction with specific tools and systems to get their church plants off on the right foot. Additionally these young pastors, their wives and team members are given the opportunity to participate in prayer walking for a local church plant. This year the group traveled to the near-by Uptown neighborhood to pray specifically for the MissioDei congregation that meets there. Using a map and guide sheet based on The Lord’s Prayer, the teams split up into smaller groups to pray for buildings, community landmarks and organizations and the people the church serves.
These church planting teams also participated in a servant evangelism event with MissioDei’s Lincoln Square congregation. Working with people from the church, FirstSteps attendees served locally baked pie on real plates with real silverware to residents and visitors to the Lincoln Square neighborhood. This was an effort to show the neighborhood they are loved with no strings attached. The real tableware encouraged people to hang around, engage in conversation and generally get to know their neighbors and the church.
The pie was an over the top success. 120 people received pie and kindness in just over an hour. The FirstSteps attendees got a chance to see first hand an example of how to serve a neighborhood.
On Sunday morning all the attendees were sent out to join with local church plants’ set-up teams. These men and women worked along side volunteers to get mobile churches up and running in movie theaters and schools. Thank you to MissioDei Uptown, Lincoln Square & Wrigleyville, Redemption Bible Church, Pathway Community Church and Northbridge Church for hosting teams on Sunday morning.
One attendee had this to say about the experience, “Gary and Mark did an amazing job of giving us a complete overview of the church planting experience in just 4 days. We thoroughly enjoyed and were blessed by both the prayer walk and outreach time. We also loved connecting with other church planters, who have now become lifelong friends! Thank you, Converge!”
Please join us in praying for the church plants that will blossom in the coming months and the people these young leaders will reach!