A Steadfast Calling

By Dan Hyun

 It’s natural to feel disoriented by the swirling cultural and societal change surrounding us. The Church needs to pivot accordingly in the midst of such shifts. 

Village Church in Hampden meets in a beautiful traditional building and has a variety of community outreaches. In this photo, families are registering for Vacation Bible School (photo submitted).

Yet, even as things change, our call remains steadfast. This call includes the important Kingdom work of planting new churches in Maryland and Delaware. 

Under the direction of Michael Crawford, our church multiplication efforts are fully united under the joint work of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware and the SEND Network of the North American Mission Board. SEND Network exists to plant churches everywhere for everyone. This means empowering Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware (BCM/D) churches to take their next step to multiply and transform our region with the Gospel. Part of this happens through planting new churches. 

The narrative for church planting used to be planters entering an area to start a new church, often without prior relationships with others. New church plants would do their thing, often disconnected from existing churches and pastors. 

We believe there is a better way
Many of us have heard that “churches plant churches.” Realistically, though, it may have felt like denominational professionals were the ones who drove church planting while everyone else was asked to cheer and support from the sidelines. 

As a local pastor, however, I am encouraged by a growing emphasis on the critical role of the local church in fueling healthy church multiplication efforts. Our local churches will start new churches. SEND Network and the BCM/D exist to walk alongside the churches of our convention to provide the resources and relationships needed to accomplish this great work. 

I find great hope in seeing this already being lived out throughout our region. Though many are new church plants themselves, existing churches are embracing the call that they will be the best people to discover, develop, and deploy new planting teams to be sent out for the harvest. 

Dan Hyun (r), the senior pastor of The Village Church and Matt Metzger, a deacon who moved from the area, baptized Bella Barone in 2015. Bella joined The Village Church and later joined Village Church Station North on Roland Avenue in Baltimore, which was planted in 2019 (photo submitted).

This has been our experience at The Village Church as we had the privilege to send out a new church plant into Baltimore. When many of us think about starting new churches, we often assume that only large churches with substantial resources are able to do such work. However, though our church would be considered a relatively smaller community, we are proof of how this doesn’t have to be the case. Through prayer, teaching, and planning, our moderately-sized church has been able to play a vital role in multiplication. 

The reality, however, is that no matter how grand our vision, it would have been challenging to start the kind of church we desired if left to our own means and resources. However, the beauty of cooperative partnership has allowed us to do far greater than we could ever imagine by ourselves. 

Financial support is needed. But it goes beyond that. Pastors may feel limited in how to invest in developing a prospective church planter, especially with the pressures of leading the church. Resources like assessment, training, coaching, and care are part of the commitment the SEND Network MD/DE family offers to walk alongside churches in helping them live out this mission. 

Partnering with SEND Network and the BCM/D has allowed us to multiply the impact of what we have to offer from our own church. I desire for this kind of story to be repeated over and over throughout Maryland and Delaware. 

It doesn’t take a prophet to recognize the darkness in our current times. Through the collective brokenness many are experiencing, people are desperate for hope. Yet, even in the darkest of nights, may we have eyes to see that as our Lord taught, the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Join me in praying for workers to be sent out for the harvest, including more new churches. 

Cover photo shows Andy Greenfield, the senior pastor of The Village Church Station North, baptizing church member Bria Banerjee in the Patapsco River near Daniel’s Dam (photo by Meredith Smith).

Dan Hyun is the senior pastor of The Village Church in Baltimore, Maryland.