By Kevin Ezell
If you watch Major League Baseball in March, you’ll see players you’ve never heard of on the diamond. That’s what spring training is all about—young players from a team’s farm system showing what they can do against major league talent. The farm system plays a critical part in building a winning team.
At the North American Mission Board (NAMB) we also believe in the important role a farm system plays in fulfilling our mission to help Southern Baptists start evangelistic churches. That’s why we’ve designed a developmental pathway—centered around the local church—for the church planters of tomorrow. And here’s the good news—just a few years into this effort we are already seeing great fruit.
Take Muche Ukegbu (@MucheU) for example. Muche was a part of Blueprint Church in Atlanta when he became an intern with us at NAMB and then served on our first GenSend team in 2012. As a GenSend missionary he had a firsthand look at church planting in some of the toughest-to-reach cities in North America. At the end of the summer, he started serving as a NAMB apprentice with church planter Dhati Lewis (@dhati) back at Blueprint.
One day over dinner Dhati asked Muche, “Where do you see yourself in five to 10 years?” Muche started realizing God was calling him to plant a church
Muche and his wife, Diamone, looked at a couple of different cities, but soon settled on Miami. Thanks to the relationships he had developed at Blueprint, Muche gathered a team of 22 people to help him plant a church in Miami before leaving Atlanta. This Easter Muche and his team will officially launch The Brook in the North Miami area.
Ask Muche about the significance of his time in NAMB’s Farm System, and he’s very clear: “You teach what you know, but you reproduce who you are. In the last five years, being around solid men and being able to engage with them, lead with them and have them pour into me has made all the difference in the world.”
In fact, Muche points particularly to the influence of Dhati as a key mentor in his life. Muche says Dhati modeled for him what it was like to be a catalytic leader who is generous with his time and his influence.
I can’t wait to see what God is going to do through Muche and The Brook because we’ve already seen what God has done in him during the last few years.
Because the immense level of lostness in North America, we need to greatly increase the number of men like Muche our churches are reproducing and sending out. As you look to multiply leaders in your context, I hope you’ll point them toward our Farm System as we work together in this effort.
And please pray for Muche as he heads toward his Easter launch!
Kevin Ezell is president of the North American Mission Board.