Past, Present & Your Churches Future Church Planting

Joel Nelson

Director of Church Expansion and Growth, Converge North Central

  • Church planting & multiplication
  • //
  • Church strengthening

Prior to his retirement from Temple Baptist Church (now Communitas Church) in Brainerd, MN, Bob Evan was researching historical documents for the church’s 130th anniversary.  He came upon a number of “newsletters” and meeting minutes from the origins of the church. The newsletters were written by and to, other Swedish immigrants in the Brainerd area. And, they were written in Swedish.

Knowing someone who knew someone who knew Swedish, he had the founding documents translated to English.

What they said would change the trajectory of the historic church 130 years later.

Evan’s rediscovered the heart, vision and passion of those saints who went before him. He saw motivation from 130 years earlier. Motivation that fueled a Gospel witness for generations. He caught a glimpse of the faith expressed to see a new church started. He was struck by the clarity of their vision…“1000 souls for Jesus.”

As Temple Baptist celebrated their 130th birthday, they re-experienced the founding dream of the church. The church changed its name. They moved to a new location. They changed their structure. But amidst all the change, they embraced and honored the most important part of why the church came into existence. 1000 souls for Jesus.

Every church has a birthday. Regardless of location, attendance, or history. Every church has a beginning.

The stories of those beginnings are similar. A combination of churches, individuals, and the district saw a need for a new church. Together they had a vision of the Gospel message spreading to a town, community, or neighborhood. A vision to see “1000 souls for Jesus.”

Through prayer, sacrifice, collaboration, and determination, the founders of these churches provided the faith to the vision God had given them to see a new church begun. These churches are our churches. CNC churches across Minnesota and Iowa planted 10 years ago or 100 years ago to build a Great Commission highway in our region.

When it comes to seeing new churches planted, does your church have skin in the game?

Perhaps re-discovering the past and why your church was begun might serve as a springboard to be a part of church planting in the future. Learn and embrace the faith of those who planted your church. Share their vision today.  Follow in their footsteps and be a part of seeing a new church planted in order to bless others in a neighboring community for generations. Choose not to become a cul-de-sac on the Great Commission highway.


Joel Nelson, Director of Church Expansion and Growth, Converge North Central

Joel serves as the Converge North Central Director of Church Expansion and Growth.

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