How does a church in Seaford, VA come to partner with a church plant in the Metro DC area?
Pastor Michael Howard of Seaford Baptist Church in Seaford, VA had a burden for church planting. Knowing his church was not ready to plant, he wanted to support a church plant preparing to launch. Pastor Michael had a vision not to just send money but to build a long-term relationship with a church plant.
With a love for Washington, DC and a burden for church planting, Pastor Michael and his wife, Katie, signed up for the North American Mission Board’s Catch the Vision Tour. What they didn’t realize was that they were about to have an encounter with the Lord. The host pastor, Dr. Drew Landry of Spotswood Baptist Church in Fredericksburg, started the tour by challenging the group about building their own churches by addition versus multiplying the Kingdom through church planting. During the tour, the group experienced DC firsthand, met with church planters, and saw communities in need of churches. At one location, they were supposed to meet in a community center, but there was a last-minute cancellation. With the change of plans, they ended up in the living room of church planter Kenji Adachi, who was preparing to start a new work in Fairfax County.
God spoke to the Howards’ hearts as Kenji spoke of his vision for the Fairfax community. He shared that within a one-mile radius of Eagle View Elementary School (where the new plant would meet) there were 20,000 people. Kenji used the words dense and diverse to best describe Metro DC. Even though he is from Osaka, Japan, Kenji didn’t want to start a church that solely targeted Asian Americans. He and his wife, Christine, wanted a church that would reflect the entire community. They have spent the past year preparing to plant All Peoples Community Church, which exists “to love all peoples, serve all peoples, and equip all peoples with the life-giving hope of Jesus Christ.”
Upon hearing this vision, the Howards knew God wanted Seaford Baptist Church to partner with All Peoples Community Church. In the days ahead, Pastor Michael would make another trip to Fairfax with his staff and key leaders in the church for their own vision tour to confirm God’s calling. Kenji also preached at Seaford. The church caught the vision and committed to help financially. Seaford sent a team, led by Pastor Michael, to help with a block party the day before All Peoples held its first services on Sunday, September 18. That Sunday happened to be “National Back to Church Day.” The selection of the date was a strategic move—that on that special day, when people would be invited to try church again, there would be a place in Fairfax, VA where all people would be invited to a church that is designed for all.
The Apostle Paul said of the church at Philippi that he prayed for them “because of [their] partnership in the Gospel from the first day until now” (Philippians 1:5, HCSB). Seaford Baptist Church has the same heart—to partner with All Peoples Community Church from the first day and beyond.