By Jennifer Johnson
“You know, if we’re going to spend all this time and effort in planning a convention, it would be great for it to have a long-term impact,” remarked Tim Cole in a planning meeting for the 2015 International Conference on Missions.
Cole, director of church planting at Virginia Evangelizing Fellowship (VEF), says he can’t take credit for what happened next; some members of the team suggested the churches in Virginia plant a church, then some others suggested they plant one on every continent, then someone else mentioned Antarctica might be a challenge. Today the plan is six new churches—one for every occupied continent—plus one in Virginia.
“Virginia Evangelizing Fellowship got involved because we are acting as a ‘host’ for the 2015 ICOM, which will be held in Richmond,” Cole says. “Because we plant churches, offer resources, and hold events for leaders throughout Virginia, and because we were able to raise funds to pay the deposit for the convention center for the 2015 conference, we are acting as a relational conduit to get the Virginia churches really involved.”
VEF’s participation also fits with the passions of 2015 ICOM President Jim Tune, founding minister at Churchill Meadows Christian Church in Toronto and president and CEO of Impact Ministry Group, a church planting organization working in Canada and Europe.
“Impact will plant a new church in Toronto and another in Belarus,” Cole says. “Central Brazil Mission will plant in the Amazon River Valley, Togo Christian Mission in Togo, Medical Mission India in Chattisgarh, and South Pacific Christian Fellowship in Auckland, New Zealand.” The VEF will plant in Northern Virginia.
Each organization is using its own process to identify a planter and move toward launch, and VEF is helping to raise funds.
“Our goal is to raise a quarter million dollars,” Cole says. “We can’t fully fund all of the plants ourselves, but we can be a catalyst for giving and find partner churches who can help. At the same time, these organizations are also raising money through their own networks. We intentionally chose partners who have a track record of planting well.”
At press date the team has already raised more than 60 percent of the funds; you can give to the project by mailing a check with “VEF/ICOM” in the memo line to P.O. Box 6224, Williamsburg, VA 23188.