At FEC, we celebrate when new churches are launched, but few people see behind the scenes of a church plant before the launch. In October, 2019, a new church will be planted in Minonk, Illinois. That idea was born when a group of area pastors began meeting in 2016 to pray about reaching the surrounding communities.

While those pastors were meeting and discussing the possibility of planting a church in Minonk, God was training a young pastor to lead it. Erik Johnson, an Illinois native, was serving on staff with Crosspoint Community Church in Eureka, Illinois, in 2016. That year, he took on an associate role, having also led student ministries and worship during his 15 years there. When the plans for a church plant in Minonk began to take shape, they turned to Erik. In March, 2018, Erik and his wife, Bree, were asked to consider taking that step of faith. God had already been at work in their lives, leading them to ask, “What’s one next step of faith we can take? Are we holding our lives loosely and not tightly?” They prayed about the opportunity to lead the plant in Minonk and waited.

In May, 2018, Erik and Bree attended the FEC church planter’s assessment in Fort Wayne which affirmed their calling from God to plant a church, and they began the long-term planning process. That process begins with a Community Assessment Process (CAP) to ensure that the church will be planted in the right place by the right person with the right plan. The CAP process takes 6 weeks and involves recruiting and training a team of 8-12 people. The team will help to gather research about the community around Minonk. They want to answer the question, “How is God at work here?” While Erik works through the CAP process, he is teaching in the 3 supporting churches and meeting people who will help launch the new church.

After the CAP data has been collected, Erik will begin recruiting and training a launch team, most likely this summer. His family plans to relocate to Minonk this summer, too, because when God calls a church planter, He calls his entire family, including his children. The Minonk church launch is planned for October 2019, three years after it became an idea. In Ojibwe (Chippewa), Minonk means “a good place;” Erik Johnson and the three supporting churches agree.