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Reluctant planter starts church in ‘church planting graveyard’


By Tobin Perry


Cleveland Heights might not be the kind of place that attracts some church planters—at least church planters that want an easier road. “Cleveland Heights has really become a church planting graveyard,” said Zach Weihrauch, who came to the city in 2011 to start a church as a North American Mission Board missionary. “It’s tough, but I really felt God was telling us that if there was an evangelical church here, then things would happen in Cleveland.”


Weihrauch is part of a new generation of pioneering Southern Baptist church planters who are reengaging the major unreached urban centers of North America—like Cleveland—with the gospel through Send North America. As part of its national strategy to penetrate lostness, Send North America, NAMB is connecting these church planters with partner churches elsewhere who can provide the planters with prayer, people and resources as they reach their communities.


Cleveland wasn’t on Weihrauch’s radar when he first finished seminary. Neither was church planting. The son and the son-in-law of pastors, the Southern Indiana native thought he’d spend his life serving in an existing church. Weihrauch had two earlier opportunities to get involved in church planting, but neither seemed right to him and his wife, Amy.


Yet God didn’t give up on Weihrauch. In February of 2010 God began nudging the young college pastor to do something new. For a couple of months Weihrauch wrestled with God over what that would be. Despite his previous resistance to the idea, he couldn’t shake the belief that God was moving him toward church planting.


ON MISSION • Summer 2012 41

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