September 2023


There are many activities in this life that are worth doing—and not time enough to do them all. We must see that there is great danger here. If we are not careful, we may spend our whole lives doing what amounts to an eternal waste of time. As many have noted before, the enemy of the best is not the worst, but the good. With so much good to be done in the world, we must take great care that we are doing what is in fact best.

To ensure we do, we must ask an all-important question: what commission did Christ give us? That is, when our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ left this earth, what task did he leave for us to finish? Of course, this is an easy question to answer—a passage of Scripture that I am sure many of us have memorized. Our commission is: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20, NIV). The principal verb in this stunning command is “make disciples”—the only verb given in the imperative mood. Read More

Pastor Brandon Cooper

Cityview Community Church, Elmhurst, IL

VCNMidwest Board Member

Unplanned Discipleship

Summer is wrapping up and the stories of mission trips are coming in. I want to highlight one particular mission trip taken by First Baptist Church in Jackson MN. Thor Kurtz, FBC’s Youth Pastor, had planned to take a large size team to Florida to assist in the hurricane relief. To make a long story short, they did not make it to Florida, not even half way there. However, where their bus broke down, God had an incredible plan for Thor’s team in store. Thor expresses he has never felt so mentally and emotionally exhausted than during this time. During the unforeseen turns for their mission trip, Thor shares how discipleship happened in the midst of all the plans falling apart.

Chuck Babbitt, Youth Pastor

Bloomer Baptist Church, Bloomer, WI

VCNMidwest Youth Ministries Director

A New Christian needs to do what with money?

A New Christian

Have you ever talked with someone that is new to church entirely? As in, they just don’t get how church works? Maybe they have attended a church service a few times in their life, but they don’t understand that financial donations are what fund EVERY nonprofit. 


In their case discipleship is like building a house from the dirt up. Well, sort of. We know that every person begins discipleship with a worldview to be shaped and molded by an accurate understanding of God, self, and in this discussion, financial stewardship, but it’s not quite the same as discipling someone who is returning to a childhood faith.

If you took a moment to list the key financial stewardship truths or principles that a new Christian should know and do with the aim of developing their faith and dependence upon God, what would those principles be? Read More

Pastor Rob Buhl

First Baptist Church, Whitehall, WI

Celebrate Minnesota (CM) has become as significant in our State as our State Fair.

Celebrate Minnesota is unique in that it was birthed through the genius of one of our own churches, Discovery Church, Sauk Rapids, which is under the leadership of Senior Pastor Art Cotant. Years ago, this church wanted to be known for what they do for the community, not what they were against. Out of this deep concern and desire to impact their wider neighborhood, Celebrate Minnesota was born.

Over 30 churches combined to bring this celebration of our State to the Sauk Rapids community.

Take a look at what is possible when God gives a dream to make a difference.

Art Cotant served as the Co-Chairman, overseeing the Church Relations Team, while Dave Genberg, Associate Pastor, served as Co-Vice Chairman. In the attached article, Pastor Dave details the wonderful work of God through Celebrate Minnesota. Read More

Celebrate Minnesota

You have undoubtedly heard of the devastating fires in Maui. These out of control fires have literally destroyed most of Maui.

Here is a chance to make a difference:

One of our Venture Church Network churches is making a difference for those whose lives have been decimated.


If you would like to partner with our churches to help them make an impact in this devastated community, you can give through our Venture Church Network.

Go to and click the Give page. Then click on the drop-down menu (General Giving), click 'Benevolence' and 'Island Wildfire Relief' will appear.


Tuesday, September 25, 9:00am (CT)

with an alternative repeat session

Wednesday, September 26, 3:00pm (CT)



The Purpose of ENGAGE is to address gospel and missional critical issues and challenge our thinking related to pastoral ministry, leadership and the purpose of our churches.

The Goal of ENGAGE is to continue to become gospel-centered, grace driven, biblically anchored churches passionately committed to fulfill the mission of Christ. 


VCN is excited to offer a specialized retirement plan option through GuideStone to pastors and staff of churches in the Venture Church Network family. Read More

Logos Bible Users

Learn how to use Logos for PREACHING prep and planning. Sermon StarterSermon BuilderSermon Manager, and Media Tool with Visual Copy.


Details coming soon!

Crafting an Employee Discipline Process

Crafting and implementing an employee discipline process at your church is does not demonstrate poor confidence or some admission of anticipated failure. ChurchLaw&Tax

Pacific Church Network: Footsteps of Paul 2024

Click Here if you would like to learn more about what they will be going.

An Israel Trip will be offered Oct. 2-13, 2025

(Flying out of ORD Chicago).

Cost: $4959.00

(Deposits due before Oct. 24 w/ final payment by Dec. 1, 2024)

Price does not include travel to ORD, in-country lunches, souvenirs, passport fees, travel insurance, or other personal expenses.

If you or anyone in your immediate circle is interested, please feel free to contact Pastor Andrew Powell at for more information.  


Venture Church Network Midwest 



No meeting this month

Location: Calvary Baptist Church, Cedar Rapids

Jay Jentink, Calvary Baptist Church Cedar Rapids, IA



Thursday, September 21, 2:00 (ET)

Meeting by Zoom

Allen Grover, Ganson Street Baptist Church, Jackson, MI


Central Minnesota

Monday, September 18, 10:00 (CT)

Leader: Brad Little

Location - River of Life Church, Hastings, MN

Contact: Dan Vesta


Southern Minnesota

No meeting this month

Location: Pizza Ranch,

Jackson, MN

Walt Moser, First Baptist Church, Luverne, MN



Thursday, September 21,

11:00am (CT)

Location: Season's Cafe, Barron

Wade Duroe, Crossroads Church, Chippewa Falls, WI


VCNMidwest Youth Pastor Collaboration

Tuesday, September 19, 10:00 (CT)

Meeting by Zoom

Chuck Babbitt, Bloomer Baptist Church, Bloomer, WI


To Be Decided


Northern Minnesota/North Dakota

Venture Church Network Midwest

1410 44th Street, Marion, IA 52302

Dr. Brad Little

Regional Executive Director


Administrative Office

Regular Hours: Tues. thru Fri. 8am - 2pm

Gina Perry, Administrative Assistant


All articles and submissions are the view of the individual writer and are not necessarily the official position of Venture Church Network Midwest.