What should I do when no one shows up?

Leadership is lonely.

It’s easy to feel alone as a church planter, especially in the early days. It can be difficult to pour time and energy into an event or meeting only to have your expectations not met when the people who said they would be there don’t show up. This can feel defeating, but Danny Parmelee, host of the 101 Questions Church Planters Ask podcast, has some great encouragement for those of us who may be asking, “What should I do when no one shows up?”

Remember that you are never alone.

Know, embrace, and understand that the most important person on your launch team is Jesus. He is at every launch team meeting, every Sunday service, every outreach, and every volunteer meeting. If He’s the only one who shows up, that’s okay because He is the most important person. Check out Matthew 28:18-20. In verse 20, Jesus says, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

We can focus on who is in the room rather than who isn’t.

Focus on those who are there, ready to listen, ready to learn, and ready to serve. Don’t get distracted by who isn’t there. Be present and minister to those who are in the room at that time. Coach yourself and serve those who are there. Be faithful no matter who shows up.

So what do you actually do when there are people you expected to be there and they aren’t? Guilt is not a good long-term motivator. It’s better to follow up with a pastoral edge like a phone call or an email and let them know they were missed.

We hope these tips will be an encouragement and help you better handle the common struggles many church planters have. Want to get the answers to other tough questions? Check out 101 Questions Church Planters Ask at https://churchplantersask.com/podcast/.

Celebrating the life of Amos Eugene

Rev. Dr. Amos Eugene

Born to Lahens Eugene and Merilia Janvier in Barriere Battant, Haiti in 1946, Pastor Amos Eugene completed his elementary education at Mareus Levie, his secondary education at Lycee Philip Guerrier du Cap Haitien and finally his university studies at Seminaire Theologue Baptist de Limbe. After this, he was awarded an opportunity to study abroad at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky where he received his Master of Divinity.  

After completing his studies, Pastor Amos began his pastoral career as the senior pastor of Premiere Eglise Baptiste De La Grande Riviere du Nord where he served for over 15 years. As a young, prominent pastor, Pastor Amos found love in the person of Danielle Joseph, who became Mrs. Danielle Eugene on December 25, 1982. Their union produced two men of God, Rick Darrell Eugene and Vladimir Amos Eugene.

In 1989, he became Director of the Haitian Baptist Mission (Mission Baptiste Haitienne) for a short period of time before transitioning to America. Though it was never his intention, Pastor Amos and his family relocated from Haiti to South Florida on January 1, 1991. In November of that same year, Pastor Amos continued fulfilling his call to the pastoral ministry by founding the First Haitian Baptist Church of North Dade where he led faithfully and humbly for almost 30 years.

He was a trail blazer and the first Haitian pastor to plant with Converge Southeast, formerly known as the Florida Caribbean Baptist Conference. He opened the door for other ethnic leaders and churches to join Converge. He also was a board member for the district for decades, and in 2018, he helped bring Haitian Baptist Mission into Converge Southeast with three other networks totaling 187 churches with 45,000+ people in Haiti.

He was passionate about his God and his church. His last words were, “I will bless the Lord at all times.” On October 18, 2021, Pastor Amos Eugene went home to be with his Lord and Savior. He leaves behind his wife Danielle Eugene, his two sons Rick and Vladimir Eugene, his three grandchildren Jaeden, Jaycee, and Janelle, his daughter-in-law Christ-vee Eugene and his brother and sisters Rita and Edny Chavannes, Lislet and Marlene Eugene, Emani Eugene, and his nieces and nephews. He also leaves behind many other family members, friends, and his beloved church’ family at First Haitian Baptist Church of North Dade. He will be forever missed!

Celebrating the life of Herbert Skoglund

Herbert Hoover Skoglund

DECEMBER 13, 1929 – OCTOBER 27, 2021

Age 91, of Plymouth, MN, passed away on Wednesday, October 27, 2021.

Herbert’s parents, Herbert Uno Skoglund and Hilma Victoria Esselstrom were both Finnish immigrants and worked at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. In early 1929 Herbert sent Hilma a note saying they should get together to talk about Finland. They were then married on March 17, 1929 and on December 13, 1929 Herbert Hoover Skoglund was born.

The Skoglund family was very active at Bethel Baptist Church in Chicago and it was there that at the age of 10 young Herb made a decision to follow Christ and four years later he was baptized. At age 16 he began to believe that God was calling him to serve.

Herb’s childhood was highlighted by summer bible camp, Chicago Cubs games at Wrigley Field or on the radio, swimming in Lake Michigan and for the Austin High School swim team and endless days spent with his dear cousin, life long friend and brother in Christ, Clifford Anderson.

After graduating from high school Herb attended Wright Junior College for one semester. He then completed his B.A. degree in archeology at Wheaton College in 1952. He attended Bethel Seminary and received a B.D. degree in 1954. He continued his studies at Northern Baptist Seminary where he received a Master of Theology degree. He also studied at Garrett Biblical Institute and the University of Chicago. At each of these places Herb distinguished himself as a fine scholar and developed his love of reading on a vast variety of subjects.

Herb met the great love of his life, Jean Westerberg, as a young child. They both attended and served at Bethel Baptist Church. They grew up as friends and spent time with each other’s families. The friendship grew into love and they married on September 15, 1956. They were married for 63 years, until Jean’s death on July 4, 2020.

While Herb was a student at Bethel Seminary he contacted the Baptist General Conference’s World Missions office and expressed an interest and willingness to go into foreign mission service. Herb’s first call after graduation was at Hillside Baptist Church, a small church just outside of Chicago. Under his leadership and guidance Hillside Baptist Church grew and flourished. In 1956 John Wilcox, the head of BGC world missions, wrote to Herb reminding him of his commitment and willingness to pursue world missions. In September of 1956, shortly after they were married, Herb and Jean met with the World Missions board.

Six months later Herb and Jean left for missionary service in Japan on the S.S.Keystone Mariner arriving in Yokohama on April 2, 1957. Herb and Jean spent 21 years as missionaries to Japan. They started with learning the language and culture and then moved on to planting churches. Herb planted multiple churches in Japan in several cities including: Shakuji, Hashimoto, Kiyose, Kamifukuoka, and Minami-Urawa. Herb was also instrumental in forming the Japan Evangelical Theological Society.

While they were missionaries in Japan, Herb and Jean became parents to 4 children. During their first term in Tokyo, John Eric was born in 1957 and Robert Sven was born in 1960. They returned home to Chicago in 1961 for their first furlough and James Karl was born in 1962. They spent their second term in Japan in Hashimoto where Ann Marie was born in 1964.

In 1978 Virgil Olson, the then director of World missions for the BGC invited Herb to become the Associate Secretary of Education and Promotion in the world missions home office. Herb and Jean were happy to return to Chicago to be near family and friends. In 1981 Herb was selected to become the new Director of World Missions for the BGC. He stayed at this position until he retired in 1994. During his tenure as director of World Missions, Herb and Jean traveled the world visiting each of the mission fields. Herb’s immense communication skills, boundless energy, and great passion to spread the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ helped to expand the BGC world missions to 14 world fields with 132 missionaries.

When Herb retired he did not stay retired for long. A few days later he began working at the Midwest Regional Office of the BGC alongside Bernie Tanis. He continued there until 1999 when He and Jean decided to move to Minnesota to be closer to their grandchildren.

They lived in a townhouse in Plymouth, Minnesota until 2017. During these years they spent many happy days celebrating birthdays and holidays in their home, attending their grandkids concerts and sporting events, being involved with church activities and visiting with friends.

In 2001 Herb and Jean returned to Japan to fill in for their former colleagues, Ken and Geri Milhouse. They spent 5 months serving at the church in Nagoya, Japan. Later, in 2008, Herb and Jean had the opportunity to return to Japan again to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Kiyose Baptist Church, a church that began in their home in 1968. On this trip Herb was presented with an award from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Evangelicalism. The award recognized Herb’s distinguished service in church planting ministry. The award also recognized his role in forming the Japan Evangelical Theological Society and his contribution to world missions as former director of BGC world missions.

Around 2014 both Herb and Jean began to struggle with their health. Jean developed arthritis and Parkinson’s disease and Herb began showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease. In 2017 they both moved into Cornerstone Assisted Living in Plymouth, MN. Jean was in assisted living and Herb was in memory care. They were well cared for there. Herb lived there until his death on October 27, 2021.

Herbert was preceded in death by his wife, Jean (Westerberg) Skoglund; and his parents, Herbert and Hilma Skoglund.

He is survived by his four children, John, Robert (Betty), James, and Ann Marie (Lane) Skoglund-Anderson; Nine grandchildren, Tara (Jesse) Carroll, Daniel, Megan (Ray) Carlos, Janine, Benjamin(Nancy), Alyson, Britta (Christopher) Scanlon, Stennar (Shavonne) Skoglund-Anderson, and Karsten Skoglund-Anderson; and four Great-Grandchildren, Tyler, Isabel, Harriet, and Penelope.

Herbert Skoglund was a powerhouse of a man, full of energy and love of life. He loved chocolate, he loved Chicago, he loved Japan, he loved the Chicago Cubs and he loved books.

He loved his wife, Jean, he loved his children and their families and he was passionate about sharing the love of Christ with the whole world.

But most of all he loved that he was a child of God, a sinner saved by grace, given the gift of everlasting life with his Savior, Jesus Christ.

Memorial Service 11 AM on Friday, November 12th at MapleRidge Baptist Church 13400 Maple Knoll Way, Maple Grove, MN, with luncheon to follow.

Due to COVID-19, the family was only able to hold a private memorial service for Jean when she passed July 4, 2020.

A joint Memorial Service for Herb and Jean will be held at 11 AM on Tuesday, November 30th at Bethany Baptist Church 6700 West Gunnison Street, Harwood Heights, IL 60706.

The family welcomes all those that are able to attend the memorial services, and ask that you follow COVID-19 protocols requested by the churches.

Neptune Society 763-545-8095

Obituary obtained from www.NeptuneSociety.com


Reflections on Connect 2021

In 1852 when Gustaf Palmquist started the First Swedish Baptist Church in Rock Island, IL. In 1856, the Swedish Baptist Churches came together for their first gathering in Illinois. Did they see in their mind’s eye what impact they could have on the generations to come?

No, I don’t think so. I think these pastors and lay leaders just focused on the daily tasks of meeting with God, reading their bibles, devoting time to prayer. They focused on reaching the lost, making disciples, developing leaders, and starting new churches, all the while simply trusting God with the results.

Twenty-three years ago, if you were to ask me if we would have our gathering of the MidAmerica Churches translated in French and simulcasted to Orlando. I would have said, “No way! No How! Not going to happen!”

And yet, we as pastors and leaders in MidAmerica focused on the small things that moved us in the right direction with consistency and faithfulness, trusting God with the results. Here are a few of my personal reflections on Connect 2021 that I believe can serve us as we move forward in the future.

We are servants who show up.

Our team never takes for granted that our primary constituency is busy, overworked pastors and lay leaders in our local churches. And yet, you all consistently show up for Together Groups, Prayer Meetings, Celebration Events, and our Connect Gatherings. This year was no different in a day where the average church’s in-person gatherings are 60% down from pre-COVID numbers. We hit about 50% of attendance both in Chicago and Orlando from previous years. 255 pastors and leaders represented. In Cap-Haitien, Haiti, we had over 400 pastors and leaders show up. Some traveled nine hours to attend to avoid the gang-infested travel routes. We were humbled, and in awe, of the sacrifices these pastors and lay leaders made to show up for Connect.

We are a people who are advancing on our knees.

We are so proud to be serving a group of pastors and lay leaders committed to prayer. As in the previous Connect gatherings, you not only showed up, but you showed up to pray. It was so encouraging to see the overwhelming attendance at the PrayerFirst Gathering this year. Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote, “And in movements of the Spirit, the first thing that happens and which eventually leads to a great revival is that one man or a group of men suddenly begin to feel this burden and they feel the burden so much that they are led to do something about it.”

Thank you for feeling that burden to pray and acting on it with us.


We are a family enjoying a great season of unity.

This year in our business meeting, we needed to make some necessary changes to our bylaws, in light of the merger and the new reality of the size of our region. Before, during, and after our business meeting, the discussion of the changes was healthy, vibrant, and unifying. Even leading to one pastor voting his conscience with a dissenting vote.

For me, that is healthy. As for the board, even though we believed these recommendations were the right thing to do at the time, we held them lightly because our members are the final say when it comes to these governance issues. We were certainly prepared for any motions to be made on the floor for other considerations or concerns. In the end, every recommendation was passed unanimously except for the one dealing with the quorum, which had one dissenting vote. Again, all board members were affirmed to serve their appointed terms.

Interestingly, we had our strongest quorum in the 23 years I have been associated with Converge MidAmerica at 48%. Nearly half of our churches showed up for Connect 2021. We thank God for this unifying spirit that He has granted us during this season.

We are a fellowship experiencing a growing level of generosity.

It was a year ago that we voted to see the merger between MidAmerica and Southeast take place. We have said it before, yet it bears repeating: this merger only happened because of the incredible generosity of the MidAmerica churches. The only reason we could do this merger is because of the financial health of the district. This year the Converge MidAmerica churches hit a massive milestone by breaking 1 million dollars in giving to our regional district. Because of your church’s faithful support of the Converge MidAmerica Partners Fund, we can start, strengthen, and serve our churches. In ten months, we saw increased participation from the Southeast Churches, which grew from 16% of the churches giving in 2020 to 39% giving to the Converge Southeast Partners Fund in 2021. We are so encouraged at the strides in giving that the churches are making in the Southeast. Remember Paul’s encouragement to the church in Corinth. “Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us, your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God” (II Corinthians 9:10-11). May God give us churches that are enriched in every way so that they can be generous on every occasion!

We are a tribe who is realizing every day that we really are better together.

Over the last ten years, together, we have mobilized 113 church planting couples. (23 in the previous year. Momentum is building). Over the last ten years, we together have welcomed 99 newly affiliated churches into our fellowship of churches. Over the last ten years together, we have seen over 75 churches navigate pastoral transitions. Over the last ten years, we have helped over 500 pastors get the personal help they needed in a crisis. We have collectively helped fund over 2000 new churches in Nepal and Northern India in the last four years. Together in the last four years, we have collectively seen 3300 children sponsored through Compassion International. Over the last ten years, we have seen 1000’s of children and youth come to Jesus through our camp and retreat ministries. We are increasingly convinced that we are better together and that God is using our joint efforts in his great redemptive plan.

So let us keep showing up, advancing on our knees, striving towards unity, growing in generosity, and realizing that we are better together. As we keep doing the small things on a daily basis, God will show up, and we will see him do things beyond all we can ask or imagine.

This is just a special note to the MidAmerica, Southeast, and Caribbean teams that pulled off a historic event with a heroic effort. The sacrifice from our administrative staff, our missionaries in the Caribbean, the army of volunteers, tech teams, and the host churches does not go unnoticed. To our workshop leaders, worship leaders, board members, and executive team, I am so proud to be associated with such a high caliber of godly and talented leaders. May we continue to feel the Lord’s hand upon us as we seek to be in the center of his great redemptive mission.