It was early Tuesday morning November 21, 2017 that Vernon Rosenau , ( at that time, the president of Baptist Mid-Missions), stood in our doorway preparing to leave for his return trip to Cleveland. Deb and I had spent several days talking with him about the vision for ministering in globalized cities. Those were exciting, exhilarating days which laid the foundation to what was to become Boston and Beyond. As Dr Rosenau was saying goodbye, it struck me what a momentous meeting this had been. I said to Dr. Rosenau, “Now everything is going to change. He replied, “ Yes, it is, and the Rosenaus are here to tell you, it will be ok.”
You see, Dr. Rosenau’s family history is tied very closely with the history of Baptist Mid-Missions—Vernon Rosenau was a third generation missionary to the Central African Republic. During his visit he explained to me the personal pain it caused him when God made it clear that he was to leave Africa. He said tears were pouring down his face. When he told Deb and me things would be ok, he was speaking from experience. After leaving Africa, Dr. Rosenau served the Lord in broader ways and became a blessing to the whole world.
Dr. Rosenau’s words, “It will be ok”, comfort Deb and me as God continues to bring significant change to our lives and ministry. We trust that His moving in us will bring more fruitfulness, as well.
I explained to you last summer about our need to spend time, monthly, in Iowa, to care for family needs. Well, now we have come to realize that we need to spend most of our time in Iowa, which means Boston will no longer be our ministry headquarters—Iowa will be. This has been a very difficult decision, but actually, there really was no choice—God’s firm hand led us firmly :) We cannot minister to the world while not caring for our parents. It is with tears we leave Boston, with hearts full of wonderful gospel centered memories. We love Boston, the ministry in Boston, and our fellow warriors of the International Baptist Church, who will be greatly missed. There is no choice, however. As you can tell, the pain is real, and we could use your prayers.
At the same time, we are excited as God is beginning to show us the rest of the story. Laying aside the ministry responsibilities of Boston allows more focus on other areas of City Ministry. (Boston will remain an intricate part of the ministry, but at some point a name change from Boston and Beyond may be in order). Let me give you a glimpse of what we see God doing. I can do so by using the main points regularly presented as the Boston and Beyond (City Ministry) Plan.
We will have a new location, but are bringing with us 40 years of experience in missions, local church ministry, teaching, evangelism, and city ministry. Our desire is to use this experience to help prepare and launch qualified missionaries into strategic cities, globally. We hope to prepare these individuals to do what God led us to do—inhabit a global city in order to minister the gospel to the whole world.
Build the Church—The International Baptist Church (IBC) is far from self-supporting, but it has a gifted core of people who are equipped to do the work of ministry. They know what I know, and with prayer and arduous labor, they are able to complete the task. Deb and I will continue to recruit interns, vocational workers, and tentmakers for the IBC of Boston.
Evangelize the Nations—Evangelism has historically been our strength and passion. Our house is 20 minutes from Iowa City, a global community and home to the Univ. of Iowa, where we will have ample opportunity to develop relationships, which will hopefully become Bible studies, and then believers in Christ. Iowa City is much smaller than Boston, with a fraction of the global community of Boston. However, with the limited time Deb and I have to give to the evangelistic stewardship of the globalized city initiative, Iowa City will be fine.
Recruit the Workers—This is where I become excited. The Midwest is an awesome place to recruit workers, with a strong number of like-minded churches, a solid Bible college, as well as two sound theological seminaries within driving distance. This will make it much easier to build the foundation we need for Boston and Beyond—City Ministry. Iowa is a plus for those reasons.
Selecting the Cities—This involves studying cities, looking at statistics (demographics), and visiting them personally. This is as easily done from Iowa, as it is from Boston. O’hare Airport works as well as Logan :)
Launch the Teams—Deb and I entered Boston more than 20 years ago with a vision for the city, but with little knowledge of how to minister in the city. We still have much to learn, but what we have learned, we hope to deliver to others who have a God-driven passion to enter the globalized cities of our world. We believe we can provide some guidance for succeeding in the city. By God’s grace and omnipotent power, we will find the cities, advertise the cities, recruit the workers and help them flourish in their God-appointed city.
So, God is still on His throne and our Savior is still building His church, and Dr Rosenau was correct: It will be ok.
Missiologist Roland Allen
“Paul thought in terms of regions rather than cities or villages. Paul established discipleship centers from which the gospel could travel to the surrounding regions, and he considered his work finished when he had finished establishing these discipleship centers. So when the discipleship centers, which were to carry the gospel out to the world of Paul, were finished, Paul had finished the race.”
From my thesis GLOBAL-CHURCH PLANTING WITHIN THE MOBILE ACADEMIC AND IMMIGRANT COMMUNITIES OF THE BOSTON METROPOLITAN AREA [found on www.interglo.org , link: The Plan—bottom of page. (pg. 117)]
We love you,
Bill and Deb
Btw, Deb and I need to plan meetings in all of our supporting churches in order to give a more detailed explanation for this change of location and modification of the ministry plan. It would be helpful if you could contact me with possible dates. However, I will be reaching out to you soon, Lord willing.