This Week in Boston
Dear prayer and financial supporters,
A very busy month of reviewing and planning is over, and a year with great potential is before us. If we are to make progress in our global church planting plan endeavors, it will be because I communicated our needs to you consistently, and because you prayed for us faithfully. With this in mind, I hope to set before you plainly what we believe to be God’s direction for us in 2010. Hopefully, this will enable you to pray for us intelligently. Our church planting plan may be divided into five interrelated networks, as you will see below.
The International Baptist Fellowship (IBF), is the nucleus of what we hope will become a model for other world-class city church planting efforts. We want it to provide lessons in what to do and not to do. We do not think that we are the final word on city church-planting, but we are learning, and want to use what we learn to facilitate a church- planting movement. We believe this is the need of the hour and that our sovereign God has provided world-class cities for this very purpose. Our goal for the IBF is to do do what we do better—more professionally and more effectively. We have a Spirit-derived plan, and now need to implement that plan. Please pray that our Father will help the membership of the IBF to give themselves to this ministry, and pray for me, that I will be the kind of pastor that is worth following.
Building a local network is essential if we are to have any success facilitating other church plants. By local, I am referring to the Boston metropolitan area. Our prayer is that one day there will be a network including churches, an international village (including international student and retired missionary housing, office and warehouse space, and a bookstore/coffee house), and a Bible institute to train church planters and tent makers. Our Spirit-derived goal for this year is to begin teaching systematic theology and Bible survey courses in the fall. In order for this to happen, the preparation will need to be done between now and the end of August. Please pray that we are able to do the needed advanced planning and preparation.
The regional network includes the New England states. This network of churches already cooperates in several areas of ministry, and is an essential partner in our church-planting efforts. This network not only provides financial and prayer support, but also helps in a number of other ways (food showers for our hospitality ministry, household goods for our International Household Goods Giveaway, ministry teams for children and teen outreach, and construction teams for work on the ministry home). The goal for this year is to strengthen and to enlarge this network of churches. The way this will be accomplished is through contacting and visiting pastors and churches and communicating to them the potential for city church-planting, and the needs that we have. We hope to speak in churches (supporting or otherwise) at least two Sunday evenings a month. Please pray that we are able to strengthen this regional network.
The continental network will consist of churches, Bible colleges and seminaries, and mission agencies of like faith, who see the need and potential of what we are attempting to do—facilitate a church planting movement in world-class cities. This network is potentially able to provide leadership and personnel for such an endeavor. As a movement, we (those who are in our orbit of fellowship) do not seem to have a vision or a plan to fully utilize world-class cities for the glory of God and Great Commission ministry. Deb and I want to be part of the remedy for this serious problem. We have already begun an internship program. The goal for this year is to teach a two hour course on city church planting through one of our fellowshipping Bible colleges. A college has contacted me about such an on-line course,and are in the process of evaluating my worthiness to be an adjunct teacher with their institution. Please pray that they will approve me, and that I will have adequate preparation time to do an excellent job.
The international network is beginning to grow as those to whom we are ministering begin to go home. This network will provide the church planters and tent-makers for world class cities globally. The goal for this network this year is to continue the discipleship process with those who are back in their home countries. The purpose of this web-based discipleship plan is to help each individual mature in Christ to the point of being able and willing to participate in church planting situations. Please pray as I have two individuals in mind to begin web-based discipleship, one in China and one stateside. Pray that I am able to successfully engage them in a long distance discipleship relationship.
I know this is a rather long letter and you may think that I am a little too optimistic. I don’t think so. Our Savior promised us that if we would surrender to Great Commission living that He would go with us. He also comforted us when He explained that He has all authority. To me this means that we should attempt great things for God. After all, it is His power that is able to accomplish it. Not ours. We think that He Will. Please pray.
Bill and Deb in Boston