Our Future is as Bright as the Promises of God our Savior
It is January 10th, and it is our wondrous privilege to embark on yet another life-worth-the-living year of serving our Savior in Great Commission living! I am reminded of our Savior’s words found in the book of Matthew, “I will build my church.” How encouraging it is to know that victory is assured to those who live their lives by joining the Savior in the building of His body. After all, it is the Savior who said, “All authority has been given to Me,” and, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” As we enter this new year, we can rest securely in the promises of our God. More than that, as we endeavor to creatively, intelligently, and sacrificially engage our world with the gospel, we can have confidence that God will bring us tangible victory—people who are granted salvation through the agency of our ministry. In our case, this means endeavoring to facilitate an urban-church planting movement. Never have the prospects looked better. Let’s get at it!
As you know, our Spirit derived goal is to help facilitate a church-planting movement in Boston, which will hopefully flow into other world-class cities. We believe that God has providentially prepared the city for Great Commission ministry, and that it is the privilege and obligation of God’s children to both recognize His purposes for the city and to bless the city by ministering the gospel there. We intend to do this by joining our Savior in the building of a local church in Boston (The International Baptist Fellowship), and by developing local (Boston), regional (New England), continental, and international networks of those with who we are doctrinally and methodologically compatible.
The International Baptist Fellowship (IBF)
Although scattered across the globe during the holiday season, the IBF is now busy finalizing plans for 2011. After several weeks of reflection, evaluation, and planning, we had our annual business meeting this last Sunday. It is encouraging to see individuals within our fellowship begin to spontaneously minister. The IBF website is being updated with Bible study notes now available. The prayer ministry continues to mature. Bible studies are starting again across the city in various locations: coffee shops, university conference rooms, and living rooms. Toby and Susan Stevens have moved to Boston and are beginning their internship. My goal for the IBF this year is for continued spiritually and numerically growth and for it to officially become a local church (International Baptist Church).
The Local Network
As you may remember, the first church with which we had a part of in Boston merged with Evangelical Baptist Church in the Newton area. They continue to support us, and this is where we have our baptisms. We are blessed to know and work with a Northeastern University professor and his wife. They are faithful servants of the Lord who have dedicated themselves to the blessing of Chinese students in the Boston area. They have directed many students our way. Our goal for this year is to find other compatible partners in the Boston area.
The Regional Network
Bill has been asked to teach a workshop at the New England Leadership Conference held at Trinity Baptist Church in Concord, NH. The topic will be Global-Church Planting in the Mobile Academic and Immigrant Communities of the Boston Metropolitan Area. The potential of such an undertaking, as well as the importance of developing a regional network of churches and individuals committed to this endeavor, will be especially emphasized. In the past, our regional network has been instrumental in our annual International Household Goods Giveaway, in holding a vacation Bible time and teen event, in helping with cooking and serving at the International Thanksgiving Dinner, and in providing plates of goodies for our many international friends at Christmas time. This year we hope to also recruit individuals from several regional ministry partners to attend our International Camp-out. This will be an excellent opportunity for some to become acquainted with our international friends who desire to know more about Christianity.
The Continental Network
Bill is an adjunct faculty member of Piedmont Baptist College and is currently teaching the course, Philosophy of Church Planting. This relationship with Piedmont is helping to inform and recruit city ministers. In February, Bill will be giving four lectures at Central Seminary—Mac Donald Lecture Series. His topic is Global-Church Planting within the Mobile Academic and Immigrant Communities of World-Class Cities—the Orthodox Praxis that should flow out of Orthodox Theology. Prayerfully, these lectures will help to build a network of like-minded individuals and institutions committed to the facilitation of a city-church planting movement.
The Blessing of Sunday
Yesterday one of our many friends from China greatly encouraged us when he affirmed his conversion. Because of a previous conversation, I suspected that he might have done so, but yesterday he made it very clear—his trust is in Christ. One of our other young Christians is yet to be convinced of this profession of faith, stating that she wants to see him do something first. This kind of thinking is so typical of our Chinese Christian brothers and sisters. They even have a difficulty sharing their own testimony of salvation until they have seen a significant change in their own life. The Lord is working in the lives of people here in Boston, and we are anticipating more news from those who are contemplating Christ.
Our Financial Support
Because of deputation speaking assignments and adjunct teaching, we are able to remain in a decent financial position. Yet we lost another $75. a month of support.-another church has lost the ability to support us. Thankfully, two individuals recently either began to support us or increased the amount for which they already support us. We do have support needs. If you know of anyone who would like to join our team of those who are working together to disciplize the world by ministering to the city, please encourage them to consider our ministry.
Bill and Deb from Boston