October 31st, 2009

Published on 12/02/09

This Week in Boston

There were 20 people in the Sunday morning fellowship meeting of the International Baptist Fellowship (IBF). We studied the qualifications for the bishop found in 1 Timothy 3:1-8. In our after dinner meeting, the IBF discussed our annual International Thanksgiving Dinner. This is an important event to which the IBF membership will invite as many international friends from the academic and immigrant communities as possible. The purpose of the dinner is to demonstrate the love of God to as many new friends as possible. We use this traditional holiday to recite the history of Thanksgiving and to explain the reason why all peoples should be thankful to the Father of creation for the Savior of the world. The IBF decided to have two dinners this year on the Sundays before and after Thanksgiving. Our goals include filling the Oak Grove Community Building with 60 people each week, developing evangelistic relationships, and establishing evangelistic Bible studies. Please pray for this total fellowship effort. Having two dinners means that we will need to prepare two traditional Thanksgiving dinners for as many as 60 people each week. Deb oversees the cooking and is a stickler for the quality of the food—this is the way Deb shows her love for people.

There were six evangelistic and discipleship studies this week. Most of these studies were held on university campuses. On-campus studies are convenient for those in academia and allows one to meet the friends of those doing the studies, but there also some negatives to on-campus studies. When you have the Bible study in your home, it enables the participants to experience a little of the context of Christianity. By context, I am referring to those details that accompany living the Christian life. The home of one endeavoring to faithfully live the Christian life tends, in some way, to communicate a Christian atmosphere. This ambiance is hard to describe but is non-the-less extremely important to effective Bible studies—especially evangelistic studies. We may need to make an adjustment here.

If you happen to read this tonight, please pray for our services tomorrow. The IBF will be studying the biblical qualifications for the office of deacon. The Word of God informs us that, “those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 3:13). Deacons serving well must be an important aspect of effective local church ministry because those who serve well as deacons are counted worthy of great respect. It is also true that serving well as a deacon is a stepping stone to other fruitful gospel ministry since one who serves well gains the confidence to minister in wider venues (Steven and Philip). Perhaps this is why the Apostle Paul establishes tough qualifications for the office of deacon. We intend to uphold those qualifications within the IBF. It must be so in-order for the IBF to provide a pattern for other urban church plants—we must develop men of God who aspire to the high office of deacon.

Please pray for us,

Bill Edmondson