Build the Church
The goal of Boston and Beyond a globalized city initiative (B&B) is to obey the Savior by joining Him in the fulfilling of His command to disciple all nations. We believe this is possible for two basic reasons: 1) Jesus has all authority, and He has promised to help those who surrender to do His will. 2) The Savior has providentially prepared globalized cities—places where the nations can be discipled both locally and by connecting globally.
Over the next several weeks, our focus will be the B&B Plan as outlined in the last prayer letter: building the Church, evangelizing the nations, recruiting the workers, studying the demographics and launching the teams. When we finish explaining the B&B Plan, we will highlight the People needed for B&B ministry, Places targeted for the B&B discipleship centers, and the Preparation provided for B&B workers. Hopefully, all of this information will help everyone know where we are going, what is needed, and how to effectively pray. Perhaps, some will feel Divinely led to join us.
Build the Church
We will continue to help establish the International Baptist Church an orthodox Christian association in Boston, which will minister to the whole demographic of Boston. This will provide the ecclesiological foundation and launching pad, which our globalized disciples will need, as they go home and duplicate what they have learned and experienced in Boston (from our last prayer letter).
It is important to remember that I (Bill) am no longer the pastor of the International Baptist Church (IBC). The IBC has a pastor, two deacons, and a small, but engaged church family. Although I remain a mentor to Pastor Stevens, I am just one voice within the IBC—as it should be. Furthermore, fulfilling our Boston and Beyond stewardship will take Deb and me away from Boston on many Sundays. These realities indicate that our contribution to the ongoing ministry of the IBC will be in some ways limited. But, in other ways, our role within Boston and Beyond will enhance our ability to be an edifying influences within the IBC.
Here are three ways we envision our contribution to the IBC ministry:
Encouragement: When Toby Stevens replaced me as the pastor of the IBC, I asked him how he saw our relationship. He stated that I would continue as his mentor. Toby came to the Boston ministry as an intern, and the Stevens family have now been with us for many years. Toby and I have shared many, many hours discussing ministry philosophy.
We are very similar in our thinking and in our ministry objectives. I hope to help Toby flourish as the pastor of the IBC. Deb and Susan Stevens also get along well and will be meeting regularly, planning ministry events and encouraging one another. We will also encourage our church family to stay focused on reaching Boston in order to reach the world.
Evangelism: Our most foundational responsibility is the ministry of evangelism. Deb and I will continue to establish evangelistic relationships, engage new friends in evangelistic Bible studies, and prepare young Christians for baptism and membership in the IBC. This will involve a robust hospitality ministry and hours in individual Bible studies. We will focus on making friends in all the various people groups across Boston.
Recruitment: As we minister in churches, colleges and seminaries, we intend to recruit church workers. It is the desire of our church family to reach our neighborhood for Christ, but we will probably need help in establishing a self-supporting church. The Harvard/MIT neighborhood is not an easy neighborhood in which to minister, and those who have come to Christ in Boston have almost all left Boston upon finishing their degree or research. We hope to convince career professionals, tent-makers, and vocational Christian workers to spend their lives with us in Boston, serving the Savior by discipling the world.
Alternatives : The Lord has reminded me that it is important to keep in mind that I am joining Him in His work and therefore, I need to be flexible concerning what I think needs to be done, or concerning what form our work will take. For instance, it may be that Deb and I will do more training of young evangelists than evangelizing. Certainly, we will be the primary evangelists to begin with, but how our time is eventually spent is dependent upon the needs of the ministry.
Another important element that bears thinking about is the form church takes in limited access nations. Nations that are hostile to Christianity seldom have large buildings in which to house the church. Many times believers are forced to meet secretly because of the danger of persecution. Therefore, we dare not think only in terms of large self-sustaining churches, but also of smaller house churches. One question we will need to answer is this: Is it possible for a network of house churches to minister to the whole city in all of its diversity?
Thankful to have finished our reporting ministry in Iowa. We moved to Iowa the last week of December, 2017, and returned to Boston the first week of June. We spoke in every supporting church in the Midwest and several potential supporting churches. However, we have several individual supporters that we were not able to connect with. We hope to do so when we are in Iowa for required BMM organizational meetings in late July. Also, very thankful to be home in Boston and with our small church family.
Please pray as Deb and I reengage in the Boston ministry. We are working with the BMM administration concerning the institutional formation of Boston & Beyond. Please pray that a solid foundation will be established.
Our personal support need is $5,715 and our personal and B&B work funds needed is $3,741 for a total of $9,456 needed monthly support.
Presently our committed support included 30 churches and 14 individuals for a total of $6,406.83. This means we need to raise about $3,050 a month support. Please pray for us.
For more information concerning our monthly support needs, you can click on the Financial Information tab.
July 4: Engaging the Nations on the Charles River
July 5-7: Potential Interns will be visiting us
July 9-11: BMM family conference Elyria, Ohio
July 30-August 3: BMM Team North America organizational meetings