Toby and Susan Stevens (February 2017)

Published on 03/04/17

Dear Partners in this Ministry,

My mentor, Bill Edmondson, a Baptist Mid-Missions church planter, recently resigned as pastor of International Baptist Church of Malden, Massachusetts. Upon his resignation, Bill recommended that the church ask me to be their pastor. Baptist Mid-Missions and our sending church, Faith Baptist Church of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, are supportive of this recommendation.

Susan and I were honored by this recommendation and would be grateful to accept with the following condition: the Lord has prepared the way for us to plant a church in East Cambridge that has local and global impact. He has provided the financial means and a team of committed prayer warriors for this task. We yearn to continue with this endeavor, and would only accept their invitation if they relocate their meeting place to East Cambridge.

Subsequently, Susan and I were invited to meet with the International Baptist Church. We answered questions and discussed God’s provision for a church plant in East Cambridge. We enjoyed the time of fellowship with this precious group and were encouraged through the healthy discussions that occurred during that session and the conversations that have taken place since that meeting. The church of Malden is currently considering a change of location to the area of East Cambridge and calling me as their pastor. A vote is planned for early April.

This possible merge of what God is doing in East Cambridge with the organized group of International Baptist Church is exciting to Susan and me for the following reasons:

• This would provide a core group of believers, a local team, to assist us with reaching our neighborhood of East Cambridge and Boston.

• This would reunite us with an established church of 15-20 individuals, who already demonstrate a passion for city ministry, who are precious to us, plugged into areas of ministry, and eager to serve.

• The area of East Cambridge is a central location for the current members of the International Baptist Church.

• Bill would have greater opportunity to focus on his passion for evangelism. Both Bill and Deb are seasoned in building relationships that lead to opportunities for evangelism. Their changed roles, from pastor/pastor’s wife to active members of the church, will enhance opportunities for them to focus on building relationships that lead to evangelism and the growth of the International Baptist Church. We prayerfully anticipate that this change will strengthen the church’s local and global impact. Wow—my heart is leaping as I consider this impact!

• Bill would have greater opportunity to focus on his passion for networking. Consider this: My and Susan’s lives were tremendously impacted through the ministry of Bill and Deb Edmondson. My internship with Bill challenged me and Susan in several ways. It challenged and ignited our view and love for all image bearers of God, our view of the city, and our philosophy of ministry. Bill and Deb’s ministry to us, through the internship and the ministry in Boston has reached and even impacted you. Your partnership with what God is doing in Boston can be directly linked back to this internship. In the coming months, four additional internships are planned. Additional lives will be impacted, further love for all image bearers will be developed, views of the city and city ministry will be challenged. These interns will then touch and inspire other lives—lives similar to yours.

Please consider the resulting impact of this possible merge and pray with us regarding this decision. Please pray for the International Baptist Church as they contemplate this possible change in leadership and location. Please pray for a unified decision.

We will update you after a decision has been made.

Thank you for ministering with us and to us, Toby & Susan Stevens