Am I Called to Plant a Church? This is a question that many of us in CTK have found ourselves asking. Whether we are a pastor who is considering leading a church plant or a member considering being a part of a core group. Church planting has been an integral part of the vision of CTK from the beginning. Part of the work of the church planting center is to help future pastors and church leaders to discern if God might be calling them to be personally involved in the planting of a church.
I used to love summer. It meant free outdoor movies and dancing at the Boston Harbor Hotel, late nights with friends and neighbors, and spontaneous outings to outdoor places just for fun. With small children, summer meant a more flexible schedule for my husband, nicer weather, softball games and swimming at our local pool.
This year is the first year that it’s seemed like more of a challenge than a gift. With three girls who are used to be being in school all week long, we struggle with long sister-hours. While I will make considerably fewer school lunches during the summer months, we long for a bit more structure and purpose to the day. We try to put off our screen time until late in the afternoon and slowly by summer’s end, we can only last until noon.
One of the benefits of participating in the life of CTK is that the church places a high value on articulating the deep theological truths of Scripture in a reflective and worship inducing manner. The richness of Christ’s love is expressed each week in the worship service.
My two young boys stood shoulder to shoulder, hunched and dripping. A flash of lightning had prompted the lifeguard’s whistle signal for all swimmers to vacate the pool. Holding their collective breaths, every elementary-school-aged-brain rivetted to the task of counting the seconds… aching for a mental superpower that could launch the clock safely past the fatal, 30 second ‘flash-to-bang’ mark and magically prevent pool closure for the rest of that July afternoon.
It feels like we just left Boston yesterday because we have so many good memories and good friends in New England. Looking at how much our lives have changed reminded me that almost three years have gone by since we moved back to Ohio. We still miss the East Coast culture and history, and we certainly miss the proximity to the ocean, but many things over the last three years have affirmed that God has called us to Cincinnati and to our church here.
Bostonians know that there are really only three warm months a year, and all of New England is in a frenzy to enjoy it as much as possible. Every weekend there are fairs and festivals and community celebrations. Many of the congregations use these events as an opportunity to engage their neighbors, setting up activity booths, handing out water, or hosting picnics before fireworks—each event looks different but with the same goal of sharing the love and hope of the gospel to neighbors and friends.
In the days before iPods, iPads, smart phones and portable DVD players, when it was time to take a trip, you would settle in the backseat and be handed a book! If you were very young perhaps it was a coloring book. In the days before cards, and before widespread literacy, travelers, especially pilgrims—those traveling to a religious location for a worshipful purpose—would share tales, stories, with each other to pass the time.
The majority of CTK/Grace members have been “new to town” at some point. Boston is a transitory place and as we say goodbye to some and welcome others each year, it is encouraging to hear from those who have moved here and jumped right in to serve the church. Here is a reflection from the Hummels who recently joined Grace South Shore.
It is exciting to look around the country and see former CTKers serving the church. John Meinen served as an intern at CTK Newton and is currently a campus minister at the University of Vermont. Here is his story…
After a job change required Greg to move to Boston without his family, he was feeling isolated and in need of encouragement. His home pastor recommended CTK and he has begun attending Boston North Sunday services and mid-week community group.
Did you know that Christ the King Church Planting Center offers an apprentice program to provide training and experience for men and women interested in ministry? Rev. Omar Ortiz visits seminaries around the country to share CTK’s vision and to talk with those who are interested in church planting or other ministry opportunities. Here is a story by the newest intern to join the program, Angel Garcia.
Fourth Fridays was recently reinstated as a sequel to Second Saturdays – as some of you may remember existed in the not so distant past. Friday January 25th marked the first Fourth Friday of the new year, and a group of CTKers met at John Harvard’s brewery in the heart of Harvard Square to catch-up, relax, and make new friends while enjoying a few local craft beers and some tasty chicken wings and truffle fries.
In the opening chapters of The Mind of the Maker, Dorothy Sayers begins her dense treatise on God and art by writing, “The characteristic common to God and man is apparently [this]: the desire and the ability to make things.” As artists in the church, my husband and I feel the essential creative connection to the God of the Bible, and believe that artist or not, art is an integral part to how Christians understand and worship their creator.
Christ the King Presbyterian Church (CTK) is a multi-site, multi-ethnic church with congregations throughout greater Boston. We seek to serve God in worship, serve one another in love, and serve our city by bearing witness to the good news about Jesus Christ in both word and deed.
During our first year at Covenant Seminary in Saint Louis, my wife, Ally, and I began to think more seriously about the ministry context that we wanted to serve in. We knew we were interested in serving in an urban, secular city, though not sure about what that might practically look like for us. In the fall of 2014, we met Bob Sawyer, the director of the Christ the King Church planting center, at a ministry lunch he hosted at Covenant. Hearing about Christ the King’s “multi-congregational” church planting approach in Boston, piqued our interest in possibility of serving in Boston.
In the fall of 2013, I moved to Somerville to serve as apprentice and Assistant Pastor at Christ the King Somerville. I had been drawn to the Boston area for ministry, having completed a summer internship with a CTK church plant during seminary. After seminary, I needed an apprenticeship to further prepare me for ministry in general, and for church planting in the area.
Boston is a long way from Sydney, Australia. When Alison and I moved here in 2015, we were hoping God would use the experience to prepare us for gospel ministry, wherever he called us. I’d come out of a downtown church and felt passionate about ministering in a post-Christian, urban context. We wanted to do our seminary training in a place that would equip us for ministry in cities like Sydney, while forcing us to grow in our ability to adapt to different cultural settings. So, we came to Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and to the Boston-area.
Most parents who live in the city don’t need a reminder that it can be tough to transport, house and educate children in the city. Even more importantly, many worry that raising children in a city like Boston will deprive them of valuable spiritual resources that are often more prevalent and available in suburban settings. Christine Stone offers encouragement and hope for parents and also spreads some of the responsibility for raising spiritually healthy children to those in our church who do not have children of their own. This is a thoughtful discussion of a relevant topic—no matter what age or stage.
Christ the King Cambridge recently sent out a group of about 35 men, women and children to plant a church in the northern suburbs of Boston. This work has been prayed for and worked on for nearly a decade. Although each church plant has its own origin story, the process of finding a person to lead and a place to worship was quite a long road.
Recently, CTK Cambridge hosted a children’s ministry conference, called Established. The Established Conference is a ministry of the PCA denomination, and exists to bring pastors, parents, teachers and volunteers together to encourage and equip them to minister to the children in their congregations. Based on the promises of Psalm 78:5-7, they offer resources, instruction and discussion around how to pass along the truths of scripture to the next generation, reminding them that our worth does not lie in what we do, but who we are, as children of God.
CTK Pastor Nathan Barczi was recently awarded an Evangelical Press Association top prize for his Christianity Today article, "In the Image of Our Choosing," about his collaboration with Harvard geneticists George Church and Ting Wu to explore the ethical considerations of genetic editing.
Our move to the Boston area from Philadelphia, PA afforded us many wonderful adventures. Christ the King had been on our radar for years as we attended Lookout Mountain Pres (TN) when the church sent teams to help clean up, repair and restore the building for this new church plant in Cambridge, MA. (I had recently had twins and was unable to go, but how I wanted to!) When we relocated to the area in 2006, we were delighted to find a thriving, youthful congregation with Rick Downs and John Standridge serving as Pastors.
Fishing. Its an image that I have often reflected on these last few months. Not because I have done much of it in my life, but because what I am doing now feels so much like it. It is what Jesus called his disciples to and how he described their mission. “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19)