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.
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.
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.
The Sermon on the Mount study has been a really wonderful way for me to deeply study Jesus's teachings while building community at CTK. We meet for an hour after work every other week at Tatte to catch up about how we're doing and discuss a section of a guided Sermon on the Mount study. The study itself is impressive - its questions and Scripture references have been a great way for me to structure some of my own devotional time. When our group meets, we usually start with the study's discussion questions and then let the conversation wander to whatever the passages really spoke to us that week.
I just moved to Boston in the fall and am a new member at CTK, so this has been the perfect way to start to get involved. There are just 3 of us in the group, so we've been able to really get to know one another, and I've loved having people to say hello to on Sunday mornings and to invite me to other CTK events. Even though the group meets only one hour twice a month, it has become a valuable part of my time in Boston and with CTK.
How we got connected to CTK
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.