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.
Step 1: Community group in Wakefield. A group of families has been reaching out to neighbors and friends for several years, through personal relationship building as well as 4th of July cookouts, kickball games and other outreach events. Brooke Huskey shares her reflections on reaching neighbors here.
Step 2: Find a pastor. Bob Sawyer describes how it all came together:
Over the years, we talked with many potential church planters about the northern suburbs church planting opportunity, and several even came to visit. Three years ago, I heard about Sean Sawyers from one of the staff members at Mission to North America, our denomination’s church planting agency. He told me that Sean and Nikki had recently been through church planter assessment and was recommended to plant a church. I did a little more background research and found that Sean was a pastor in Orangeburg, South Carolina. That same week, it just so happened that Rick Downs was in Orangeburg attending his wife’s high school reunion and was already planning to visit Sean’s church. Rick connected with Sean, and I followed up. Within a few weeks we had arranged for Sean and Nikki to visit Boston and meet them, and they were hooked!
Those initial conversations about church planting led to more serious conversations which led to Sean and Nikki and their four kids moving from South Carolina to Boston. He wrote this reflections on this leap of faith then, and continues to draw on that faith as he prepares for first worship service on Sunday.
Step 3: Relationship building—Sean and his family have been working for the past two years to build relationships in the community. Although an admittedly slow process, they have built relationships through the YMCA, various reading groups at the library, coaching soccer for two of their children, and many dinners with neighbors and new friends.
Step 4: Find a place to worship. In the Boston area, real estate is no joke. Finding a suitable site to worship in a strategic location, central to the people you are reaching can be really tricky. While there are many church buildings with extra space, there is an understandable reluctance on their part to invite a new church in their building. At the same time, what few rentable public spaces that are available function as banquet or party rooms with no real space to accommodate childcare during a worship service. After a very long and frustrating search, an overlooked resource was brought to their attention.They were able to secure the Americal Civic Center in Wakefield, and will gather there at 10 a.m. each Sunday. A preview service at the location on Palm Sunday was an exciting “next step” in the process.
After just three weeks of meeting together, the group is encouraged by the potential for their congregation and its reach to the surrounding community.
To God be the Glory!
Click here to find out more about the Boston North Plant.
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