Boston church planters need North Carolina partnersby BSCNC Communications
BOSTON – When Josh Wyatt was 17 years old his pastor told him God wanted to do something unique in his life. The pastor hired him for the summer to help the church with various outreach efforts, and during that time Wyatt also began sensing God’s call on his life.
After college and seminary Wyatt spent seven years serving with a church plant in Princeton, Mass. Wyatt thought he was in Princeton for the long haul and never expected God to call him to plant a church in Boston.
Yet, the more Wyatt and his wife prayed, the more “I couldn’t get my heart away from Boston,” he said.
In 2010, the launch service for Charles River Church was held in a Boston public high school. Last year the congregation moved its worship services to the Boston School of Modern Languages.
North Carolina Baptist pastors and leaders met Wyatt during a recent vision tour to Boston sponsored by the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC) Office of Great Commission Partnerships, in partnership with the North American Mission Board. The BSCNC partnership with the Baptist Convention of New England is focused on Boston and the North Shore.
Charles River Church
Wyatt’s community is the Boston Parkway region, which includes the western most neighborhoods of Boston and many young professionals and young families. Prior to Charles River Church, this area of 65,000 people had one Arabic church but no English speaking, gospel-preaching church.
Wyatt is leading the church to reach out as they host movie nights and children’s activities during the local farmer’s market, and as they serve residents in a low-income housing project. In an effort to minister to these residents, the church has provided seminars about personal finance and résumé-building, tutoring, mentoring, college application assistance and discipleship opportunities.
On-site social workers at the housing complex often ask Wyatt and other church members to help counsel and care for residents, and that has led to opportunities to share the gospel and show the love of Jesus Christ.
Wyatt enjoys sharing testimonies of changed lives, such as the young woman with multiple sclerosis who couldn’t find a job and needed the church’s help to complete a résumé and job applications. The woman is from Barbados and lives in the housing complex with her mom.
The woman came to faith in Christ, was baptized, and now serves with the children’s ministry at church.
Wyatt is one of the church planters North Carolina Baptists have opportunity to serve alongside through the Boston partnership. Here’s a look at a few other church plants that need long-term partners:
“This whole area is dying. Thousands and thousands have never even heard the name Jesus. We absolutely cannot do it without you,” Matt Chewning said to North Carolina pastors and leaders. Chewning, who grew up in New Jersey, pastors Netcast Church in Beverly, Mass.
“I never met a believer all throughout growing up. There were no churches. I grew up confused when it came to spirituality,” he said.
Chewning came to faith in Christ two months after beginning college, but never desired full time ministry. “I was in the corporate world and planned on climbing the corporate ladder.”
When his job moved him to Greensboro, N.C., he got involved in a church and began serving as associate youth pastor. “I went to sleep one night and had a dream that I was back in Boston planting a church. I had that dream five nights in a row,” Chewning said.
A year and a half ago Chewning and his family moved to Boston to plant Netcast. Since the church launched in January 2011, more than 1,000 people have visited and more than 30 people have been baptized in the past seven months.
“The fruit of the gospel is the body,” Chewning said. “It’s the stories of people meeting Jesus.”
Boston Chinese Church
This summer Timothy Rhee is praying he will be able to launch Boston Chinese Church and begin reaching out to the nearly 90,000 Chinese who live in Greater Boston.
Rhee was born in South Korea and answered God’s call to minister among the Chinese about 24 years ago. He served eight years as a missionary in China and also spent time serving a Korean church.
“I was born in an unbelieving family. I did not know the meaning of my life. I wondered about my life,” Rhee said.
When he did hear the gospel, God changed his life. “I realized the power of the Holy Spirit in my life. I became a real Christian, not a Sunday Christian. Every Christian should have that mission to evangelize unbelievers.”
As Rhee prepares for the launch he is praying for prayer supporters; financial supporters; meeting facilities; core group leaders including children’s, missions and music leaders; and development of leaders through one-on-one and group Bible studies.
Nepali Community Church
When Dan BK came to the United States for theological education he planned to return to Nepal and share the gospel. As it turns out, God called him to plant churches to reach the nearly 10,000 Nepalese who live in Boston. About 18,000 Nepalese and Bhutanese live in New England.
“Go where God calls you, not where you want to go,” he said.
BK did not want to come to the United States for education and did not even want to learn English. Yet, God paved the way for him to come and BK has been watching God work ever since.
Nepali Community Church meets in Cambridge and began with small group meetings in BK’s apartment. BK has already helped start four churches in Boston, a church back home in Nepal, and has been on three short-term mission trips to Nepal. He is also working with other church planters, such as Rhee, as they seek to reach other Asian groups.
BK’s vision is to continue planting churches and providing theological training to Nepalese living in Boston and Nepal.
Global Ark Baptist Church
For about three and a half years pastor Paul Yoo has served among Boston’s Korean community, and earlier this year, Global Ark Baptist Church held its first worship service.
Yoo, who is from South Korea, has a license to teach golf and uses that as a way to meet Koreans and share the gospel. Golf is a popular sport among Koreans, but is difficult for them to learn because of the financial costs involved.
Yoo said Koreans are very smart and are proud of their knowledge. “They don’t know Jesus because they believe in their own knowledge. They are enough to live by themselves,” he said.
Yoo wants Koreans to live with knowledge of the grace and mercy of Jesus. “I believe one powerful soldier of Jesus can affect the society and nation.”
This is the third article in a series about the Baptist State Convention's partnership in Boston.