Serve Medford 2013


This Saturday a team of 10 from NewBranch will fly up to Boston, MA (Medford, to be exact) for Serve Medford 2013. Serve Medford is a week long outreach of Redemption Hill Church to the local community. There will be a lot going on during the week, which means a lot to pray for. Here is a list:

NewBranch Team:

Dawn Koehler, Alex Koehler, Griffin Holloway, Lori Bleth, Brandon Mitchell, Reece Nobles, Kevin Sanders, Tim Sherwood, Bowdie Jenkins, and Ken Rucker.

Churches Participating and Their Travel:

  • Cave Spring Baptist Church, Roanoke, VA
  • Crosspoint Church, Clemson, SC
  • FBC Pickens, SC
  • FBC Owensboro, KY
  • New Branch Community Church, Dacula, GA
  • Renewal Church, Greenville, SC
  • Ridgecrest Baptist Church, Durham, NC

Ministry Opportunities: 

  • 8-9 Medford Parks (cleanup/construction and engaging families)
  • Kids Camp at Willis Ave.
  • Programming and Cleaning/Organizing at the Boys and Girls Club
  • Serve local businesses in Medford Square (cleaning, organizing, construction)
  • Give away 10,000 invites to Redemption Hill Church (T and Bus stops)
  • Hang 2000 door hangers inviting the community to Community Fun Night
  • Give away 5,000 invites to Community Fun Night**
  • ESL Class at Willis Ave.
  • Community Fun Night on 8/2/13 (last year we had over 700 people come)
  • Boldness among all of the teams to clearly display and declare the gospel. Pray that we would all live that week (and every week to come) with eyes wide open to the physical and spiritual needs of those around us and engage as the Spirit provides the opportunity.

NewBranch And Boston

This mission trip is unique for NewBranch as we prepare to send my family to Greater Boston to plant a church. Our projected timeline for departure is Spring 2015. This trip provides the opportunity for our church to catch the vision for church planting in Boston and serve alongside an existing church plant. For more information on church planting in Boston, visit the SEND Boston page over at NAMB.

Thank you in advance for all of your prayers. We can’t wait to get back and share testimonies of what God did during Serve Medford.

Stay updated via Twitter during the week by following pastors @kenrucker and @knsanders


Boston Follow Up

Thank you all for praying for our trip to Boston. We had a great time seeing the city, meeting with people, praying, worshiping, and hearing the Word preached. The Gospel Coalition New England Conference was a blessing to us and to the many pastors and planters laboring in the Northeast.

The biggest news for us is that God confirmed the Greater Boston area as our target area for church planting. We were able to spend sometime with a North American Mission Board Church Planting Catalyst who showed us some areas that are need of churches. As we drove around, asked questions, talked, and prayed, Lauren and I sensed God’s leading. We’re very thankful to God for graciously bringing us another step closer to the call he’s placed on our lives. Moving forward, we covet your prayers for the following…

  • Continued relationships with pastors in Greater Boston. We are in conversation with churches to potentially partner with.
  • The possibility of short term mission trips to Boston for NewBranch
  • Clarity in the timeline. We’re aiming for 2014, but as one pastor told me, ‘pray hard and hold your timeline loosely.’
  • Preparation for me and my family.
  • Visit Boston Church Planting and see what God is doing. Pray for the Planters/Pastors laboring in Greater BostonThank you all for the continued prayer and support. We’re looking forward to what God will do for the glory of his name!

Headed to Boston…

Lauren and I are on our way to Boston, MA this morning for the Gospel Coalition New England regional conference. We’re excited for many reasons. This is the next step in pursuing God’s burden on our hearts for planting a church in New England. I wanted to share a few prayer requests for us while we’re on this trip.

  • Safe travel to and from and all around Boston
  • Good meetings. We will have a great opportunity to spend time with church planters, seasons NE pastors, strategists with the North American Mission Board, etc. Pray that God would use these times to give us direction. Also, there will be many others with a similar stirring that we have for New England. Pray for God to begin relationships around Gospel ministry.
  • Worship in the Word. We will be sitting under some solid teaching over the weekend from D.A. Carson, Tim Keller, John Piper and many others. Pray that God would convict, correct, encourage, and humble us through the preaching of his gospel.
  • Our children. It’s always hard to leave our little ones. Pray for safety and well-being of our parents who will be loving on them while we’re gone.

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook for updates throughout the weekend. Thank you for your prayers!

Missiologically Thinking » Have You Considered Rhode Island?

Considering our interest in church-planting in New England, and the plans that are developing for sending the Sanders family up there in a couple of years, I thought the following blog post was interesting.  It’s from the blog, “Missiologically Thinking”, and is written by JD Payne, Associate Professor of Church Planting and Evangelism in the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism atThe Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.A. where he directs the Center for North American Missions and Church Planting.


According to Payne, the state of Rhode Island qualifies as an unreached people group:

Missiologically Thinking » Have You Considered Rhode Island?.

New England Church Planting – Vision Trip

I’ve just returned from dropping off Kevin and Lauren at the airport for their first trip up to New England in anticipation of planting a church in that area sometime in 2014.  I am so excited that God is giving us an opportunity as a church to be part of this journey with the Sanders, and I am equally encouraged by their faith and courage to follow the Lord in this endeavor.  (read more about the decision for this church plant here: http://newbranchchurch.wordp

The purpose of this first trip is simply get up into the area and begin praying over the land.  As the Lord has not yet provided specifics regarding the location of the church plant (there are 6 states in New England, not including upstate NY), they will be visiting a few areas and meeting with other church planters and pastors and talking with them about what God is doing in those areas.  Kevin will have a couple of opportunities to preach and Lauren will have some opportunities to talk with other church planter wives and get a mom’s perspective of life in NE.  These opportunities will be invaluable to them as the Lord prepares them for moving into the area in the years ahead.

Please be in pray for Kevin and Lauren.  You can follow them on Twitter at @knsanders, on on Facebook during this trip, but regardless, here are some prayer requests:

  • – safe travel (it is the Northeast, and it is cold, and there is snow…and part of their leg includes a small airplane)
  • – peace about leaving the kids with family and friends
  • – effective ministry (they will join with a mission trip team from Hebron Baptist Church to do servant evangelism)
  • – networking and fruitful conversations (as they meet with other church planter families, etc.)
  • – spiritual guidance (as they pray over the land, and the people who need the Gospel in these areas)
  • – faith (to keep trusting God for provision, discernment, and watch-care over their family as they step out in faith)



Why Church Planting? New England

Part 4 in the series ‘Why Church Planting?’ (Part 1|Part 2|Part 3)

Toward the end of last summer, God began to re-stir a passion in my heart. I was with a group of students from NewBranch at a local missions camp we participate in each year. The last worship service of the camp was a time of intense prayer for each other, for those we had ministered to, and for ourselves.

While asking God to humble me and use me, he made it crystal clear that church planting was my calling. I thought of one of my favorite passages of scripture, Isaiah 6:1-8. After being wrecked by the holiness and grace of God, Isaiah responds to the call. Verse 8 reads:

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”

That was my response to a God who has saved me by his grace through Jesus Christ. “God, wherever you want me to go! Just let me serve you!” After that moment Lauren and I began to talk, think, and pray about where God would have us. Church planting was always a seed in my heart. Now that God had give life to the seed, we felt the urgency of pursuing the process.

New England kept coming up. I had heard of the need in the area from a pastor who left his ‘booming’ church in the Bible belt to pastor in rural Vermont. But to be completely honest, New England? “No way,” I thought. “Surely there are other friendlier and warmer places that need churches.” There are, but when God says “jump” you say “how high?”

On the way to church one Sunday in September, I was praying for clarity on the subject. Heading out west was an idea. Planting locally was an idea. Thankfully, the confirmation of God was undeniable that morning. God is sending us to New England to plant a church.

God is stirring my heart for the least churched area of the nation; a land with such a rich gospel history that is in need of, and hopefully on the verge of, spiritual awakening.

Can I humbly ask you to pray for me and my family? Pray for strength, preparation, discernment, wisdom, etc. Pray for timing. We plan on moving there in 2 1/2-3 years. Will you also commit to pray for New England? Ask how God would have you be a part of taking the gospel these people. Take a few minutes to read How New England Is The New American Missional Frontier by Jared Wilson.

Here are some more resources to help educate you and guide your prayers… (via Jared Wilson)

Why Church Planting, Part 3

(Part 1 | Part 2)

Why Auburn?

Lord willing, in February NewBranch will begin a weekly outreach Bible Study at a trailer park in Auburn, GA with the long-term goal of planting a church. It’s been an incredibly humbling experience to watch God orchestrate all of this.

Ken and I found out about a ministry called StreetWise via a brochure in a coffee shop in Dacula. Not long before that we spent time on a staff retreat seeking the Lord and asking him to bring opportunities to reach out in our community. God answers prayer.

Several members of NewBranch jumped in headlong at StreetWise. One of the needs was for volunteers to pass out food on a weekly basis at a trailer park and an apartment complex in Auburn. A group of us began passing out food, praying for people, sharing the gospel, etc.

After several months of this, StreetWise approached us about starting a Bible study at the trailer park. God, in his I-know-what-I’m-doing-ness, had been leading the leadership of NewBranch in the same direction. Providence.
The need in the area is great: financial problems, family problems, drug problems, medical problems, criminal problems. But the deepest need is the same as always: the Gospel. And the gospel is the power of God for salvation to anyone who believes (Romans 1:16)!

The same gospel that saves you moves you out of your comfort zones to befriend sinners. It’s the same gospel that sends us out to the highways and hedges and compel the poor, cripple, lame, and blind to come in to the great feast that is Jesus (Luke 14:12-24).

You can leave our Sunday morning location and drive to the trailer park in 15 minutes. This is our backyard. This isn’t our Judea-Samaria or our Ends-of-the-Earth, this is our Jerusalem (Acts 1:8). And, according to Jesus Christ, we will be his witnesses.

This is only a brief overview of how God has graciously brought NewBranch to this point. As you hear and read more here and on Sunday mornings, cover this in prayer. Ask God how he would have you serve him in this ministry. Pray that he would break chains, free captives, and save souls for the glory of his name.