Serve Medford 2013

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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

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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

ress.com/2012/01/12/why-church-planting-new-england/)

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)

 

 

Lord, Send Revival!

About 15 months ago, Thabiti Anyabwile, pastor of First Baptist Church, Grand Caymans (what a place to suffer for Jesus, huh!?), posted an article describing how he had been encouraged after reading one of the Jonathan Edawrds works I mentioned in a post earlier this week.  I too was encouraged by this, and reminded that revival as we’re defining it (a fresh awareness of the glory and nearness of God) can only happen by God’s hand, and thus my role is to pray for Him to revive my heart and our church.  Read and enjoy, and be similarly encouraged.

Recently I dusted off my copy of Jonathan Edwards’ The Surprising Work of God, an account of the revivals in New England in the 1730s.  I’ve been freshly stirred by Edwards’ recounting of the Lord’s work in that spiritual awakening.  Consider how he described the affect on the daily life of the people:

“The people seemed to follow their worldly business more as a part of their duty than from any attachment they had to it.  It now seemed that the temptation was to neglect worldly affairs too much and to spend too much time in the immediate exercise of religion.  This was highly misrepresented by reports that were spread into other regions, as though the people here had completely thrown aside all worldly business and had committed themselves entirely to reading and praying and such religious exercises.

“Although people did not ordinarily neglect their worldly business, religion was the great concern among all sorts of people.  The world was simply incidental to them.  The only thing on their minds was to obtain the kingdom of heaven, and everyone appeared to be pressing into it.  The fixedness of their hearts in this great concern could not be hidden; it appeared on their faces.  It then was a dreadful thing among us to be out of Christ, in danger every day of dropping into hell.  Indeed, the people were intent upon escaping for their lives and fleeing from the wrath to come (Matt. 3:7).”

Can you imagine?  Here were a people accused of neglecting the world and spending too much time in heavenly things.  I love how Edwards describes them: “The world was simply incidental to them.”  Don’t you get the sense that so much of today’s Christian living is afflicted with the opposite problem?  Heaven is incidental to us, so we neglect it and we’re too much involved in worldly pursuits.

Edwards goes on to describe the effect:

“There was scarcely a single person in the town, old or young, left unconcerned about the great things of the eternal world.  Those who were typically the vainest and loosest, and those who had been inclined to think and speak lightly of vital and practical religion, were now generally subject to great awakenings.  The work of conversion was carried on in a most astonishing manner, and it increased more and more.  Souls literally came by flocks to Jesus Christ.  From day to day, for many months at a time, sinners were brought out of darkness into marvelous light (1 Pet. 2:9), delivered out of a horrible pit and from the miry clay, and set upon a rock witha new song of praise to God in their mouths (Ps. 40:2-3).

“This work of God, as it went on and the number of true saints multiplied, soon made a glorious change in the town, so that in the following spring and summer of 1735, the town seemed to be full of the presence of God.  It has never been so full o f love and joy, and yet so full of distress, as it was then.  There were remarkable signs of God’s presence in almost every household.  It was a time of joy in families because salvation had been brought to them: parents rejoiced over their children as if they had again been born, and husbands rejoiced over their wives, and wives over their husbands.  The workings of God were then seen in His sanctuary (Ps. 68:24), the Lord’s Day was a delight (Isa. 58:13), and His tabernacles were amiable (Ps. 84:1).”

Perhaps you live in a place that needs to be filled with the presence of God, with the joy and love that comes from His presence?  Perhaps you dwell where “a great effusion of the Spirit of God” is desperately needed?  I live in such a place.  The church I shepherd is such a people.  My own home is such a place.  Indeed, my very soul needs this renovating, reviving work of God.
Consider this supernatural work at its height:

“This work seemed to be at its greates height in this town in the early part of the spring, in March and April.  At that time, God’s work in the conversion of souls was carried on among us in such a wonderful manner that, so far as I can judge, it appears to have been at the rate of at least four people a day, or nearly thirty in a week, for five or six weeks in a row.  When God took the work in His own hands in such a remarkable manner, there was as much done in a day or two as was usually done in a year with all the effort and blessing that are usually allotted to men.”

My soul cries out, “God take this work in your own hands!”  Can you imagine a season where at least four people per day every day are born again by the Spirit’s working?!  And that for five or six weeks!  I would rejoice if it were just one day–today.  I’d be overcome if it were a week.  But I’d lose my mind with joy to know weeks or months of Spirit-wrought revival, a great in-gathering of souls for our Savior!

Oh, come Lord Jesus!  Revive your people and renew sinners!  Bring in the ransomed with a great demonstration of your Spirit’s power.  Come, Lord Jesus, come!

Why Church Planting? New England

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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)