Preparing to Plant: Boston
During the pandemic Cultivate New England (the partnership of our three New England churches) was able to move ahead with vetting a church planter—including assessment, candidating with supporting churches, and finally extending a call. Pastor Kristian Anderson and his wife Mary have accepted this call to plant a church in Boston.
Sensing a Call?
We are looking to identify, equip, and send church planters. Has God gifted you as a church planter or to be part of a team?
Does your congregation have a desire to sponsor or partner in the planting of CLB churches in neighboring communities?
We have a vision to plant 3 churches each year. Has God gifted you to be long-term prayer or financial partner in this effort?
Recurring gifts to North American Mission help us train and recruit church planters, as well as support existing church plant efforts.
NEW HOPE: PARKER, COLORADO
I collect sports cards. It’s a hobby I began as a kid. I picked it up again recently and have thoroughly enjoyed it. There’s a local card shop I go to, and I’ve gotten to know some of the other guys who frequent there. Local card shops are a “Cheers” of sorts in the sports card industry.
New Hope Church has two small groups that meet regularly. As a disciple-making church, one of the sayings we use frequently is: “Make disciples where you live, work, and play.” For me, the card shop is where I play.
I said to the Lord, when I started this hobby again, that there must be redeeming work in this, otherwise it won’t serve a good purpose. When you desire to make disciples, it’s a part of everything you do. I’ve been told we should be ready for what we pray for. Because when we pray to make disciples, we’re asking the Lord to send us into the harvest field.
Two men in the field are Chris and Mark.
Chris and I hit it off when we found a motherlode of Kobe Bryant rookie cards in the back of the card shop. We both happened to be there that day, and we each went home with a nice stash. As we talked and looked through cards, Chris expressed interest in getting together to see some of my collection. So we set a time and place to meet. My plan was to make this meeting about more than looking at cards. This was an opportunity to share my story: My story about Jesus in my life. So I did. Chris’ response was that his parents were pushing him to bring his family to church. When I mentioned we have a small group nearby, he was interested. But as often happens, initial interest didn’t turn into them showing up. There were reasons why they couldn’t come, and I didn’t hear from Chris for the next two months.
Little did I know that the Holy Spirit was working on him during that time away. The seed was planted, and Chris finally started bringing his family to a local church. Then I received his message: “We need to get together.” Long story short, as Chris sat in church, he was hearing the gospel, and he believed it. He needed to talk to me to get some things straight. So we met again. He needed to “repent,” but he didn’t know what that meant. He’d heard that the Bible was a good book to read, but he didn’t have one, other than his grandfather’s big old Catholic Bible. That day, Chris shared with me his struggles—what he needed to repent of. I listened. And then I shared with him the good news that God is faithful and just and will forgive him of his sins and purify him of his unrighteousness. Chris believed it. And he wanted more. So I asked if he wanted to continue to meet weekly. Hungry for the gospel, he was all over it. Then Mark came to mind.
I had met Mark at the card shop too. He’s a semi-retired hobby collector who also knows Chris. We began having conversations that matter when he mentioned his appreciation for the online catechism service I was posting during COVID. Growing up a Lutheran, Mark said it was fun to go through the material again. He was catching things he’d never thought of before. So when Chris showed excitement about getting together, I messaged Mark and asked if he wanted to join. He happily agreed, and a weekly discipleship group began.
With a COVID lockdown looming, it is a refreshing truth that the Word of God doesn’t lock down with the gathering restrictions. As a group of three, we can continue to meet, whether it’s at Starbucks, the card shop, or online via ZOOM. We can continue to grow in the truth of God’s Word, mature in his mission toward others, and pray for the other guys we know at the card shop.
Rev. Jason Rogness is the Church-Planting Pastor at New Hope Church in Parker, Colorado.
Epiphany Lutheran Church has faced a number of challenges common to city ministry, but COVID impacted this New York church significantly. We’ve seen the impact of thousands upon thousands moving out of the City, and part of that is the closing of church plants throughout the area.