Ways to Pray
- Pray for Abby and I as we visit family in KY through Jan 3.
- Pray that the Lord will lay a particular New England area on our hearts for a new church.
- Pray for Michael as he begins to fill the pulpit at the Baptist Fellowship of Randolph in Randolph, VT on January 7th (with a couple other NETS guys).
- Pray for Abby as she carries our second baby! (Due June 7th)
- Pray that the Lord would continue to prepare our family for ministry in a hard context.
These past few months have been incredible and exhausting. Since our last update in October I’ve traveled to Kentucky, Texas, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. Abby and I went though a week long church-planters assessment center. I’ve been in transition to become the Youth Pastor at our church, beginning to plan, lead, and teach. I’ve also continued my Residency with NETS (which includes the YP position) to prepare to birth a new church in New England in an area where there is no gospel presence (people actually don’t know who Jesus is!). But the Lord is our sustenance, and all this work serves to broaden my shoulders so the we will hit the field with plenty of stamina and an eagerness for people to know Jesus Christ our Lord!
With all that in mind, here is a bit of what I’ve been up too!
Converge Church Planting Assessment
In the last week of October Abby and I flew to Texas, along with two intern families to take part in a Church Planter’s Assessment put on by Converge (The Baptist General Conference). Our church is dually aligned with both Converge and the Southern Baptist Convention and we will be assessed by both denominations before we head to the field.
We had a very fruitful week. Eleven families were assessed by ~22 assessors, who had all either planted churches themselves or have denominational involvement. I preached, cast vision for a new church, had mock evangelism encounters, took part in group projects where the assessors could watch how we work together, and Abby and I underwent a series of interviews. We walked away with a positive assessment, some things to work on, and some new friends.
What I’m Learning in Student Ministry
As I continue to transition into our student ministry, I’m growing in all kinds of ways.
Our Youth Group has an incredible Adult Ministry Team, people who have committed for the year to invest in the students and bear significant weight at all our events. They make it easy, but I’m learning to empower and mobilize others, a crucial skill for an aspiring church-planter (really for any pastor!). You can just get more work done with a team than by yourself, which equates to more gospel ministry. Last week we just pulled off our Christmas Coffeehouse Event. It’s our largest event of the year (besides the summer youth retreat) and the event that draws the most visitors! The picture at the top of the post is from that night and pictures Richard, myself, and our Student Ministry Team. Here’s another gem!
We currently have two teaching series: The Doctrine(s) of GRACE, where we are teaching the basic elements of the gospel, and Christianity Engaged, where we investigate how the Bible informs current hot issues, such as Racism, the LGBTQI movement, and Environmentalism. We teach anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and that means one thing: you have to be interesting! I’m continually trying to develop more connection value when I preach, and the feedback and practice I get from the student talks is so valuable to further that along.
Travel During November
During November we traveled to Boston for the Baptist Convention of New England and to Providence for the Evangelical Theological Society. The BCNE is our regional gathering of the Southern Baptist Convention and was a great time to connect with other New England pastors.
ETS is a yearly gathering of Biblical Scholars from around the world. It was a great time to network and further our understanding of the scriptures. We were blessed to have dinner with Dr. John Hannah, a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary and a member of the NETS Board of Advisers, and his wife. They blessed us with much wisdom as we go forward as young pastors. I also got to catch up with Dr. Peter Gentry to whom I owe a majority of my seminary education. Fun fact: Dr. Gentry had Dr. Hannah as a professor at Dallas over forty years ago and this was the first time they’ve reconnected since!
We also made a stop at the First Baptist Church in America planted by Roger Williams in 1638!
Christmas Travel Plans
We just got home from our church’s Christmas Eve service, and as I’m finishing up this post, we are packing for our flight to KY tomorrow morning, Christmas Day. We will be between Paducah and Elizabethtown the 25th-3rd, and though we will largely be visiting family, we’d love to see you too! If you’d like to get together, let us know and we can try to make something happen!
Thank you for your continued support and prayer and Merry Christmas!
With all our love,