09 Jun Seek the Kingdom First
As we head into week two of eight in Boston, I have been filled to the brim with gratitude and awe of the work the Lord has already done in this city and that we are privileged to participate in in the following weeks. As Micah, Brett, Abby, Joseph, and I seek to serve Redemption Hill Church (RHC) and Medford, Massachusetts, we are excited to build, establish, and nourish the relationships before us. The last two weeks have looked and felt differently than expected, but we have grown so much by living and dreaming like a missionary.
When the entire team arrived in Boston, we participated in the GenSend Orientation. There we were given so much perspective and wisdom about what it looks like to live on a mission in New England. As we dove into the summer, we longed to become Bostonians to the Bostonians, and to do that; we needed to adjust some perspectives from either growing up in the Bible Belt or living on a college campus. The verse that framed our thinking was Paul’s prayer in 1 Thessalonians 3:11-12
Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all?
Depending on your focus, there are many different strategies for seeking to engage the people here with the gospel, but in each one, our prayer is that we abound in love for them every step of the way. The people of Boston are individuals. In many public spaces, you see fast-moving, focused men and women walking with headphones and not seeking to interact with anyone around them. Restaurants are quick and efficient; the expectation is that you know what you want and you get out of the way for the next person. Public transportation and sidewalks are loud with everything but genuine conversation, and to step out of line is to act counter-culturally. Boston is fast-paced and purpose-driven, and because of that, one can look onto the mission field before them and be discouraged.
However, that is not all Bostonians. The people of Boston and the surrounding cities are also connected to group members and families. Our team is placed in Medford, Massachusetts, for most of the week, and this area is full of families and tribes. It is the fastest-growing city in the Northeast and in the top 15 fastest-growing large cities in the US. RHC meets in Medford High and has seen the tension of a Bostonian firsthand. While they have an often hard exterior, it is usually only a shell that longs to be broken with the gospel. Out of instinct, they present themselves in one light, but it often doesn’t take much to surprise them with acts of kindness or service. This is why we prayed to abound in love. This summer, we desire not to change the Bostonian way or bring the Southern mindset across state lines. We desire to love God so much that in our love for Him, we abound in love for the people of Boston. That we care for them and serve them, meeting them where they are and genuinely getting to know their story and life so far. Our prayer and hope is that we can speak without harshness the story that completely changed our lives.
In our first week, we sought to set our perspectives to understand rightly and believe in God’s love, letting that move us to love the lost radically. From these two, we pray that this love will transform us and overcome fear to the point that even fear of man or any other idol will not be enough to stop you. Practically this time looked like a lot of time in the word, prayer, and worship. We prayed over multiple parts of the city and asked God to reveal paths and people to intersect with the gospel. We took time to share testimonies of our stories with one another and spent time breaking bread with RHC members receiving wisdom and praying to be a part of God’s work in Boston this summer.
We desire to love God so much that in our love for Him, we abound in love for the people of Boston.
Our strategy and focus this summer is for this love to be the foundation and for high school and middle school students to be the tribe that carries the good news into the homes of Medford families. As we think of the demographic and draw of Medford, the mission in the youth population is clear. As we establish and begin rhythms of engagement with RHC Student ministry, we long to see every child attending experience Christ in a new light and become missionaries in their friend groups and sports teams. In the first couple of weeks, we’ve got the chance to reconnect and form new relationships with the RHC students and cultivate an energy of excitement for our planned summer plans, which will begin once they finish school. Through meetings and equip times, we’ve been able to cast a vision and plan for our engagement with the area’s high school and middle school students through various kids’ weeks, discipleship groups, and fellowship nights. While we are only in the city for eight weeks, our prayer is to form connections to RHC that’ll outlast our mission and further the kingdom beyond RHC’s.
The second avenue of strategy we employ is serving the city of Medford. Through a partnership with Mystic Community Market and Medford Housing Association, we are given many weekly and monthly opportunities to connect with the organizations already involved with the city and join alongside their work. In these spaces, you find people in physical and spiritual need that we are privileged to serve to meet those needs with goods and the gospel. At MCM, we have also been able to reconnect with previously fostered relationships with the incredible people of peace in all walks of life. In each place and group, we pray for the opportunity to love and share with those we are with and around.
Last but certainly not least, the final portion of our strategy includes joining and serving the body at RHC. Whether through kids’ Sunday school, AV team, Connection team, student ministry, set up and tear down, or any other need, we desire to pour into the local church and love them well. Most members of RHC have full-time jobs and families and still devote themselves to serving and even leading ministry teams within the church. They have a heart for missional living and long to see revival in their neighborhoods and workplaces. As we unite for the summer, our team desires to love them by allowing them time to rest in the summer months as much as we can provide. In our first weeks here, we have begun and sought to continue this process.
Overall, the heartbeat of our last two weeks has been aimed at making genuine moves to submit ourselves and our plans before the Lord so that we may love Boston well. We planned, equipped, prayed, studied, shared, and dreamed with the Spirit what the next six weeks could look like, and we’ve begun making moves to see those dreams unfold. It has been a whirlwind, but as I look back on our time so far, I am amazed at how much the Lord has taught me in such a short time. I have been reminded of how good and faithful the Father has always been. That He is worthy of my total reverence and worship, and that only through His grace am I able to come before Him. He has revealed his love for the people of Boston and convicted me of living with urgency and longing for them to experience that same love he freely gives. I could go on and on, but I will instead invite you to join me in praying for our team that we would seek Him in the large summer mission and the little daily missions before us. That we would love Him with everything we have. He will renew and direct our paths and lead us to people and conversations in which we can speak boldly of His goodness and gift of salvation. Thank you for the previous prayers, support, and wisdom poured into our team; we look forward to hearing how God has been moving at Crosspoint soon!
Grace be with you,