what's our big dream?
To see God transforming every neighborhood and institution in Greater Boston through locally-focused congregations who live and love in such a compelling and Christ-like way that our neighbors are challenged to seriously consider the claims of Christ, be reconciled to God, engage in Christian community, and serve others in the unique ways God designed them to, so that Boston becomes a "city on a hill" that will be a blessing to the world.
how do we pursue this vision?
Connecting to God Personally, God's People, & God's Purposes
what keeps us on track?
GRACE. We can spend a lot of our lives hiding our true selves - especially the broken and weak parts - as we try to earn approval in this world. The community we are cultivating is a safe place to come as you are. That's because the God we are connecting with knows all about our struggles and sin, and loves us anyways! In fact, God does amazing things through ordinary, imperfect people all the time. Connection with God and his people is not something we earn - it is a free gift. It's what we call grace. Connecting with God is all about freedom from shame, condemnation, and the need to boast. Grace is how we connect.
Ephesians 2:8-9: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast."
COMMUNITY. We can be surrounded by other people, yet struggle with loneliness. We all long to know the intimacy and loyalty that comes with belonging to a family. And that's because we are made in the image of God. God's very being is a lively community: an unbreakable fellowship between Father and Son animated by their shared Spirit. What's the Spirit of God all about? The Spirit is like that invisible bond that draws together a family, leading them to sacrifice and forgive one another in unexpected ways. Or like that uncontainable, infectious laughter around a family dinner table that unfolds unto new heights of joy and gladness. To be connected to God, and become a member of the body of Christ, is to be adopted into a Spirit-filled, close-knit loving family where we can begin to discover and practice what love really means. Community is what we get connected to.
John 13:34-35: "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
MINISTRY. How did God show us grace and connect us to community? By serving us. In Jesus, God did an unlikely thing. He took on human flesh and carried the burdens of those he loves. He served us and washed our feet. He sacrificed everything so that we might discover life again. The church is not a corporation that ministers to its members, but members who minister to God and others in the name of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. We seek to minister in a way that God can use to breathe new life in the lives of others. As a local church, our goal is not to exist for ourselves, but to serve our local community, to serve greater Boston, and to even be a blessing to the entire world. Our greatest purpose in this life is to discover the unique gifts God gave each of us and to use those to serve God's purposes. Ministry is what we do as a community.
Romans 12:4-5: "For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others."
Ephesians 2:10: "For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do."
EVANGELISM. We believe the biggest difference you can make in this world is not about compiling a list of individual accomplishments, but the legacy you offer to others. God has freely given us so much. God has shared his unconditional love for us sinners in Jesus Christ. God has freely given us his Spirit to work change in us and among us. God has connected us to community. Our call is to freely share what we have freely received. We want our words and actions to be "good news" to those around us. For us, "evangelism" is not about arguing and convincing, but really all about relationships. It is about praying for our neighbors and friends, about listening to one another's stories and questions. It is about sharing our stories of how God's love sustained us in times of darkness, about extending an invitation to get connected to a gracious God. Evangelism is how we make new connections.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19: "All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation."
RELEVANCE. The task of the local church is to speak and enact the "good news" of God's love in Jesus in ways that are accessible, recognizable, and winsome to the culture in which it lives. But cultures are diverse and constantly changing. So every congregation must contextualize God's good news for the specific people they have been called to serve. The "good news" is neither good nor newsworthy if it does not speak to the struggles and questions that animate our communities, or if it is expressed in ways our neighbors cannot connect with. Rather than seeking to discover the "ideal" church model, we realize that all areas of our church life are to be subject to reconsideration so as to best minister to an ever-evolving culture. We are committed to careful but continual creativity, prayerful innovation, theological reflection, cultural sensitivity, and spiritual discernment in each step of our life together. Relevance is how we can keep connecting.
1 Corinthians 9:19-23: "Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I become weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that i may share in its blessings."