Ministry during the Coronavirus Epidemic

A colleague in ministry asked me to comment on this for the purpose of a presentation she was doing. These were my comments to her with some editing and minor changes.

Jean,

I see the international student population as one sector of a much larger missional opportunity/responsibility found in the global city. Many cities in the United States are in some ways more connected globally than they are regionally. However, as the coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated, large cities affect the surrounding areas as the coronavirus spread from global cities to global cities and then into less globalized areas. In fact, the spread of the coronavirus is an illustration of the B&B strategy of ministering in strategic cities, in order to minister to the world. By ministering the gospel in globalized cities, the gospel more naturally spreads globally (just like the coronavirus). This phenomenon is the result of the globalization of the city. Many cities are connected to other international cities by various populations including; academics, immigrants, refugees, business people, tourists, sport communities and government workers. When we touch any one of these communities, we potentially touch the world. It is my belief, for several reasons, that the city is God’s Great Commission gift to the body of Christ. That is to say, our Savior is building His promised church by gathering the world into strategic places called cities, and, therefore, Great Commissioned -minded people should discern the movement of God and join Him. 

The questions in my mind are these: 1) How has the coronavirus affected recent ministry in the city? 2) How are we responding to these challenges? 3) Will there be long term detrimental effects to ministering to the global community as a result of the coronavirus? 4) What are some lessons we have learned during this time of quarantine?

  1. How has the coronavirus affected recent ministry in the city?

It has severely limited personal contact with anyone. One strength of the city is the density of the human population. This density allows us to connect with many different people groups in a short span of time. Just out our door (literally) the world is walking by, and we have the real potential of ministering the gospel to them. This pandemic has brought all of that to a screeching halt. Social distancing is not a ministry tool. 

  1. How are we responding to these challenges?

One thing that we are doing is ministering in a deeper way to those with whom we already have connection. It has been a good time to show the love of God by looking after one another, whether with a Christian or a not-yet-Christian. Caring for folks from the heart with deeds of thoughtfulness helps prepare the ground for a gospel witness. Focusing on those whom we are already ministering will many times lead to new friends interested in learning about God. Since this allows the ministry of the gospel to naturally flow from one person to the next, it is a very healthy way to go about ministry. We have seen this happen during this time of quarantine. 

Since our ministry has always used online tools extensively, it has been relatively easy to do more of the same. In fact, several individuals and families who have left the ministry here to go to other parts of the country/world have checked in to our weekly online services. This has been very edifying to all involved. 

  1. Will there be long term detrimental effects to ministering to the global community as a result of the coronavirus?

I do not think so for a several reasons: a. Cities are too invested in the global community to allow for large scale change now. They can’t afford not to be globalized. b. Cities are a major part of the history and story line of the Bible, beginning in Genesis and finishing, literally, at the end of Revelation. It doesn’t seem biblically possible for cities to become less than globalized at this point in history. c. The plagues of the Tribulation do not appear to be of the same sort as the coronavirus. This leads me to suspect that we as a human race (God’s image bearers) will figure out ways to overcome this type of pandemic. d. Cities have suffered through worst pandemics than the coronavirus and have survived, indeed flourished, afterwards. In summary, I think the new normal will be mostly like the old normal. 

  1. What are some lessons we have learned during this time of quarantine?

This has been a difficult time for me (Bill)—some days up, some days down. Deb and I moved from 1,900 sq. ft. a year ago to being quarantined in 311 sq. ft. this year. We did not come to the city to practice social distancing. This made for a spiritual battle for me with serious ebbs and flows. I have often asked myself, “How do I join God in this?” I have even been disenfranchised with the city and the people of the city. I have felt that the local leadership given has been at times inadequate, and the herd mentality that followed that leadership disillusioning. Yet, I do pray and respect those in governmental positions charged with my care–that is to say, things are frustrating. This has been a time of waiting on God, a pause if you will, stranger than most things I have experienced. I guess a lesson that has been reinforced is my need to trust Him even when I don’t understand what He is doing. This has been a strange time when we just had to stop, sit down and think or do nothing at all. I like thinking, but after a while…. It has also been reinforced in my life and thought process that while much can and should be accomplished with online tools, personal physical presence is also very important. As one person put it, “Those with whom we fellowship online are like the stars of heaven—they always shine brightly, but we still need a hug once in a while!” One other lessen that was re-enforced in my life is the conviction that God created me to engage people with the gospel, not cloister in a monastery. God made me in the mold of Philip the evangelist, so no MONKeying around😊  

Hope this helps,

Bill

Boston and Beyond

Fellow-workers for the Truth,

One of the five responsibilities Deb and I have for the B&B globalized cities initiative is to recruit the workers. In order to accomplish our God-given goal of making disciple in all nations, by ministering in key cities, we need to recruit three kinds of workers.  Firstly,  we need tent makers, those who use a secular vocation to minister in the city.  Secondly, we need professional workers who pursue a career in strategic cities and become part of the B&B ministry team in that city.  Thirdly,  we need occupational Christian workers who will minister the gospel full time, moving from city to city as part of B&B church planting teams. 

There are two new couples in Boston, one who came as tent makers, the others as interns. The Lord has provided both couples with employment. They are slowly adapting to city life. One couple has joined the church and the other couple is contemplating joining. One couple will be here for a year, while the other will remain indefinitely.  Please pray for these two young couples, who have bravely, with resolute hearts, moved to Boston in obedience to the Great Commissioner. 
We also have two individuals who are raising support to come to Boston.  Jean Tsen has around 43 percent of her support and is praying for 50% by the end of August. Andrew Eddy has just finished candidate seminar with Baptist Mid Missions and is just beginning his deputation ministry.  Deputation is difficult and can be discouraging. Please pray for Jean and Andy as they move forward with the Lord. 

There are others who are considering serving the Lord with B&B. Please pray that God will make His way known to them. 

We need to recruit more workers, and the way we do so is multifaceted, including speaking in churches, using social media, and presenting B&B at Bible colleges, seminaries, and Christian colleges. Deb and I desire to speak and be present in churches and educational institutions who are interested in B&B. Please pray that connections with like-minded institutions will be made, and that individuals will be recruited for gospel ministry in the cities of our world. 

Answered Prayer

A church has supplied our need for an expandable table, which we will receive in the middle of September. In addition, another church is contemplating helping us with our very compact chairs, which we need for our expandable table. Our cocoon of a home, in the middle of the city, is being outfitted to impact the people of the world who live here—Praise the Lord! 

Prayer Calendar


Retreat, Refuel, Repeat: Deb and I are leaving for two weeks away.  We will celebrate Deb’s dad’s 90th birthday on Friday in Williamsburg, Iowa. From there, we will travel to be with family in South Carolina, and  hope to follow this with a time with more family in Jackson Hole. While in Jackson, Wyoming, I will work on my Life Organizational Accountability Plan (LOAP). This discipline, which I work through periodically, controls all our activity. Please pray as it is updated.   

There will be no prayer letter while we are away. 

September 13: Mid-Autumn Chinese Festival celebrated by the IBC. We meet many new friends at this activity

October 28-31: Missionary Conference at Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary. 

Support Information


For more information concerning our monthly support needs, you can go to Bill and Deb’s Website for Supporters and click on the Financial Information tab.

Boston and Beyond

2019-08-14

The International Baptist Church an orthodox Christian association

When the IBC an OCA became a church, it was my idea that we would be called The Orthodox Baptist Church. However, since we are a Baptist church, more reasonable heads prevailed, but I was still able to retain the word orthodox in the subtitle:-) 

I like the word orthodox because, in my mind, it ties us into that part of the historical church which has always retained its orthodoxy (its correct understanding and presentation of Christianity). The word orthodox also communicates our desire to maintain the Faith once delivered–that we are serious about what we believe. 

The IBC is built upon that orthodox foundation, and that is why we are determined to minister to the whole community of Boston: rich and poor, sophisticated and simple-minded, up and outer, down and outer, both the ethnic, as well as the international diversity of Boston. 

Dream with us about what this would mean. What a testimony it would be to a world at war with itself, to observe an international church, where there is righteousness, peace and brotherly love built upon the Word of God and the saving power of the blood of Christ. How powerful that testimony would be as its witness expands to other lands by means of globalized cites. This is a dream which is worth becoming fellow laborers. Strive together with us in prayer. 

This last Sunday, after an exciting summer of ministry, the IBC an OCA, had the smallest attendance in a long time (just a handful of people). If one wasn’t paying attention, one would think we are far from the realization of our dream. But it isn’t true. We have made giant measurable steps in the right direction. If we stay focused on who we are, on what we believe, and on our God-given goal, (reaching the world in Boston in order to reach the world outside of Boston), we will be fine, victorious.

Please pray for each member of our church family and ministry team. Pray that we will have eyes of faith to see what God is doing. Please pray that we will continue to be consistent in our ministry vision and philosophy of ministry–that we will stay the course. Please pray, that we will be wisely diligent as we pursue joining our Savior in His work in the city. Pray that relationships will become Bible studies, and those in the Bible studies will become Christians. Pray that we have total victory. 


Prayer Calendar


Daily: Discipleship Studies 
Tuesday Mornings: Evangelistic Bible Study GoToMeeting.
Tuesday Evenings: Every other week, GoToMeeting Prayer for Boston and Beyond. 
Wednesdays: Deb and I meet with Pastor Toby and Susan Stevens for prayer and encouragement. 
Friday Nights: Evangelistic study in our home.
August 18: Sunday evening our ministry team will travel to Rochester, NH to minister in Community Baptist Church.
September 13: Mid-Autumn Chinese Festival celebrated by the IBC. We meet many new friends at these
October 28-31: Missionary Conference at Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary. 

Support Information


For more information concerning our monthly support needs, you can go to Bill and Deb’s Website for Supporters and click on the Financial Information tab.

Boston and Beyond 2019-07-08

Dear Fellow-workers for the Truth (3John8),

Recently a dear friend asked me why missionaries speak in churches. As a result, we have had an extensive study of missionary giving. The first lesson was from 3 John, which reminded me how dear each one of you are to Deb and me. We know that you are fellow-workers for the Truth—Thank you. 

Our ministry/life schedule is becoming steadily busier. Our days are filled with wonderfully important meetings, Bible studies, communications and interactions, but we are having difficulty managing it all. We need your prayers for wisdom to order our schedules. One part of ordering our schedules is making sure you have what you need from us, so you can pray for us. 

Our plan is to resume sending a short weekly prayer update covering the various aspects of our ministry lives: 1) personal needs 2) the five areas of Boston and Beyond that are simultaneously progressing 3) Our online ministry presence. 4) Our Urban Peaks ministry. Today I will just list the areas with a general prayer request. In subsequent weeks, one area will be highlighted.

Personal Needs: Spiritually, physically, and mentally fit so we can effectively minister and accomplish the stewardship God has given us.

Boston and Beyond—Ten churches in globally connected cities to reach all ten civilizations.  

International Baptist Church—A church which ministers to the whole world in Boston.

Evangelistic Ministry—Extensive International evangelistic relationships & Bible studies 

Recruiting—Tentmakers, Career oriented professionals, and vocational missionaries

DemographicStudies—The selection of the ten most strategic Great Commission Cities

Launching our Ministry Teams—The formation of ministry church planting teams

Online Ministry Presence—Website, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Blog, and Linkedin

Urban Peaks—Rock climbing ministry to underserved kids

Being efficient in all these areas will cause the gospel to take root in Boston and Beyond—Please Pray.

Praise the Lord—A supporting church has decided to give $2,000.00 dollars towards our collapsible tables, which designed for small places like our city apartment/cocoon. 

Additional Prayer Request—We need 12 chairs from Expand Furniture. They are very slim and easy to store. The total cost for the chairs $1,785.00  Slim chairs

We love You, 

Bill and Deb

Boston and Beyond

Boston and Beyond Presentation 

BMM General Council 

2019-03-07 

Dear Council Members,

Thank you for taking time to hear about the Boston and Beyond ministry plan. I am eagerly anticipating our collaboration and have been praying that our Father will grant us wisdom as Boston and Beyond is vetted, and hopefully, weaved into the fabric of Baptist Mid-Missions.  

Boston

Deb and I moved to Boston 20 years ago in order to minister the gospel to international students and scholars. Over the years, God has taught us that the academic community is only one part of what makes large cities important places to minister. Because large cities consist of immigrant communities, tourist industries, internationally integrated businesses and globally connected city governments, these cities are strategic hot spots for Great Commission ministry. In Boston, on any particular day, we can potentially touch any part of the world.

Boston and Beyond

However, ministry in Boston has not remained in Boston. [1]Our disciples leave Boston and take the gospel with them. Friends and family members have responded to Christ through their witness. By using video conferencing augmented with occasional visits, we have been able to help these disciples in their evangelistic and discipleship ministries. Individuals have become Christians and young Christians have been strengthened. By following gospel-centered relationships made in Boston, globally, we have been able to disciple into other parts of the world.

A Globalized[2]Cities Initiative

We see the potential to join these disciples in other globalized cities, helping them to be faithful to our joint calling of making disciples in all nations. The resulting plan is being called, Boston and Beyond a globalized cities initiative.  

The Plan

1.    Build the Church: We will continue to help establish the International Baptist Church (IBC), which is designed to minister to the whole demographic of Boston. The IBC will provide the foundation and launching pad, which these disciples will need, as they go home and duplicate what they have learned in Boston. 

2.    Evangelize the Nations: Our outreach to the global community of Boston will continue. The goal is to develop evangelistic relationships/Bible studies with individuals from all parts of the world.

3.    Recruit the Workers:  We will recruit and train church members, interns, and vocational missionaries to live and work in globalized cities, internationally. This training will take place in Boston. 

4.    Target Strategic Cities: Through relationships made in Boston and by means of demographic studies we will identify the most strategic cities internationally.

5.     Launch the Teams: Teams will be formed which will include vocational missionaries, church members, as well as international disciples made in Boston. These teams will travel to the strategic cities in order to network with existing churches and/or to start churches capable of ministering the Word of God to the surrounding areas.

During our twenty years in Boston, God has shown us that by ministering in Boston, the gospel will travel globally. Our desire is to accelerate by working with the body of Christ to disciple the world, starting in Boston, and then extending globally—Boston and Beyond.

Please help us, 

Bill and Deb


[1] By “Our disciples,” we are referring to those who have become Christians in Boston through the ministry to which God has called us. We understand that it is God who works in them, and that we are blessed to be used by Him to do so.

[2]A globalized city is technically defined as a city of at least one million which is connected internationally by human interactions.