Gathering the Study the Gospel of Christ in the Gospel of Mark

On October 7, the core group (and, Lord willing, many visitors) will be gathering to begin our first study as the church plant to be known as Christ Community Church in Newton, MA. For info on why Mark’s Gospel, how you can pray, and other pertinent info, go here.

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Fumbling and Trusting

As we have settled in Newton, MA, much of my posting will be originally assigned to the pastoral blog of the Christ Community Church website (still somewhat under construction).  I highly recommend your visitation.  In fact, this is your invitation.  For two other brothers much greater than I, Erik Schaefer and Joe Keune, will be blogging there as well on everything from pastoral ministry to biblical counseling to mission in Newton and to the nations.  However, my posts there, I’ll link here.  And I’ll continue to write here occasionally, while also linking up to other thoughts that I think will be tasteful food for your hearts and lives.

Go here to read Fumbling and Trusting, a brief synopsis of our discovered weakness in Christian mission and how this realization is the best place to be, for there God’s power is made perfect.

Please continue to pray for us, especially for our faith, holiness, love and unity in the Spirit.  Pray also for our first Bible study, beginning October 7.

Bringing More Gospel to Newton-Boston

Two years ago to the month, we decided to church plant in the Greater Boston area. My wife, Jenny, and I hail from South Carolina — and her accent is thicker than Andy Griffith’s. Joe and Melissa Keune are from the St. Louis area of Missouri.  And Erik and Anna Schaefer are moving to Newton, a suburb of Boston, with us from South Dakota and Iowa, respectively.  We come from different states and parts of the country, so various cultures, speaking accents, favorite sports, favorite sports teams, varying preferences concerning the weather, ideal temperatures and seasons of the year. We come from different home lives, economic situations, and stations in life. And yet we have somehow come together.

We have come together to leave what is comfortable to us, to leave family and friends, to leave present securities. We have come together to pull up our stakes and move them to Newton, MA, 6-7 miles southwest of Boston, one week from tomorrow. We have come together to church plant, to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to Newton and the nations, to live and die for the sake of Christ and His church.  Is this explainable? Of course.

We have come together because, though our differences remain, the gospel has bound our hearts to Christ and to one another.  The gospel, as always, is greater than our differences.  Indeed, it accentuates them, while bringing them under a single, transcendent banner: the gospel and glory of Christ. The grace that we have received from God in the gospel of Jesus Christ has brought us together in the same body and, through the new birth, made us to be of one great household. And so by God’s providence, we have come together to work out our sojourning, our going outside the gate to Christ, our gospel ministry in Newton and the surrounding area of Greater Boston.

We are aspiring to bring the gospel to Newton, and praying that God would give us that land as we follow Christ. What once seemed very far off is now a mere 8 days from reality. As we approach our move, I would ask you to consider a few things:

1. You can pray for us.  Having found housing, we are most immediately in need of jobs that will provide suitable resources for our families and strategic advantages for the advancement of the gospel. We have written a prayer guide also that you can use as you serve us and the kingdom of Christ in this way. Simply leave a comment to this post with an email address, and I’ll gladly send this to you.

2. You can partner with us in the grace of giving. While we will be transitioning out of fund-raising life support over the next 5 years and moving towards financial stability as a congregation, we will still be actively pursuing partners — individual brothers and sisters, and gospel-centered churches — as we are getting our feet under us. If you would like to give to Christ Community Church, email me at brianrmahon@gmail.com or christcommunityma@gmail.com.

3. You can connect us with other believers in and around Boston. It is amazing how many people we know know people in Boston. If you know of believers in the area who may be struggling to find a healthy body of believers, and you think they might be helped by Christ Community Church, let them know we will be on the scene by September 1, and that we would love to sit down with them and be of some gospel encouragement to them. If this is the case, see the email addresses above.

4. You can connect us with unbelievers in and around Boston. Wonderfully, this is already happening, and we desire it more and more.  We are moving to find Christ’s people and bring them into His sheepfold. Again, see the email addresses above if you think of someone in this condition and would like for us to meet up with them once we arrive.

5. You can connect us with local churches.  We desire to be tethered in partnership with Christ-treasuring, Christ-proclaiming local churches.  Healthy churches are a source of great encouragement, wisdom, spiritual gifts and abilities, saints, prayers and various other kingdom-advancing resources.  If you think of a church, whether your own or another that you think might be a good partner for us, please let us via email at the addresses given above.

If you have any further thoughts or questions, feel free to comment to this post and I’ll get to them as soon as possible.

Trusting in His might,

Your servant in the Lord,

Brian R. Mahon

11 Reasons Why Working With Kids Is Not Second Rate Ministry, by Brent Osterberg

Sadly, children’s ministry in the local church can often be seen as second rate ministry, not much more than crowd control and waiting out the clock. This can be seen on the occasions when members looking to move on to bigger and better things will see children’s church or AWANA as merely something to cut their teeth on. Or when the church leadership, in a desperate attempt just to fill the volunteer gaps, will try and make children’s ministry as burden-less and non-committal as possible. Then, of course, there are those who take a shift with the kiddos just because they feel like they have to do something to serve.

Truth be told, I’ve thought all these things at one time or another over the years. Only now that my wife and I have kids of our own have I realized the crucial role that children’s ministry plays in the lives of the kids it serves, their families, and the church.

So then, in the hopes that more Christians and churches will begin cherishing this ministry and investing in it more copiously, here are 11 reasons why children’s ministry is not second rate ministry:

Go here for his 11 insightful reasons.

How the Gospel Changes Our Apologetics, Part 1, by Tim Keller

Apologetics is an answer to the “why” question after you’ve already given people an answer to the “what” question. The what question, of course, is “What is the gospel?” But when you call people to believe in the gospel and they ask, “Why should I believe that?” —then you need apologetics.

I’ve heard plenty of Christians try to answer the why question by going back to the what. “You have to believe because Jesus is the Son of God.” But that’s answering the why with more what. Increasingly we live in a time in which you can’t avoid the why question. Just giving the what (for example, a vivid gospel presentation) worked in the days when the cultural institutions created an environment in which Christianity just felt true or at least honorable. But in a post-Christendom society, in the marketplace of ideas, you have to explain why this is true, or people will just dismiss it.

Go here for the first part of this blog series by Keller at City to City.

10 Reason to Underprogram Your Church, by Jared C. Wilson

I’m a devotee the “simple church” concept, but I have experienced just how daunting a task it can be to lead the under-programming of my church. We are inundated constantly with opportunities for activity from other churches (which we don’t want to turn down lest we appear uncooperative and standoffish), advertised “movements” local and national (which are good at getting people excited and distracted), and “good ideas” from our own community (which we are reluctant to deny lest we break someone’s heart). But what all this so often amounts to is a church that is merely busy, and busy does not always equal diligent or faithful.

For his ten reasons, go here.

Wanted: Apostolic Pastors, by Mark Dever

And how can we lead our congregations to enlarge their vision and be excited for gospel work in our areas?

  • Pray privately for other local pastors and congregations.
  • Set an example for our churches by publicly praying for God’s blessing on other Bible-believing and Bible-preaching churches in our area.
  • Encourage ministers of other evangelical denominations to preach from time to time in our pulpits. As occasion may arise, accept invitations to preach in theirs.
  • Invite a fellow pastor to your church’s prayer meeting. Interview him about the work in his congregation, and pray for him and his church.
  • Discipline yourself to speak well of other churches. If a warning must be given, speak with great care.
  • Be willing to encourage members who live a distance from your church to join likeminded congregations closer to their home.

There is so much you can do!

For the rest of Dever’s call for the pastors to think outside the four walls of their own church, go here.