Church Planting in New England

10/2/19 | The Pulse 2019, The Pulse - 2019.40 Issue 40 | by Pastor Tim Monahan

    Church Planting in New England

    LET ME TAKE A SECOND to introduce myself, my name is Tim Monahan. I am the lead Pastor of BeFree Somersworth, a small church plant of about sixty people in the blue-collar city of Somersworth, NH. We are trying to engage a community that is highly transient and underprivileged.

    Somersworth is sandwiched between two larger cities, by New Hampshire standards, that seemingly have ‘everything’ from the eyes of the locals. As a body we ask ourselves each month, “are we the church that Somersworth needs?” To be honest, I believe sometimes we fail, as we all do. However, we do not live in our failure, but in the freedom we have in Christ. I believe that our church body is committed to the community to be a gospel presence in Somersworth.

    Why do I write this? Well, I believe that Somersworth is just a microcosm of New England. When I think about New England there are a couple things that come to mind.  We are a proud, hardworking, ‘prove it to me’ kind of people. Our roots go back to the early 1600’s and so we take pride in how we have made it work. We’ve survived in a place where the winters are brutal, and the nights come faster than we would all like. We’ve thrived in the heat and glory of the summer sun, albeit as short as the season is. New Englanders are a people that make you prove yourself, then prove yourself again, and when you think you’re in we ask just one more time that you prove who you say you are. We are a group of people unified in mindset of individuality, stubbornness and oh, a few sports teams.

    What does all this have to do with Church Multiplication Sunday? Great question. Church Multiplication Sunday is an awesome opportunity for us both locally, within the New England District, and nationally to be united in one voice in prayer for God to raise up workers for the harvest. The need for this type of intercession and community in churches is exponentially growing. We lack a pipeline of people ready to plant churches in New England. We lack churches on mission together and bodies who get discouraged because the soil is just so dang hard here in New England. Let’s be honest, church planters are not flocking to New England excited about all the potential that exists here. Much to our dismay, people are planting in much higher percentage far away from New England. 

    However, what if we began to use what we know to be true about New England…to begin to press in on the mission to bring Gospel communities to our little corner of the country.  Take a look at this recently released Barna study...go ahead, I’ll wait.

    What do you see?  Discouragement, Angst, Sadness. Instead, what if we see potential, hope and a ripe field for us to engage together. Jesus, over and over, made it clear to those who were following and listening to him that he did not come for the healthy but those in need of a physician. I look out my window, and if you read that Barna study you can probably look out your window and now see the potential for Gospel transformation right next door.

    So, what can we do? Well, let’s start the conversation and acknowledge, first, it isn’t about us or our little kingdoms. It's about declaring the hope and freedom of Jesus Christ to the broken people we see each and every day in our lives.

    Let us join together on October 6, 2019 with the EFCA for Church Multiplication Sunday. Each district has sent in items that we could join together in covering with prayer. I've listed the three things in New England for us to recognize and engage in prayer together. 

    1. The soil is dry in New England. Pray that God would raise up 1-3 individuals who have a passion to plant and to see Gospel Transformation happen anywhere in New England.
    2. Pray that, as we address our lack of a pipeline and planters for New England churches, people would be led to mobilize to raise up and partner with each other and young new leaders who may arise.
    3. Pray for steadfastness of those who have planted churches in the last few years. Pray that they would not be isolated in their current season and would experience peace as they continue to press into the difficulty of church planting.

    Please understand, I am not claiming to have it all together or limiting what we can do in our local contexts around this Sunday. Also, I’m not restricting it to this one Sunday in October. My prayer is that this is just the beginning of the conversation...that through this small note or Church Multiplication Sunday, you and your local church communities will be inspired and engaged to see the name of Jesus made great, no matter the cost.