During my first six months on the job, my number one priority has been to build friendships with the pastors of GBBA churches. I’ve met these leaders for lunch on weekdays and have often visited two and sometimes three churches over a weekend. I want to share with you some of my first impressions:
One of GBBA’s greatest strengths is the many exceptional pastors and church planters in our association.
In my encounters with GBBA pastors, I have been deeply impressed by their preaching gifts, their bold and innovative approach to ministry and their passion to see others find Jesus. These skilled leaders are building vibrant churches in hard and unlikely places. They are a gold-mine of spiritual and practical wisdom. As we go forward as a network of churches, we should rely on these gifted leaders to teach us their insights for innovative and effective ministry. What a valuable asset they are to all of us!
Another great strength of GBBA is our significant ethnic diversity, which makes us very well-suited to our task.
Did you know that overall, more than 27% of Bostonians are foreign-born? In some neighborhoods in and around our city between 30% and 60% are foreign-born! This means that the only way to win our ethnically diverse city and its suburbs is to deploy an army of ethnically diverse, gospel-centered churches. And that is precisely what God is doing with GBBA! Of the 125 churches and/or missions in our association, 72 of them (57%) are non-English-speaking ethnic churches.[i] Our churches are deployed in every major ethnic group in our city. We may have challenges learning to communicate with one another, but we must never lose sight of the fact that our diversity is a huge strength that makes GBBA remarkably well-matched to our mission field.
We are living in momentous days and the GBBA has a vital role to fill.
Due to the initiative of our North American Mission Board, more churches are being planted in Greater Boston and the kingdom of Christ is advancing at a greater pace than at any time since the days of the Great Awakenings. In these incredibly momentous days the GBBA has a vital role to fill: For infant churches to thrive, the ongoing nurture and encouragement of fellow pastors and the continued support of fellow churches is essential. And our network of churches is especially equipped to do that very thing! So, GBBA, we have a monumentally important task! Let’s work together and get the job done!
[i] As of December 2015, there are 125 churches and/or missions affiliated with GBBA: 46 are Anglo/Multi-cultural, English-speaking; 7 are African American, English-speaking. The remaining 72 churches (57%) are ethic: Arabic (2), Bengali (1), Cambodian (2), Chinese (2), Filipino (1), Haitian (24), Hispanic (18), Indian (1), Korean (5), Liberian (1), Nepalese (3), Portuguese (11) and Russian (1).