I am pumped about the plans a young Highland couple, Chrissy and Steve Holt, have in the near future. I'm going to include below some words they've written about "Harvest Boston," but you can read much more at www.harvestboston.blogspot.com Feel free to ask any follow-up questions. I'll ask Steve to check in with the comments and respond. When I hear them talk, I think I envision the future look of the church: small groups that leak into the crevices of our cities, participating in the work of God that's already breaking out. If the fact hasn’t been clear all along, it should be now: North America is a mission field. Some estimate that the number of un-churched in the United States and Canada exceeds 250 million people, which is now the third-largest un-churched population in the world. In a post-Christian society – which the West is quickly becoming, if it isn’t already – slow change in the church will spell almost certain death. Healthy and mission-centered communities of Christ need to begin forming and reproducing at an unprecedented rate just to keep up with the millions born, the millions immigrating, and the millions leaving Christian churches in the United States every year. New England is one of the most un-churched regions in the nation. Both hailing from the East Coast originally, Chrissy and I decided to join God’s work in Boston, Massachusetts, beginning in the summer of 2006. We believe God has set us aside for simple, relational evangelism and church planting in New England. Our hope is that the Lord will use the Holts to facilitate the planting of a vibrant family of Jesus Christ within close reach — culturally and geographically — of every Bostonian. That means every diverse neighborhood, people group, and family system has the opportunity not only to hear the gospel of Jesus, but to join a community of Christ-followers not unlike themselves and committed to Kingdom expansion. Is this a lofty goal? You bet. But so was Christ's commission to “…make disciples of all nations…” in Matthew 28. I think a more appropriate model for our ministry may be in Luke 10, however: "The Lord now chose seventy-two other disciples and sent them on ahead in pairs to all the towns and villages he planned to visit. These were his instructions to them: ‘The harvest is so great, but the workers are so few. Pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest, and ask him to send out more workers for his fields. Go now, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves. Don't take along any money, or a traveler’s bag, or even an extra pair of sandals. And don't stop to greet anyone on the road. Whenever you enter a home, give it your blessing. If those who live there are worthy, the blessing will stand; if they are not, the blessing will return to you. When you enter a town, don't move around from home to home. Stay in one place, eating and drinking what they provide you. Don't hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve their pay. If a town welcomes you, eat whatever is set before you and heal the sick. As you heal them, say, 'The Kingdom of God is near you now.’” Until God leads us in another direction, we believe we are being sent out like Jesus sent the seventy-two: as a pair. This does not weaken our team; instead, the smaller size strengthens our team, makes it more mobile, and fosters a united vision that is more difficult in larger teams. We are not going this alone, however. Edification and community are vital in the lives of missionaries, especially in large, unfamiliar cities. We were blessed to meet several other church planters on our research trip in April who are in the Boston metropolitan area, and have even become friends with a team of several Harding University students who will begin their ministry in Boston next summer. Our future Christian community and accountability network seems to grow each day as we learn of more and more that God is doing on the East Coast. Logistically, when we arrive in Boston I will work full-time and Chrissy will begin a MBA program in non-profit management at a local university. My undergraduate degree is in print journalism, so I am currently seeking writing or editing positions with companies or weekly publications. Chrissy’s heart is in managing an existing non-profit organization or helping to establish a new one. Because we do and will not separate our lives from ministry, we believe the evangelistic connections we make will come in the natural rhythms of our lives: in work, in study, and in play. For this reason, our church form will take a simple, relational structure. We believe “authentic faith communities” will pop up wherever we intentionally announce the kingdom of God, whether in our home, the home of a neighbor, on a lunch break at work, or in a local coffee shop. Our formal missions training has largely been in forming spiritual friendships that lead to the establishment, nurturing, and reproduction of house or “simple” churches. We believe this form is especially functional in a densely populated urban center of North America like Boston. Our ultimate aim is not to baptize as many people as we can or even to plant a single church, but to be a part of the in-breaking of the reign of God wherever we are — work, school, home. We want to serve people, declaring to them the coming of a “new order” — the reign of God — and invite them into the exciting existence of living in full participation with and submission to that reign. This is a kingdom life that values justice, service, sanity, spiritual disciplines, hospitality, community, non-violence, and mission, among many other things. We believe the kingdom life described above, the life described in the book of Acts, will be good news — “gospel” — to a widow neighbor, a newspaper editor, or maybe a MBA student in Boston.