CAMBRIDGE, MA – They would not have met otherwise. Tonight, they are eating cannolis together at the famous Mike’s Pastries in the North End of Boston’s downtown.
Sometimes that is what it takes for a pastor in Texas to really understand what church planting in Boston is like. Other leaders came from other states too. Five men in all, they came for a two-day vision tour September 17 and 18 to meet with almost a dozen planters from the Greater-Boston area.
“It is great to be able to come and just get our feet on the ground,” said one pastor, this one from Tennessee.
They were all in Boston for the event hosted by Curtis Cook and Joe Souza. Both are pastors in Boston. Both serve also as North American Mission Board ambassadors. Cook, of Hope Fellowship in Cambridge where the event was held, is officially Boston’ s SEND NA City Coordinator, while Souza, from Celebration Church in Saugus, is Boston’s Lead Church Planting Catalyst. These are the men charged and called to assist church planters both coming to Boston, and maybe just as importantly staying in Boston.
“Our new church failure rate over the last five years has been zero percent,” Souza said, as he addressed the group.
The emphasis is on long-term partnerships. And praise the Lord, through Cook’s efforts and with some help from other state conventions, the second of two visions tours this year was a blessing to all those involved.
“I am excited to be here,” said a pastor from North Carolina. “We are here to ask God how our church can be on mission specifically in this place.”
They met in the church. They rode on the T together, and had dinner together in Boston. Altogether, it was just maybe six or eight hours. But the new relationship can last a lifetime, and impact lives for the kingdom exponentially.
“Long-term partnerships are the key,” Souza said. “We cannot rely on NAMB funding to get these guys to that five-year mark. It has to be a combination of a maturing congregation, NAMB support and mainly outside partners who can help carry the load.
“I am praying all the time for more and more solid partnerships. And praise the Lord, through these vision tours and other ways, we are seeing real fruit.”