Community: One Thing I’m Thankful For

Last weekend, we had the incredible blessing of having Jeff and Nancy Clark of Mutual Faith Ministries visit our church. Jeff and Nancy have had an incredible influence in the life of my pastors Kent and Gina and our budding church plant Journey Church here in Harvard Square.

One of the things they asked was, “What changes have you noticed since the church launch?”

The one thing that stands out in my mind is that I have seen a shift from Sunday services to everyone doing community together throughout the week.

As I count my blessings this Thanksgiving, the Christian fellowship that is springing up at Journey Church is something I’m so thankful for.

I must admit, in past semesters, small groups have felt a bit “annoying;” and I wished that I could be other places rather than studying the bible with my brothers and sisters in Christ. In fact, it felt a bit like pulling teeth to get people to come out weekly. But there has been a distinct shift – we have gone from one small group to four, and two of the groups are going to continue meeting even though the required number of weeks has finished!

I shared a sermon last week on Christian fellowship, explaining the various ways that the first Christians practiced this koinonia in Acts 2:42-47. I also gave some examples as to how we can live out this koinonia in our lives today. I’d encourage you to listen to the sermon here:

http://jcboston.org/koinonia-essence-christian-fellowship/

May you and your family have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Journey Church Launch Report

Here’s the Journey Church Launch Report, compiled by my pastor Kent Murawski.

I’d definitely encourage you to check out his personal blog including his new devotional “Rest Assured” at http://kentmurawski.com

Blessings to you!

——-

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Wow, what can I say? God has blown us away. He has begun a miraculous work in our midst. Here are some amazing things that have been happening since the launch:

  1. New people are coming to Christ for the first time and/or recommitting their lives to Christ every week!
  2. We have grown by 66% with an average attendance of 50+ people
  3. We have welcomed 9 new members to Journey Church over the last few weeks through our Next Steps Growth Journey
  4. We’ve had our best semester of small groups ever! Around 50% of our church is currently engaged in a small group
  5. We’ve had an average of 6+ new guests each week since the launch several of whom have said they want to be a part of the Journey

With all these wonderful things happening, we feel the need for increased prayer. My primary prayer has been, “Lord, just don’t let me mess it up!”

Points of Prayer
Could you please pray for us in the following ways?

  • Pray that people would continue to come to Christ for the first time and others would be restored to a vibrant relationship with Jesus.
  • Pray that our momentum would continue throughout the fall and into the next season. I am asking God that we would see 80 people coming consistently by years end.
  • Pray for increased vision and clarity as I set aside time to seek the Lord concerning 2015
  • Pray for wisdom as I look to readjust some of our leadership structure for this new season.
  • Pray for me as I decide about whether or not to go back to work in the New Year. My desire would be to continue being full-time with the church.

Thank you for your partnership in making this launch a success. The best is yet to come! We love and appreciate each of you so much!

-Kent Murawski, http://kentmurawski.com

10 Days is Changing Lives in Boston And Across the Nation!

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Coordinators and regular participants from 10 Days Boston gathered together on October 17th for a culmination dinner to share stories of how God impacted our lives.  Here are a few testimonies:

Growth in Personal Relationship with God:

“My time alone with God was one of the most personal and intimate that I’ve had.” – Anne Freeman

“Many things were brought into my awareness and things hindering my relationship with God were broken off” – Anonymous

“I had a personal transformation in my understanding of people from the Orthodox and Catholic traditions, and I now understand how important it is to form alliances and friendships based around Jesus, not on our differences.” – Sung Yun Lee

Growth in understanding God’s work in Boston:

“Despite what people think, God is alive and well here. I love how God loves on His people.” – Derek Arledge

“I always love to worship with people who are not like myself. There’s a richness and beautiful harmony present when different groups come together.” – Kaci Norman

“I was able to hear of God’s work across churches and different parts of the city. Coming together for prayer and worship was and is what Boston needs.” – Kevin Ortega 

“I feel a greater sense of unity and better understanding of cultural attributes and realities of other ethnicities and denominations.” – Nicole Singleton

“My church doesn’t do all that much with other churches; it was new for me to see so many different churches cooperating, especially because Boston is so parochial. I think this is a move of God!” – Anne Freeman

“My biggest takeaway is the splendor and breadth of the church!” – Matt Crane

A Cool Scatterplot

We took the data from the survey that we passed out with the 10 Days participants (n=15) and then correlated the number of gatherings that each person attended with a “Spiritual Growth Indicator.” To determine the “Spiritual Growth Factor,” each person answered “Strongly Disagree,” “Disagree,” “Neutral,” “Agree,” or “Strongly Agree” to these three prompts:

1. 10 Days Boston helped me to personally grow closer to God

2. 10 Days Boston impacted my view of what God is doing in the city of Boston

3. Because of 10 Days, I now have a greater sense of respect for Christians of other denominations and ethnic groups.

Each answer was coded with a specific number of points (Strongly Disagree = -2, Disagree = -1, Neutral = 0, Agree = 1, Strongly Agree = 2)  Each person was given a “Spiritual Growth Indicator” based on their answer to these questions and plotted on a chart with the number of 10 Days events that he/she attended:

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As you can see, the number of 10 Days events that people attended is correlated with spiritual growth! The people that went to more 10 Days events indicated more of an impact in their personal relationship with God and corporate understanding of how God is working throughout Boston.

The bottom line is: 10 Days is changing lives. Thanks for being a part of it!

For more details about each of the 10 Days evening gatherings, check out the

10 Days Boston Photo Gallery and Praise Report

I’d also encourage you to read Pastor Dana Baker’s word that the Lord impressed on her, “Are we willing to be interrupted?” I believe this word is the key phrase that God is speaking to us this year with 10 Days.

10 Days Testimonies Across the Nation

10 Days is part of a larger, nationwide movement of cities coming together to seek God. There were over twenty cities that participated this year! Here are some testimonies:

New Hampshire: Repentance and reconciliation between Catholics and Evangelicals; 95 leaders around Manchester coming together for a ministry leader’s breakfast!

Houlton, Maine: Many churches who previously haven’t been interested in partnership are now asking to be involved in praying and building the kingdom together!

Connecticut: This state-wide movement began with a night of worship with over 2,000 people and 100 worship leaders

Chico, California: “Going low” leads to God “lifting us up” – unity leads to Joy!

See the full 10 Days Nationwide report here:

http://www.10days.net/node/101

This is a season of fulfilled promises. God is truly up to great things, and the best is always yet to come.

I want to close with the concluding prayer recited across the nation during 10 Days:

Come, Lord Jesus.

Come, in the fullness of your kingdom!

Come, in the fullness of your victory!

Come, in the fullness of your glory!

Amen.