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Stop Lying About My City: God is At Work in Boston Planting Churches

Church planters from the 'Bible Belt' and denominations that lean toward Fundamentalism are often moved bombastically to proclaim their mission to Boston in the starkest of terms. They view themselves as soldiers called to fight in a war against the forces of atheistic darkness or secular humanism [dun dun DUUUN]. Take this excerpt from a promotional video for church planting made by the Southern Baptists:

"The patriots' [who fought in the battle of Bunker Hill] Commander-in-Chief said, 'Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes'. They made a commitment to engage the enemy up close and personally. This epitomizes the church planting scene here in Boston, Massachusetts. We have been losing some battles, but we have decided we can win the war. Our supreme commander Jesus Christ is leading the charge in this spiritual battleground."

They sometimes describe themselves as pioneers braving the cruel frontier of a spiritual wasteland. They will cite skewed statistics that point to a bleak Christian presence and a defunct church. Now, I'm confident this sort of portrayal of Boston is highly effective at raising money from worrisome conservatives in Alabama and Mississippi, but I'd just like to publicly proclaim that IT ISN'T TRUE.

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Recommended to Plant a New Church

There was a time in my Christian life when I lost faith in the church as a vehicle of social and personal transformation. Instead I planned to express my ministry gifts and calling in a parachurch context. I dreamed of serving as a director of a faith-based nonprofit. Certainly they are much better at transforming the world, I thought. In the last five to six years, however, my faith in the church has been restored. Not primarily because I have had the privilege of serving and belonging to better churches, although that is true too. My faith in the church as God's instrument of transformation has been renewed primarily because of a renewed conviction that what the world needs most is not a social service agency, but a worshiping community to which to belong that incarnates the love and justice of God. I have come to believe that the church is much more than merely a collection of people who think similarly and occasionally give to charity. Instead, I have found that the church of Jesus Christ is the mystical family of God that continues to incarnate God's love and justice in the world as Jesus her bridegroom shows her and commands her to.

At the same time, I have also discovered that my personality is much more conducive to a creative environment where I have freedom to exercise my gifts, dreams, and create new things—something established churches unfortunately tend not to be. So where can a called and creative minister thrive in God's chosen vehicle of social and personal transformation: the church? The answer Osheta and I have sensed God providing is church-planting. Church-planting is not only conducive to creative personalities, it requires them. Only creatives have the type of improvising skills to roll with all the various punches that accompany church-planting. So, for the last year or so Osheta and I have been pursuing this area of ministry and just this last week have crossed a very important threshold.

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Welcome to

Theological Graffiti is a blog written by T. C. Moore @tc_moore ...a Jesus-disciple, husband, father, Associate Pastor @NewCityChurch of Los Angeles, sometimes web designer, writer, and theology geek. For more about me, visit my Personal Website or my Online Profile. Otherwise, enjoy the graffiti.

T. C.

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