Over the past several months an army of mission focused lay evangelists have embarked on a multi-year, commitment to evangelize one of the most influential cities on the planet – Boston, MA. Our Greater Boston area churches are working together in their sphere of influence and in their strength for one common effort – Compassion Boston.
Compassion Boston ministers to practical needs and celebrates the joy, peace, and hope that is found in the gracious love of Jesus. Compassion Boston is fashioned after the example of Christ Himself because we recognize that “Christ’s methods alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Savior mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then he bade them, Follow Me.”
It has been said that ‘people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care’. Person-to-person interaction and community engagement create evangelistic opportunity. This is the hallmark of Compassion Boston. The people of Boston will be much more likely to hear Biblical truth in our churches when we have shared the love of Jesus in their community.
Boston offers a challenging and exciting evangelistic environment. There are approximately 4.5 million precious souls residing in the Greater Boston area. Boston is the largest and most culturally diverse city of the six New England states generating the strongest economic and cultural impact.
Boston is home to several globally recognized leaders in healthcare and medical research. Hospitals such as Massachusetts General Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Brigham and Women's Hospital and many others are at the forefront of medical innovation and patient care.
There are dozens of world renowned colleges and universities in the greater Boston area. Schools such as Boston College, Boston University, Harvard University, Northeastern University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the New England Conservatory of Music attract students from all over the world.
Boston is a vibrant and diverse city with a rich heritage. Because of the city's prominent role in the American Revolution, several historic sites relating to that period are preserved as part of the Boston National Historical Park System.
The city home to several well known museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts, the and the Institute of Contemporary Art. John F. Kennedy Library. The Boston Athenaeum , Boston Children's Museum, Museum of Science, and the New England Aquarium are also within the city.
Boston lies within the territory of the Southern New England Conference and the Northeastern Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists. There is a strong base of support from pastors, skilled bible workers and an energized laity.
Recently the American Bible Society and the Barna Research Group reported an assessment of the 100 most Bible-Minded cities in America. Boston was not in the top 10, or even the top 50. Boston was 98th out of the 100 major metropolitan areas in America. This is the mission field.
Every day there are new experiences in witnessing. Recently the Boston Temple hosted a block party for the Fenway neighborhood. Residents came out to enjoy food, friendship, singing and loving service offered by local organizations and agencies. One of our lay evangelists offered hand massages and paraffin dip treatments. She ministered in a unique, beautiful and powerful way through human touch. Others provided school supplies and backpacks to local area children.
An army of Compassion Boston lay evangelists were dispatched to local hospitals and universities to encourage, share hope and offer prayers. One thousand red roses were given as a gift of love. Others ministered similarly at train stations and on busy streets.
Several groups of Compassion Boston lay evangelists from more than twenty-five Boston area churches united efforts to deliver hundreds of hats, gloves, socks, coats and blankets to the homeless during our Winter Warmth Campaign. Many of us had the amazing experience of volunteering in local shelters and pantries preparing meals for those in need.
Hundreds of members across the conference have enthusiastically joined the movement. Christ is the energy and inspiration of Compassion Boston. This effort has ignited a passion among our members and has created an unprecedented unity of purpose among our Boston area churches across cultures and languages groups. This is good for us.
Enthusiasm and support are growing for our plans to reach into the city with a coordinated health and wellness initiative this winter and spring. We have a battalion of mission-focused medical evangelists in the Boston area. From cooking school instructors, to personal fitness trainers, to medical doctors, our people are fired up for service.
We have been particularly blessed by the enthusiastic support of volunteer ministries including Prayer Ministries, Women’s Ministries and Adventist Community Services. We have enjoyed strong support from the Atlantic Union and the dedication of local supporting ministries who have been placed in close proximity - perhaps for such a time as this.
STRIDE Ministries has been reaching out to the 300,000 students attending more than 100 colleges and universities in the area. STRIDE is marvelously positioned to introduce these young energized souls to the liberating truth of Jesus. Hundreds of students are being positively impacted for Christ through organized Bible-based and Christ-centered events on various campuses.
The Northeast Evangelism Training School (NETS) and Tekoa Missions have provided strong guidance and support. They will be focusing specifically on the Boston area beginning in January of 2015 providing laity training, Bible work, cooking schools, seminars, evangelistic meetings and much more.
Looking forward to 2016, the It Is Written team will be joining with us for a multi-church, unified reaping campaign. We couldn’t be more excited! Pastor John Bradshaw and his team bring a wealth of experience in major city evangelism. Their guidance, participation and leadership in this effort have been an inspiration.
We invite your prayerful involvement in sharing Jesus in the hospitals, universities, boardrooms, households, pantries, shelters, on the busy streets and in our churches.
Tom Murray is the Manager for the Compassion Boston Evangelistic Initiative, which involves the Adventist Churches of the Southern New England and Northeastern Conferences in the city of Boston.