Monday, May 29, 2017

10 Surprising Realities of Mission in New England

Although I moved in early 2015 to the Midwest, I left a big piece of my heart back in New England, the least-churched region of the nation, which, interestingly enough for a guy born and raised in the Bible Belt of the South, was the first place I really felt “at home.” I still hear regularly from folks interested in the future of church planting, revitalization, and gospel ministry in the New England states. Some have history with the region, some don’t. (I did not when I moved up to Vermont a little more than six years ago.) The following ten items are meant to help those praying and planning adjust their expectations in one respect or another.

Of course, some of these “realities” will seem as they if they go without saying to many, and none will be any surprise to native or long-time New Englanders. But I do think being advised against any ill-conceived preconception could be helpful to many. So, in no particular order.... Read More


The Value of Sparrows said...

You are so kind in your assessment of us.

Robin G. Jordan said...

I presume that you are referring to Jared C. Wilson's assessment of New England. While those who attend an existing church in New England might object to parts of his assessment, would-be church planters to the region need a frank appraisal of what they can expect to find in the region. I would expect anyone assessing my own region, western Kentucky, to do the same thing –offer a frank appraisal of the region. My region has a lot of churches but most of them are not very evangelistic. Many have plateaued or are declining. The region has a growing unchurched population.

It is also not uncommon for pastors and members of existing churches in a region, whatever the theological outlook of the church, liberal or conservative , Protestant or Catholic, mainline or evangelical, to question the need for new church plants in what they have come to see as their “turf.” They may view these plants as a reflection upon their own ministry. They may even fear the loss of members to the new churches. However, the vineyard belongs to the owner of the vineyard and not to those he sends to work in the vineyard. He may send some later than others and reward them all the same but those he first sent into the vineyard, as our Lord himself points to the disciples’ attention, have no room to complain. He is, after all, the owner of the vineyard and therefore can do what he sees fit.

Whether it is New England or western Kentucky, it is God’s vineyard. He owns it. However long we have been laboring in a particular part of His vineyard gives us no right of ownership. We are just workers that he has sent to labor there. It is God’s decision and his alone as to how he chooses to reward us for our efforts.