Meeting Sundays @ 11AM at the club called Church 69 Kilmarnock Street Boston MA

Friday, May 9, 2014

David W's Sabbatical (Summer 2014)

I am very grateful to have been given an opportunity at my request to take a 2-month sabbatical beginning May 25 and ending July 25.  


A sabbatical is a rest or break from work often lasting two months to a year. At the beginning of the year, I sensed the Lord nudging me to take an extended break from my normal routine to re-focus on him and spend extended time in prayer and thought. I have been hugely blessed by the supportive response to this idea from our leadership team, our church family, and my peers. So many of you have celebrated this opportunity with me and encouraged me to take it. Your response has been life-giving, honoring, and freeing. Thank you.


The purpose of my sabbatical is to create space for three things:
  • Extended times away with the Lord
  • Time resting with and focusing on my family
  • Time with non-Christians in our city (secondary but one I am excited about!)


In the Bible, God called people away from their normal routines to focus on spending time with him and preparing for new seasons. Moses, Jesus, and John the Baptist spent extended times in the wilderness to prepare for seasons of ministry. After a fast start in the ministry, Paul spent an extended period away from ministry tasks before launching into years of church planting across Turkey, Greece, and Spain.


Last year, our church responded in obedience to several clear prophetic words from God to become a multi-site church with a vision for expanding beyond the Fenway to impact neighborhoods throughout Boston. Living out this expanded vision that seeks to plant multiple sites in the city will require new patterns of leadership and disciple-making. Those new patterns require apostolic imagination to form and develop. With the extended time and space my sabbatical will provide, I am looking forward to imagining those patterns and strengthening my own relationship with the Lord.


During my sabbatical, I will  be away from Boston for several periods of time and will cease from all of my current church responsibilities.  I am excited to see what God does in our church while I am gone!  


The following leaders will be serving in pastoral and administrative capacities and can be reached out to at any time. Their contact info will be available at our Sunday gatherings and via our weekly email. You are in good hands with these men and women who I trust deeply.  In addition, our community group and serve team leaders will continue to serve and lead us.


Pastoral Oversight
Jayan Koshy
Pastor Dave Hill (Abundant Grace Church)


Site Contacts
Paul McFarthing - Fenway
Casey Marques - Allston


Staff Contact
Betsy Slate - community@fenwaychurch.org


If you have any questions about this sabbatical, please feel free to contact our staff team at the email above. I really do appreciate your support so much, and I welcome your prayers for me and my family during this season.


Grace,

David W.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Re-Thinking Prayer

It is sometimes joked that even atheists pray when they are in real danger.  I can relate.  I'll throw up a desperation prayer too when I'm late for an appointment desperately trying to find a parking space on Newbury Street.

To many of us that is what prayer is.  It is a one-way plea for help to a God who may or may not exist and who may or may not be interested in our current predicament.  We will roll the dice when we feel the need, but we are not expecting a Yahtzee.

Is that what prayer is?  A crap shoot?  An app that lets us get a few words in with the guy upstairs?

When we limit prayer to just making a request of a higher power, we miss out on what prayer as Jesus taught it and experienced it is all about.

Jesus taught that prayer was like spending time with a good Dad who had a lot great gifts he wanted to give away.  Jesus taught that prayer looked a lot more like a relationship than a duty.

Jesus taught that prayer was not just about making a request of God but an opportunity to worship him.

Jesus valued prayer so much because it was when he got to hear from his Dad.  Prayer seemed to recalibrate Jesus as spending time with a person who loves and cares for you usually does.

Jesus talked to his Dad in front of other people, alone in the wilderness, and when he was dying on a cross.

Times with his Father in prayer reminded Jesus why he had come and helped him get back on track with his God-given mission.  Jesus knew that when he prayed, his ability to meet the needs of others greatly increased afterwards.

Jesus expected his Dad to hear his friends prayers because his Father heard his prayers.  Jesus expected the Father to answer their prayers because they'd spent time with him and come to know him (and when you've met him you've met Dad too) and joined him in his mission.

See re-thinking prayer involves re-thinking who you are (a child of God), re-thinking what you believe (Jesus is God's son), and re-thinking what you are about (being a part of Jesus' mission to bring people back into relationship with Dad).

It's about joining with Jesus, the ultimate older brother who came to find us and show us what Dad is all about.

Pray.  Enjoy the relationship.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Advent Devotionals

You can read some of the great Advent Devotionals that Vicky Griffiths, a member of our church, has been writing this December by clicking below.


DECEMBER 20TH: THE STAR

Standard

The star









Lord, we worship you because you are a powerful God who brings out each and every star in the sky, calling them all by name, ensuring that not one is missing (Isaiah 40:26). Every time we look at the stars in the sky may we be reminded of your great works, and, like the wise men, may we be filled with great joy. Amen.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Moving to the Brighton Music Hall - August 25



Dear FenFam,

I have so appreciated the attitude with which you have greeted this big announcement. Your faith, genuineness, and willingness to join in with what God is doing inspires me to love Jesus more.

A few recurring questions have emerged in the last two weeks as we prayed for and discussed our move to the Brighton Music Hall. I want to answer them here and provide another context for us to be able to understand and run with the vision God is setting before us.

With you on the adventure!

David W.

Are we starting a new church in Allston?
No, we will continue to be one church pursuing a common vision and led and served by the same leadership team. We see our church as many community groups who gather together on Sundays to worship Jesus, hear gospel-focused preaching, invite others to see what God is doing, and encourage each other in a larger context. In the fall, we will become a church of many community groups who gather on Sundays in two different venues instead of one.

When are we moving?
We are moving our Sunday morning gathering to the Brighton Music Hall in Allston on Sunday August 25 with a new start time of 10:30AM.  We will re-launch a Sunday gathering with an afternoon start time in our current venue in Fenway on Sunday September 15.

Where should I go on Sundays?
Head to Allston! We want to launch at the Brighton Music Hall as strongly as possible. For a short season, we want our whole church family to gather together there to worship Jesus and help get the Allston venue humming. There is power in that type of unity and focus.

If you would like to be a part reaching out in the Fenway neighborhood specifically, please let us know at community@fenwaychurch.org and we can let you know how you can get involved with the Fenway re-launch.

What's my role? How can I get involved?
Sign up to join a Sunday serve team! Throughout the summer, we will be developing teams that will help us with the launch at the Brighton Music Hall - greeting, setup/breakdown, audio/visual, outreach/hospitality, worship and especially kid's church so we can welcome more families at the new Allston venue!

Join a CG.  Our leadership wants to equip you and your community groups (CGs) to be able to reach your neighbors and transform your neighborhoods. Much of that equipping takes place through sharing life together in our CGs and through our CG leadership training program. A great way to get involved and start getting equipped is to join a CG.

Give.  We will need to increase our giving to to cover the increased costs of going multi-site and reaching out into more neighborhoods.  If you consider yourself a member at Fenway Church, we encourage you to give regularly (monthly or bi-weekly) and move towards tithing (10%).

Why the move?
First and foremost, we believe God has spoken to us clearly and that this is his idea (see the video for that story). We are following him!

Second, the church is the people of God.  It is not just a Sunday gathering or event, but God's people living out their walks with Jesus Monday-Saturday as they gather in smaller groups, love their neighbors, and represent Jesus in their work places and classrooms. Adding the Allston venue will allow us to gather more people who want to be a part of this vision for church, allow our leadership to equip more members to reach their neighborhoods, and ensure more people in our city have an opportunity to meet Jesus.

FENWAY CHURCH - Loving Others, Transforming Neighborhoods, Serving Nations

For the extended version of this announcement that was given on Sunday June 9, visit http://www.fenwaychurch.org/media.php?pageID=5

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Fasting & Prayer - Saturday August 17

Dear FenFam,

Saturday August 17 @ 6PM (874 Beacon Street,  Boston) we are gathering as a church family to pray for the launch of our new site in Allston and to commission Matt and Becca for their time in the Middle East. 

Originally, we had planned to have dinner together; but due to what God has been speaking to us in regards to prayer, we are dedicating Saturday August 17 as a day of fasting and covering these important upcoming transitions for our body in united prayer.

Why Fasting?
God uses fasts to increase our hunger to spend time with Jesus, to give us more time to spend in prayer, and to remind us that this world and its desires are passing away. I find at the completion of these fasts I am often more focused on God's kingdom and more filled with God's power simply because I have been spending more time with him!

Many heroes of the faith fasted including Moses, Elijah, and Jesus.  We follow their example!  Jesus expected his followers to fast knowing how good it would be for them, "They will fast in that day." (Mark 2:20)

Our fasting symbolizes are longing for God's kingdom to come on earth  and for Jesus' return.  It is a prophetic statement, "This world/food is not what satisfies it is you and your kingdom, Jesus." It reminds us we are living in the times between Christ's first appearance and the time he will return to place everything under his feet.

In Acts 13, the early church saw Jesus' kingdom coming on earth through working together to establish new churches in unreached areas. The early believers continually fasted and prayed as they did so.  Prayer and fasting was a key part of Paul and Barnabas' preparation for their church planting venture and was a crucial part of their tremendous success.

What Does a Fast Look Like?
First, please remember that if you have certain health issues a change in diet or a fast can be medically dangerous and should be avoided. As always, remember to drink lots of water especially when fasting.

A Fast
The phrase "fasting" in our context is typically used to mean fasting from all foods for a meal, day, week, etc.

A Water Fast
A water fast involves abstaining from all substances EXCEPT water. This typically should last for no more than 3-10 days.

A Daniel Fast
The idea of a "Daniel fast" is found in Daniel Chapter 1 where Daniel and his friends refuse to eat the king's fine food and instead embrace a diet of vegetables during their time of training in Babylon. A "Daniel fast" for me consists of not eating any meats or sweats or fine foods (define that however you want :). I generally eat fruits, vegetables, some breads, beans, rice, and grains. Some keep a stricter diet than that. I have used a "Daniel Fast" for when I am doing fasts of more than 2-3 days.

A Media Fast
A media fast can involve abstaining from some type of daily entertainment - such as twitter, tv/movies, internet, computer games, etc. - for an extended period of time. I have found these to be very helpful for me when I have done them.

In fasting it is not the diet that matters, it is a heart that wants more of God and less of the world. Prayerfully, consider fasting on Saturday August 17.  There is a power in our unity and participation in what God is doing.

I look forward to gathering together as we do!

David W.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Easter Sunday 2013 - Two Services

Two days ago, we finished our series Expect Great Things from God.  Over the last weeks, we’ve stretched forth in faith as a church family praying for the sick, welcoming those who have walked into our community, and watching God bring people to himself.

Much of what we’ve focused on has been about the work God has begun in us and how that work frees us to to love and liberate others.  In Luke 14:23, Jesus says: 
Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.

Easter Sunday the past two years in our church has been a time where the club is filled and people come to faith in Jesus.  This year we plan to invite as many people as possible to experience Jesus and the authentic relationships that exist in our church community.  Why?  

Because we know Jesus wants his house to be full.
We want to make it possible for every person who has been attending our church to bring a friend on Easter Sunday.  To accommodate that size of a crowd, we will be hosting 2 services at 11 & 1PM.

As we stretch forth in faith as a church family, your expectation and participation are going to make this Easter a true miracle of God's grace.

Here are a few simple ways that you can get involved.

1)  Pray.  Pray Luke 10:2 that Jesus would send our church family out as his laborers into the harvest.  Ask God who he wants you to invite.  Make a list and pray for those people.

2) Plan ahead.  Know what service you are attending.  Your community groups will be helping to host a specific service.  Consider coordinating with your CG or other friends in the church you know to host luncheons after church.  Many of my own unchurched friends have enjoyed one of our services and a dinner after at our home!

3)  Volunteer to serve on Easter Sunday.  Ask your CG leader how you can help and/or email community@fenwaychurch.org to sign up to bring light refreshments for after the services.

4) Invite people.  Start inviting people now.  People tend to make their weekend plans in advance.  Let them know that there is something worth attending this Easter Sunday.

Love,
David W.

Great tips for inviting friends to church - http://confluenceblog.com/stirring-the-church-for-mission

If you know you will be away on Easter, we will have an Easter-themed service the Sunday before (March 24) that you may invite friends and neighbors to as well.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Welcome

Last Sunday with Fenway Church, we looked at 3 priorities to embrace for the new year. You can listen to that message here. There is one more vital priority that I want us to embrace each Sunday and in our lives - the welcome.

The Welcome - Luke 10:20-24
And he (the prodigal son) arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And... said to his servants, "Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate."

The son was a long way off, wearing tattered, smelly clothes and ashamed of his past. He was uncertain of what kind of reception he would receive in his condition and with his history. The reception he received was not what he expected.

In this story, Jesus reveals the power of a welcome. The father in the story never needs to say the son is forgiven or accepted - the welcome communicates that; and with this welcome, Jesus portrays what every person should experience when they come "home" to His family (the church).

When people come to church they often hear they are forgiven and accepted, but they don't always experience what that feels like. They are left wondering if what the preacher says is actually true. This should never be experienced in God's church.

How we welcome people into our church gatherings signals to them who God is, what his family is like, and whether they belong in that family. The reception they receive when they walk into church should surprise them as much as it surprised the prodigal son.

What should that welcome look like? Here are some practical steps you can take based on Jesus' story.

1) Look for guests or people who are standing or sitting alone (while he was a long way off the father saw him).

2) Go introduce yourself to those people with warmth and love (he felt compassion and ran and embraced him).

3) Give them your best (bring the best robe). We often want to reserve our time and energy for our friends or the actual worship service. Instead, let's give our energy, time, and best to those who are new or feel isolated in our midst in the following ways:
  • Listen to them. 
  • Offer to sit next to them. 
  • Introduce them to someone else. 
  • Make sure they feel connected and welcomed.
4) Clothe and feed those who need it (put shoes on his feet and kill the fattened calf). God may bring and has brought those who are literally in tatters or hungry to our gatherings. Let's be the ones who go get them breakfast and find them a coat to wear.

5) Celebrate their lives (let us celebrate). People's lives are worth celebrating no matter how different they may appear from our own. Let's get to know their interests and stories and find ways to celebrate their decision to visit our church and the life God has given them.

To my awesome Fenway Church family, let's make "the welcome" a top priority this year. As we do, many more will experience the tangible reality of God's grace, forgiveness, and love.

With you on the journey,

David W.