Over the past year, we have sought to provide care for our people while being on mission. Our sermon series was designed to emphasize this intent. Oftentimes we think that living a life on mission and caring for our community are two separate responsibilities that are mutually exclusive. Instead, both are the fruit of a counter-cultural community rooted in a grace-based, gospel-centered church.
At this stage in the life of our church, by God’s grace, we have made some progress in becoming better connected to one another. But much more has to be done on this front. There are still individuals within our church who have not experienced communal intimacy or complete acceptance. To that end, every Citylifer has to be reminded of our core values which includes not only believing the gospel, but also being shaped by it to embrace those who are different than we are. This can only happen as our hearts are moved by the work of the Spirit. My prayer is that God the Holy Spirit would bring us through a season where we will each experience a deeper, more vulnerable community at Citylife.
This upcoming year, we will be highlighting the theme of “Life Together” in our sermon series. We will be examining the book of Ephesians in the fall and Proverbs in the spring. Ephesians shows us what new life in Christ is, and how that new life transforms the community in order to remove every wall of hostility that separates us. The book of Proverbs is a beautiful picture of a gospel life that leads us into skillful living. My prayer is that we will be able to experience deep gospel life together at our church.
A new exciting initiative I would like to share with you is our upcoming fourth congregation, set to launch at the end of the summer. James He, the director of our International Students Ministry, will be leading a new Chinese-speaking worship service (at the Revere Hotel on Sunday afternoons in Loft 2). In center city Boston, there is only one worship service for tens of thousands of Chinese-speaking residents and international students. There is an enormous need for more outreach to the Mandarin-speaking community. I am particularly excited for this new congregation because it is likely that half of those who will be attending this service will not be Christian. We should pray for many new conversions! Let’s pray for this new ministry since there will be great missional activity and energy. May this new congregation encourage the rest our church to be more missionally-minded. If you know of any Chinese-speaking folks in the area to invite or would like more information about Citylife’s Chinese Ministry, please contact James (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I’d particularly like to thank the Session for their leadership, wisdom, guidance, and care this past season. They have been a constant source of encouragement for me and my family. It is so refreshing to have a group of elders who desire to care for their pastor and church well. It is a great privilege to walk alongside them to lead and to serve our church together. I’d also like to thank our wonderful staff, the devoted members of the diaconate, and all of you who serve tirelessly for the cause of the gospel here in our city. And above all, I thank our loving and gracious God for the hope and joy we have in the gospel. Through the life, death, and resurrection of our savior, Jesus Christ, may our hearts continually be changed by His redeeming work. May this good news send us on mission, call us to care for the marginalized, and convict us to live life together with joy. It is my privilege to pastor our church toward this goal
Warmly in Christ,