CBC Summer Mission “Trip” 2018

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This is a year of firsts for me in missions.  I took my first overseas missions trip in February to minister at Salvation Rock Church in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (see my article on “Solid Rock Churches”) and now I am taking part in my first short term summer mission trip with CBC.

First let me say that the staff is extremely excited about this summer’s all-church mission trip.  Despite the enormous, seemingly impossible logistical challenge of organizing a mission trip for the entire congregation, we have managed to find housing, transportation, meals, and even jobs for everyone in a major urban center in the Northeast.  Many believe that this major urban center might be the starting place of the next great nation-wide revival and churches around the country have been sending short term mission teams there for years to break up the hard spiritual soil in preparation for the seed of the Kingdom of God.

Now it is our turn to join in!  Are you ready? Willing? Here is the major Northeast urban center that we will be ministering in: Boston and Cambridge, MA!  Known as the Athens of America and famous for their renowned universities such as Boston University, Harvard, and MIT (listed alphabetically to avoid favoritism); Boston and Cambridge represent a unique challenge for the Kingdom of God.  Here the mighty clash between the wisdom of this world and the wisdom of God is felt deeply in the culture and society.

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So this summer presents a unique opportunity for us to live out the empowering of Pentecost as we step out of our comfort zones and rely on the power of the Holy Spirit.  While many short term mission teams forgo the comfort of their own beds and routines to serve in some distant city or country, our summer mission trip confronts us with a different type of discomfort.  In fact, the discomfort we face by staying at home and being on mission in the context of our everyday lives and routines is far greater than the temporary discomforts of being away from home. It is the discomfort of identifying with Jesus to the people you work with, the people you live with, the people you go to school with, the people in your neighborhood, etc.  It is the discomfort of bearing the name of Christ in a place and time in which it is welcomed or esteemed.

A summer mission trip should be challenging and rewarding, stretching and satisfying.  We will accomplish this with clear expectations, good training, weekly encouragement, devoted prayer, lots of stories, and many laughs.  These details will be communicated beginning June 3 with signs-ups taking place throughout the month of June. We will “leave” for our “trip” on July 1 and “return” on September 2.  I am excited to share this trip with all of you!

Blessings,

P Dan

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2018 Walk for Hunger: Success!

On May 6th, our congregation participated in its 4th annual Walk for Hunger. We opted to participate in this event instead of holding our usual Sunday morning worship service for two reasons:

1) The Harvest Food Pantry that runs from our church receives funding from Project Bread.

2) We believe God calls us to care for those who have less than we do.

Approximately 40 of us ran, walked, or volunteered and at the time of this writing, we collectively raised $11,500! You can see if any more donations roll in here if you're curious. 

Besides raising money for important programs, we also took the time to build community and there were some impressive displays of athleticism. A 20 mile walk is not just a stroll in the park, after all!

Great job, CBC! Let's do it again next year!

Children's Ministry Update: May 2018

Dear Church Family,

The Month of May is teachers appreciation month all around the nation. I would like to use this opportunity to extend my appreciation to all volunteers who are involved in the children's program. Our children wouldn’t have had a fun and meaningful learning experience without our wonderful volunteers, parents, young adults and youth. Thank you all for your dedication in serving the next generation in of our congregation.

Blessings,

Rahel

 

Do you know?

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

  • 80% of our teachers are parents? Wow! what a blessing.
  • We have emerging leaders (youth volunteers) who are always willing to serve our children.

  • We also have wonderful passionate young adults who are willing to invest in our kids.


Parents Corner

Since it's teacher appreciation month, find some ideas about how you can thank your children’s teachers here: http://www.teachhub.com/teacher-appreciation-ideas-parents

 

what we have done so far in 2018:

Bible Blast

We just finished learning about prayer through the Lord’s Prayer.

 

Little Kids Club and Kids Club

We are continuing the Gospel Project curriculum. The children covered the Old Testament from Exodus to Numbers. In unit 6 they learned that God is holy.

 

GIG (Growing in God)

In GIG students explored the Psalms by integrating them with the Lord’s Prayer.

 The Lord's Prayer

The Lord's Prayer

When Less is More

Dear CBC community,

I never thought Kathy and I would be happy about a pay cut but we are!  This year’s budget proposes a 10% reduction in my salary/housing and we couldn’t be more excited.  Let me tell you why.

First, the Lord prepared us for this change.  Recently we have been in conversations with ministry colleagues about the budgetary constraints that a full time pastor places on a smaller church.  Both the pastor and the church need a pastoral team but the cost usually makes additional pastoral staff impossible. So the Lord already had us thinking that less might be more at CBC which led us to propose this change.

Second, the hiring of an associate pastor has been a great encouragement.  Last summer the elders posted for a youth pastor but the Lord had other plans and provided an associate pastor instead!  While God was preparing Kathy and me for less, he was also preparing CBC for more. Pastor Shtem brings pastoral experience, gifting and leadership.  This is another great addition to our staff team of Karen, Myriah, Rahel and myself and bodes well for CBC’s future.

Third, I had come across an article back in January that spoke, among other things, about the need for bi-vocational ministry to be the new normal.  I shared the article with the elders and you can read the article at: www.christianitytoday.com/karl-vaters/2018/january/recalibrate-10-steps-church-this-year-dead-decade.html.  I believe this change is moving CBC in a good direction for the future.

Finally, I have increasingly needed more time to manage our property business and the 10% reduction is both salary and hours.  This change will allow me to dedicate one day every other week to our business and Kathy and I expect that this will make up for our lost income.  I have always been bi-vocational in a measure and this change simply moves me a little more in that direction.

All of this makes me conclude that less is more!  But don’t misunderstand - it is not less of me and more of Pastor Shtem.  Instead it is less of us and more of you since the primary responsibility of leaders is to equip the saints, not do all the ministry.  Our growing staff team will better train and equip all of you “for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12-13).

That’s when less is more!

Blessings,

Pastor Dan

 

Children and Family Ministry Updates

Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
-Deuteronomy 6:7-8

Dear Church Family,

In the discipleship of our children, I would like to echo what Pastor Dan always says, “Read the Bible.” I would like to encourage all of us to talk about God’s word when we sit at home, when we walk/drive along the road, when we play and read for our children, when we watch movies, eat dinner together, when we listen to the news, and all of the time!

Please see below for a summary of what the children and family ministries have been focusing on lately.

Blessings,

Rahel

 

DISCIPLESHIP

During the church service Little Kids Club and Kids Club are continuing the Gospel Project curriculum. We are in the Old Testament, covering Exodus 1-Deutronomy 5. There are two main themes:

“God the Redeemer” ( Exodus 1- 19)

“God is Holy” (Exodus 20-Deutronomy 5)

GIG (Growing in God), our 4th – 6th students, are exploring the Psalms and connecting them with the Lord’s prayer.

 

Bible Blast

In our family discipleship program we have been learning the Lord’s prayer. Now we are at the end of our study. During the last two weeks we will focus on “ Give us today our daily bread, forgive our sin as we forgive those who sin against us,  and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.”

On the 1st Sunday of the month parents and leaders join the congregation for prayer and fasting from 9:30 am-10:30am.

 

Palm Sunday and Easter

On Palm Sunday, CBC families had the opportunity to hold Bible Blast at the MIT Westgate community instead of in our own church. We presented an interactive bible story, craft, and snack.

On Easter Sunday we enjoyed the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. The children's choir sang two songs for the congregation.

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Welcome Pastor Shtem!

In March 2018 CBC welcomed a new associate pastor, Steven Shitemi, or as he prefers to be called, Pastor Shtem. Here's a little more information about our new staff member!

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The Shitemi Family

Pastor Shtem, his wife Elizabeth, and their daughter Niara

How did you come by the name Shtem?

I wanted my own identity apart from my father's name and the rest of my eight siblings, so I know if someone says Shtem they are talking about me and not the rest of the clan. 

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in the city of Nairobi, Kenya. I was born and bred in the city. I like the city a lot, unlike my wife who doesn't care for city living.

How many siblings do you have?

Four brothers and four sisters, and they are all older than me.

How did you come to be a pastor?

From when I was young I knew I would end up in ministry but I didn't know when and how. My dad was both an engineer and a pastor so I grew up thinking I would be the same way. A tentmaker and a pastor. I felt God was asking me to go into full time ministry in 2008 or 2009 when I had an opportunity to join an airline and do flight training with them, but the December before that happened I felt God was asking me to lay that dream on the altar. I knew I wasn't going to get it back, and it was hard for me to let it go. The following year I decided to join Bible school and that's when the journey started!

How did you meet Elizabeth?

I was running, preparing for the Liberian marathon, when I had a vision of Elizabeth being my wife. At that time we were friends, but not that kind of friend. I couldn't make sense of it. So I decided to go for her friend and that didn't work out. I was heading for another country for awhile, but I had promised her I would call her on her birthday four months away. And I did, and she was surprised. We continued talking, even though often we missed each other because of bad internet connections. One day while she was in rural Liberia she asked God for clarity about the friendship, by saying that if when she went online that day and I was online, it would be a sign. I was online, and from that day forward the internet worked for us. Elizabeth was evacuated from Liberia due to Ebola, came to Kenya, and a few months later we got engaged.

What are you looking forward to about working with CBC?

I'm looking forward to developing relationships with the youth and their parents. I'm glad that I already have a wonderful base of volunteers and look forward to growing that and allowing them to dream with me about ministry in CBC with the youth and beyond.

 

Solid Rock Churches

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Dear CBC family,

 

I was privileged to experience two very different types of solid rock churches on my mission trip to Ethiopia last month.  The first type was the famous rock hewn churches of Lalibela.  These eleven churches, built in the 12 century AD, were literally carved out of solid rock under the leadership of King Lalibela.  He built them in response to a vision he received while visiting Jerusalem. The King envisioned an alternative pilgrimage site for the Christians of Ethiopia because Jerusalem had been conquered by the Muslims and was no longer accessible.  Despite being 900 years old, they are in use to this day and still attract Coptic pilgrims.

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The second type of solid rock church that I experienced was Salvation Rock Church (SRC) in Addis Ababa.  SRC was planted a couple of years ago by Pastor Workneh Tesfaye and is led by his sister, Pastor Mimi.  This church is built very differently but is even more solid than the rock hewn churches of Lalibela!  This church, which owns no building, is built out of people.  Notably, SRC is intentionally located in a majority Muslim section of Addis.  This type of solid rock church is described by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 2:19-21: "Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God's people and also members of his household, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus as the chief cornerstone.  In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.  And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit."

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You might have wondered at first how I could have described a new church plant that doesn't even own a building and is stretched financially as more rock solid than the 900 year old rock hewn churches of Lalibela.  But now you know!  Anything founded on Jesus and filled with His eternal Spirit is going to outlast anything built by human hands, even if carved out of solid rock.  I would have enjoyed the satisfaction of taking part in the construction of the rock hewn churches in all their majesty and uniqueness.  But even more do I find satisfaction in taking part in the construction of Salvation Rock Church!

 

I don't know God's plans for the connection between CBC and Solid Rock Church but at this point let me invite all of you to carve out :-) some time to pray for Pastor Workneh, Pastor Mimi, Evangelist Solomon and all the other leaders of SRC as they give themselves to building a church in Ethiopia not out of solid rock but on The Solid Rock!

 

To be continued, 

Pastor Dan

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