JACKSON, Tenn. – March 29, 2003– In Boston, ministry happens on a different schedule than in the Bible Belt. Curtis Cook, the Metro coordinator of Baptist Collegiate Ministries for the city shared that insight with a Global Opportunity team from Union University over spring break.
“This is a very pluralistic area,” Cook said. “Christianity is marginalized and success is at a slower pace. Many people don’t have any history with Christianity or a clear picture of the gospel. We move ahead by being friendly and sharing our experiences with Christ.”
Rather than engage in direct evangelism, GO Boston focused on meeting physical needs. They sorted thousands of pounds of food at the Greater Boston Area Food Bank, and helped prepare more than 700 meals for AIDS patients at Community Servings.
“We didn’t get to see the people we were serving,” said junior Laura Lee Moore, “but we knew that all of the boxes had faces behind them.”
The team also distributed about 1000 fliers for a free health and dental clinic sponsored by the Metropolitan New Life Baptist Church where Cook serves as interim pastor. “It was labor the church couldn’t have done,” he said. “The team was a blessing to our ministry.”
Working in the city gave the students an opportunity to interact with Boston residents. “You walk down the street and you’ll see hundreds of nationalities and religions,” said senior Dustin Rapp.
While Boston’s believers are not overwhelming in number, Moore was impressed with their determination. “It was encouraging to know that all over the city there were pockets of Christians living authentic Christian lives and developing personal relationships with people in order to share Christ’s love,” she said.
“Our purpose was to encourage the Christians there and to see how to pray for and love the people of Boston,” said freshman Kristen Veech.
The experience challenged Rapp’s assumptions about evangelism. “I’ve gained a different perspective on how God works in people,” he said. “I have to learn better ways to share the gospel, and I think the key is a personal relationship.”
“So many people have barriers against the gospel based on a negative experience with the idea of Christianity,” said Moore. “Any opportunity we had to provide an accurate picture of Christ may take one more stone from the wall between them and the gospel.”
The team also took time to prayer-walk through the campus of Boston University which stretches two miles between Commonwealth Avenue and Storrow Drive on the South bank of the Charles River. They prayed specifically in each building for the students and professors who meet there.
According to senior Letha Gillihan, the team will continue to be burdened for the city. “This mission trip doesn’t end when we leave,” she said. “God is laying Boston on our hearts. In six months I will still be praying for them.”
By Chris Allen
Director of News and Media Relations