Milk cows and plant a church.
It’s a line ready-made by veteran New England planters to adjust the expectations of new ministry entrepreneurs in the region. Don’t expect a cushion of financial support and a nice cushy study and church building. Come ready to till tough soil and do bi-vocational work.
Many say that God seems to be moving in some fresh and exciting ways in the Northeast. Some of the most visible fruit includes Gospel Alliance New England, NETS Institute for Church Planting, and The Gospel Coalition New England, but what’s most encouraging on the ground is the growing number of gospel-faithful pastors and planters investing in the region.
But by no means does that make the soil soft in New England.
Lay Down Your Life in a Little Town
“Don’t come unless you really want to work hard,” says Josh Cousineau, planter in Lewiston, Maine, about 30 miles north of Portland, and pastor of newly founded Redemption Hill Church. But he wouldn’t want to scare everyone away.
“If God’s stirring in your heart [to join us in New England], there’s plenty of work to be done. We need a lot more churches, and we need a lot more people who love Jesus and are willing to lay down their lives, and pride, and probably never get a book deal and get famous, but serve in a little town, in a little church, and lead people to Jesus.”
Families of Missionary Servants
In this new episode of Theology Refresh, we talked with Cousineau about church planting on the hard soil, and in particular his church’s strategy for, and structuring around, “missional communities,” which they define as families of missionary servants. The members of these missional communities live nearby, engage regularly during the week, and serve each other and the community. These groups of about 10–20 adults pursue “life-on-life” interaction outside the weekend gathering and seek to do ministry and mission together.
Missional communities are such a significant part of what Redemption Hill Church is that our more general conversation about church planting quickly focused more specifically on this reality.