Check out this youtube video – People worshipping and singing in Kenmore Train Station after the Boston Night of Worship on October 9…
by Jillian Orlando, email@example.com
Sunday Night Boston University Agganis Arena was filled with thousands of worshippers praising Jesus together at United Night of Worship (UNOW). I can’t tell you the name of the host church or denomination, because there is not one church, or even one event to write about. It is a collaborative movement that began in 2007 when Zenzo Geoffrey Matoga felt called to leave Malawi, Africa and come as a missionary to New England with a vision to “mobilize worship leaders across cultural, denominational and social lines to simply worship our Lord Jesus.”
Worship songs and styles ran the gamut from revved up hymns, to soulful gospels, to the current chart-topping worship songs, with 130 worship leaders sharing the stage. The crowd of worshippers spanned many nations, age groups, and denominations. Zenzo spoke of his vision for believers to come together in worship, let go of divisions, and see the Holy Spirit move in New England.
“We are here, we are praying, we are gathered together in unity. This is the beginning. God is hearing our cries,” he proclaimed.
Zenzo was speaking of the beginning a movement. Not a concert, but rather a unifying time of worship, where new relationships in the body of Christ are formed and the foundations for revival are laid.
“A movement that truly changes individuals at the grassroots level so that they can go back to their churches and promote true revival that dramamatically changes lives andimpacts the local community with the power of Christ,” said Daniel McCarthy of UNOW.
Sunday’s time of worship was a night of rejoicing and praise, but the path of unity also presents real questions and even some struggles as Christians join together in deeper ways. “Jesus prayed three times that we would be one as he and the Father are one. But after tonight, how do we do that? How does a charismatic unite with a non-charismatic? How does a Baptist come together with a Presbyterian? How do Protestants and Catholics unite? Around the choice to follow Jesus Christ. Our hope and our prayer is that when we leave tonight that we would go home and continue to walk in the path of unity,” said Steve Scott as he shared the stage with Zenzo to present the vision for this unity movement to the crowd.
The group then turned to Philippians 2:2-5. “Make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.”
PRAY Whether or not you were in the stadium on Sunday, our worship and prayer for unity and revival does not stop there. It would be an honor to pray Philippians 2:2 today, and live it out together. This is just the beginning! Let’s continue to pray together, worship together, and gather to learn about our brothers and sisters in Christ across all social, cultural, and denominational lines.
CONNECT with the unity movement today! Visit our calendar or forums to start learning about and praying for other Christian churches in your community. Share the Christian unity message with your friends by tagging this blog. Learn more about the United Night of Worship movement at http://unitednightofworship.com
DISCUSS: How can we share this vision for unity in the body of Christ in our churches and communities? Join in the discussion on our facebook wall
Throughout Greater Boston, Christians are joining together to impact our city in many different ways on a daily basis. I know it is happening, but I see only a small glimpse when these acts of service and outreach touch my daily life. By sharing what God is doing in and through our neighboring churches and ministries, my hope is that we will better unite the Christian community in Greater Boston through the shared experiences of exchanging ideas, joining together in praise, and learning from one another. If you are interested in contributing about what God is doing in your neighborhood please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Back to School Festival
by Alex Grant, Community Development Director Hope Fellowship Church
For several years, Hope Fellowship Church has been supporting with families getting ready for the school year through an annual celebration. The Back to School Festival developed with the intention to help children in need of school supplies, including backpacks, notebooks and writing utensils. In addition, the August event provides community info for parents including details and representatives from after school programs, health and legal resources as well as those programs Hope offers (monthly meals, ESL classes, children’s ministry, ministry for the homeless). With food, fun and fellowship, the Back to School Festival is an event that families regularly look forward to. How many families?
Each year, we serve over 250 families and give out hundreds of backpacks (700 this year). And while some receive the free gift and leave, many stay to enjoy the bbq, games and rides offered. One of many blessings this year was the weather staying dry til 5 minutes after the last family left. Amen!
Why does Hope do this each year? It is one opportunity for Christians to answer the call to serve those in need. And what a blessed gift being able to serve truly is. If you would like to answer that call or have questions on how your group can host a similar event, feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
Students! Welcome to Boston, a city of over 600 churches, where you can connect with a diverse body of Christians from all over the world. We invite you to explore our website for opportunities to celebrate unity in the body of Christ by connecting with others through social gatherings, volunteer opportunities, and a home church. Carson Weitnauer, UniteBoston member and director of Telos Ministries, has over eight years of experience in student ministry. We asked him to share some advice as you start your student years here in Boston:
Welcome to Boston! I’d like to invite you, the hypothetical Bostonian freshman, to consider gaining the not-so-famous “freshman three” this year. I’ll explain what I mean below.
To begin, we need to recognize that your arrival in Boston offers you both challenges and opportunities.
On the one hand, your college years are an opportunity to shed any connection to a childhood religion, forge your own path, gain power through acquiring knowledge and building social capital, and create your own preferred future.
On the other hand, as a student, you can develop a mature understanding of Jesus, humble yourself to follow His will, acquire knowledge and social capital so you can become a more empowered servant of others, and trust in God’s providence for the future.
These two paths are starkly different. The first path will be relatively easy to adopt. Study hard, party hard, build your personal brand through social media, go for the most competitive summer internships and jobs, travel the world, catch a few lucky breaks, and you’ll be set. When you get depressed or lonely, do something to relax, exercise, take a nap, and keep trying until things work out.
But think hard about this. While there’s plenty of good in this path, some of the potential downsides may include an overriding anxiety about what others think of you, relentless pressure to continuously perform at peak capacity, ongoing and costly investments to maximize your personal appearance, an underdevelopment of the necessary character traits to form a durable and happy marriage, a restless and confused spirituality, and an undercurrent of disappointment with what the world has to offer.
This is rarely mentioned, but in eight years of campus ministry, I’ve seen it a hundred times.
The second path, the way of Jesus, is definitely harder on the front end. For one, you’ll need to take the initiative to break out of your school’s bubble and make friends at a local church. Rich learning experiences await you there: as you change diapers in the nursery during Sunday worship, develop friendships with the adults in the congregation, hear gospel-centered, biblically rich sermons, participate in a Bible study, and serve the city of Boston. You need to be relationally invested in a great church home to grow spiritually, but it will take some time, energy and discipline to get connected.
Second, with an open, flexible schedule, you may struggle to find a time to be with God each day. The truth is that there’s no better source of wisdom and guidance for contemporary life than the Bible, and there’s no greater source of love and grace than God Himself. Becoming fully human involves connecting with your Creator and Savior on a daily basis.
Third, you need a mentor, someone who is a self-forgetful servant, who is really interested in your life, your questions, your doubts, and your issues. They also need the courage and maturity to share with you from the Bible and their life experience in a way that challenges you to become mature in Christ. This may be an uncomfortable experience at times, but if you know they care about you and you respect their life, it will be a good experience.
That’s the freshman three: a church home, a daily experience of God’s love and God’s wisdom, and a spiritual mentor. Be encouraged: there are plenty of good church homes in Boston, many ways to connect with God, and dozens of godly mentors across a variety of campus ministries. We’re praying that you’ll gain all three this year.
Carson Weitnauer is the Director of Telos Ministries and loves ultimate Frisbee, board games, homemade pizza, and, most of all, his amazing wife Mo. Carson blogs on the big questions of life at simpleapologetics.blogspot.com Carson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can learn more about his church home, Church of the Cross, at www.cotcboston.org.
The Power of Connectedness
By: Mike Lloyd
There is a great deal of power in connectedness.
The power I speak of is the power of love and the power to make the world a better place—an opportunity to promote good and bring a little bit of heaven to Earth now.
The majority of life is about feeling needs and desires and then seeking to satisfy them. Abraham Maslow famously diagrammed this concept in 1943 when he published his thoughts about Man’s hierarchy of needs.
We ascend and descend the hierarchy of needs daily, whether we realize it or not, and we need the help of our communities and institutions to meet our needs. UniteBoston was created to enable needs to be met and satisfied by people and institutions within the Christian community. The power is in the linkages, the quality, and the quantity.
Needs can take many shapes and sizes. Someone may need a job, a last-minute cup of sugar, a place to get cleaned up, a pair of shoes, a bike, a meal, a wife, a husband, etc. Only the future can tell if the person you haven’t met yet will be able to help you.
Every person and institution that you are connected with increases the likelihood that your needs will be meet within your social community. It is like a web that keeps getting bigger and stronger. With each new link, the overall strength and power increases. Further, it is a win-win game, not zero-sum. Does it get better than that?
I love the concept behind UniteBoston because it encourages a more connected community, a more connected city, in hopes of unlocking and better making available this power of connection, of unity.
One of the most famous biblical examples of ideal Christian living in community is found in Acts 2: “All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.”
It is hard to read that great passage and not feel the beautiful power of connectedness.
Mike Lloyd is the Executive Director of UniteBoston