Two years ago, a group of women from North Carolina traveled to Boston to assist church planter Dane Helsing with the launch of Beacon Community Church.
Several of those women returned this fall and were amazed to see how God has been at work through the church’s ministry in reaching the community for Christ.
Embrace women’s ministry of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) sent a team to Boston in September. The ministry alternates years with Boston and New York to work with existing partnerships with the BSC and church planters.
“We were there two years ago and helped spread the word about the launching of Beacon,” said Donna Elmore, a member of Southside Baptist Church in Greensboro. “To come back two years later and see they have about 50 adults and 30 children is amazing.”
Elmore was among a team of nine women from N.C. Baptist churches who were part of a short-term missions team to Boston, a trip organized by the Embrace women’s ministry of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC). The team spent four days in Boston in late September engaged in community outreach and other ministries affiliated with Beacon Community Church, which is located in the Boston suburb of Belmont, Massachusetts.
“My family and our church loved getting to know the women from Embrace,” said Helsing, who planted Beacon Community Church in 2015. “Gospel partnership thrives through gospel friendship. When we witness church planting in the book of Acts, one truth rings loud and clear – churches are planted through a plurality of people. We are absolutely dependent upon our partners to plant and continue to sustain Beacon.”
Members of the Embrace team spent much of their time in Boston engaged in what Helsing calls “servant evangelism,” which included serving subway commuters coffee and snacks and participating in a variety of local service projects.
“Tangible acts of service in our community provide a way for us to display the very character of Jesus Christ,” Helsing said. “This helps build trust and relationships with people who may be very skeptical and suspicious of anything church related.”
Hannah Morgan, a member of Hales Chapel Baptist Church in Zebulon who was participating in her first missions trip with Embrace, said she was able to converse with a young man named Steven at a subway stop.
“We talked for 20 minutes, possibly longer,” Morgan said. “This interaction was encouraging because I was actually able to engage with someone beyond handing them a granola bar. Plus, he was genuinely interested in why I was doing what I was doing.”
In addition to serving the community through projects at a local park and senior center, team members spent time prayerwalking the community with Helsing.
“I enjoyed prayer walking with Dane,” said Ashley Newton, a member of First Baptist Church in Creedmoor. “One highlight for me was simply seeing how much Dane loves the people of Belmont and his passion for sharing the gospel with each person in the community.
“Just taking the time to walk the streets and boldly pray to God for the community was awesome.
“It’s always amazing for me to see how the Lord can use a small group of ladies to join His work that is taking place in Boston.”
The Embrace team also assisted with several needs around the church facility, which meets in a rented dance studio. The team repainted Beacon’s faded church sign, cleaned up and decorated the kids’ ministry space and performed some landscaping around the facility.
“They worked so hard,” Helsing said.
Embrace team members also served in a variety of capacities during Beacon’s Sunday morning worship service, which gave church members a needed break and enabled them to worship together as a church family.
“This was the first time in the two-year history of our church that all of our members were able to participate in our worship gathering,” Helsing said. “It was life-giving.”
Helsing said his desire is that God would use short-term mission trips in the lives of those who participate, even after the trip is over.
“There is a mutual benefit to mission teams,” Helsing said. “They encourage us as a church plant and multiply our gospel efforts in our community, but our prayer is that God would also stir the hearts of the members of the team to catch a vision for church planting in their hometown or perhaps in another city where gospel-centered churches are needed.
“We view mission teams from an overall Kingdom perspective. It’s not just about our church and our community. God can use a mission trip to ignite a fire in a person to serve in another area.”
For Paula Rogalski, a member of Second Baptist Church in Rutherfordton, September’s trip marked her fourth trip with Embrace. Rogalski said each trip has allowed her to see the spiritual needs that exist and how God wants to use her and her church to meet them.
“Each trip to the Northeast reveals to me the spiritual need that is there, as well as the partnership needs that smaller churches have,” Rogalski said. “Each time I go on one of these trips the Lord impresses on me how much He wants to reach our world with such a wonderful message of His love.
“I wish every member of our local church would participate in one of these trips.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Embrace is the women’s evangelism and discipleship ministry of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.)