TRAINING VIDEO: Mission Team Training Boston

When you come and serve the church planters of New England and Greater-Boston, you become part of God’s story in one of the most influential and least-reached places in North America.

And to be most effective in the field, teams need to prepare.

This training video takes you right into the thoughts and needs of the planters, and those they are trying to serve.

If you are already coming to serve a plant in New England or Boston, we pray this training serves you well. Use it in your first team meeting or even in your informational meetings.

And if you are still just thinking about whether God would use you to bring a team up here, we pray this video will help you get to a firm decision, whatever that decision is.

We have hundreds of teams coming throughout the year. They are a tremendous help to our work here. Get involved. Contact Joe Souza – Boston Church Planting – (617) 259-4638.

VIDEO: Are You Ready, Fall River, MA? – On the street with Tom Cabral

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VIDEO: Are You Ready, Fall River, MA? – On the street with Tom Cabral

FALL RIVER, MA – When you live and serve in a blue-collar city like Fall River, MA, your best opportunity to share the Gospel is to take it to the streets. And where better than the corner of Rodman and Plymouth Avenues, Fall River’s busiest intersection.

Come along with planter / pastor Tom Cabral of Redemption Fellowship of Fall River as he carries his cross and shares the redeeming message of our Lord Jesus Christ.

VIDEO: Boston CP Christmas Party

CERIC CJEllis was honored to be able to cover the End-of-the-Year Party in Boston this past November 30, 2012. Thanks to Joe Souza and his heart for the planters God has called to this time and this place in Boston. God is on the move in Boston. Will you help us? [divider /]

Published on, December 23, 2012

VIDEO: Boston catalyst focuses on family during Christmas

WATERTOWN, MA – Church planting in Boston is a family affair. Praise the Lord the family is growing, as more then 200 planters, wives and kids were in attendance for the third-annual Boston Church Planting  End-of-the-Year Party on November 30, 2012 in Watertown.

“This is what we are all about,” said pastor / planter Tom Cabral from Fall River, MA. “We drove like an hour and a half to be here. It’s great to be with the guys. It’s great for our wives to get together. And it’s great for the kids.”

It was a great time for everyone involved. The kids all received early Christmas presents compliments of Steve Nerger and the Baptist Convention of New England. And the pastors, apprentices, staff members and their wives, compliments of Micah Millican and the North American Mission Board, all received gift cards as just a small token of gratitude for their steadfast work in one of the least reached areas in North America.

Yet, for all the great food, fellowship, great music and gifts. nothing compares with family. Boston Church Planters have got each other’s backs, and their families’ too.

“This is just something we feel we should do,” said Joe Souza, NAMB Lead Catalyst for the area. “We want our planters to know if you come to Boston, you will never be alone. And Christmas is just the perfect time to love on our guys, their wives, their families and their kids. It’s just awesome what God is doing here in Boston.

“Three years ago, we may have had 25 people at this event. And just look at the way God is growing our family. I am very, very humbled and amazed by the whole thing.”

Amazing indeed. As the kids were grabbing for toys it was Souza, Master of Ceremonies, introducing the band from his own Celebration Church in Saugus, MA. And earlier it was Souza’s wife Patricia, and his sister Anna, with the help of Bree Cobb from the BCNE, serving up all the food. Still earlier, all of their kids got in on the action putting out tablecloths and setting up.

And to think just nine years ago the Souzas were not even in Boston. Neither were most of the families present at the dinner. Souza made light of this fact recognizing the “grandfather” in the room, Curtis Cook, lead planter from Hope Fellowship which was planted  in Cambridge, MA in 2003. Other old-timers included James Thomasson who planted in Taunton, MA in 2006.

Since that time no fewer than two dozen planters from all over the world have answered God’s call to come and plant in Boston. And they are starting now to raise up and send out planters from multiple church planting centers.

So, as the Boston Church Planting family celebrated the end of 2012, it was also preparing to welcome in 2013, a year in which it has already more than 20 planters in the pipeline; planters like Shane Colwell who with his wife Amy arrived in Greater Boston just two weeks ago to plant in Worcester, MA; or planters like Brandon Allison who with his wife Miriam and a team from Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, TX arrived just three months ago to plant a church in Revere.

They come – all of them – to proclaim what has been called by many the greatest miracle of all, that the Son of God would come and live among them.

And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased! (Luke 2:10-14)

“What a blessing,” Souza commented after the party. “It’s great that it’s over and we don’t have to have a heart attack anymore. But, it’s greater that everybody had a good time, and they know how much we really love them and thank them for their work for the Kingdom.”

NACP Partnerships: Supporting Church Planting & Reaching the Lost in the Northeast and Toronto

NACP Partnerships: Supporting Church Planting & Reaching the Lost in the Northeast and Toronto

Planting new churches is the most effective way to reach the lost – and there are more than 60 million people in the Northeast and Toronto who are living and dying right now without Christ

Boe and Connie Ellis through a ministry called North American Church Planting Partnerships are supporting Southern Baptist church planters and church planting leaders by providing a catalytic, church planting need – that because of the lack of churches in these areas, there just isn’t local funding for.

We invite you to expand the mission of your church, your organization and your family by partnering with us. You can adopt a planter, a church plant, a city or the whole region.

Your prayers, your teams, and your financial giving through the Metro-New York Baptist Association and the Baptist Convention of New England will not just support our ministry but it will underwrite the work that we are giving away to planters who are not equipped to tell their stories and create new partnerships.

Thank you for helping us help them reach their neighborhoods and the nations.

Church Planting in Fall River: a Walk in the Park

Boe Ellis and CERICDigital CJEllis are pleased to announce today the release of a new church planting video for Tom Cabral of Fall River, MA. – Tom Cabral was the man for Fall River. It just took seven years in North Carolina for him to figure that out. And now, as Lead Pastor of Redemeption Fellowship of Fall River, Pastor Tom is living out a calling to bring the Gospel back to his hometown. In this video, you will see Tom in an improbable, impromptu microcosm of church planting in general. God is working out His plan through His faithful servants. The evidence, once you begin to take steps in His name, is often right in front of you.

Northeast Church Planting Coalition and CJEllis partner to launch new site

Boe Ellis and CERICDigital CJEllis are pleased to announce today the release of a new Web site created out of a new partnership with CERICDigital CJEllis and the Northeast Church Planting Coalition. Special thanks to the church planting strategists in Boston, New York and Toronto for participating, and to Mike Sowers of the office of Great Commission Partnerships of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina for their support.

Please visit the site here –

CERICDigital and BCNE roll out new site and church planting videos

WAKE FOREST, NC – CERICDigital is privileged to announce today the release of, as Phase I of a massive effort by Joe Souza of the North America Mission Board and the Baptist Convention of New England to promote and assist  church planters in Boston.

The site headlines a 15-minute video entitled “Boston Church Planting – Up Close  and Personal,” and features additionally 12 videos from 12 different church planters in 12 different parts of the city:

  • Jan Vezikov – Allston, Matt Chewning – Beverly, Juan Maclean – South End, Bland Mason – Brookline, Vivek Arora – Harvard, Dan BK – Cambridge, Lynn, Tanner Turley – Medford, Joe Souza – Saugus, James Thomasson – Taunton, Chris Bass – Watertown, Josh Wyatt – Roslindale, Chris Willis – Weymouth,

We want to thank Joe and many others at NAMB and the BCNE for their leadership in supporting Boston Church Planting and in creating We are looking forward to working with the BCNE and NAMB soon to launch Phase II of the site which will entail more videos and detailed neighborhood profiles of the cities and towns where gospel-preaching churches are desperately needed.

Jesus commands us to be His witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the Ends of the Earth (Acts 1:8). Here are some statistics on the Ends of the Earth in the U.S.:

  • 26 percent of adult Americans consider themselves evangelical or born again. That’s 1 in 4 people.
  • In Tampa, FL, that number is about 12 percent, or 1 in 8 people.
  • In Boston, that number it is 2.5 percent – or 1 in every 40 people.
  • Of 269 MSA regions, Boston ranks 261st as the ninth-least evangelized area in the country. And of the bottom 20 cities on that list only Salt Lake City, UT and Provo, UT are not in the Northeast.
  • In terms of population, 55 Million people (1 in 5.5 Americans) live in the Northeast.
  • In Boston (inside the I-495 corridor) that amounts to about 3.9 million people who have no personal relationship with Christ.
  • In the Northeast that amounts to 53.6 million people without Christ.
  • That is more people than the total number of people in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia combined.
  • There are more Christians in Lebanon than born-again believers in the Northeast United States.
  • If the Northeast was a country, it would be the 24th largest country in the world and rank as the 152nd (out of 182) most evangelized.
  • On a percentage basis, Saudi Arabia, Libya, India, Syria, Taiwan, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates and Egypt, just to name a few, have a higher percentage of the population claiming to be Christian than those in the Northeast who claim to be born again.

Mission Boston: reflections on evil and grace

Published originally on CGCS.SEBTS.EDU here

Student Essay by Boe Ellis

The steam rose through metal grates in the ground at the base of each column. The mist reached about waist high and merged with the damp, steady drizzle outside and with the welling up of disbelief in my own eyes. My Christian, church planting mission trip to Boston had been frozen in time; interrupted by history and the breath of six million people murdered in concentration camps during The Shoah. The Holocaust.

This was definitely not on the itinerary, at least my itinerary. I was in downtown Boston on my way to the subway station and eventually back to our hotel in Medford when I ran across Congress Street to get some pictures of The New England Holocaust Memorial, with its six, 50-foot high glass columns and more than a dozen sobering quotes etched into glass panes inside the columns. As if Boston couldn’t provide its own backdrop for the lostness we were hoping to encounter, and here the Lord sends me a flashback from evils past. It framed vividly for me the way our fallen world reveals itself occasionally in horror, but most often in everyday idolatry.

And nowhere is this more obvious than in the great cities, the epicenters of the American Dream, and the mission field that week for our Southeastern North American Church Planting team of 16 students, one professor and three media guys. We arrived October 2, 2010 to serve with church planters who have already planted themselves in an area that is just two percent evangelical, and where the largest unevangelized peoples are the white Americans. Welcome to the Northeast. And welcome to Tanner Turley’s new world. He and his team from Southeastern/Open Door Baptist were the first on our agenda.

Turley’s upstart Redemption Hill Church landed in Boston just a few months prior as three families and a single woman who were willing to plant their lives in Boston. They chose Medford, just five minutes north of downtown, and an area with a diverse cross section of people. From multi-generational neighborhoods in the east to college kids in the west, this was the right fit according to Turley, who briefed us Saturday night and served as our guide for the next few days.

We worshipped together Sunday at Hope Fellowship Church in Cambridge and headed out after lunch to the nearby Tufts University. This is the target area for Turley’s team and it provided our first assignment. We would prayer-walk the pristine grounds and seek the Lord’s help. In smaller groups we covered the campus in an hour. It is solemn work and completely necessary work if Turley’s team is to have any success penetrating the closed campus where only one Christian organization has been allowed access.

Everything in Boston, on its face, can seem closed to evangelicals. Plurality and universalism are the norm, but with steadfast prayer and a willingness to dig in, we saw the Lord’s response. Turley’s team member Abby Cook had made inroads into Tufts. In fact, the next night we would assist Turley and Cook with their very first outreach on campus, a pizza party hosted by Redemption Hill.

We saw more evidence of God’s work Sunday night in Allston where we visited another SEBTS graduate, Jan Vezikov. He recently planted a church there with both Russian-speaking and English-speaking congregations. We were absolutely moved as the Gospel echoed in the Russian tongue in this historic building in Boston.

We would return later in the week to Jan’s church and pass out granola bars and 1,000 invite cards in the bustling Commonwealth / Harvard Street area. And later that night, we enjoyed the cookout Jan does every Friday night as he passes out hot dogs and hamburgers to the neighborhood passers-by.

Our pace never slowed during the week as we deployed from our home base, the Hyatt Medford Place. And, as is the case with any mission trip, we used the hotel and surrounding coffee shops and restaurants to be on purpose about engaging the people there. This is how we learn an area as we see the humanness of the people who call it home. We would spend a week with them, sharing our own lives and testimonies and sharing the Gospel.

You wrap those one-to-one conversations into some formal activities and all of the sudden, you are on mission. And I thought, usually at the end of each day, if only I could live every day like this. Such is the challenge. And such was my reason for going on the trip. It is the only way I could know what to compare my everyday life to.

To recap some of our activities briefly:

  • We met with Joe Souza, a big, boisterous Brazilian-American and the new NAMB church planting strategist for the Boston area. He is God’s called leader for the area as his heart for Boston is as big as his appetite for Brazilian fare.
  • We met with Dan BK (short for his real surname which no one can pronounce). He is a Nepalese native and Southern Seminary graduate who has now planted four Nepalese churches in Greater Boston.
  • And maybe the highlight of the trip, at least for me, we had a luncheon, a kind of summit, held in a private, basement-level meeting room in a small Italian restaurant near Medford. More than a dozen church planters and church planting strategists from all over New England came to break bread and share their war stories with the students from North Carolina. Their passion and sincerity was infectious. Their unashamed intention was to lure some of us back to New England. I think it worked. Time will tell.
  • We prayer-walked and engaged the whole city of Medford as teams covered sections of town and brought information back to Turley’s team. We did the same thing for planters who have not yet landed but are soon coming to the South End, Charlestown and Revere.
  • We passed out more granolas, water and invite cards for Redemption Hill at the Medford T-Station and at bus stops.

Before I knew it, the week was over and it was time to head back to Wake Forest, but not before reflecting on my encounter with the Holocaust Memorial.

I was standing Friday afternoon on a busy sidewalk on a street corner near Harvard Square praying with a man I had met just five minutes earlier. He said he was an alcoholic and that he had sat recently at the foot of his bed, drunk, with a gun to his head. We got to “Amen,” and he looked at the invite card I had handed him earlier. He looked at his phone and began dialing. “Pastor Jan, yes, my name is Ricky. I just got one of these cards from this guy on the street. He was praying for me. I want to know more about God.”

I stood there and I remembered one of the quotes on the glass at the Memorial site. It read:

“Ilse, a childhood friend of mine, once found a raspberry in the camp and carried it in her pocket all day to present it to me that night on a leaf. Imagine a world in which your entire possession is a raspberry and you give it to your friend.”

I stood, with the world in slow motion, as Ricky talked on the phone with Pastor Jan, and I praised God for my Savior, who gave not a raspberry, but everything He had, his life, for me, his friend. I hope soon Ricky, living like me in this fallen and often evil world, will do the same.