why two is enough (but one is the loneliest number)

Someone asked me again yesterday about the nature of our relational support network in Boston, being that Chrissy and I (and Damon, the pooch) are moving there “sans team.” This has been a pretty frequent question over the last year or so, coming from a variety of different people at different times.

“Oh, you’re going to Boston? Do you have a team?”

“Who’s on your team?”

“So, you have your team together, I assume?”

We’ve gotten all of those, and some. Not surprisingly, I suppose, on such a team-happy Christian college campus. (Harding might have us beat in that arena, however…)

The questions are coming from a couple of motivations, I think. First, a concern for Chrissy and me (and Damon, I’m sure) “all alone” in that big, bad, liberal city in the Northeast. Second, a belief that only substantially sized teams can really “make a splash” in church planting in a big city. I’ll address both concerns.

1) …all alone in that big, bad, liberal city…

I guess my first response is confusion to this one. Christian couples move to big cities all the time. Maybe because we’re calling this mission work there’s concern? Naw, but I understand the heart of this concern. Satan will use many tools from his toolbag to discourage and thwart the plans of couples who are living into God’s work in the world. He does this by attacking the relationship, individual spouses, finances, friendships, or a host of other realities. We have our aentennas attuned not only to what God is doing in our lives, but to the schemes of Satan. Also, one fact that has re-emerged throughout the planning process has been that God has been forming a network of “co-laborers” and future friends in Boston. Some of them are there already (we plan to meet with many of them this coming week, and you can see some of their Web sites on our Boston page above), and some are yet to arrive (a team from Harding is headed to Beantown for the same purposes that we have, and we seem very compatible. In fact, I am told that they chose their living location partly based on the area of the city where we are looking.) So, to put it simply, community is a priority for the Holts, and God is showing us that we certainly won’t be alone in Boston.

As for Boston being liberal, we kinda like that… 🙂

2) …the bigger the team, the better the “success” in evangelism/church planting…

To be honest, we actually began the planning process a year or so ago somewhat believing the above statement. We were actively looking for a team. We made contacts with people who seemed open to joining us, and some showed some serious interest. But in the end, God led those people in different directions, and has clearly communicated to us that for now, we’ll move to Boston team-less.

We couldn’t be more comfortable with this reality.

Like I said in the post above, much of our fellow leadership team is already in Boston or will be there shortly. Many of our future teammates, however, are “in process” in the harvest fields of Boston. They might be a neighbor who will accept an invitation to dinner one weekend. They might be a fellow MBA student (Chrissy got accepted to Suffolk University, by the way!). They might be one of my co-workers. It could be a student at one of the 50 local colleges or universities. We have to believe that God frequently forms “leadership teams” out of the harvest field, and it doesn’t always have to be constructed pre-departure.

Second, Scripture is chock-full of God sending his servants out in pairs. Think about Moses and Aaron. David and Nathan. Jeremiah and Baruch. Two disciples sent to Jesus by John the Baptist. The 72 disciples (sent in pairs) in Luke. Paul and Barnabus. Paul and Silas. Two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Steve and Chrissy. The pair is the basic unit of the church, we are told. For more on the missional significance of the pair, read this great blog post. (I could go into the substantial recent missiological opinions against “team missions” — how we’ve done it traditionally — but I’ll leave it at that.)

We hope this post has quelled any concerns out there about the Holts “going it alone” in Boston. Because we aren’t — going it alone, that is. We are following our God, who has been hard at work in that city putting a fire in the hearts of his people to see spiritual transformation and community reformation. We are being led by the Holy Spirit, our guide and counselor, who we are told goes before us in missions. Our model and Savior, the one who lay out the path of redemption by “pitching his tent” with humanity, is Jesus Christ. Our team of (human) co-laborers grows every day, it seems. Thank you for your prayers and support. You, our friends, family, and faithful blog readers, are such an encouragement. Please know that in the same way we would come to 93.7% of you if we had a major crisis or victory in our lives, the Holts are here for you as well. (you can drop us notes for prayer or encouragement on our contact page)

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