At NSCBC it is our desire to see a gospel movement on the North Shore. We long to see God at work in our lives and in the lives of people in our communities, and we want to join with him in this work. After much prayer and careful consideration our church leaders have felt led to several ways that we can seek to advance God’s kingdom on the North Shore, with the following goals aiming to give us focus and direction in the coming years.

Feel free to click on any of the goals for more information about them. Additionally, click here to access a full PDF version of our 2018-2019 church goals, with extended annotation and practical next steps.

If you are interested in any of these goals and would like to be involved in making them happen, get in touch with Ben Friedman at ben@nscbc.org, he’d love to hear from you.

3-5 Year Goals

GOAL: Develop 100 disciples in our church who:

What would success look like?
We’d know we accomplished this goal if, in 3-5 years from now, we saw a noticeable portion of our church experiencing significant transformation at a heart level, striving to embrace our strategic lens of gospel, community, and mission, and passing along their growth to others in intentional and creative ways.

If the Lord helps this goal come to pass, there will simply be an invigorating sixth sense that the Holy Spirit is undeniably on the move amongst a large number of people in our church, which might look like us hearing testimonies of life change on a regular basis, seeing a noticeable expansion in the leadership of our institutional church ministries to include new and growing members, and more people with no church background coming to our services.

We long to see everyone at NSCBC developed in this way. For more details on measurement and why the number 100 was chosen as a 3-5 year benchmark, see the link to the full goals document at the bottom of this page.

1) Are experiencing personal gospel renewal.

What does this mean?
Timothy Keller helpfully describes personal gospel renewal this way: “Personal gospel renewal means the gospel doctrines of sin and grace are actually experienced, not just known intellectually. This personal renewal includes an awareness and conviction of one’s own sin and alienation from God and comes from seeing in ourselves deeper layers of self-justification, unbelief, and self-righteousness than we have ever seen before.There is a new, commensurate grasp of the wonder of forgiveness and grace as we shed these attitudes and practices and rest in Christ alone for salvation. Perhaps we have previously said that we were “resting in Christ’s work, not our own work” for salvation, but when we experience gospel renewal, we have a new clarity about what this means in our mind and a new experience of actually doing it with our heart.”This type of being renewed personally is the wellspring out of which all of the other changes will flow, both personally (greater growth in holiness, a greater hunger for God’s word, growth in hospitality and witness) and on a corporate & social level (the church loving one another well, being unified, working for justice in the world and defending the powerless).

2) Have a growing understanding of the gospel narrative, and how to apply it to the issues of their everyday life and world. (GOSPEL)

What does this mean?
We hope to see people grow in their grasp—with both the head and heart—of the gospel narrative. By “the gospel narrative”, we are referring to the story of God’s gracious work to rescue and restore his fallen creation. We want people to feel like they can situate themselves in this narrative and apply its good news to their individual struggles, hopes, fears, and aspirations, as well as to pressing societal issues. We hope to see the gospel increasingly come to define and root people’s identities, such that they can grasp the call to live both distinctly different from the surrounding culture, yet also deeply engaged with it, for its benefit.

3) Are forming deep, meaningful, and honest friendships, both inside and outside of the church. (COMMUNITY)

What does this mean?
Rich friendships are an incredible blessing in and of themselves, as we all search for a place to belong. They are also the primary context in which spiritual growth occurs. Friendships take hard work to form and maintain. We aim to see people striving to form the kind of friendships that are long lasting, transparent, and supportive; friendships where each person can feel safe to let their guard down and show their real selves.

4) Have a growing awareness of the everyday settings where God has placed them for mission and are intentionally trying to live as a witness for Christ there. (MISSION)

What does this mean?
We often struggle to view the places where we spend most of our time during the day—our workplaces, schools, homes, cafes – as our mission fields, and lack the understanding, boldness, or creativity for how to live as fruitful witnesses for Christ in these settings. We aim to see people grasp that they are missionaries in these everyday settings, and make bold, creative efforts to communicate Christ’s grace there, in word and deed.

5) Are engaged in intentionally leading others to live as gospel-centered disciples, either formally or informally.

What does this mean?
This is the hardest component to develop, as we often feel inadequate and untrained to pass on our own imperfect knowledge and example to other Christians. Though we’ll never have a perfect grasp of the first four points (above), we aim to see people intentionally passing on to others the grasp they do have. As Paul told Timothy, “What you have heard from me…entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Tim. 2:2).The wording “formally or informally” means that the passing on could happen through an official church ministry, or simply in a relational setting. What matters is that the effort to pass it on is intentional, by identifying certain individuals and leading them in how to live as gospel-centered disciples.

GOAL: Plant a self-replicating church in Essex County, which shares our heart to see Christ’s kingdom advance on the North Shore.

What would success look like?
The formation of a new gospel-centered church on the North Shore. This church would have a committed leadership team, an invested core of members, and a clear vision. It would be easily discernible that this church shares our heart to reach the North Shore for Christ, and places the gospel at the center of their congregational life and ministry, even as their terminology and “flavor” will differ from ours. This church would be on an outlined plan towards sustainability, and would have both the intent and strategies laid out to multiply.

1 Year Goals

GOAL: Promote and expand the amount of kingdom-centered prayer in the life of the church.

Kingdom-centered prayer is prayer specifically for revival and the advancement of Christ’s kingdom on the North Shore. Click here for a helpful description from Timothy Keller’s article, Kingdom Centered Prayer. We currently have one group that meets every Friday AM at church to pray in this way.

What would success look like?
Doubling the number of people praying each week, either by growing our current group, or by multiplying into a second group. The prayer initiative would remain organic, and thus not become an official church program.

Gospel

GOAL: Cast and begin to implement a vision for a multi-dimensional approach to developing reproducing, gospel-centered disciples.

It’s essential that we come to a working, church-wide definition of a “disciple” that is simple enough to be memorable and helpful, but also allows for elaboration to bring out the rich nuances of the word. This builds on the work undertaken by the Discipleship Think-Tank, who have studied and discussed the Bible’s teaching on discipleship.

What would success look like?
1) Finalizing a clear, written definition of who a disciple is, and clearly communicating that definition to the church.
2) Finalizing a clear, written vision for discipleship at NSCBC that naturally flows out of our overall vision to see a gospel movement on the North Shore.
3) Helping six ministries of the church articulate for themselves how they uniquely contribute to our church’s overall discipleship vision. These six are Sunday Worship, Adult Christian Formation, Small Groups, Missional Communities, Outreach, Connect. (Youth & Children’s ministries will be the focus of year 2, however, in several ways, they are already engaging in this process)

Community

GOAL: See more people in our church developing deep, meaningful, and honest friendships, both inside and outside the church.

Rich friendships are an incredible blessing as we all search for a place to belong. They are also the primary context in which spiritual growth occurs. Friendships take hard work to form and maintain. We aim to see people striving to form the kind of friendships that are long lasting, transparent, and supportive; friendships where each person can feel safe to let their guard down and to show their real selves.

What would success look like?
People being able to identify that they have made strides over the past year towards developing these kinds of friendships.

GOAL: Strengthen & resource our existing Missional Communities.

Our Missional Communities pilot experiment is now into its second year, with several groups using innovative ways to live out the gospel in their communities.

What would success look like?

  1. Missional Community leaders feeling strengthened in their calling and understanding of their mission fields, becoming more fluent in their ability to communicate their group’s vision.
  2. The wider church having an awareness of
    1. What a Missional Community is.
    2. How they differ from Small Groups.
    3. Who our current Missional Communities are.
    4. How they can support and pray for them as they continue to pilot this new format.

Mission

GOAL: Clearly communicate the purpose for and strategic value of church planting in serving a gospel movement on the North Shore, and begin to pull together a team of people interested in church planting.

This goal is the first step towards our second 3-5 year goal to “Plant a self-replicating church in Essex County, which shares our heart to see Christ’s kingdom advance on the North Shore.” We know that there is never a perfect time to plant a church, so this will require stepping out in faith. This goal hopefully balances a desire to move beyond discussion and into action, with taking time to help the whole congregation have a thorough grasp of the “why” of church-planting and to have an enthusiasm for it.

What would success look like?
1) Clearly communicating why church planting is of strategic importance towards serving a gospel movement, and answering key questions related to planting from our church.
2) Beginning to gather a team of people who have a heart for church planting, not only as “go-ers”, but for prayer support, training, and in many other ways being part of the process.

GOAL: Develop a partnership with a gospel-centered church in Lynn.

What would success look like?
1) Being able to point to a specific gospel-centered church in Lynn, whom we are partnered with at an organic, friendship level, but also at a more formal level as well. Even if the partnership is only beginning by the end of the year, it would be understood to be a long-term relationship.
2) Having a plan for partnering together in a specific ministry endeavor in the future (e.g. VBS, work-day, ministry training seminar)

GOAL: Increase our community presence in Beverly Farms.

What would success look like?
1) Being present at or partnering with existing Beverly Farms locations & institutions (e.g. library, Hastings House, West Beach) for their benefit in new, tangible ways.
2) Continuing to host open forum discussions at the Hastings House.

Click here to access a full PDF version of our 2018-2019 church goals, with extended annotation and practical next steps.