Ash Wednesday

Posted in church planting by Nathan Creitz on March 2, 2006

Two years ago on Ash Wednesday I spent the day fasting because I was hoping to determine what God was doing in my life. I did not even know that Boston was on the horizon at that time. However, God had been placing in my heart over the weeks prior to Ash Wednesday a desire for four different things: missions, pastoral ministry, collegiate ministry, and church planting. I remember going to see the Passion of the Christ with a group of friends that night in New Orleans.

Several months prior to that day, I had received an email from TJ Odom saying that he thought it would be cool if I could move up to Boston to help him with a church plant that he was working with. It wasn’t God’s timing and I didn’t feel led at the time to move to Boston and so I emailed back and said thanks but no thanks.

The weeks prior to Ash Wednesday, two years ago, however, God began closing a lot of doors that I wanted to be open. With a list of about ten options on a piece of paper, I began crossing off the doors that were closing. There were youth ministry positions and other church positions as well as various other ministry possibilities, but one after one I began crossing off the invalid options. Finally, I saw only one item left on the list. It was the possibility of moving to Boston. I had not heard from TJ for several months at that point and was pretty sure the opportunity in Boston was no more.

So, on Ash Wednesday, armed with the knowledge that God was calling me to missions, pastoral and collegiate ministry and church planting, but not knowing when any of those might be fulfilled in my life, I prayed and fasted that God would show me His will. The very next day I was thinking about calling TJ just to see what was going on in Boston. My phone rang and it said, “TJ Odom” on the caller I.D. I immediately thought, “Okay God, what are you up to?” I answered the phone and after talking for a minute or two, TJ said, “Nathan, I want you to pray about moving to Boston to co-pastor a collegiate church plant with me.

I never thought that the four passions that God was putting in my heart could be wrapped up in one sentence, but TJ, without knowing what God was teaching me, described the very ministry description that incorporated all four. I didn’t put all of this together until about an hour or two after his call, and so I told TJ that I would pray about this for a week and call him back and let him know what I was thinking. Within an hour, however, God brought back all of what He had been teaching me those previous months. I waited out the week just to make sure I was hearing God’s voice clearly (as if there can be any doubt in retrospect) and by July of that same year I had moved to Boston.

Today, Ash Wednesday, two years later, I am amazed at how God has taught me so much about His will, His timing, and His passion. He has given me a glimpse of His heart for the city of Boston and I am following Him. A lot of people have been visiting this blog recently because a guy here in Boston has a blog where he has ranted against all the church planters who are moving to Boston “to save our heathen souls”. I can only say that I will go wherever my God leads me. There is no question that God led me to Boston. I can’t speak for all the other church planters moving to the area, but there are people that need to know Jesus in every city and in every country. I don’t know why God calls some to certain areas, but I don’t have to know. I can only speak for myself when I say that I don’t condemn Bostonians. I have been given a message to share, a context in which to share it, and a glimpse of what God sees in Boston and I’m grateful that He brought me here to do His work. I want others to experience the leadership of the Spirit and the joy of the Lord that I have experienced in my journey to Boston. My motivation is not to save the heathen, my motivation is to love God with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love my neighbor as myself. If that is offensive to anyone, that’s their problem, not mine.

Boston (42° 21′ , -71° 7′)


7 Responses

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  1. joe kennedy said, on March 2, 2006 at 10.49 pm

    and to think that today i find myself at a crossroads- do i stay here in mobile and do nothing… or do i go, do i get up, and move to anniston for a few months to get a collegiate ministry going?

  2. nathan said, on March 2, 2006 at 11.13 pm

    hmmm… who knows. I’m sure it will all come clear very soon. I’ll be praying for you though. What are the campuses in Anniston?

  3. dena said, on March 4, 2006 at 11.04 am

    i’m glad you answered your phone.

  4. Sarah said, on March 5, 2006 at 7.44 pm

    nathan, it was so good to see you in church this morning. i’m praying for you and your group…we’ve all got a lot of healing to do, and with every group that comes, it’s like another bandaid for my heart 🙂

    i’ve got a few friends in boston, and they’ve been telling me some pretty incredible stuff’s been happening there spiritually. i’m glad you get to be a part of that!

    -sarah barnett

  5. Sara said, on March 9, 2006 at 12.07 am

    Nathan, your blogs often make me cry, but this time it was Dena’s comment that did it. I don’t know if it was supposed to be funny, but I thought it was really sweet and awesome. Love you, Dena!

  6. adam said, on March 14, 2006 at 6.34 pm

    thanks for stopping by my blog and offering an encouraging word, bro. i clicked on the “watch this” link in your sidebar. did you guys make that video?

  7. nathan said, on March 15, 2006 at 10.49 pm

    Thanks Dena, I’m glad I answered the phone too.

    Sarah, it was good to see you at FBCNO. I’m really glad we got to come and serve the city of New Orleans for a few days. It was incredibly eye-opening.

    Sara, Thanks for reading my blog whenever you get a chance, but I’ll have to tell Dena to stop upstagging me on my own blog. Only kidding.

    Adam, The video that you were directed to when you clicked on “watch this” is an International Mission Board feature of the IWC project that Rob Cain and I led in Ecuador. It’s to promote short-term mission trips around the world.

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