Things to Know (March)
a monthly newsletter for Chicagoland Baptists
Here is something I’ve been thinking about lately –
One of you recommended I read Mirror to the Church: Resurrecting Faith after Genocide in Rwanda by Emmanuel Katongole. I did. And it has been haunting me.
“In a country that was over eighty-five percent Christian, almost everyone gathered on Easter Sunday  to remember the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ” (18).
“But one week later… Christians in Rwanda took up machetes, looked fellow church members in the face, and hacked their bodies to pieces” (19).
How could this happen?!?!
We have to admit that often times “Christianity becomes little more than a thin veneer over what we imagine our natural identity to be” (53).
“Christianity made little difference in Rwanda. Christianity seemed little more than an add-on – an inconsequential relish that did not radically affect people’s so-called natural identities, nor the goals or purposes they pursued” (68).
“Christianity is meant to shape a new identity within us by creating a new sense of we – a new community that defies our usual categories of anthropology” (69).
“The deepest tragedy of the Rwandan genocide is that Christianity didn’t seem to make any difference. Rwandans performed a script that had shaped them more deeply than the biblical story had” (84).
“Paying attention to history helps us to see that this was not just Rwanda’s problem. The story that made Rwanda is the story of the West. When we look at Rwanda as a mirror to the church, it helps us realize what little consequence the biblical story has on the way Christians live their lives in the West” (85).
I’m praying that our churches are profoundly shaped by the gospel narrative and that this upcoming Easter is something more than a superficial tradition.
Here is someone to know about – Dr. Tommy Thompson.
Tommy is a native of Tampa, FL, with a passion for expository preaching, church planting, and church revitalization. He earned a Bachelor of Biblical Studies (BBS) and a Master of Divinity (MDiv) from Carolina University, and a Doctor of Ministry (DMin) in Church Revitalization through Liberty University. When Tommy moved here in 2018, the plan was just to lead Ashburn Baptist Church in Orland Park, which was in a 30-year decline, toward revitalization. Instead, God led Ashburn to expand its kingdom vision for Chicago by becoming a multiplying church with a focus on the south side of Chicago. Over the last four years, Ashburn replanted their original Chicago campus, planted Ashburn-Arabic, and is currently replanting what was Lighthouse Fellowship in Frankfort which will become Ashburn-Frankfort (read more about that here). This fall Ashburn will be planting Ashburn-Filipino. Additionally, they now have two church planting residency programs – one in English and the other in Spanish. Pastor Thompson’s vision is to catalyze a church planting movement across Chicagoland. Tommy has been married to his wife Victoria for 30 years and they have two daughters. They both love good coffee, good food, and staying fit.
You can see all past ‘Someones to Know’ here.
Here are some events to know about –
Weekly Prayer Call every Wednesday from 9:00 to 9:30 AM. Just click here to join anytime.
Monthly Discussion on the first Wednesday of every month from 9:00 to 10:00 AM.
On 4/5 we will be having Josh Ellis, Executive Director of the Union Baptist Association in Houston, presenting and leading our discussion of “Narcissism and the Pastorate,” which was the topic of his doctoral dissertation.
Upcoming Pastors’ Lunches for fellowship:
SOUTH (3/30) – Noon at Grace Missionary Baptist Church in Markham | RSVP HERE
CITY (4/27) – Noon at Armitage Baptist Church in Logan Square | RSVP HERE
NORTH (5/25) – Noon at Golf Road Baptist Church in Des Plaines | RSVP HERE
WEST (6/29) – Noon at Love Fellowship Baptist Church in Romeoville | RSVP HERE
Tools for reaching the next generation:
Want to do Vacation Bible School this summer? IBSA is offering free VBS Training on 3/25 at Brainard Avenue Baptist Church. Register here.
Want to take the youth in your church away for a weekend retreat with other students that’s all prepared for you? Check out DNow at Streator on 4/14. More info here.
Want to send kids to Summer Camp? Check out this option or this one the last week of June.
The Serve Tour (8/4-5) is going to be the biggest thing we’ve done together in Chicago in a long time! Check out more info here and submit a project proposal here.
Here is something else to know about –
The North American Mission Board (NAMB) through Send Relief is footing the bill for the Serve Tour. Through Send Network it helps assess, fund, coach, and care for church planters. There is so much that they do to help us reach the lost in our mission field! And they are able to do it because of giving to the Cooperative Program and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. Consider making a donation this year.
For the Sake of the Name,
1356 N. Rockwell Street, Chicago, IL 60622
You can donate to Chicagoland Baptists here.
You can see past editions of ‘Things to Know’ here.
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The mission of Chicagoland Baptists is to facilitate relationships among the Baptist churches of this Great City so that they can more effectively fulfill the Great Commission and live out the Great Commandment.