The Philip Center launches gospel-centered churches and outreach initiatives.
The overarching aim of the work of the Philip Center is to build up the church in New England. To do that, we focus on three stragetic areas: Parks, Plants, and Pastors.
By Parks we mean Summer OFF, an inner-city parks ministry oriented to children. It’s a bit like VBS on wheels. We coordinate with the city as they bring free lunches to the children. As they do, we bring games, sports, crafts and Bible teaching. In this context we train men, women and youth for personal evangelism. Through Summer OFF we have trained hundreds of youth and adults, and planted a neighborhood church, now four-years old.
By Plants, we mean church planting, often in conjunction with a Summer OFF park project. Since the publication of a Barna survey that identified New England as the most spiritually needy place in the country, planters have responded. We have worked with NAMB and Converge, and we hope to partner with more agencies.
By Pastors, we mean church planting pastors. Pastors who are planting new churches need to be coached and their families need to be cared for. Church planting is hard work anywhere. It’s all the more so here. The Philip Center is in the unique position of partnering with national agencies, but being local. So we can help planters understand the challenges of New England. We’ve planted a church here too — Godspeed Church. So we know what it’s like.
A Five-Talent Bag
In Jesus’ parable of the talents, the master entrusts to three men three bags. The bags of talents represent opportunities — not talents in the sense we often think of, not skills or spiritual gifts. They are opportunities God gives us to grow his kingdom.
As we review the Philip Center’s 15 years of ministry in New England, we see a five-talent bag full of opportunities. Rhode Island leaders have asked us to multiply Summer OFF into eight additional cities in the state. We have been asked to take Summer OFF to other cities in the US. And now we’ve been asked to take Summer OFF abroad. We have also been asked to coach church planters — and there are many of them seeking to plant in New England. And recently we were asked to host a New England-wide church planters conference.
These three areas of investment — parks, plants, and pastors — are our way of making the most of the opportunities that have been entrusted to us.