2020 New Year’s Letter & Ministry Update
We (Brett and Christina) are writing to you from Pewaukee Wisconsin! It is late fall, and Pewaukee Lake is starting to freeze over, and a season’s worth of leaves will not get raked as it snowed on Halloween! It seems we are officially in winter. People here read the Farmer’s Almanac, and it says we should hunker down for a long winter. Maybe you will be more lucky!
As you may know we have been serving New Vision Brethren in Christ Church in Pewaukee WI. We wanted to share with you what we have been up to out here. But smart Christians reading a long church letter might know what is coming, so we might as well tell you. Yes, you will read about some of the things God is doing at our church that we are asking others to consider supporting financially. This is not an easy ask for us, but we believe there may be people who want to invest in God’s work here. Please keep reading, and receive this letter as our sincere desire to share with you an update about our family and church, with no pressure to give.
In July of 2017 the Bever-Bosserman clan officially found our way from Pennsylvania to New Vision Church after a six month period between jobs. We found a house in a neighborhood in Waukesha (a couple miles from Pewaukee) near the schools with lots of sidewalks and dog walkers. We now have a dog! With a good dose of humility, we learned to pronounce the towns around here. The boys have since adjusted as well as we could hope to their new schools. Jesse started middle school this year! Some of their favorite things are video games, The Goldbergs, food, and Shakespeare. What? The Bever boys reading poetry? Christina hopes that’s the case someday, but nope, our dog’s name is Shakespeare! Right now tikka masala (Jesse, 12), tacos (Logan, 9), and grilled cheese (Bryce, 7) are almost weekly grub. We have been blessed to be closer to the Bever grandparents and have enjoyed many visits to the farm. This past summer we had our best road trip yet through the Upper Peninsula with Christina’s sister Laura and her three kids. Camping on the shore of Lake Superior and driving/ferrying through Ontario will be forever memories. In October, Christina and Jesse spent a weekend in NYC for his 12th birthday. Until now, Brett and Christina have led the church as co-pastors, but on January 2 Brett will be employed full-time as an HVAC technician, and Christina will serve as the lead pastor. Brett is very excited about learning a trade and the opportunity to use his relational gifts in a new career. Christina will be serving New Vision, finishing a dissertation, and teaching. We (especially Christina and the boys) miss our family in PA. We are able to visit about 2 times a year, which is a good time of loud cousin play and sleepovers at grandma and grandpa Bosserman’s house. We root for Green Bay with grandpa Bosserman now. It’s hard not to be fans when you live here!
We were delighted to find out that the heartbeat of this little church is to reach people with the message of Jesus. What we and they didn’t know is that the church was on the edge of a crisis. Like many small churches, New Vision was experiencing first hand the difficulties of attractional church.1 Fewer and fewer people were visiting and the core families were getting burned out by programs with little time to build relationships with people outside of church. Within six months the budget was unsustainable, and in a board meeting Brett said “unless 80 new people start coming to church next month and start tithing, we won’t be able to continue for long.” That week Brett called a contact that had been sitting on his desk and found out about a church plant that was meeting just across the highway and looking for a new location. The church was 80 people.
This was the first of many provisions from God for New Vision. We invited this church to rent our building on Sunday mornings. What kind of church gives up a Sunday morning? A church with radical faith, that’s who. It was clear to us that this was God providing for us, so we said yes. That yes led to a genuine friendship with another church who we may even call partner someday.
We moved our gathering to Sunday evenings. Many looked forward to having church around a meal and a more conversational sermon where we could ask questions and pray for each other (Acts 2:42). But some families said “it doesn’t feel like church” and chose to find new church homes. We understood, change is hard, and not all felt invested in those changes. But there were deeper stirrings that we didn’t know about yet. When a program had no volunteers we chose to let it end. We lost our youth program, children’s program, several committees and worship team in a period of six months. What kind of church does that? A church who, in times of confusion or conflict, won’t keep forcing the same activities, but rather ask themselves “what is God teaching us through this?” And in the midst of this season of pruning, one of our women said “I didn’t realize how busy I was with volunteering at church.” Now, a year later, that woman and her husband host 7-12 young adults, most of them unbelievers, in their home for home cooked meals and game nights.
We think we heard what we are supposed to be learning from this. Jesus’ command to the Church was to go out (Matthew 28:19). Yet, many churches invite people to come in. Maybe we had been focusing on the wrong one? Then, out of necessity, we had to give back to God the security of come in church, and found ourselves more desperate for faith. Our leadership spent a year of their time in prayer first, plans second. God grew in us a burden for those who may never enter a church building.
We are seeing God write new stories. Many “seem” insignificant: a grieving grandmother, a young person seeking connection, a lonely dad ordering a pizza (Brett delivers pizzas!), a young Muslim mom stopping off the highway with a flat tire, a student who knows he’s missing something and is starting to think the Bible has answers. New Vision is a church of missionaries bringing the presence of Jesus to every day situations.
We are asking “how can our building itself be a missionary in its neighborhood?” Our building is located right off an interchange of I-94 between Milwaukee and Madison, ranked #58 and #11 respectively on Barna’s estimation of the 100 most post-Christian cities in America.2 Our parking lot is visited every day by motorists to take breaks, exchange goods, and take care of kids and pets. We hope to grow a ministry of hospitality towards these neighbors God sends us every day. Our worshipping community remains New Vision Church, but we have renamed our property “The Rest Stop Hospitality & Meeting House” and we invite people to encounter our property as a place like the well of Jesus’ day: a place of unexpected help, rest, and healing in Jesus’ name. There are a few more details below!
When New Vision broke ground for its building in 2002, they commemorated the occasion with the testimony “thus far the LORD has helped us” (1 Samuel 7:12). We have faith that in this new chapter of New Vision’s story, God will help us be missionaries “entertaining angels unaware” (Hebrews 13:2). We believe God is leading us to be pioneers, experimenting with ways of being the church in post-Christian culture. As such, we are thinking up creative ways to encounter people curious about faith but not attending church. We anticipate growing slowly through one-on-one relationships and in homes.
This way of being the church is still uncommon in our area. We don’t know yet how it will grow in sustainability, but some churches have to start answering that question as the American church will look different in twenty years.3 God has entrusted this work to New Vision and we have chosen to say yes.
We think there may be brothers and sisters in Jesus who want to support the re-birth of a church like ours. If you think that might be you, please consider reading further. If not, we are so grateful for the time you took to read our update. We are grateful for your friendship!
You know Brett or Christina or both of us and I think many of you see how well this fits us! Brett thinks deeply about church and the Bible, and has a gift for striking up conversation with strangers. He also will begin working full time as an HVAC technician in January (aka “missionary”). Christina has teaching and organizational gifts that move ideas forward (she has inherited a good dose of her dad’s church planting bug)! We are currently operating from a very small budget as our church grows slowly among our neighbors. Here are some needs that we are praying for:
- We want our church to grow more out of relationships than renovations and programs.4 So, our greatest hope is to subsidize housing and tuition at a trade school for a mission minded Christian (or two? or three? or four?) to learn a trade while serving our church, in anticipation of being a missionary, pastor, or church planter (Acts 18:1-4). This kind of union between a skilled trade and missionary identity will be significant in the future of the church in America.5
- With God’s provision, we want to make “The Rest Stop Hospitality & Meeting House” more visible to visitors. We have a “dream list” that includes a sign, vending machines, a dog park, community garden, public bathroom, and Lake Country WI welcome center that will increase potential for encounters between believers and non-believers in the neighborhood and coming off the highway.
- We want to explore ideas best described as “business as mission” that will help sustain the church in the future and create connections between people. Three that are well suited for our highway location could be a drive through coffee hut + cafe with special needs employees, co-working space for non-profits, a car repair business that will serve low income families and stranded motorists. We are also looking into the feasibility of a dog park and community garden for nearby apartment dwellers.
- Brett and I would like to give back part of the church’s 2020 budget for a pastoral salary to missional efforts.
$6,000 would fund a trade certificate for one missionary-in-training, our first hope for 2020-2021.6 $30,000 or more would have great impact. We know there are so many good causes out there, and we know this will not be the choice for many of you. But if you choose to support a new vision for reaching people for Jesus in post-Christian America (pun intended!), please know we will put your gifts to work.
Other ways to support us are to receive email updates, like our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/TheRestStop94), come for a visit, recommend people to us who are discerning a future in ministry or want to start a coffee or car repair business, spread the word about “The Rest Stop,” offer your legal or business advice, or pray:
- Please pray that New Vision will continue to seek after Jesus and follow him.
- Please pray for the relationships that are growing.
- Please pray that God entrusts new relationships and opportunities to us.
- Pray that God will protect and sustain our marriages and families.
- Pray that God will send us the partnerships in the community to move our “dream list” forward.
- Please pray that we will have eyes to see and courage to act when the Holy Spirit nudges.
If you made it all the way to the end of this letter – congratulations!
Christmas peace to you and your family,
Brett & Christina
You can give by check (made out to New Vision BIC) or online by texting NewVisionBIC to 73256 (mark it as “New Vision Mission Support”).
If you want to let us know how you intend to support us or send us a note, send us this form or an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, but it is not necessary.
Gifts made to New Vision BIC are tax deductible.
Our church mailing address: New Vision BIC Church, N14W27995 Silvernail Rd., Pewaukee, WI 53072
Our home mailing address: 1009 Evergreen Dr., Waukesha, WI 53188
1“Attractional” could be described as evangelizing by marketing a worship event that attract people to come to us with the hopes of introducing them to Jesus. This is usually compared to “missional” that is more focused on relational evangelism, being the church in everyday activities.
5 In an interview with Plough magazine, Mike Rowe noted that he often hears the sentiment “we need more welders and fewer philosophers.” His response was “it’s not one or the other. What we need is more welders who can discuss Kant and Descartes, and we need more philosophers who can run an even bead and repair a leaky faucet.”