Congregation helps people find authentic community in an upscale town

Ben Greene

Pastor & writer

  • Church planting & multiplication


Medfield is like Mayberry with a Master’s degree.  

The Massachusetts town is quaint and small, but Andy Taylor’s rural North Carolina hometown, it is not. Several thousand people in Medfield earn six-figure salaries and own homes that regularly exceed $1 million. Yet they have something in common with everywhere and everyone. 


“People are looking for some kind of spiritual experience,” First Baptist pastor Hunter Guthrie said of his friends and neighbors. “We would like to present how compelling Christianity is.” 


Ben Mbugua, who’s lived in Massachusetts for 45 years, has seen how New England is a place where churches disappear. He said First Baptist Medfield is on a different path thanks to gospel preaching and community involvement between neighbors and friends. 


“We make disciples,” he said. “It changes everything. They are willing to share their homes.  They think of others. You see transformed human beings.” 


These New England disciples share something uncommon for the normally private Northeast: their sufferings. Everybody has them, Mbugua said, even in the affluent community 40 minutes west of Boston. 


“It’s better when you share them together,” he said of sufferings. 



The Cope family knew they were home


Guthrie said a team effort among believers is key to the church’s growth. He said the church has become a place where evangelism happens in relationships and on Sunday mornings. Visitors can see the gospel lived out as very different people unite around Jesus Christ. 


“It’s a tangible witness,” Guthrie explained of the unity. “We’re so friendly it makes it hard for them to want to go somewhere else.” 


Lauren and David Cope never considered going anywhere else after their early visits to First Baptist Church, which affiliated with Converge Northeast in 2021. They’ve experienced that unity and commitment to the gospel Sunday after Sunday. 


“When it feels like home, it’s because you are your true, authentic self,” Lauren said.  


She said the church is a sincere community, an essential characteristic in Massachusetts, where people can see right through phony behaviors and messages. She and her husband wanted a connection with people, not just friendliness, and they’ve found it at First Baptist. 


“You can really relate to people,” she said. "It’s a very joyful place to be.”



How did First Baptist become this kind of church?

Mbugua, Guthrie and Cope agree the church emphasizes gospel preaching, making disciples and treating people with genuine love. The church offers community groups where people meet weekly for prayer, Bible study and fellowship. 


“Our mission field is Medfield and the surrounding towns,” he said. “We want to be a place where people can come and explore the faith.” 


That’s a constructive posture in Medfield, where, despite the affluence, there’s a spiritual hunger. People try to fill their spiritual needs with new-age experiences, energy healers and sacred circles. 


Guthrie said God has worked powerfully, clearly and wisely in and through the church. There have been salvations, baptisms and transformed lives.  


Money, mansions and Master’s degrees are losing some of their luster in Medfield because people have encountered the greatest gift available. 


“People are excited about God,” Guthrie said. “They’re excited about Jesus; they want to tell their friends.” 


Converge's 10 districts have committed to deploying 312 church planters before 2026. Read more inspiring church planting stories and learn about the goal to send out 312 church planters in five years. 

Ben Greene, Pastor & writer

Ben Greene is a freelance writer and pastor currently living in Massachusetts. Along with his ministry experience, he has served as a full-time writer for the Associated Press and in the newspaper industry.

Additional articles by Ben Greene