The Journey

 

 

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Actually, it's impossible for anyone to start a church, if you want to be doctrinally correct - and we do. Jesus started His church about 2000 years ago, and it cannot be restarted or stopped. All we really did was start to hold meetings on Sunday. At least that's the way it is superficially. The process has been interesting, in terms of response from other Christians, how it affects ministry and people's reaction. Let me tell you about it.

October 1, 2017 we began meeting in St. Marys on Sunday morning at 10:30. We would love for you to come and visit one Sunday, if you're in the area. We have a great time in the presence of God and our objectives are pretty simple and straightforward. We want to grow a congregation/group of Christians meeting together without causing harm to any other Christian group already meeting together on a Sunday. We are focusing our efforts on reaching out to Christians who don't go to church and people who are not yet Christian but would like it if they were - i.e. new Christians. What a radical concept! Growing the church by bringing people in from the outside. Of course, I comment often that if there are two options, the easy way and the hard way, it seems we always get directed into the hard way! The best way is the way the Lord tells you to do something. I wouldn't have it any other way.

So on that Sunday morning we started a church, um, began meeting, with just 4 people. Strangely in that group are two pastoral couples. Amazing how God puts people together. Our friend Roger was a pastor in Woodstock for 17 years, and was directed to St. Marys by a series of events. God speaks! Even that day God brought in some extra people for the launch - Bette had two grandchildren with her and another family joined us spontaneously, so we had 12 to start. The presence of God every week is "delicious" - what words can you use to describe the presence of the Holy One who loves us so?

It has been interesting to see the reactions of some people - Christians, that is - to the fact that even after meeting Friday evenings for more than 3 years we now meet on a Sunday morning. One might expect that it would be like someone in the family having a baby - with all the celebration and enthusiasm for a new life starting. It's not like that, even among those who most vocally extoll the concept of the Body of Christ growing through new church plants. To some, it's clearly a threat - to some we are simply the competition, because, after all, there are only so many Christians to go round.
To some we are to be avoided. To others we are stepping on the toes of those who are already doing this.

I have some thoughts about this whole "church planting" thing which have been working their way through my mind for a couple of years. One time Steve Long, pastor of Catch the Fire in Toronto, said to me, "as long as there are people who are not Christians we need more churches." Ha! Interesting. I would have thought that the existing churches need to perhaps do a better job of getting the lost through the door. So that was a challenge to me, but in the end I can agree. It was he who also said that "60% of Christians don't go to church." Ha! I thought they were backsliders.... They are Christians. But if going to church is part of God's will.... what is it that stops them?

In a town of 7,000 people there is enough room for 14 churches of 500 people each. What we have in our town is 9 churches with a combined attendance of perhaps 500 people total. I'm not criticizing them, but I think there's room for us! Statistics are interesting to play with sometimes. In a country where approximately 90% of the people believe in God, only about 7% of people are going to church here. Help, Lord!

In the first couple of months we more than doubled in size as God brought in people to help - even people from as far away as BC. We still need more. it seems to me that if someone walks through the door expecting "church" as they know it, it could be a bit awkward if they have to sit in a circle with 4 or even 6 or 8 other people. When we are 12 we will advertise more.

In the mean time we have tried Alpha, and did a fantastic job (kudos to the crew, not to me!) of putting it together, but people didn't want to come. So it seems like there may need to be a lot of groundwork to get people who are not church-goers to show up. (That's just a piece of free information, in case you've thought of doing Alpha too). It's easy to get some of your congregation to show up, when they know everyone already and there's free food! Those who don't know everyone and don't go to church are not enticed so much by a free meal. You have to find those who are interested in knowing about the meaning of life and it's purpose. They are out there. We are working on finding them. That's the goal.

 

Contact Information

Worship With Us Ministries
Box 2161
St. Marys ON N4X 1A1

Office: 289-768-1978
Toll Free: 1-866-873-6927
Mobile: 519-949-3407
BG Mobile: 0893 444759

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