At Banff Pastors Conference last week, Aaron Hansen, Pastor of Mission, Outreach and Youth at First Baptist Church in Cranbrook, BC, shared this story with us about how FBC Cranbrook has been “stumbling” towards becoming a faithful presence in their community.
Do you have a story from your neighbourhood? We’d love to hear it and share it as we strive to, like iron sharpening iron, encourage and inspire one another towards following Jesus into the homes and hearts of our neighbours.
By Aaron Hansen
A number of years ago, as a church we decided that “Acting on what God is calling us to do or be within our neighbourhoods” was going to be one of our guiding statements. So, since that time, and likely before it too, we have slowly… clumsily… accidentally been taking steps in this direction towards engaging our neighbourhoods. Our latest step was to think about how to care for our neighbours during what can be a long, cold evening in our area: Halloween.
Our Children and Families Pastor, Natasha, brought forward a bunch of different ideas that we could try as a church, and one of them was Halloween Hot Spots. The idea was simple: offer trick-or-treaters and their parents hot chocolate to warm up with. So this year we tried it!
We had about eight different stations in neighbourhoods around our city. Hosts set up tables outside their home and welcomed all who came by a chance to be warmed. They got to meet their neighbours and all who participated reported how much fun they had doing this simple act.
There were no reports of mass conversions, just the continued conversion of regular Christ followers to the message of loving their neighbour as themselves. These hosts are now challenged to continue to pray for the people who live around them and to be a faithful presence in that community.
What’s next for your congregation or small group as you look for ways God is at work in your neighbours and seek to participate? Perhaps a Cranbrook-esque “Holiday Cheer Drop-In” or a wider invitation to your New Years Eve party will be the spark that ignites friendships and care among your neighbours?