Shared Practices in the Midst of Self Isolation

By Shannon Youell

How then, shall we, the church, respond? 

Over the last few weeks weve been taking a look at Mike Frost’s BELLS approach to Shared Practices: Bless, Eat, Learn, Listen, Be Sent. However, in our present global reality, how do we engage shared practices? As Bruxy Cavey reminds us, love is wise and it is nimble...We may, in certain situations, love well by actually keeping our distance from people, by staying away. So what now?

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We’ve taken another look at these 5 shared practices and want to share some stories and resources with you about how we can continue to show God’s love to each other and the world even in the midst of self-isolation: 

Bless 

Times of crisis can turn even the most kind of us into Mr. Hyde! We’ve seen this in the buying out of common needed items and groceries in our stores in the past weeks – empty shelves facing those who only were buying what they needed for that week and for those who lack the resources to buy a months worth of food/products at a time.   

I faced those empty shelves for the sixth day in a row, looking for just one package of toilet paper as we were down to our last couple of rolls (yes this is, sadly, a toilet paper story – but it has a good ending!) 

On day six, four 8roll packages remained on the shelf of the local grocery store. And it was only eight in the morning!  I bought one, praying that three more people could buy the others. I also discovered that there were a dozen or so containers of disinfecting wipes miraculously on an otherwise empty shelf, so I bought two of those.  

The next morning, one of my sons dropped by to leave his young child here so as to get his shopping for the week.  Same store.  No toilet paper, no wipes, no soup, no pasta.  So I gave him my package of toilet paper and a package of wipes.  All will be well, I thought.  

Next morning someone in our community stuck her head in my driveway gate to drop off a piece of frozen salmon she wanted me to have.  Standing at a safe distance from one another, I asked why it took two bags to hold one piece of fish.  “Other stuff.” she said.  Looking in one of the bags I laughed out loud. There was an 8roll pack of toilet paper and a baggie of wipes that she packed from her container of wipes she has at home.  She had no idea I had just given mine away to someone else!  She said it must have been some kind of “God radar. 

Can we all put up our “God Radar” on how we can bless those in our neighbourhood and extended communities during this time?  Take the time to look out your window and see who you can be a blessing to.  

Eat
It’s difficult these days—but not impossible—to make mealtimes a hospitable activity. One family in Cailey’s Mission Group gathers together daily at 3:30pm for coffee and snacks. This routine was in place long before COVID-19 came on the scene, but has become an even more important connect point for them in these times.   

This family—comprising parents, two adult kids living at home and a third in high school—has even taken “Coffee Time” to the next level in the past couple of weeks by inviting other families “over” via FaceTime. For 30 minutes to an hour, the two families share in conversation online while enjoying hot drinks in their own homes. Why not try to share your meal or snack time with another person or family, even once a week? 

Learn
In some ways, this one’s easy—has there ever been a season with more educational resources available at our fingertips? However, when Michael Frost says “Learn,” what he’s saying is learn Jesus for the sake of becoming like Jesus. This practice means more than buzzing in and out of webinars and Reddit.

Frost goes as far as calling us to “marinate our minds and souls in the story of Jesus Through biblical study, theological reading and even the viewing of films (no matter how limited each of them might be), we slowly but surely orient our lives toward the things of Christ, and we become deeply familiar with His story so we can share it whenever anyone asks us for the reason for the hope we have in Him” (Five Habits of Highly Missional People p34).

Listen 
Remember, it’s still Lent! It might look different with kids around or your spouse trying to work from home in the living room, but try to find a way for fasting, solitude, and meditating on Scripture to help you hear what the Holy Spirit wants to say to you and your community.  

Be Sent
I was talking with another pastor yesterday of the minute by minute evolution of our ‘new notnormalsin the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.  He, like so many of us is scrambling to figure out how to keep the congregation connected when we can no longer gather in our buildings and homes.  He mentioned how this seems to be dominating the minds of every pastor he has also been speaking with.  He is also self-isolating and is unwell, so he’s been stressed about that as well. 

In his accounting, yesterday morning, after being confined to home and having his every waking moment dominated by getting the church service online and his own health concerns, he looked out his window to the neighbourhood outside his walls.   

That’s when it hit him – he had been so focused on ensuring his own safety and well-being and that of the congregation that he forgot about his neighbours – in fact, he realized, he hadn’t seen any movement whatsoever in the home across the street where an older couple lived.  

Many churches have adopted the missional language of “being church.” Here, then is an opportunity to do just that, though in ways we haven’t even thought of as we navigate our way back to ‘normal’.   For my pastor friend, the Spirit reminded him of the calling of the church is both to be gathered and scattered.   

Here is the time, scattered as we are in the confines of our homes, to shine.  

David Fitch offers this simple but open-postured example of a note they’ve been leaving in their neighbours’ mailboxes: 

Hi neighbors, 

It’s Dave and Rae Ann Fitch. In light of the fact that some of us are likely to get sick from COVID-19 in the next little while and will need to stay home in isolation, we just wanted you to have our number and email address. If you run out of supplies like toilet paper or need someone to pick up groceries and drop them off at your door—we’re happy to help out as much as we can. 

Sincerely, 

The Fitchs” 

You can check out his whole blog article Faithful Presence During a Pandemic here.

 As I was praying the other day, I was prompted by the Spirit to move from prayers of “God, where are you?” to “God, where are you at work right now and how can I join you?” We pray that all of us in this time will be able to notice and join the good work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, homes and communities. 

BELLS Video #5: SENT

As part of our series on Shared Practices, we’re sharing Mike Frost’s brief videos about the 5 Shared Practices that his missional community practices together: the BELLS method of Bless, Eat, Learn, Listen, Be Sent.

This 3-minute clip wraps up the series as Mike Frost asks about how we live as sent ones in the world. Did the people you encounter throughout the day see Jesus reflected in you in a way that strengthened them, engaged them in conversation with you and heard Jesus’ love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness through you?

We encourage you to try out the practice yourself. Does it come naturally to you, or is it a stretch?

How did you mirror God’s word in your world today? How can your community of faith engage this practice together?

BELLS Video #4: LISTENING TO THE SPIRIT

As part of our series on Shared Practices, we’re sharing Mike Frost’s brief videos about the 5 Shared Practices that his missional community practices together: the BELLS method of Bless, Eat, Learn, Listen, Be Sent.

In this 4-minute video, Frost shares how his community practices listening to the Holy Spirit.

We encourage you to try out the practice yourself. Does it come naturally to you, or is it a stretch?

Think about examples of Jesus and the early church partaking in this practice. What might it look like today in your church family? How will you create space to sit and actually listen and see where God is already working, in order to join Him?

BELLS Video #3: LEARNING JESUS

As part of our series on Shared Practices, we’re sharing Mike Frost’s brief videos about the 5 Shared Practices that his missional community practices together: the BELLS method of Bless, Eat, Learn, Listen, Be Sent.

5 Minutes

We encourage you to try out the practice yourself. Does it come naturally to you, or is it a stretch?

In what ways are the folks in your congregation shaped by Jesus? How would our neighbours respond if we began talking about Jesus in the same way we talk about someone else who know inside out?

 

BELLS Video #2: EAT

As part of our series on Shared Practices, we’re sharing Mike Frost’s brief videos about the 5 Shared Practices that his missional community practices together: the BELLS method of Bless, Eat, Learn Jesus, Listen to the Spirit, Be Sent.

These videos are not meant to tell you how to do Shared Practices in your congregation, but rather show a great example of the kinds of simple missional habits that we as the embodiment of Christ on earth are to foster. Take 2 minutes to watch this video and consider your perspective on Frost’s second practice: Eat.

We encourage you to try out the practice yourself. Does it come naturally to you, or is it a stretch?

Think about examples of Jesus and the early church partaking in this practice. What might it look like today in your church family? How can the table be a mission zone in your home, your church facility, your neighbourhood? What are the road blocks, and what are the opportunities? Let us know what you think!

Perspectives on Shared Practices: Michael Frost

“Evangelistic mission works effectively when we are living generous, Spirit-led, hospitable, Christlike lives as missionaries in our own neighbourhoods—and when the gifted evangelists in our midst join us in sharing Christ with our neighbours. That’s not just good evangelism strategy. That’s the biblical model” (Michael Frost, Surprise the World, NavPress 2016). 

These words from Michael Frost, an Australian church planter, theologian, missiologist, and cofounder of Forge Mission Training Network, speak to the heart of the series on Shared Practices we’ve been sharing for the past few months. Yes, Shared Practices are at one level meant to help already-Christians grow in the kingdom way together, being transformed more into the likeness of Christ through important facets such as accountability, Bible study, hospitality and prayer. But really, the whole point of the gathered and scattered people of God is to make disciples who make disciples—to be a winsome people who, as Frost puts it, “announce and demonstrate the reign of God through Christ.” Shared Practices are inherently missional.

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Over the coming weeks, we’re going to share Mike Frost’s videos about the 5 Shared Practices that his missional community practices together: the BELLS method of Bless, Eat, Learn Jesus, Listen to the Spirit, Be Sent.

We’ll share a new clip each week, giving you time to experiment with the practice. These videos are not meant to necessarily give you a plug-and-play model for Shared Practices, but they are a good starting place to foster conversation in your congregation.

These approximately 4-minute videos give us a new way to approach some of the habits or tendencies that we already have as human beings, and today we’ll begin with the first B: BLESS.

Take note that the original word bless means “add strength to one’s arm.” Remember that God strengthens with His right hand or arm and that strength is what blesses the person. When we do likewise (as imitators of Christ) we bless.

We encourage you to try out the practice yourself. Does it come naturally to you, or is it a stretch? What might this practice look like in your church family? What similar practices already exist in some way in your congregation? Why is this practice important for disciple-making disciples of Christ?

Perspectives on Shared Practices: Mike Oshiro

As we continue our conversations around Shared Practices within congregational rhythms, we interview another of our churches who are on this journey: The Forge Church in Victoria, BC. Pastors Mike Oshiro and Shannon Youell (whom you know!) share their journey with us. ~ Cailey

CBWC: Why Shared Practices?

Mike Oshiro (Lead Pastor) and Shannon Youell: As a congregation we had gone through a reboot ten years ago. A significant part of that reboot was in moving from being a Sunday gathering of church members to a community who lived out covenant with God and one another by committing to faith life being one of discipling one another. This reboot required us to also change how we do church leadership together, which has resulted in a deep trust in one another. We are convinced that this trust is the platform that enabled us to move into developing shared practices.

We began moving in the direction of shared practices after we began evaluating where we are and realized that intentional discipleship for most church people is an optional “add-on” to life in Christ. As leaders, we had capitulated to the worldview of consumerism and individualism, while at the same time trying to form a covenanted community on mission with God. It just wasn’t working.  Intentional discipleship in community just can’t be an add-on.

CBWC: What was The Forge Church’s experience of developing shared practices?

Mike and Shannon: Jesus called us to make disciples who join God on mission. After much prayer, we knew we needed to reimagine and rethink how to do that. We especially were drawn to the writings of Dallas Willard, Henri Nouwen, Mike Lukens and so many others who had found themselves in the same place in their own church experience. We began to look at how to begin making a shift from individuals with personal faith journeys to a community on mission together to shape one another in Christ-like-ness so the community is a witness for Christ to our local community.

We entered into conversations with Cam Roxburgh and Cailey Morgan from Southside who gave us more insight into what it takes to move into Shared Practices as a church.

After a year of teaching towards this “culture-shift,” we began developing Shared Practices Guide for Advent of 2017. It was basic and simple.

January 2018 saw us with our first full-version weekly guide of discipling one another together. At this point we still did not have anything formed around some kind of small groups. We were very intentional about not moving into this too soon.  Cam wisely counselled us to take some time with our Leadership Team (LT) before we launch it with our congregation. And we needed it!

Part of our teaching focused on the idea that journey with Christ was always meant to be a corporate journey, not just a personal/individual. Shared Practices helped us to focus. Our concern was that it would become an optional Bible study with no engagement, so we wanted another small group with purpose, that would encourage our church to become a discipling community.

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CBWC Church Planting: What Shared Practices do you focus on and why?

Mike and Shannon: Over the last 2 years all of our teaching seemed to come back to the Shema, as Jesus expressed it in Mark 12:30-31: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength…Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Initially when we began using the Weekly Practices Guide, we didn’t have small groups (which we call Connect Groups). Our encouragement was to join with the rest of our church community to in doing the daily exercises or shared practices.

Our Shared Practices are Prayer (Heart), Study of Scripture (Mind), preparation for Sabbath (Strength), being a good neighbour (Love Your Neighbour), Personal Practice and Reflection (Love Yourself) and Gathering together on Sunday and in Wednesday Connect Groups (Love One Another).

Focusing on these practices as a whole church community gives us common conversation to begin to form deeper relationships with one another.  We still encourage people to read Scripture or “have devotions” as they have found meaningful, but we also strongly encouraged the church to join this shared journey of prayer, study, reflection, eating together and creating a meaningful community life seven days a week.  This was not an increase in church activities or programs, rather a new rhythm of doing the things we normally do in life with more intentionality of being a gospel people together.

CBWC: What’s been the hardest or most frustrating thing? 

Mike and Shannon: Even after teaching and preaching on being Christ’s disciples both in our personal lives and corporately, when it came time to introduce the concept of Shared Practices, people pushed back. There were so many reasons people felt they couldn’t engage: “I do my own devotions” or “what if I don’t want to read that Scripture this week?” or “I have no time in my day to pray or spend time with God.”

We realized we needed to go back a step, so we practiced with our Leadership Team for about four months by meeting weekly for a shared meal, conversation, discussion and praying together for one another. Much to our surprise, the majority of push back on our LT came from those who we thought would be most supportive. Most of our leaders struggled with leading a small group (Connect Group) as they didn’t feel ready, or didn’t think they have enough biblical knowledge, or are introverts. We reiterated over and over that we were not doing question-and-answer Bible studies, but rather practicing life discipleship together.

We had said from the beginning that if our LT wasn’t fully on board for this we wouldn’t pursue it until they were. That has been one of the most fruitful pauses in moving forward that we could have done.

The other hard thing is that it does take a lot of work to create the guide books.  However, we as staff have grown deeper into our own discipleship journeys and we have seen our preaching and teaching growing and connecting more and more with people in their day-to-day life. image001.jpg

CBWC: Where have you seen fruit of your intentionality in shared practices? 

Mike and Shannon:We are now two full years in the rhythm of shared practices and we are seeing some wonderful fruit.

Our community has grown closer and more connected We are seeing an increase in new members and baptisms coming out of these groups.  For us, growing in numbers has never been our goal, but we find that as we grow in depth as disciples, we are growing in numbers as well.

We are also seeing more of the pastoral care happening from within our Connect Groups. We have elders in each group that are part of our LT, and increasingly, needs and concerns are met through people who are walking discipleship out together. This has given staff the needed time to continue developing leaders and disciples who find their relationship with God, self, others and neighbours being transformed.

One icing-on-the-cake bonus is that we have a people of faith who are increasingly intentional in every area of their lives. By the time we introduced our Connect Group, people were understanding the why around Shared practices and the push-back we initially received had died off. At the launch of these very intentional groups we had over 60% of our congregation join with us.

All our new people are connected to a group as soon as they indicate they are interested in The Forge Church as their “home,” embedding them into people who know and care for them, not as strangers who sit across the aisle, but as brothers and sisters following Jesus on mission in their everyday lives.

CBWC: What advice would you give churches who are considering taking a step towards a culture of intentional shared practice and life together? 

Mike and Shannon: Go slow! Take incremental steps. We didn’t create an add-on program to what we were already doing, but over the course of five years began intentionally reshaping who we are and what we do as witnesses of Christ in our lives.

Don’t be afraid to take a few steps back to help your church re-orientate.  But also don’t allow the culture of consumerism and the individualism of “private faith” distract you or put fear in your hearts! We were prepared that some people wouldn’t delve deep with us and we continue to care for them as community—but the depth to which we are now delving and the growth we are seeing both in our long time folk and new folk, is well worth staying the course.

As per usual, we look forward to further conversation with you and your church as we continue watching God at work and joining Him in His work wherever we live, work, play and pray! ~Shannon and Cailey

God-With-Us is Hope 

By Shannon Youell

O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever?
How long will you look the other way?
How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul,
with sorrow in my heart every day? 

How long will my enemy have the upper hand?
Turn and answer me, O Lord my God!
Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die.” 

This plea, this lament from Psalm 13 written by the Hebrew David, King of Israel, may resonate with you—perhaps from a time when circumstances were bleak, dreary, seemingly endless and without any hope of changing. 

Perhaps this is how you feel right now.  

David’s lament, one of many poured from the depths of his soul, reminds us how easy it can be to lose hope when we are not seeing or experiencing the promises of God that we long to know. It is the sad reality of our humanness: it is easy to lose hope. 

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I suspect, however, that when we do lose hope, it is likely because that hope is dependent upon some kind of determined outcome, some kind of action, some kind of mystery, miracle, provision.  How many times have we, in lamenting prayer, reminded God of His promises towards us as a passive-aggressive way to demand they be so for us now. For us, disappointment denotes the absence of hope fulfilled.  Yet… 

 “We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope.”
Martin Luther King Jr. 

Finite hope may or may not appear, but infinite hope, ahhh, that is something different all together.  That hope is not just wrapped up in a promise, but a person, and not just any person, but God Himself.  God-With-Us. 

Often, we look to the promises of God as our hope, when our hope is simply Himself. Incarnated. Emmanuel. With-Us. Here amid our sorrow, our how long! pleas and cries.     

There will be trials and disappointments, but God does not leave us without hope.   

There is hope because God is still With-Us. 

Here’s the thing about hope: it may not always look the way we expect it to, but in the end, it always looks like God. God-With-Us. 

Our hope isn’t found in the promise fulfilled. Our hope is that God-With-Us is our hope. 

God-With-UsChrist, Emmanuelpours upon us the hope of His presence and it leads to the way of peace, and to the way of joy, and the way of love and then to promises fulfilled. Hope is not only clinging to a promise of the future, but more so clinging to the Person who is present, now and always. 

This is the message of Advent. Advent is not an extension of Christmas; Advent links our past hope, our present hope and our future hope. 

Our God-With-Us is hope, and that hope restores our hearts, our minds, our soul and strength towards peace, towards joy, towards love so we can worship fully in the knowing that our God never leaves us nor forsakes us. 

David, as in most of his laments, remembers that hope. He finishes his anguished cries with these words: 

But I trust in your unfailing love;
My heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
For he has been good to me.” 

God-With-Us is Hope. 

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” 
Romans 15:13
 

Walking through Advent Together

By Shannon Youell and Cailey Morgan

Can you believe Advent begins in a month?

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We’re in a series discussing the importance of shared practices in missional discipleship. As the Christmas season approaches, we’d love you to consider whether Advent 2019 would be a good chance for your community of faith to be introduced to shared rhythms.

Here’s why: Advent is a defined period of time when churches can focus thematically on reflection, hospitality, Scripture and prayer. During this season, churches likely already engage in shared practices such as eating together, giving generous offerings, incorporating Advent readings into Sunday gatherings, serving the poor, and perhaps even a daily Advent devotional or prayer guide. The kind of intentionality that we find in the weeks leading up to Christmas is a great foundation for exploring what deeper engagement in shared practices could look like in the broader church calendar.

 

The Forge Church’s Experience

Shared practices as we’ve been introducing are not a new thing at all. The Jewish community of Jesus’ day practiced traditional spiritual practices throughout the year (Jesus emphasizes three of the main practices in Matthew 6, though as correctives to how they were being practiced).  These formed and shaped them into a community on God’s mission together when they practiced them in ways faithful to God’s ongoing redemptive plan of restoring all things together in unity.

Utilizing the Advent season to introduce shared practices has been a rich and growth-inducing journey for Shannon’s church, the Forge. For two years now they have been digging deeper into what it means to be disciples together on God’s mission.

The Forge has offered to share two resources: the Advent Guide they used when first implementing an intentional framework of shared practices for their congregation, and also the guide they used a year later as the shared practices were more established. As the folk at The Forge grew deeper together, so did their shared practices—and you will see that reflected in these two guides which are a year apart.

The guidebooks are only one of the tools Forge uses to make room in their everyday lives to spend time both with God individually and as the scattered community of disciples who gather for a few hours during the week.

 

Advent Shared Practice Resources

Here are some other resources that you may find helpful in gathering your congregation or household in shared reflection and action throughout Advent:

  • Advent Conspiracy is a multi-faceted movement to “celebrate Christmas humbly, beautifully, and generously.” They offer tools from inspirational videos and kid’s curriculum to a full-fledged book and small group series. Great to engage as whole churches or as a family, Advent Conspiracy was the basis for The Forge Church’s Advent Guide provided above. If you look further into the Advent Conspiracy resource, you may wonder how children felt about their parents engaging in the Spend Less (on yourselves) and Give More (to those who have less/not). Overwhelmingly, from small to teen, the kids at The Forge embraced this idea. So that’s just a plug for those of you who fear your kids not feeling like Christmas is Christmas.
  • CBWC’s Advent Page provides samples of Advent devotionals, Advent readings and Christmas Eve service orders.
  • Saturate’s “How to Make a Plan for the Holidays” is a short, simple and very practical guide to preparing for the season before it bulldozes us. Intended for use in small groups.
  • Marva Dawn’s brief daily devotional Follow the Story takes a reflective bent as she walk slowly through the story of that first Christmas and invites us to enter into the anticipation of the coming Saviour alongside ancient disciples like Elizabeth, Zechariah, Simeon, Joseph and Mary.

What other resources have you found helpful around Advent? Let us know by leaving a comment!

 

Engaging Gospel: A Resource

By Shannon Youell

“I’ve never had someone ask me, ‘What must I do to be saved?’ But I have had many people ask me, ‘Where is God?’ As the three-tier view of the world has collapsed, people are not seeking God ‘up there’ but want to find God here and now.” ~Diane Butler Bass 

Often times when I meet up with people, they ask me what’s happening in Church Planting in CBWC. I love to tell the stories of the men and women who are engaging in the gospel in both new works and from within existing congregations. As I shared some of these stories yesterday, the people I was with were curious about why all our current plants in process and prospective are within ethnic-specific groups, to which I replied several observations. I included my often expressed observation that Canadian Baptists, in general and across our nation, haven’t continued our Baptist value of building an ethos of evangelism by discipling our people to be missional disciples who join God on mission into their everyday worlds. Evangelism, or talking about Jesus as both Lord and as Savior, is the best approach to church planting, and many of us just aren’t comfortable going there.

The result is that we don’t disciple our own folks to be local leaders and planters of new communities. Rather, we disciple people to be good Christians, which is right and true, but we leave the missional call of Jesus for us to be light of the world up to osmosis or chance or something. Jesus was never so unintentional.

It isn’t that our folk don’t believe in church planting. They do. We love to hear the stories of people coming to faith and the inspirational curiosity of new believers that re-sparks our own passion for being devoted followers of Jesus. The difficulty is that we regular, ordinary, everyday folk stumble around even articulating the gospel to which we profess has captured us. We are confused about the gospel, so we leave it to the ‘professionals’, evangelists or church planters or preachers.

And as Diane Butler points out in her statement above, we have difficulty answering our friends, family members, co-workers and neighbour when they ask questions that require more than a four-point process to salvation. What do we do with our deeper human questions about where is God in the midst of all the world’s woes and tragedies, or how can God love me when….or does God even care? The answer we often give addresses the avenue to eternal life, whilst not being able to articulate the here-on-earth part of the story of the Good News of God’s kingdom found through Jesus the King.

It is with this in mind that CBWC Executive Staff  began to work on a resource to help begin conversations that will help us have conversations about the gospel wherever we are: as ordinary everyday people in ordinary everyday realities of the human experience of life on earth.

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This resource, Engaging Gospel, has been developed as both a sermon series outline for teacher/preachers and with a follow up guide for small group discussions.

Our prayer, our hope and our invitation is that, as a family of churches, we gather in much the ways we gathered for the 77 Days of Prayer and do this together, either as your fall sermon series, or if that isn’t possible, your winter series post-Advent.

Our goal is to help bring back the incredible language of the full, rich Gospel into our imaginations again so that we are not confused by the ‘gospel’, but excited. As Larry Schram expresses in the video attached to the series, “This is indeed still good news – it is the best imaginable!”

Church planting is not a side-program of the church, but is the fruit of the Gospel being richly and fully expressed to those who are lost, least and last into God’s redemptive plan of restoring the human community and all of His creation to places of found, first and favoured.