Currently, I’m working on our plan to re-engage our Sunday services for our church, Parkland Community Church, as we are planning to begin meeting again in person. In light of that, some have asked, why we are starting this process and why I’m so eager to meet together in person, especially with all this ‘extra work’ in order to do so. To this, I’ve told them there are three reasons: Spiritual health, Discipleship & Outreach.
I moved to Saskatchewan from British Columbia in 2008 and in those first couple of years, Saskatchewan didn’t feel like home. I missed home in BC. I missed my family. I missed my friends. However, the more and more time I spent in Saskatchewan the more it felt like home. When we begin to live in a particular place long enough, it begins to feel normal. It begins to feel like home.
For the Christ follower, home should be among Christian brothers and sisters who share the same values, goals and purpose in seeing our lives reflect the glory of Jesus. During this time of social distancing and isolation, many have spent too much time away from ‘home’ and we all know the risk that puts our family members. We begin to lose touch and drift away from our values. American politicians will communicate to their voters the dangers of their troops spending too much time in the field. If that’s the case, you’ll hear the phrase that we should correctly identify with in gathering, “It’s time to bring our boys home.” We gather in the safety of our community because being in the field for too long is much too dangerous. Come home fellow brothers and sisters. Come home.
As a young Christian (who hated reading and studying) the best way for me to learn what a Christ-follower does, was to be in community. Any chance I had to be in the presence of a fellow Christian was a time for me to grow in my identity as a son of God and a follower of Jesus. Through representation and imitation, I was able to learn how to properly worship with music using my whole being, through my actions, my voice, and even my body. Through correction, I learned when I was being selfish and divisive. Through encouragement, I learned when I was growing in my spiritual life and honoring God with my actions. The best place for a new Christ follower is in the presence of other Christians. That person will grow in their knowledge of God as they are supported by one another.
Can God redeem a son through a YouTube Video? Can He cause someone to turn their life around through a song on the radio? Can He encourage a deeper understanding through a Christian book? To all of these questions we say: Yes He can!
However, I find it hard to believe there is anything more powerful than another person looking them in the eye and through a personal witness sharing what the Living God of the universe has done in their life. To witness a person’s life drastically changed through the power of the resurrected Jesus and hear someone’s passion for the gospel, that is what encourages a seed of the gospel to take root in someone’s life. It is much more powerful for me to make a personal appeal to another person than to tell them to go watch a YouTube Video. Outreach is best done in person. YouTube is not the hand of God. A website is not the feet that carry the gospel. Friends, Christians are the hands and feet of Jesus who carry the gospel to those in darkness.
I believe it is our job, as Christ followers, to invite others into a gospel conversation, so they might experience the power of the risen Jesus! Whether that is in person or through online experiences, we invite them to journey with us. However, we want to offer as many ways as we can so people might hear the gospel message best. I believe in-person gatherings is where new Christians should be. It is where our spiritual walk is exponentially grown. It is where the person who doesn’t know Jesus, can come and taste that the Lord is good.
This is why we’re re-engaging in our Sunday gatherings. This is why we want to provide a place close to home where we can meet and where you can bring your family, friends and loved ones to hear the good news that Jesus gave his life so we might be connected to the God of life, to have life, life to the full and life eternal!
Parkland Community Church:
We Exist to Develop People Who Love Jesus and Serve Others.