Change is here to stay
It was an honour last year to add fuel to the fire that was already beginning ignited in the way that Malvern Christian Assembly ((MCA) were thinking about how they do church. Intentional thinking has helped them to focus not just in doing good for their community but how they can begin to transform the community that they find themselves in. What has transpired since that visit has been nothing short of incredible.
Firstly the vision was set:
~Every Home in Malvern reached with the Gospel
~Every Believer becoming a Disciple; Every Disciple a Mentor
~Every Family member Trained & Equipped
~Every Gift fully Developed
~Every Act of Compassion & Generosity Extended
~Establishment of a Family Centre
~Enlargement of our territory by planting 7 new churches
It immediately became evident that the nature of church in the 21st Century needed to change because society itself was rapidly changing. The leadership team began to rethink what these 7 church plants would need to look like if they were going to reach these very different and diverse groups of people with the gospel.
The goal was no longer to recreate 7 mirrored images of MCA, but rather to meet the people where they were, to meet the needs of those same people, to create community with those people and (most importantly) through those things, to point them to an irresistible God.
As this new undertaking began, there were a lot of areas uncharted, but the Lord was gracious as He motivated the people of MCA to fulfil this vision.
To date, 6 of our 7 churches have been planted. Some of the examples below show the diversity of the impact in the area and beyond.
University of Toronto’s Campus Church
MCA’s Young Adults Pastor was invited to be one of the chaplains at UTSC. As a result he has found favour with all the already established Christin groups, and has had the opportunity to, with the full support of the university administration, start a Campus Church. Over 60 students from various walks of life now gather together weekly to share in fellowship, and the breaking of bread as they devote themselves to prayer and to the Word of God.
Morningside Heights Christian Fellowship (MHCF)
We have had the opportunity to minister to the community of Morningside Heights, just north of MCA. The strategy has been to get to know the diverse cultures that are represented in the demographic of that neighbourhood. Carnivals, frozen treats in the park and English as a Second Language Classes are offered as ways to connect with the community. MHCF now ministers to over 60 people every week.
Mi’kmaq Christian Assembly (MCA Nova Scotia)
This ministry has reached First Nation people with the love of Christ through various community outreach initiatives. Among these included the “Love your Neighbour Project” and meeting the needs of the Eskasoni residents; responding to clean water and power shortages, providing food relief and assisting in flood damage clean-up. Because of much abuse by the established churches, Pastor Fern and her team have been able to build a church body that is reflective of the Eskasoni people as they attempt to rebuild a broken community in Jesus’ name.
This is the most recent Church plant let by a lady called Brenda. Her passion for her local community has prompted her to bring church to her neighbours and to find favour with the superintendent of the building she lives in. Brenda will begin leading an Addictions’Recovery Group, and through this group, hopes to find permission to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ right at their doorsteps.
Malvern Christian Assembly leased a unit in the neighbourhood and opened “A Place For You”, a Resource Centre that is volunteer run to help members of the community with everything from housing and career help, to immigration form filling and diabetic foot care, all for free.
They partner with the schools in the area and offer an affordable After School Program where they are able to minister to over 50 children a week, many of whom do not know Jesus.
They also hired a Sports Chaplain on a part-time basis to run a Sports Ministry that ministers to over 200 men in the community. These men identify as Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Buddhist, Atheist and Agnostic, but because of their love for sports they are able to share God’s love with them though devotions at half-time. They offer basketball, soccer, floor hockey and volleyball, free of charge, every day of the week. They have had over 12 men give their hearts to the Lord during the past 2 years.
When we begin to be creative there are no end of possibilities to where God can lead in our pursuit of changing our world.