Dear friends of the re-build,
How a life gets transformed – Our children’s pastor tells the story of one boy in the weekly discipleship class who had been very angry. We met him through the annual soccer league we run in the community. His anger would manifest in outbursts of hatred toward the leaders, telling them as much. Then he would storm out. This was his ongoing pattern. One day, he was at home, all alone, sitting on the couch. He felt a hand on his shoulder. He did not turn around. Neither was he frightened, even the least. He knew it was Jesus. Since then he has been changed; the anger is gone and he has become helpful. He is completely different. His parents were speaking with him about the multiplicity of gods for this is their perspective. His father said, ‘All the gods are fine – just stay away from Jesus.’ The boy thought about it and told our children’s pastor, ‘I don’t care what they say. I will follow Jesus.’
Addiction recovery – The memorial service started 20 minutes late with no friends or family present. To make matters worse, it was a simultaneous service for two people, both dying largely as a result of drug overuse. There was a third as well, but we did not have complete name information so the coroner would not confirm his death. It is amazing to me that one can live an entire life and die so alone. We knew them through our outreach to street involved people. Quite likely though, there is something more going on at street level – there is a certain numbness developing to death because there is so much of it on the streets. Some time into the service, the wife of one of the deceased walked in. So I ministered to her in particular and she found encouragement in the Lord; the gospel touched her deeply and her countenance changed. She left full of hope. She too is homeless.People don’t know what to do with addicts and addicts often don’t know what to do with themselves. There is much shame and self loathing that they feel. We are confident though that God has better things for them. Join me in praying that these captives will be set free and their chains broken. Pray for effectiveness in our weekly recovery ministry.
Internships – This year we have 10 interns in an intentional equipping track, with some others coming along in a less official capacity. Each one has a unique focus depending on what they perceive to be their calling with tailored ministry projects. Each is being supervised and mentored by one of our staff in front line ministry. Some are from within our church and others from elsewhere. We feel called as a church to train workers for urban Christian ministry and seek to do this at multiple levels. Our context is also one that facilitates good learning, for we find ourselves in a complex urban environment. Pray with us in this; we must be equipping for greater harvest those whom God is raising up.
A building – Please pray too for God’s good plans to come to fruition re the purchase of a building that becomes a base of operations for the spread of the gospel through the downtown. We are convinced that God has a building for us here that will serve as 1) ministry hub for planting churches, 2) catalyst for outreaches to the poor, 3) training centre for urban Christian workers, in addition to 4) being home to our own congregation. Prayer is simply the key here. Pray for breakthrough in what seems to be a somewhat laboured conversation with another congregation over the sale of their building. God has a good timing for this as He does all things, but we learn in Scripture that we are to lean into the things that we feel are His will with determined prayer, and not be passive. We have not changed in our vision for ministry and desire to acquire a building that will more effectively facilitate it. We simply wait for God to release what we feel He has promised us.
I grieve what has been lost to the church in the city; unity, impact, presence, strength, etc. I feel an unrest in me that things cannot continue as they have and they must not. How can we be content with things as they are? I am also confident that God is doing a new thing for I see the evidence of it in changed lives now. I ask you to join with us and pray for great favor from God to be poured out again on the Downtown church.
We wish you a merry Christmas and God’s blessings in the new year.
Bill Dyck, pastor
December 20, 2017