Slideshow image

Dearly Beloved, 


Did you know that statistically in North America, adults who come to new faith in Jesus have it occur because of one of two primary ways? A supernatural encounter with the power of Jesus (ie an answered prayer, healing, etc) or by having 7 credible Christian friends? That means if you have a friend or neighbour in your life they are far more likely to come into relationship with Jesus if they are welcomed into your life and the lives of some of your other believing friends! 


In our early married years, Mike and I were very much in a ‘Christian bubble’. We worked at churches, our friends were almost exclusively Christian and though we were friendly to our neighbours we kept largely to ourselves and our Christian friends. It wasn’t until we were called to plant a church that our ‘bubble’ was popped and we were quickly thrust into an adventure where suddenly, and wonderfully, our lives had so much more room for new friends who didn’t know Jesus (at all!) yet. We learned to become friends with anyone who passed by our home. To be honest, it took a while to un-learn church-speak, or as we affectionately call it “Christian-ese”, and re-learn how to just be normal people who also love Jesus. Everything in our lives became an opportunity not just for evangelism, but real and deep friendships. Many of our neighbours from those days are still dear friends of ours to this day. And some, over time, have come to open their hearts to the love and truth of Jesus! 


It sounds a bit extreme to say I had to un-learn church-speak and learn how to be normal, doesn’t it? But really, one of the biggest transformations for me during this time was simply learning to see and love ALL people for who God made them to be, exceptional and wonderful beings. Not getting hung up on differences, not feeling uncomfortable when someone’s beliefs and mine seemed to have an expansive chasm lying between. Entering into genuine relationship with those whom I couldn’t be any more different from was both freeing and humbling. Because not only was I loving and accepting them, they were loving and accepting me knowing how different I was from them. It was beautiful because the love we were able to give was fueled by the love of Christ and through friendship they were able to experience His love.


Throughout the years in Victoria we learned how to be Intentional about the Gospel together with our friends. Church friends of ours becoming friends with our non-Christian friends. We had ‘Amazing Race’ nights where every week our neighbours (sometimes 30 people weekly!) would come over, bring a dish to share and watch The Amazing Race with us. It created space for many deep conversations about faith and some friends even found Jesus. One of the most beautiful things about it was that when one of our non-believing friends would piece together that several of us went to a small group or our Sunday service together they often, because of the friendships they already shared with many of us, expressed curiosity about visiting sometime.  Not only was this spiritually transformative for many of them, learning to live missionally was the most life-changing and transformational season for me, not as a pastor…but as Laura, Christ-follower and normal everyday neighbour. 


One of the 4 things everyone in our church is called to is Gospel Intentionality Together. This can look like so many different things. It begins with asking, ‘what are we already doing that we could add gospel intentionality to?’ In other words, ‘what kind of everyday life things do we do regularly that we can be more purposeful about working together to befriend people who don’t know Jesus yet?’ We have so many amazing people already doing this so well at CPC. Anywhere from weekly volleyball, fishing, crafting, pickleball, neighbourhood barbeques, etc. It’s awesome to see this priority grow in our church family and as it does we are seeing people come to know Jesus! 


So, who are the people in your life that don’t know Jesus yet? How can you lean in more intentionally with them? Who are the Christian friends in your life that you could partner with in this? Don’t be weird about it. Ha! Just be you. Loving, kind, and full of the life changing power of Jesus. Perhaps you are realizing that you don’t actually have any friends that don’t know the Lord yet. That’s ok. Start there. Start with prayer and ask the Lord to bring to mind those in your life that you can be more intentional about connecting with. It doesn’t have to be a fancy production, it can be as simple as a backyard bbq with a few friends and neighbours, or joining a pole-walking group in the community with a couple friends from church and agreeing to be intentional together. 


May we see our community transformed by the power of Jesus through the relationships we build. 


May many people that live in proximity of your life discover the love and renewing truth of Jesus! 


It takes time.

It takes friendships.

And it can begin with one conversation this week. 


Pastor Laura