Evangelism Canada report
He has sent me (us) to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release for the prisoners … “(Isaiah 61:1).
As we met with our core group of three families from Cornerstone Community Church last summer to pray and plan, these well-known verses from Isaiah emerged to focus our ministry here. Our aim is to see Gateway grow through conversion and prodigal growth. We sense our particular call in extending the kingdom here in Metro Halifax to be as a gateway for those who have been alienated from God. We are currently ministering to 16 family units. Many of these individuals have been deeply scarred by the effects of sin. Addiction, abuse and family breakdown are just some of the effects of evil from which Jesus is redeeming people. Please pray that the transforming power of God would be at work in these people’s lives.
Last summer was spent developing a presence in the community, with the help of Youth Mission Canada through public ministry in the local shopping malls and through a door to door brochure delivery. A week-long kids’ club which we held in our backyard prior to YMC team’s arrival has resulted in a weekly Kids’ Club (25 children ages 3-10). This club and our involvement with neighbourhood children has quickly given us recognition in our immediate community.
We began public worship September 15 with a core group of five family units which included Grace Wiebe from Saskatchewan, who joined us through the church planting associate program. From our first Sunday attendance of 18, including children, we have grown to an average attendance of 30-40. We meet in a local high school. Just about everyone participates in making a Sunday worship service possible, whether it is through setting up chairs or sound equipment, being responsible for nursery, teaching in Team Time or participating through puppets, drama or music. Our philosophy of “church” is to encourage people to identify their gifts and abilities and then provide opportunity to use them.
One of the highlights of this past year was a children’s Christmas program with children from Kids’ Club and the church. There were over 30 children involved, and it was exciting to see the gifts and talents of people emerge as they were given opportunity to be involved in music, dance and staging. Many of the parents who attended were nonbelievers.
There are 19 adults involved in our mid-week programs. We have an evening house group in which we are going through a basic discipleship series, a women’s weekday morning study and a men’s night out, which is a combination of recreation and spiritual reflection. This involvement during the week will be one of the necessary ingredients in our attempts to extend the kingdom here in Lower Sackville.
Together with Cornerstone Church, we are hosting monthly “Celebration” services. The purpose of these services is to promote the unity of the body of Christ and the common task we have been given. In accordance with John 17, we are beginning to invite other congregations to join with us in declaring and celebrating Jesus as Lord and King. We feel we have a place in demonstrating and promoting the unity of the church here in Metro Halifax.
Together with Cornerstone Church and MCC, we are researching the feasibility of developing a Christian counselling centre in Metro Halifax. There is currently no such service available, and we are asking the Lord if we could be used in addressing this need.
We are building the foundation for a church to grow. We ask for your prayers and support as we do so (I Cor. 3: 10). In extending the kingdom of God we are pushing back the veil of darkness which has clouded people’s minds. The prayers of God’s people are the tools which dispel this darkness. Thank you for the support (prayer, financial and words of encouragement) we have received from you, our coworkers, over this past year.
—Paul Francis, co-pastor, Gateway