It is often said that cities, especially highrise apartment neighbourhoods, are all but impenetrable to the gospel. How does one reach out with the message of salvation?
Dennis Wilkinson is excited by that challenge. Since he, wife Mistin, and their four children moved into the West End of Vancouver to start a Christian community, they’ve been struck by the amazing hunger they’ve found. “People who live here crave community,” he says. It confirms their sense that they are called to form relationships with West Enders, not primarily to hold weekly meetings.
The Wilkinsons take their children to the playground and make friends. They hold barbecues on a little add-on deck next to their front porch, and end up with successful, 50-person impromptu parties. “It is clear to us,” says Dennis, “that God wants us to be a relationally bound church plant.” So they are making a “slow start – on purpose,” praying they can make every day count.
Their efforts are bearing fruit. “We met a couple at the park, and started to chat. Next thing we knew, God opened up our talk to a spiritual conversation,” says Dennis. “Our new friend remarked that he had not talked about that for years.” The young couple has a baby, and, yes, they’d love to come to the next barbecue.
Dennis and Mistin have just completed their church planting apprenticeship with Reality Vancouver (church). They already know that with Christ, the West End is not impenetrable at all. They are already seeing God at work.
“But for all that,” says Dennis, “we still covet your prayers.”