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No “in crowd” at neighborhood church

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The pastor of a south Vancouver church plant used to be an engineer. Then Nick Suen traded his calculations for benedictions and went on staff, for almost eight years, at a Chinese MB church in Vancouver. That was before he answered the call to plant a new church in an old but changing neighbourhood, Vancouver’s Marpole.

As the construction crews were building the Canada Line rapid transit between Vancouver Airport and the downtown core, pastor Nick was laying the foundations for a neighbourhood-oriented church, called Faithwerks. It is now more than three years old, has come off subsidy, and is not only growing, but sustaining itself as well.

The “regulars” number about three dozen, and two mid-week groups have started up. And in those groups, people are growing spiritually, says Suen; “We have some new Christians.” And the neighbourhood is starting to grow.

The church family is there for each other. Members have pitched in for the Operation Christmas Child shoebox drive, have given unstintingly to help a fellow member through a patch of unemployment, and have prayed over members facing health crises. As one deacon remarked, “I look back to places I’ve been to before, and there was always an ‘in crowd.’ But at Faithwerks, there is no ‘in crowd.’ Everyone is just who they are.”

For the church, it’s not about numbers, and it’s not about putting on a good face. “I am praying people would encounter the gospel experientially in a life-changing way,” says Suen. “That’s the crux of it.”

—Barrie McMaster

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