by Pastor Gord Abraham, Port Colborne Baptist Church and Jacqueline Solomon, Communications Associate, CBOQ
We all know the drill. Sunday morning, we get up, get ready and head out to church. Usually by around noon, we’re on our way home, all set for a few moments of rest before preparing for the week ahead. But for one church—Port Colborne Baptist Church—the “same old” just wasn’t cutting it.
They gathered their leadership together to begin a process of diving more deeply into what God was calling their church to be and do in their community. What they realized was that they were called to more intentional missional living as Christ-followers, reaching into their local community and neighbourhoods. “We determined that being Christ-followers is no longer just a Sunday service affair but a 24/7 lifestyle of following Christ—living as missionaries,” writes Pastor Gord Abraham.
In the late fall of 2015, the church developed a two-year plan to begin teaching and training the congregation in the Biblical teaching on God’s mission, his mindset and lifestyle, with the gradual goal of planting Missional Life Groups in four different neighbourhoods of Port Colborne.
They continued by hiring a new pastor, Alan Gallant, as their Missional Facilitator with the help of a CBOQ Missional Initiatives grant. Pastor Gallant is a bi-vocational pastor with many years of experience in established churches in the Maritimes and Ontario and, more recently, with a church plant in Ontario. His style of ministry is relational and his passion is to equip and mentor others in living a missional lifestyle.
Through training, a book study and a sermon series, the church gradually began working its way toward rethinking how they wanted to be a church in their community. New leaders were equipped and released to serve. After five weeks of training, the first Missional Life Group began with a barbecue. The church was invited to come and check out this new community.
Through the summer, their first Missional Life Group began meeting every Wednesday night to pray, build relationships, share stories and seek God to discern their mission. Now they are beginning to walk in that mission as the group continues to be burdened for a needy part of the city. The church is excited for the group to continue to grow into the fall months, and work through the Gospel of Mark in September.
Through the process of discernment, some things in the church have started to develop. They are more aware of their call to live out the Gospel with their neighbours, reaching out to those who have always been nearby. They are looking for the daily opportunities and divine appointments that God is putting in their path each day. They are seeking to respond to the larger needs of Port Colborne and area. They’re learning together how their neighborhood Missional Life Group, and larger church family at Port Colborne Baptist, can step in and address some needs in practical ways by being the hands and feet of Christ.
Port Colbourne is no longer a church that only supports missionaries. It is a church of missionaries, each member encouraged to seize the opportunity to connect with others in the way that God has given them. To keep this vision alive and fresh, they have made every fourth Sunday “Missional Focus Sunday” where they keep their new perspective before the larger community through stories of missional opportunities in their communities and workplaces. They’re also learning about missional living principles and developing a new vocabulary, while celebration and worship draw them all together, reminding them that they are living within the Kingdom of our God. Pastor Gord is excited to see the developments in his congregation and is eagerly anticipating how God will use them in the future.
“Others in our congregation have developed a ministry to the many young people who use, on a daily basis, our local Port Colborne Skate Park. Also, a growing number are volunteering with our local Port Colborne Food Bank, blessing others through personally helping them with their nutritional, health and spiritual needs.
“We are just beginning this new journey and are confident that, because our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has called us and equipped us, He will bring new growth and opportunities to be his missionaries.
“The goal of all of all our vision, plans and living on God’s Mission is to spread God’s fame through our world.”