By Pastor Jim Perkins, Almonte Baptist Church
Almonte Baptist Church (ABC) is in the town of Almonte which is about 40 minutes west of Ottawa, Ontario. Our purpose is to be “a community of people deepening their love for God and others.”
When I arrived at ABC, I approached this ministry like a church plant with a building and an unknown core group.
I called the church together for a meeting to hear the concerns of the church members and leadership, to hear about their passions that had died and to discern the obstacles that they faced. I then talked with people in the community. One comment from a store owner stuck out, he did not know the church existed.
The pandemic became the catalyst to do new things in months rather than over a few years. God was giving us permission to dream and seek God. The church went back to the ABCs (get it?), praying and being in the Word together. Every Wednesday we had an hourly prayer time. Between 9am and 6pm, on Wednesday, there was someone at ABC praying for ABC. God did something new!
As we listened to the voice of God, we heard the needs of the community. People felt disconnected, longing for relationship and so we moved our service to outside the building. We noticed neighbours joining from their front porches. People sat on their lawn chairs and on benches to participate in the outdoor church service. Across from the church is a green space with a walking trail and a community garden. Some of the gardeners changed their gardening times from Saturday to Sunday to be able to hear the music of the church.
We began a food shuffle to assist those who could not leave their homes to get groceries. We met with teachers and heard the need for back-to-school supplies, and our church responded overwhelmingly with filled backpacks, shoes, and winter coats for the students. We baptized people at the beach and created a curiosity for the passersby. Now our church is bursting at the seams having outgrown our facilities.
This is our story, of our church who faithfully went to God in prayer and God gave us a vision to see, hear and meet the need of our community. We know that all this was God’s work, we were simply obedient.
Should your church be involved in the community? You already are, but what more can you do for you community.