Only God Knew
Sometimes it's much easier to see the hand of God when you look back over your shoulder than when you look right in front of you. At least, that's been my experience in the last year and a half.
Last October my husband was blindsided and unceremoniously let go from the church we moved to this country to serve in. While what we went through was devastating and heartbreaking, we can see the hand of God in it now.
Only God knew that a global pandemic was coming that would shut down church buildings.
Very shortly after that, in the midst of trauma, heartbreak, and confusion, we flowed with a river of other people who were hurting into the idea of starting a new church. Our goal was to begin on Easter Sunday of 2020.
Only God knew that the beginning of lockdown would come right at a time when we thought we were ready to start a new church. We were so hurt and broken I can't imagine what the DNA of a church built out of that foundation would have turned into.
We, like the rest of the globe, have spent the last year at home. For us, it was needed. We went through many phases of grief in the last year and a half and gratefully are on the uphill climb to wholeness again.
God is so faithful!
For almost a year we were not receiving a paycheck and yet we paid our bills, we never went without food, and we had all that we needed. It was all by the simple grace of God and the kindness of God's people.
Last Summer we decided to put out to our people that we were going to start meeting on Sunday mornings through Zoom. We jokingly called it "Living Room Church" because the living room was where we now spent our lives. This wasn't an attempt to start anything, it was a cry for community from our own souls.
Now, almost a year later, we have 60 or so families who gather on Sunday mornings via Zoom (because Canada is still in lockdown). We are mostly local, but also have community members from the US, The UK, and The Philippines. This new virtual world we all live in makes it possible to be in community with people who aren't even in our proximity. It's been truly amazing!
Our community has grown into a body of friends and family that we feel more connected to than when we were in a physical church. I hear people all the time say that online churches are impersonal and that it’s impossible to feel connected through a computer, but our experience has been exactly the opposite. This can only come from God!
We've called this ministry "Be The Church", with "The Living Room" as our Sunday expression of community. We meet in small groups throughout the week. We pray together, we care for each other, we love each other. It is, truly, the Church being the Church.
Because we had no building before the pandemic, we have no worries about the upkeep of a facility or the need to make sure staff are paid - we have no pre-pandemic strings that keep us weighted down from doing ministry. We feel free to do what God calls us to do, and that freedom is very liberating.
We feel very strongly that God has something special in store for Winnipeg. That is why we stayed here even though both of us are from the southern United States. My husband has been meeting with a group of pastors weekly for prayer that God has called from all over the world to minister in this city. God is placing Winnipeg on the hearts of people, as he did with us over 20 years ago. It's very exciting!
Please pray for our city as we prepare ourselves for a move of God.
Winnipeg is the geographic center of North America, so wouldn’t it be amazing if revival fire spread from the center out?
And, as I said, we have people from all over the world who join us on Sunday mornings. So, if you don't have a place to worship right now you are ALWAYS welcome in The Living Room!
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