We are ceasing our public Sunday morning services in Orleans this weekend. In other words, last weekend was the last one. Here’s what’s going on…
We started back in April / May of 2011 for a couple of reasons. One was because there was a group of believers out in the Orleans community that were coming to Calvary and weren’t really content with our move to Saturday nights. Second, I was noticing a move of the Spirit in Orleans, especially on my street and in my neighbourhood and wanted to see if we could support that in some way. Finally, the move to Saturday nights had been tough for my family and it would have been good for us to have a Sunday morning service for my kids to be at.
We started off in the extra rooms of Eglise Bon Berger and we were off to a good start. There was a lot of excitement, we had a good team of help for worship, for kids ministry, for setup and tear down and for follow-up. We had a great relationship with Pastor George Larabie, and it was good.
There were some incredible times of worship, of the real and tangible presence of the Lord. There have been some great times of fellowship, and relationships grew and were nurtured. There were some wonderful times of prayer. We had some good Bible Studies. The Lord blessed our meetings, but for some reason, didn’t bless with more people.
We never really got over the 20 mark. In hindsight, I think that’s an important dynamic. That would be the one lesson I have learned from this. We probably should have rolled back into a home fellowship and waited until we were consistently over 20 and then relaunched.
A couple more thoughts.
It’s been difficult to do both Orleans and Downtown. There was a lot more that I would have like to have done in Orleans, in connecting more with the community and in outreach. But, my plate was already full with the growth downtown and navigating through some challenges in our family.
I’ve been praying for months about Orleans. “Lord, what do you want to do out here? What do you want me to do?”
It all came to a head on Monday. I was driving back from Montreal with Gen, she had just landed back in Canada from a 6 day tour in France with Heritage and was just overflowing with all that the Lord had done. I could see that her involvement in what the Lord was doing through this music wasn’t going to diminish, but was in fact, going to increase. We needed to make some hard decisions, to position ourseves to serve, allowing her the freedom to pursue God’s call on her life. There’s just not room to do all of it. I can also see that I need to focus on serving the downtown congregation. We are in a season of growth and blessing and grace. I want to steward that well. In addition to all that, I would like to continue to be available to my family and my children. We only have them in our homes, in an impressionable mode for a few years. Investment now, will pay huge dividends later.
What makes this decision hard is my desire to not disappoint my friends, Joel & Cathy, JC & Linda, George and John. They are lovely Christian people, godly, mature, and so committed to the cause of Christ, the gospel, Orleans and me as a pastor. We have a lot invested together, their love is evident, I hate the thought of letting them down.
Here’s what I hope happens as a result of this. I hope it’s like a seed that goes into the ground and dies, and produces lots of fruit. My prayer is that some of the guys in our church that sense God’s call to ministry on their lives would consider some of the neighbouring areas in Ottawa (even Lowertown!) and start teaching the Bible in small groups, leading the people in worship, fellowship and prayer, and there would be churches, and and worship, and prayer and outreach and service in the community. I pray that we wouldn’t retreat, but advance and multiply, and that through this experience, I can be better positioned to help.
I feel like MacArthur…
We will return!