Monday, July 22, 2013

Chasing after a first time guest...

I can't believe it has been since January since I have written about what God is doing in and around us here in Richmond. So many God stories have happened. So many only God stories have happened. I have been at Towers for almost two years and this past year, year number two, has been great. Our first year was a slow year. We saw lots of seeds planted, but only one person begin to follow Christ and only that person was baptized. However, this year has been much different. I am not a numbers guy when it comes to church stuff, but I think these numbers show God's faithfulness and presence in a city like Richmond where pluralism abounds.

To date:

  • 11 people have began a relationship with Jesus
  • 5 of those have been baptized (more soon)
  • 100's have heard the Gospel (many for the very first time)
  • Over 400 volunteers have served without us so far this year (more to come)
  • One of our Richmond Network sites now has a church planter
  • New faces continue to show up on Sunday morning

The list could go on, but I want to share about one of the "new faces" that visited Towers recently. The story begins like this:

A team of volunteers from Prestonwood Baptist Church split into five prayer walking groups and completely covered our neighbourhood in prayer. One of the areas was the neighbourhood across the street from the church to the west. It is the neighbourhood where my kids attend school and I coach basketball. One of the "new faces" had attended a worship service at Towers the day before they prayer walked. He lives in this neighbourhood. The day he visiting Towers for the first time was insanely busy. We were setting up for a city wide block party, two mission teams were in town, there was a guest speaker and I (along with help from others) was trying to manage it all. 

At Towers, when someone visits for the first time they receive a gift bag. Inside this gift bag are chocolates, a Bible, a short book, a thank you note from me for visiting including my card and a Starbucks card. As soon as the service was over, "D", immediately left and I did not get a chance to chat with him. He was out in a flash. However, I decided to chase him down in the parking lot and give him a gift bag. I told him my number and email were in the bag and I would love to connect and chat with him sometime. I received a text that afternoon from him saying that he enjoyed the service and he would love to connect because he was searching for "god" and forgiveness of sin. The next day his street was prayed over and three days later he walked to the church and we were able to meet. On Thursday "D" gave his life to Jesus Christ. Did you hear what I just said? He is now a follower of Jesus. God worked in his life in a crazy way. He showed up to the church because it was the closest to his home. His street was prayed over. He came to the church with lots of questions about the Cross, forgiveness, why bad things happen and I answered those the best I could and God worked through the whole situation and changed this 21 year African-Canadian from Halifax's life.

So, what's the point of this blog - Do not be afraid to chase a visitor down in the parking lot and give them a gift. Seriously, do not forget about the one. No matter the size of your church there is always the chance there is the one who is searching. There is the one who is hurting. The is the one who needs a personal relationship with Jesus. I never would have thought that a last minute gift as a visitor was walking out the door could be used by God to change his life. "D" will be moving back to Halifax in about a month. We will be baptizing him and discipling him as much as possible before he is sent out to Nova Scotia. There is a need for churches in Halifax and who knows maybe God will call "D" to be a church planter in his city. We are trying to connect him with believers in Halifax. Will you pray that happens?