Multi-site. It’s the buzz-word around here lately. That’s O.K. because it’s who we are. And it’s O.K. because the fact that we are a multi-site church has been a tremendous joy in my life so far. I have loved serving and leading with the Mission Heights manifestation of our church. It continues to be a journey with highs and lows, but I love my role. I love the people with whom I serve. I love the staff of which I’m a part – an interdependent support network of people who love Jesus, love one another and love our church. Mission Heights is blessed to be a part of a larger church while having the freedom to express the Church of Christ vision and culture in a unique way. Being multi-site has given our church some diversity in how people can experience God in our midst. Multi-site has been good.
Which is why it may be surprising that I have been hesitant about a third site. I can see the potential downsides as well as anyone and probably better than most. When we launched Mission Heights we were at a different place in our church life. We had explored the bigger building possibilities. We were ready to move on something.
It’s a different time now. A lot has changed in our city and even somewhat in our church. So as we looked to our future and considered our opportunities as a multi-site church, my prevailing thought was: “We’re not ready for more sites. We simply could not pull off a Mission Heights-type venture at this point.”
It’s interesting, being a Christian for so long, like I have. You sometimes settle into certain rhythms of life and ways of thinking. I guess that’s natural. Some of those ways of thinking are shaped and formed by the Spirit of God and the community of faith. But some of what you actually believe can drift a bit. We actually worship, serve and follow a God who went to where people were; who got down in the dirt with people like us. We worship, serve and follow a God who sometimes invites us into kingdom work that takes us out of our comfort zones. We worship, serve and follow a God who looks at a world that is broken and says that those people are worth dying for. And I’m glad that’s who God is, because “those people” are us. “Those people” is me.
As we looked at our calling, I needed to go back to what being a multi-site church means, and I was reminded of how many different manifestations it can have. The truth is, our leadership isn’t for taking another 80 people out of our existing congregations to start another one. Our leadership does see the some opportunities at this time, that our multi-site church might be able to leverage to express the heart of God: going where lost and broken people are, and inviting them to share in the life of God right in their very midst.
Here’s what hasn’t changed:
• We are a multi-site church.
• We have a heart for church unity.
• We have a desire to follow where Jesus leads.
• We have a leadership that has a history of being very responsible with finances and resources.
• We have a heart and a bit of a reputation for trying to help the marginalized in our city.
• We hold scripture in high regard and want to follow God’s word.
• We are called to reach as far as we can toward lost and broken people while standing firmly on the truth of God’s Word.
These realities of who we are, coupled with the demographic and economic realities of our city mean that we have some opportunities right now as Grande Prairie’s only multi-site church. So if you’re like me and feel a bit, maybe even a lot, hesitant, I invite you to come talk to us. Or have us come talk to your life group, men’s group, women’s group, coffee gathering or whatever. And prayerfully join us as we explore where it is that God is leading us.
We worship, serve and follow a different kind of God. We look forward to discerning with you what God is doing among and where he would lead us next.