Celebrating The Well Community Church
December 6, 2017
"It’s all been about the waiting. That’s the biggest and hardest lesson..."
Today we celebrate the waiting and the wonder with The Well Community Church in Binbrook, ON.
Advent at The Well.
Backstory: It was in summer 2013 when Kevin Birnie felt God stirring in his heart and decided to leave his current home in White Rock, BC and pursue something new. When he quit his job at 8AM one morning, he had no idea that that same evening he was going to find out that he would be a dad! Together with his wife Amanda, Kevin embarked on a unexpected journey–not only towards parenthood, but towards something that was even further from his mind at the time: church planting.
Shortly after their decision to move on from Kevin’s current job, the Birnies made the move to Hamilton in order to live with family while figuring out next steps. Kevin kept pursuing his Masters of Divinity at McMaster Divinity College and thought that he might eventually pursue a role in a comfortable, small town church setting. As Kevin’s schooling was coming to an end, he went through a process of discernment with Amanda which included conversations with a variety of different churches and church leaders. At this time, Kevin met with someone who spoke of the future of the church in Canada, and it was a tremendously discouraging conversation.
The conversation went along the lines of what’s the point, the church is dying…
“However,” Kevin says, “discouragement sparked a fire within me that we could make a difference and there is a future for the church in Canada.”
Though church planting had always been a scary idea--walking forward without the guarantee of a people base, building, or budget--he reached out to Steve Kerr at Gateway Caledonia to get started on the journey. He and Amanda began by investing themselves in the Binbrook community, even before committing to the church planting role or being told that there was a role available.
The Well at the Fall Fair.
Shortly thereafter, a house became available to them despite their budget constraints. They began inviting neighbours and people from the community into their home, and gradually they knew that they were steps away from officially opening the doors of a church plant which revolved around the rest, freedom, and acceptance illustrated by Jesus and the women at the well in John 4.
Kevin cites the biggest lesson over these past few years:
It’s all been about the waiting. That’s the biggest and hardest lesson. I read through Acts a lot while we were going through this. Acts 1:4 is where Jesus tells his disciples stay and wait for what has been promised and the Holy Spirit. That hit me quite early on. What does that mean? I think I’ve come to understand that it’s a posture of "let’s just wait even though we want to get on with it." One cool thing about God working within the waiting is the community connections that we now have. I got into the ministerial right away which has been awesome for building relationships. We’re also now going to be meeting in the United Church’s space, and they are key leaders of movements within our community.
On Mother’s Day of this year I was offered the opportunity to preach at the United Church, and it allowed them to enter in on the journey with us….We are learning to keep our hands open and an open posture. We want to embrace a theology of abundance where we’re not trying to hold on too tightly.
The Well Community Church launched its public gatherings on October 28, 2017. Saturday night's gatherings provide an alternative for families in the area and for seniors.
Please continue to pray for the Birnies and for this New Venture.
Live Nativity & Tree Lighting, December 2017.
*Text by Bethany Mortelliti