Who Are The People in Your Neighbourhood?
Anyone remember the old song with fondness? Who are the people in your neighbourhood? In your neighbourhood...the people that you meet each day?
Chris Haggith and The Neighbourhood Church, a New Venture in Langdon, AB, are taking this question seriously.
In Langdon, there's one church building in a community of 5000 people (mostly thirty-somethings with children, who have moved there from Calgary for a quainter and more affordable life). But Langdon is growing steadily: while twenty years ago there were 200 people, plans are underway to build for 13,500 in the near future.
The Neighbourhood Church started in a living room in Langdon; a Bible study began and the group focused on reaching the people on their streets.
We have encouraged our small group of people to prayer walk their streets, connect with families and make friends -- to invite people over for BBQs, have game nights, spend time with them. To do the things that they enjoy, and invite neighbours to join them. says Chris.
Chris and his neighbour connected to join a slow pitch baseball team: his neighbour brough half of the team (her friends) and he brought half the team (friends from their church community and other neighbours). It's been going for four years strong.
They also encourage people to volunteer for community events that the larger community organizes. And they plan outreach events to engage the larger community of Langdon.
Expanding in the Community
These are exciting times for The Neighbourhood Church: last May they purchased a property in their community and they plan to use it to benefit Langdon.
Land can be a separating thing -- separating us from them. But we want it to be a Langdon thing, something that belongs to this community.
To celebrate their presence in the area, The Neighborhood Church invited 200 homes that surround their piece of land to a huge block party. They went door to door with invitations. Over 100 people came, at first leery about the idea of a church in the area. It was an occasion to chat and connect with the neighbours surrounding them.
People don't trust church and they all have their own stories why. It was our first attempt. This year, we'll invite all 5000 people. We want to connect the community.
The Capital Campaign to raise funds for this property has also been a faith-building experience. Chris recounts:
On our Steering Committee we have a lady who is our prayer leader. This woman has a strong burden to pray for what God is doing in our community. She challenged everyone to fast and pray weekly during our campaign. At first there was people were hesitant (many of them never having done that before), but she said this to them: This is not for your comfort. We have to sacrifice if we want to see God doing things. So we picked a day of the week and we have people from our community joining to fast and pray.
Currently they have been praying that God would open the doors of the school right beside the property they've bought. It's a place where they can have enough space to meet (they've outgrown their current space and still need to build on their purchased property). They've been praying that God would either change the heart of the principal or change the principal in time for them to worship there in the fall.
Last week they found out that the principal was changing schools.
Another opportunity for prayer and witness came when Chris, who also works as a chaplain in the local fire department, connected with a worker who was injured in an ATV accident. The man was airlifted to hospital, in ICU, and on life support. But when the doctors finally pulled the plug, he continued to live. He began breathing on his own, though he couldn't speak. Throughout this time, Chris visited the man and his family, praying for healing. Recently, Chris got a text from one member of the family, saying, This is a miracle; God is good.
It's the bigger picture I'm looking at; while we're in the Capital Campaign and raising for the building--God would you shift us to go deeper in you, through prayer...
Excited by what God is doing through Chris and the Neighbourhood Church?
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