One Relationship at a Time
“Our goal is to reach Greater Ft. Erie with the Gospel one relationship at a time.”
After years in ministry, Todd MacGregor was convinced that he no longer wanted to just “do church” on Sunday mornings – and when he and his wife Julie decided to start something new in Ft. St. Erie, the need to abandon the status quo became especially clear.
A typical Sunday morning at LifeHouse takes the form of worship and a message, but Todd and his team are intentional around keeping the order of the gathering a little bit different every Sunday. For Todd, this serves as a helpful way to remain open to hearing about what God is doing in the lives of people – and this is a hallmark of each of their ministries.
LifeHouse has men’s and women’s groups specifically but Todd’s heart and vision have been to provide space to dig deeper and find community. “OpenHouse” gatherings began on Sunday evenings for people to ask questions together following the Sunday morning service, but eventually moved into a home setting where people can contribute to a potluck and have time to connect.
An important element of “OpenHouse” is having key leaders intentionally ask people “How can I pray for you?” Todd notes that having leaders intentionally asking about prayer becomes a springboard for next conversation: “Hey, I’ve been praying about this, how’s it going?” Creating disciples in a home setting has been a great strategy to build deeper relationships, and Todd is finding that 20 people come every week.
What is perhaps most exciting in recent developments at LifeHouse is a partnership with Niagara Christian Collegiate (NCC). NCC is a Christian private school in Ft. Erie with around 300 students, mostly international. For a while, NCC was also transporting students to a youth gathering called The City in St. Catharine’s every Wednesday. Students loved The City and were willing to take a long weekly bus ride for this youth gathering – which led Todd to wonder, why not do a gathering in Ft. Erie itself? This question led to a meeting with NCC’s principal wherein they discussed partnering together with LifeHouse to lead The City at the school location.
Todd felt as though the Holy Spirit was there at the table as the dorm leaders, principal and other church leaders discussed passing off The City to LifeHouse. Now, on Monday nights, students have the option to go to Study Hall or have a night of worship with The City at the school – and lots are choosing the City! LifeHouse provides a worship team and speaker, but the logistics are taken care of on-site. It is a fruitful partnership that welcomes around 50 students every week.
Grafted Into Blessing
Todd affirms over and over again that they have stepped into God’s blessing: he describes it as being given a car that’s already driving at 75 miles an hour. When he initially met with New Ventures lead Dave Enns, Todd remembers hearing, “Let’s just see what God will shape this to be,” and now he sees that as a prayer and hope for all of the ministry at LifeHouse. The stories emerging from this New Venture reveal the deep trust of the MacGregors and the leadership team.
On December 1st, The City and LifeHouse came together in a joint worship service.
Says Todd, “There were about 100 people there, predominantly students as the whole school was invited. It was great for those in our church to see firsthand all the students The City is impacting with the gospel. It was overwhelming in the best possible way. Then, immediately after the sermon, we had tons of snacks and pizza and even some Christmas karaoke. God is good and doing great things!”
There are highs and lows, but Todd knows that God is at work in the lives of His people. He joyfully recalls the Apostle Paul’s words to his mentee, Timothy: “You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others” (2 Timothy 2:2).
Excited by what God is doing through Todd and LifeHouse?
You can help!
Pray for them.
Todd offers the following prayer requests:
Pray for leaders! As we develop these ministries (The City, OpenHouse, small groups) we want to equip the next generation of leaders.
The location we regularly meet at... we can’t regularly meet at! About 3-4 times a year we have to find an alternative spot or make different plans. As we have grown, this is getting more difficult.
Pray for a way to transport all the students from The City to attend our morning service. They want to come and the numbers are growing.. .but they live on dorm and have no transportation.
Pray for me and our leadership team. We always need prayer, to stay on mission to see people come to a growing relationship in Jesus. We don’t want to just “do church”.
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