Listen First: Story from the Ground

An early gathering of Groundswell.

An early gathering of Groundswell.

This story comes to us from Cyril Guérette, who joined us as a New Ventures leader in late 2018.

In the summer of 2018, I found myself in a strange place, waiting on God to hear what he had next for me and my family as we followed the call. 

A number of families had come to me and asked me to share with them over the summer months how God was speaking during the process. It became clear that whatever was next it was vital that we heard from God. Did he want us to plant a church or did he want us to take one of the jobs we were interviewing for?

Thankfully, during this season we came into relationship with the New Ventures team and the Christian & Missionary Alliance in Canada. When sitting down with Implementers Dave and Regan, we were so impressed to see their measured approach, especially when they emphasized the core value of "Listen first".

The Listening Journey

As we began our New Venture journey, we planned a summer of weekly discerning sessions, which provided an opportunity for myself, the lead team, and others to see if God was calling you to start something new in the Halton/Hamilton region. I was both discerning for myself and my family, as well as leading this group in discernment. These were important multiple layers of “listening” that we needed to focus on.

Once, during that summer season, after a time of prayer and discussion, we decided to invite a number of other families who had been asking our same questions to come over to our home for a BBQ and time of seeking God. It was so incredible to see the number and variety of people that came out!  After this step the entire group felt God was saying to move forward in our discernment process, and so we began gathering together 2 or 3 times a month for Sunday worship. I preached honestly and openly about where I was at. It was hard to know where God wanted to take us and the practical side of me thought it would be easiest to join a nearby church as a lead pastor.  However, as each week went by it became clearer and clearer that God was building a new work. I am grateful for the patience and wisdom of the lead team in waiting for this to be settled in my own heart even as their passion grew stronger.

In reflection, I can see that God was testing my trust.  It started to become clear to me that God wanted us to step out on a New Venture, but the doubts and practical issues would balloon in my mind when I thought about doing it in my own strength.

I think I needed to go through a season of discernment in order to come to a place of faith and dependence on God. I can see now that he put this together himself, giving the right people and resources at exactly the right time in ways I could have never planned.

I’m so thankful we took the NV value of “Listen first” seriously as it has helped us create a church culture where we let God speak first, but then move quickly to keep in step with the Spirit.

Today, Groundswell meets regularly in the Halton/Hamilton region. Learn the latest here.

Excited about the new things God is doing through Cyril and Groundswell?

Here are some ways you can join them on mission:


  • That God continues to bring the right people and giftings into our midst so we can properly serve our congregation, especially our kids, junior high, and youth.


Bethany Nickel