Though the growth in numbers has been encouraging, we are most thankful for the spiritual work that that Lord has done. We have been blessed with a a concern for growth in the fear and knowledge of the Lord and a growing sense of unity. It has been heartening and humbling to see the Lord’s work among us. We have been reminded how dependent we are on the work of the Holy Spirit, and encouraged when He has blessed the work of the ministry.
We have begun efforts to bring the gospel to our community as well as ensure that people are aware of our church. We had a book table at the Powassan Maple Syrup Festival in the spring, which was very well attended. We have also set up a table at the local Saturday Farmer’s Market, and begun some door-to-door canvassing. A website has been developed, and some targeted internet advertising has been used. Nevertheless, we have found that the personal invitations of church members have been the most effective means of bringing visitors to our services.
There have been a number of people from other churches in the area who are interested in our Reformed faith and heritage. The recent trend towards more “sovereign grace” preaching on the radio, internet, and in evangelical churches has fostered interest in Reformed churches. Though many seem to appreciate Reformed doctrine and preaching, one challenge has been to introduce and acclimate visitors to Biblical views of the covenants, worship, and church structure. Yet we are thankful to see that some are interested to learn more about the historic Christian faith. We are uniquely positioned in the area as the nearest Reformed churches are 2-3 hours drive away and we are the only local church broadcasting on the Sermon Audio website.
Summer has been a busy and profitable time, with many visitors from cottages and campgrounds in the area joining us for worship. These visitors usually come from Reformed or Presbyterian churches in Southern Ontario. We have been blessed by the edifying fellowship, discussions, and mutual encouragement that we have with our visitors. Many have expressed their thankfulness that the Free Reformed churches have committed to supporting a work in this area. If you are in the near north of Ontario for a vacation, please do make a point of joining us for worship!
We do face a number of challenges as a church plant. One issue that we face is finding an ideal facility for services and meetings. Currently we use an upstairs hall at the local hockey arena. This works well most of the time, but the stairs are a barrier to some and we get preempted by hockey tournaments at times. It would be ideal to have a place that is available for mid-week meetings, as our group is getting too large for homes. We are presently looking at some different options to deal with these concerns. Please pray that the Lord would provide us with more suitable meeting place in his time.
Perhaps the greatest visible challenge that we face as a church plant is the reality that our lifestyles, relationships, families, and labors at times fail to proclaim the holiness and grace of God. Yet we rejoice at signs that the Lord is strengthening us despite our failures, rather than only in accordance with our efforts. We covet your prayers that our group would grow in grace, in knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that the work of ministry among us would bear fruits. Please pray for us, that the Lord would bless the ministry of the Word, and that He would continue to gather in our church family.
(This update was published in the September 2013 issue of The Messenger.)