Sometimes I feel that discipleship in Uptown Saint John, in the 21st Century, is too challenging and then I read the New Testament. Jesus is the very model of a discipler. The only written material we see him use is handed to him in the temple. The only buildings he used were borrowed or public spaces. He was even buried in a borrowed tomb. Yet his words continue to inspire and change lives today! His discipleship model was extremely personal and entirely relational. He had a definite curriculum and his life was his classroom.
A few months ago I was given a ‘heads up’ that the Stone Church Hall, which houses Street Hope, was going to be demolished as a part of the renovations of Stone Church itself. Even so the news came as a bit of a shock that the planned demolition would take place this October. We are assured that when renovations are completed we will be welcomed to use that space. I suspect that this will take about a year. All this left my head spinning but, as always, the Scriptures brought things into perspective. Jesus had nowhere to lay his head and it did not seem to be an impediment. There is an old maxim “God’s work, done in God’s way, will never lack God’s supply.” The challenge for us then is to seek out “his ways” which are inevitably “higher than” mine.
Street Hope started from my blue back pack and though it is badly in need of replacement we will go forward in like manner! I am confident that we can find new homes for some of our vital components: our morning studies, Friday Night Drop In, and our Recovery Workshops, and that other programs will be replaced by itinerant relational ministry.
While I find it, a bit, discouraging to face another setback just when things were gaining a kind of momentum, I have come to see this as an opportunity to “do God’s work in God’s way.”
It is our goal that Street Hope become a serving and evangelising community. Over the past few years I have been teaching and modeling ‘relational’ evangelism. All this time I have been on the lookout for a teaching resource that could be used with our particular community. This summer I discovered “Finding Your Way Back to God” by David & John Ferguson. It is based on 5 questions that all people are asking. The book uses the story of “The Prodigal Son” as a template for these questions and how they lead us back to the Father. The authors use colourful stories which I believe will resonate with my friends all of whom identify with the younger son of the story. I am looking forward to studying this material at our morning study times. Our hope is that this will be important for equipping us to make a difference in our wider community.
Our hope is that these current challenges will provide us more and more opportunities to influence that same wider community. Please join us in prayer for this very thing. <><