Spent the day with around 50 evangelists and movement leaders in Ottawa. Here are some assorted thoughts from the day.
Devotional from 2 Corinthians 5:11-21. The NLT version has some interesting phrasing, to say the least, but I thought this was a convicting thought from verse 12: "so you can answer those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart." Ouch. The big idea that stood out to me from this entire passage however was how Christ is making his appeal to the world through us. Our task is to tell His story and tell it well. Also, Paul uses very strong words to describe how we are to share the gospel: implore, appeal, persuade, plead. There is an urgency here.
How many true followers of Christ can there possibly be in Ottawa? Richard Long shared some guesses but indicated that no one truly has an accurate count. He suggested the number may be more than we think. Yet a little later in the talk said that there are about 750 churches in Ottawa. Ok, let's assume that all these churches are preaching the gospel. And let's assume that all members of each of these churches are genuine Christians. Even if the average church size was 200 (which I think would be pretty high), that would be 150,000 genuine Christians in Ottawa. I think this would be about the most liberal estimate I can give, so that would be 15% of the population (I understand that there may be a large number of followers of Jesus who are not attending any church or are in house-churches or small churches off the radar - but I think my estimates were generous enough that these would likely be covered).
Pastor Shawn Ketcheson (with whom I need to meet up with soon) gave a moving anecdote of how he had assumed the churches in his community were doing well in reaching out, until his wife reported to him of few of her elementary school students demonstrate any familiarity with the Christmas or Easter story compared to when she began teaching three decades ago. He then realized that though his church seemed to still be doing well, the community around them had become unreached.
We gave our dreams for evangelism in the city. Some that stood out to me were:
That the church would "go to them" rather than inviting them to "come to us".
That every Christian would commit to participating in at least one intentional evangelistic opportunity per month.
That there would be a multiplication of evangelists and evangelistic teams in the city
That the Holy Spirit would pour out a Spirit of prayer and intercession for the city.
That we would earn the right to be heard by serving the city and offering our resources to help the city address the problems that matter to them.
The day concluded with an invitation to form a team of evangelists for the city to be a sort of steering committee to think and pray about evangelism coordination in the city. Informal nominations were offered, and my name was set forward. With God's help, I will accept this role in the city as part of my work of being a called missionary to Ottawa. I was supported in this by Theresa Quann, my direct superior in the Connecting Streams ministry. S.D.G.