Our hearts are amazing things. These powerful muscles that we depend on completely for us to have life. That steady pulse that allows us to live and work and play. The very heart that is pumping life in your body right now - that’s what I want this new church in North Oshawa to be.
The heart is the muscle that gives life to all parts of our body. It’s the place where our very literal life is gathered and sent. In the heart, the cells that give us life are gathered - at least for a moment. And there they receive oxygen and are renewed and refreshed and made useful again.
And then the heart contracts. It beats. When the heart has the most power and puts out the most energy - that’s when it beats. It sends out those life-giving cells - after their moment of rest and refreshment and renewal - to go out throughout the whole body, to the head and the toes and the fingers and everywhere in between.
This is the image that resonates with me as I think and pray and dream about the new community of faith that God is building in North Oshawa. I want this new church to be a living, beating thing, bringing life into all parts of our neighbourhood - all the way from head to toe and everything in between.
I want us to live into that regular rhythm of Life, with a capital L. I want all of us in this community of faith to come together and be re-oxygenated with the hope of the Gospel. I want us to gather and worship and glorify our Creator, to be reenergized and renewed and empowered to live our salvation. And then, I want us to see the power and energy of that sending heart beat. I want our church to be a place that sends us out into all the arteries and vessels and capillaries of North Oshawa. To all the places we live, work, and play - to go out and share the Life that we experience when we gather, to invite others to experience that Life with Christ, too. To re-oxygenate our city, bringing Life and life abundantly into all our spheres of influence.
As I've spent these last 6 months listening and learning about North Oshawa and the people who live, work, and play here, I've noticed that there are three circles (so to speak) present here. One circle holds the UOIT & Durham College campus, another holds the suburban-feeling new homes springing up on the north end of the city, and the third circle holds the pocket of poverty around Nonquon Road. I want our church to be the place where those three circles meet - like the shared space in a Venn diagram. Where people from all three circles can connect to what's good about our neighbourhood of North Oshawa, where friends and neighbours can meet, and where all people can enter into the hope of a relationship with Jesus Christ.
To do this, we don't seek a traditional church space; rather, we hope to open a community space in North Oshawa. The dream here is that we can open a space where gatherings can happen - whether they are worship gatherings, college and university student study sessions, business meetings, child play groups, yoga and exercise classes, art showcases, brown-bag lunches, etc. We want to open a space that feels like the living room of North Oshawa, where the life of our neighbourhood can happen.
And, we want this space to be accessible and welcoming to all three circles of North Oshawa - including our neighbours near Nonquon Road. We recognize that for all people to have access, we need to lean toward those who have the most difficulty gaining access into the neighbourhood: those who are struggling in all the isolation and difficulty of a poverty-stricken area of our city.
This community space will be the heartbeat of our worshipping community - that regular space in which we are consistently gathered and scattered. And, as long as the space itself would hold us, we would hold our regular worship gatherings there, too.
This is what God is laying on my heart for this new community of faith in North Oshawa. I hope you'll join me for the ride. We need faithful partners on the journey - and so we're launching what we're calling a 30-30-30 Challenge.
We're looking for 30 people to commit to giving $30 per month for 30 months to help us toward these goals. I'm working toward building a team of committed men and women to join me in this adventure that God is leading, and we'll need your financial support to help make this happen. Your contributions will enable us to gain access to resources to equip and train our growing team, help my family and I continue to grow relationships and connections in our community through monthly worship gatherings and weekly relational connections, and help us plan and strategize the establishment of our church and our neighbourhood space to bring Life to North Oshawa.
If you feel led to give, please consider taking the 30-30-30 Challenge. Such a simple but generous gift would help us take necessary and exciting steps toward becoming the church that God is establishing. To give, visit https://crhm.org/abovegrant and designate your gift for the North Oshawa Church Plant (found under Jana Koh in the drop-down menu).
Please join us!