SERIES INTRODUCTION: Recently our staff and a number of lay leaders had the opportunity to attend the Multiply conference which focused on helping established churches fan into flames the God-given dreams for Kingdom expansion in Canada. We’ve asked each attender to talk about what God taught them through the week and how they see that affecting us at DHBC. Videos from the conference will be posted soon at https://www.c2cnetwork.ca/category/videos/
Reflections from Multiply (Kajle)
What are we known for?
Right at the start of the conference Francis Chan forced us to dwell on the question of what we want to be known for. I have big dreams for DHBC to make a difference in Dunbar, Kerrisdale, Point Grey and on UBC campus. I want to be a faithful, humble leader and I want us to be a dynamic, sacrificing, gospel-driven community of believers. And all of those are great things. But without a solid core, all of those will collapse on themselves. Faithfulness, humility, sacrifice – all of those things – are just symptoms of life when we have our proper core.
So what is that proper core? What should we strive to be known for? I need to be known as someone who knows God. We, as a community, need to be known as people who know God. It isn’t enough to just know about God. It isn’t enough to just be obedient. We need to dwell with God. We need to seek Him. We need to grow in our love for Him. Without that, everything else will collapse; we will take pride in our faithfulness and humility, we will grow weary of mission and sacrifice, we will loose the gospel even as we seek to proclaim it.
But knowing God has a cost. Francis spoke from Colossians 3:1-3 which is one of my favorite texts in Scripture. (I refer to it so much that Wes blasphemously refers to it as Kajle-ossians) Francis was speaking about our lives being, “Hidden with Christ in God” and that our lives are so defined by and tied to Christ that Paul says “When Christ, who is your life, is revealed, you also will be revealed with Him in glory.” And I love how Paul emphasizes who we are made to be and that great connection that we have with Jesus – who takes our shame-filled identity and the wrath that we deserve and gives us a restored identity and the glory that He deserves.
But as I thought about our lives being hidden in Christ, I thought about what doesn’t fit. As we put our lives in God, what doesn’t fit anymore? If you reach into a jar of candy and you take a big handful you often can’t pull your hand out. You have to release a little of your stash before you can squeeze your hand out. What am I holding on to that stops me from squeezing my life into Christ’s? What sin? What desire? What fear? Where am I lacking trust?
You see, when I answer those questions I see places where the greatest desire of my life is not to know God. It isn’t to be known as someone who knows God. And if I’m going to bring renewal to this city – if we are going to bring renewal to this city – we need to be renewed first. Reminded that our Jesus is our life.
What we bring (or don’t) to the table
On the second day, Marc Pillon (a Fellowship pastor from Quebec) reminded us that every leader and every church is no more than 5 loaves and two fishes to God. While that isn’t much in the world’s eyes and that pales in comparison to the need, God takes even insignificant amounts given to Him and multiplies it to feed the multitudes.
We have a vision to renew our city, but we are not a large church. We have nothing particular or out of the ordinary to offer. Just like that little boys lunch, we are not a great. But it is not the size of the gift that matters, it is the one it is given to. The overwhelming percentage of churches in Canada are our size and smaller. And even those that are larger and have many more resources still pale in their potential to the need they are called to fill. We are all no more than 5 loaves and two fish … But we serve a God who multiplies. He takes our humble gift. He takes our weak help. And He blesses it. He works through it. He completes the task He has given us. Because it is Him that matters, not us. Not our glory or our shame. Not our weakness or our strength. Merely our faithful service and His sufficient strength.
Our purpose as a church
The final thing that really stuck out to me over the course of the conference was a confirmation of our purpose as a church. I think, far too often, we have a vision of the church that culminates on itself. We exist for ourselves and for ourselves alone. Sunday morning is our pinnacle and our staff exist to serve and minister to the body.
But I think this is a bit of a mis-calibration of the actual purpose of the church. Our church does not exist solely for it’s own sake, but to grow in worship of our God. That includes drawing others into worship of God by, as we say, “Bringing renewal to our city and world by demonstrating and declaring the transforming power of the gospel.”
Because of this, our Sunday morning gathering is not the culmination of what we are doing, but it is the primary place of equipping and sending out to do our real mission. Because of that, we talk about Everyday Mission and that Everyone is a Minister.
This was re-enforced to me by Jeff Vanderstelt at the conference. Two things that he said stuck out to me. First, there is, “No place for perpetual infancy in the church.” The church isn’t just a place to come and be fed. The church is a place to come and be grown to be a minister. Being a minister doesn’t necessarily mean you are in leadership, but it does mean that you are growing and God is working in you and through you to others.
The second thing Jeff said was, “Don’t pay people to do ministry. Pay people to equip and to do administration so that ministry can happen.” In other words, my job is not to do ministry, but to help equip, support and train everyone to be ministers to do the ministry. So when Wes or Michael or I preach, we are not just ministering, we are equipping those who hear to be transformed by the gospel to be agents of renewal in our city. I think that changes how we approach our roles as staff. It also shifts us as a congregation from receivers to doers.
We continue to be in a time of transformation and working towards being a body of believers that is partnering with God in what He is doing in our neighbourhoods. This is not an easy process, but it is an exciting one. I hope that you are looking forward to it as much as I am.