What is church and what’s the point of it all? Many have been asking this over the past 18 months, and these questions were also percolating in the hearts and minds of some members at Telkwa Community Church in B.C.
“When our in-person Sunday services were canceled for months on end because of the pandemic,” Michelle Ellis, co-pastor at Telkwa, recalls, “it invited me and others to wonder ‘who we are outside of our Sunday gatherings?’. When you take that away, what remains?”
When Ellis was introduced to Tim Soerens’ latest book – Everywhere You Look; Discovering the Church Right Where You Are by deacon and Diaconal Ministries’ Board member, Cindy Verbeek – she felt the timing was perfect. “We had been wondering about doing a book study to give shape to some of the conversations floating around our community and Cindy recommended this one. I’m quite thankful she did!”
Diaconal Ministries Canada works to equip and support deacons and churches, particularly as they “do” ministry in these new and challenging times. When staff came across Soerens’ book, they, as well as their stakeholders, decided to give it a read.
In his book, Soerens reframes the question and asks: Do we see church as somewhere we go or something we are? He suggests that the answer lies in not what we have believed up until now, but how we have behaved. Soerens reminds us that the WHY of church (pursuing God’s dreams for His world) has often been confused with the WHAT (our programs, policies, etc.). The WHY provides the context for everything we do and when we reframe ministry this way, we begin to see where God is at work and how we can join HIM (not how He can join/bless the work/programs we are doing).
“We had some excellent discussion and we are taking some small steps towards working with Diaconal Ministries on a Community Opportunity Scan,” said Verbeek. “I believe this book set the stage for that.”
If your church or diaconate would like to study Soerens’ book, download a Discussion Guide from Diaconal Ministries’ website: diaconalministries.com/devotions/#deacon-book-studies. Scholarships are available for churches needing help purchasing copies.
This article is made possible through a partnership with CRC Ministries within Canada.