Over the past nine or so months God has been leading our family on a new adventure, as a result of which we are heading to Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada, to plant a church later this year.
Back in April 2010 Sara and I began to feel God stirring us about church planting. Church life in London was pretty busy, so we didn’t give it too much thought until we were on holiday in the summer. While away in France we chatted at length, and decided to book a trip to a city to explore the idea.
I have always hoped of doing some study at Regent College in Vancouver, so we decided that Vancouver was as good a place to start our exploration as any! On returning home from holiday we booked a trip for Sara and I during the October half-term.
In the weeks leading up to the trip we found ourselves praying more and more about the possibility of church planting, but found God strangely silent on the matter. Ten days before heading over to Vancouver, on route to seeing our friends Nick and Theresa Becker, we were earnestly praying that God would speak to us and give us some direction.
Little did we know, that this would be a very significant evening!
Nick and Theresa had invited another couple to join us for dinner that evening, Tim and Charlotte, friends of theirs whom we hadn’t met before. We had a lovely evening, laughing and chatting. As we were preparing to leave Tim leaned across the table and said: “Would you mind if I brought you a prophesy?”
Tim began with, “You’re at a crossroads, God has been speaking to you. You need to go home and read the prophetic words He has given you in the past. God is calling you to step up. You’re not to think of yourself primarily as a worship leader any more, God is calling you to lead a church…”
As you can imagine, we left the dinner party pretty excited! As soon as we arrived home we dug out all the prophetic words we have recorded over the years. As we began to read them our excitement grew.
About 13 years ago a man by the name of Steve Nicholson had brought a prophetic word to me, and what was most amazing of all how it tied in with what Tim had brought us that evening, some of it even being word for word…
The following week I was at the Newfrontiers Prayer & Fasting conference. Steve Horne, one of the CCK elders, brought a prophetic picture for me. He saw me as an icebreaker, carving a channel through sheet ice, with boats following behind.
Full of faith that God was speaking to us about Canada we boarded a plane to Vancouver.
Being in Vancouver was a real mix. We were very excited to be there and dreaming about what God could do, but the overwhelming emotion was a sense of counting the cost of being away from London, away from ChristChurch, away from our worship team, away from friends and away from the children’s school.
We prayed loads and talked loads… and concluded that we should spend another two to three years in London.
But God had different plans!
On arriving home a relative from South Africa called and asked if he could stay with us that following weekend. We shared with him what we’d felt God saying to us and all about the trip. Towards the end of the conversation he said, “Help me here: God seems to be speaking to you so clearly about going, yet you’re talking about being in London for another two to three years! I think you need to pray a bit more…”
So we decided to spend that week fasting and praying. And God continued to speak to us. Our bible readings that week were from Gen 12 where God calls Abram to go to a land God would lead him to, and Exodus, where the Israelites were leaving Egypt, heading towards the Red Sea…
It was so clear that God was calling us to make a faith decision to leave London, even though we still weren’t clear that He was calling us to Vancouver. So, later that week, we met with David Stroud (who leads our ChristChurch team) and the elders and set before them what God had been saying to us. They were all in agreement that God was speaking, and so the wheels were now in motion.
Two weeks later we had another important meeting: Tim, who had given us the prophetic word that was the catalyst to this process, had suggested that we meet up again to pray. He’d also suggested that we meet his Vicar, Mark Melluish. By this stage we were praying that God would give us clarity on where we should be going – was it to be Vancouver or was it to be somewhere else?
Sitting with Mark and Tim that Wednesday lunch time we began to tell the story about how God had been speaking. Suddenly Mark sat upright, grabbed his phone and said, “Excuse me, I’m not being rude, just looking for an email…”
Finding the email he said, “This email arrived two days ago. It is entitled “Canada calling”! When I saw it I said to my wife, Lindsay: “God’s not calling us to Canada, this must be for someone else – I wonder who it’s for?” ”
He then began to read the email, which was all about what God is doing in Vancouver! As he finished reading, he put his phone down on the table, leaned forward and said, “So it seems that God has sent me an email for you!”
It was shortly after that we made the final decision to church plant into Vancouver.
The months ahead are full of significant challenges, but we are full of faith that God has called us to go, and that He will therefore provide what is needed in terms of finance, visas, a team, property sales and a place to live in Vancouver.
We’re on an adventure with God. Over these next weeks and months we’ll be building a church plant team. Could it be that God is calling you to come on the adventure with us?