Word from the Pastor

The Kingdom of God; One Meal at a Time

Our team has been hard at work as we move closer to the launch of our new Abbotsford Campus. Here’s what I know to be true: this campus expansion is not just an Abbotsford initiative but a church-wide CLA initiative. This is a Langley, Maple Ridge, and Sooke initiative. We are one church. Whether or not you feel the burden to be a part of our launch team, to be one of the pioneers of taking the vision of transformation and planting that vision into the city of Abbotsford, I hope you at least feel the overwhelming burden to pray for your church.

Our team is growing, and we are blessed with incredible individuals who have chosen to be part of this new campus. When God is at work, He doesn’t just call one person but a community. He is inviting many to be part of His work in Abbotsford. God is working through this new campus and always finishes what He starts. Could you, in prayer, consider if God is inviting you to be part of this new campus initiative? We aim to form a launch team of 60 core people. The launch team is made up of individuals committed to volunteering, giving, and shaping the campus's culture. If I may be bold, could I challenge you, if you have an Abbotsford postal code, to give us one year to see this campus in your city thrive and make a difference?

The gospel writer Mark seems intent on identifying the incarnate God with a place. A local and ordinary community. When Mark writes about Jesus, he asks us to remember that God, aiming to reveal his heart and character to the world most fully, intentionally tied himself to a people, a community, and a place. Are we following that model of gospel intentionality in our lives and the communities we live in?

Sebastian Junger, in his book ‘Tribe,’ writes, “A person living in a modern city, or a suburb can, for the first time in history, go through an entire day—or an entire life—mostly encountering complete strangers. They can be surrounded by others and yet feel deeply, dangerously alone.” The deepest human longing is to be fully known and fully loved. The greatest human fear is to be fully known and unloved. And so the human experience we mostly settle for is to be unknowable and, therefore, unlovable. What if that changed through our discipleship to Jesus?

When asked about the greatest commandment, Jesus gave the predictable answer. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. But then, I imagine probably after a dramatic pause, he added, and a second is like it. Love your neighbour as yourself. So, according to Jesus, the love of God and the love of neighbour are inseparable.

How can we live this vision? We must look to the archetype himself. Jesus. Jesus embodied the vision of the Kingdom of God, of transformation—one meal at a time. Eating with people far from God wasn’t just a picture of salvation—it was part of moving people towards salvation. As Jesus said over dinner with Zacchaeus, “Today salvation has come to this house.” It's no secret that our increasingly post-Christian culture is no longer warm or even neutral to the gospel. It's hostile to it. Many people perceive "Christianity" as part of the problem, not the solution. Most people who aren’t following Jesus have zero interest in hearing the gospel. So, how do we make space for the gospel in our cultural moment? We should do it like Jesus did: through eating and drinking.

The beauty of Jesus' method is this:

1. You're already doing it. You already eat meals. All you have to do is repurpose a few to offer God's great welcome and invitation for transformation to those around you.

2. Anyone can do this. You don't need a seminary degree or expertise in apologetics. You don’t need a formal dining room or a backyard with cool hanging lights. All you need is a table and some courage to be close to those around you.

There's no better place to get to know your neighbours than over a meal, no better place to dialogue and even disagree. That’s why I’m convinced one of the most relevant ways to live and preach the gospel is around a table with those around us.

On July 7th, we will have our first Vision/Interest Gathering in Abbotsford, and if you feel at all compelled to be a part of this new campus expression looking to join God in bringing transformation to the community of Abbotsford, I hope to see you there. Can you pray for this? This is a crucial event in the launch process and will be a significant opportunity to connect with the community and invite them into the story of God and, ultimately, the renewal of all things.


Pastor Bryce Lefebvre
Assistant Pastor - Gather