I was driving back from Toronto last night around 10:00 as the snow started. We got a few calls from friends who were further north who told us it was really snowing. “There goes church tomorrow” I thought. And sure enough…it snowed big time. Check out the view from my living room window to the left. There was zero snow 24 hours earlier. Summer and fall were history…winter was back.
We launched a year ago this December, and as many of you know, we had snow almost every weekend. As much as I encourage people NOT to pray selfish prayers, I was pretty much praying for it not to snow on Saturday nights and Sunday mornings. I was sick of snow. I felt so bad for people.
And truthfully, I was kind of praying that prayer again this fall…or if I wasn't praying that prayer I was convincing myself that it would never snow every Saturday night/Sunday morning two years running and we would have a great winter that made it easy to be a portable church.
I was trying not to let my cynicism run my faith into the ditch this morning, but it was hard. The snow was heavy, messy and all over the stinkin' place. I was trying to stay cheery, but deep down I expected to find two e-teamers (the people who set up environments) instead of twenty and sixteen people in attendance
(including the staff)…the usual church stuff that happens when the
weather is lousy.
I was SO wrong.
I swung by the Orillia campus before 7 a.m. only to find it running fantastically well, given the crazy snow (I had to push my neighbor out of a snow bank en route to Orillia…except the snow bank was in the middle of the road). People's spirits were great.
Then I got to Barrie and saw a whole line of volunteer's cars. We were at most, 10 minutes behind normal. People were cheerful, encouraging, fantastic. You'd never know they had to shovel snow at 5:00 a.m. to get here.
So the volunteers were solid. Beyond solid. Amazing! But what about the congregation? My cynicism told me people would hit the snooze button. But again, I was wrong. We had a decent crowd at 8:30 and it was getting hard to find a seat again at 10 a.m. Unreal. People just kept streaming in.
I wonder if we are in the midst of a community of people determined to get this mission done at any price. I wonder if people are actually passionate enough about Jesus to brave crazy weather and get out no matter what. I wonder if people are so committed to bringing their friends into a growing relationship with Christ that it doesn't matter how much it snows. We did it last year. People were downright fantastic about it again this weekend.
This is church. In Canada. It snows a lot in the winter. We are portable. And our people are unbelievably fantastic.
This is Connexus, and this is how we roll. I am SO grateful to be your pastor today. You amaze me!
– Carey Nieuwhof