Fish Creek Network connects all sorts of
agencies. One-third of gift baskets delivered by Canyon Creek are referrals from
Churches should not hesitate about
such partnerships, says Bayer. Although
many Canadians “are becoming anti-reli-gious,” finding common ground to serve
in the community is not difficult. So Canyon Creek partners annually with the City
of Calgary to clean up the Bow River, also
inspired by the biblical imperative to care
The church also saw a community opportunity in the movie To Save a Life, which
addresses the challenges that can drive
teens to despair. It collaborated with the
Distress Centre to sponsor showings in a local theatre and to advertise in schools. Parents and teens viewed the movie together,
listened to a speaker from the Distress Centre and raised funds for the suicide hotline.
No Crib for a Bed is a partnership be-
tween Canyon Creek and NeighbourLink to
help local single mothers. For several weeks,
a crib is placed at the front of the church for
congregants to fill with baby things.
This opportunity to represent Jesus in the
world pushes many Canyon Creek attendees outside their comfort zone, motivating them to dig deeper into God’s Word.
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reaching in and
“Any time you bless people there will
be a spillover response,” testifies Bayer.
Members working downtown now view
the marginalized differently. Bayer rec-
ognized this recently when a member
of the youth group, his heart growing in
compassion for street people, suddenly
announced, “We gotta pray!”
When the junior high group held a
Rake and Run event, one neighbour
watched the group rake leaves off his
property and came to the door to offer
payment. When he was told the service
was a free act of kindness, he asked, “Can
I come to your church?”
Canyon Creek’s goal is to create a place to
belong and to become as God reaches deeply
into the lives of its members. The challenge
of godly living, especially the “incarnational”
aspect of trying to be the hands and feet of
Christ, lies not in devoting an occasional
Sunday to carry out acts of kindness. The
challenge lies in getting every member to
adopt a Christ-in-the-community lifestyle.
Among the results Bayer points to a
chilli event that drew 500. Some neighbours have also contacted the church in
times of crisis.
“Be a community of kindness,” Bayer
encourages his congregation. It starts with
a theological compulsion. “God sent His
Son – God sends us.”
The process of learning to love our
neighbours can be frustratingly slow.
“When will we stop simply speaking words
of evangelism and [instead] default to a life-
style of incarnational living?” Bayer asks.
But he also knows that God is working in
His people, and that “we’re living out our
part in the story God is writing here on
planet Earth.” FT
PROUDLY SPONSORED BY DURHAM CHRISTIAN HOMES
CALL 905-430-1666 • www.dchomes.ca
charlene de haan is a freelance
writer in Toronto, the executive director
of camino Global (formerly caM canada)
and founder of StepUptransitions.ca.
read all the profiles in this ongoing
series at faithtoday.ca