was answering their heart’s desire. Lison
says, “I was stunned that God would do
this, but seven weeks later Sophie came
home to be ours forever. It’s nothing short
of a miracle!”
PHO TO: ANDREA JOHNS TONE
Boucher isn’t afraid to tackle real
issues like abortion and euthanasia in his
sermons. A series called “Grey Matter” in
the video sermon archive encourages the
virtual audience to consider how to make
biblical decisions that matter when the
outcome is not black and white.
outreach and Service
“By grace we represent Christ in the community,” says Castilloux. At Lifecentre,
that translates to a willingness to partner
with secular organizations. “Just look for
commonalities,” he says. “We care about
the same issues – justice, equality, rights
of women and children.” The motivation
may be different, but the vision is the
same. Lifecentre’s goal is the health and
prosperity of their city.
Lifecentre Food Bank, co-operating
with the Ottawa Food Bank, invites
people to the Blackburn campus to receive
monthly hampers. Blackburn congregants
maintain stock with Sunday donations.
Eastern Ottawa Resource Centre informs
Lifecentre of its monthly activities to invite
food bank clientele. It’s a four-way partnership!
The key challenge is a balance of grace
and truth. Boucher says, “It’s easy to be
all grace” and not address sin. And “It’s
easy to be all truth – very judgemental.” A
balance “to honour people’s growth makes
church messy, but lifelike,” he says.
“It’s frequently stated that God’s
church has a mission. But more accurately God’s mission has a church,” Boucher
says. Lifecentre invests in people who
want to make a difference in their community. They want to be there for their
children’s children – they want to leave a
legacy that will extend into eternity. FT
at Lifecentre Food Bank, more than just food is
distributed, such as these children’s backpacks.
ada, co-pastors with his wife Lori. Together
they share a zeal to be salt and light in
Ottawa. “In a city of one million, the vast
majority don’t connect with God,” he says.
Lifecentre-Kanata, southwest of Ottawa,
launched in September 2012. Lifecentre-Orleans is east of Ottawa, about four kilometres from Lifecentre-Blackburn. Each
campus pastor tailors his strategy to the
community and the local congregation.
church on demand
The church’s video streaming service,
Church on Demand (at www.lifecentre.
org), constitutes a fourth “campus” where
400 people access Sunday sermons online.
A LifeBlog and congregational polls connect the audience and encourage participation via texting, Twitter and Facebook.
Both Boucher and Castilloux wrestle
with the question “What constitutes the
church?” When life gets in the way and some
can’t attend church regularly, Lifecentre’s
virtual church provides an option. It also allows a non-threatening approach to come
alongside those who are seeking the Saviour.
“The vast majority process [spirituality]
layer by layer. We respect their journey. We
don’t water down the gospel, but we allow
them to push back with questions,” says
Boucher. He loves the fact that this enables
him to gain insights into the real needs in
Yet he quickly adds, “Many acknowledge
they took their first step because someone
invited them.” LifeStart, a discipleship journey where newcomers explore faith, begins
hesitantly for most. Many move from disenfranchisement to become fully engaged.
One single mom found her entry point in
an after-school program, operated through
a partnership with Algonquin College.
Her seven-year-old daughter struggled in
school, but daily tutoring improved her
grades. Four years after “trying church,”
this mom is a very active volunteer with
Celebrate Recovery is a program that
addresses every type of habit and hang-up. A participant named Rick says he
struggled for many years, feeling trapped
without a reason for existing. He read
books and cried many nights, asking God
“God used Celebrate Recovery,” says
Rick, “to answer questions I had been asking for 45 years. I discovered I was living in
fear – not trust. God was patiently waiting
for me to put my faith in Him. I learned
the true meaning of Proverbs 3: 5-6” (“Trust
in the Lord with all your heart . . . and He
will make your paths straight”).
Destiny Adoption is a comprehensive
program operating on three levels – advocating in Parliament to overcome adoption hurdles, working with pregnancy care
centres to offer solutions, and assisting
people at Lifecentre navigate the tricky
waters of adoption.
For 25 years Claude and Lison wanted a
little girl of their own, but were not able to
conceive. They were skeptical and afraid
of public adoption. Then Kim Sabourin,
their “generation pastor,” explained she
had the blessing of a birth mother to help
select parents for her unborn daughter.
Claude and Lison knew right away God
cHarLene de Haan, a freelance writer
in Toronto, is also executive director of
Camino Global in Canada and founder
of StepUp Transitions Consulting.
Find more of these columns at www.