Going to LA: What’s your destination?

Vision is a destination –

Simon Sinek.

My father-in-law Reubin was famous for his sense of clarity regarding his destination in life. He was able to stir you with his vision of what heaven will be like. He was also known to be somewhat driven when it came to long holiday road trips. To quote my brother-in-law John, “we were going to LA and God help you if your bladder was full before the gas tank was empty.”

Having a clear vision for your life is like having a destination on a road trip. It keeps you focused and creates a sense of united purpose.

What’s your vision?  A friend challenged me with that question a few years ago. He was encouraging me to articulate my vision for the church. My initial reaction was to get defensive. “Don’t people get it”, I thought, “don’t they see what we are trying to?” People are not mind readers and as I’ve come to appreciate, they need clarity and reminders of what the vision is.

In response to my friends challenge, I developed a set of markers for our church that define who we are becoming and where we hope to be in the years ahead. The same process can be used for personal and family vision casting.

Hold the vision, trust the process.

The three primary question that we must answer to get a clear sense of direction for our lives are, who am I ?(values), what am I called to do?(mission) and what is the destination?(vision).

To address these questions, I came up with these 8 great reasons for our church. The have somewhat evolved over the years.

Values of Shepherd’s Gate

Purpose Led: 

We are increasingly developing an outward focus in our church life. This requires us to be adaptable and flexible regarding our methods and clear in our purpose. We must be willing to remove every barrier and do whatever it takes to connect the unchurched with the good news of Jesus.

“I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.”

1 Cor. 9:22

Street Cred.   

Shepherds Gate is the product of a merge between a 45 year old church and a 65 year old church, which amounts to a combined history of 110 year! We have gained a great deal of community credibility over the years. This combined credibility is a great foundation for living the incarnational presence of Jesus among our neighbours. Being Jesus to my neighbours is sharing the gospel of hope and giving meaningful help, and encouragement in practical ways.

The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.

John 1:14 msg

Healthy Structures:  

Every healthy organization needs structure as plants need a trellis to grow on. Shepherd’s Gate is guided by our pastoral team, governed by our elected board and supported by our parent organization the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada.  We believe that, behind every successful ministry is good administration and great communication. Good management and transparency inspires confidence from those we serve.

Healthy Relationships:  

When God leads our family, we aim for a win-win that, “seems good to us and to the Holy Spirit.” Acts 15:28   We will aim to put relationship before tasks and being before doing.

We rely on the uniting presence of the Spirit who assembles his body with joints and ligaments so that each part contributes to the whole. (Eph. 4:16)  We are learning how to appreciate each other, encourage one another, challenge each other to grow and leave no one behind.  We are learning the value of standing with people even when others won’t. 

Global and Local (Glocal) 

We believe the great commission (Matt. 29:19,20) starts in our own backyard. (global-local)  In Calgary the world lives next door. One way we are reaching our neighbours is by intentionally crossing cultural divides, celebrating diversity and equipping culturally sensitive leaders. These leaders are in turn leading us to reach a new generation of Canadians for Christ.

There is always so much more that we could do.  We cannot let our biases and prejudice hinder the spread of the gospel to all nations on our doorstep.

Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’?

Mark 11:17

Collaborative 

We believe in shared resources and relational partnerships when we can find common ground.  Instead of reinventing the wheel we will work with existing agencies and connect people with great services.  Over the years we have developed awesome partnerships with Calgary Foundation, Community Kitchens; Interfaith food bank, Samaritans Purse and Our Lady Queen of Peace Ranch. More recently with Hope Mission, Ogden House Seniors and Youth for Christ. 

You.   

For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy.

1 Thess. 2:19 

You are the evidence and proof in the pudding of all we do as a Church.  Your new life, your growing faith and your witness to the life changing power of the gospel, is our joy! This is our end game, making a maturing disciples through the power of the gospel.

Our L.A.

Our new South Shepherd campus will become the home base for the Church we envision. Moving into a new growing area of the city is an new opportunity. When I shared our vision with Mayor Nenshi and the City Hall he caught on to the community focus. He reminded me that there is no guarantee of a community development our there. “Well, we need to think ahead,” I said. Now, several years later, God has gone before us and the new 2300 home community of Hotchkiss broke ground this summer. They will have new show homes ready a year from now. Let’s meet them there!

The vision to be Jesus in our neighbourhood can be multiplied across our city. What we are doing now in Ogden is our boot camp for what is ahead. We are not looking to be a mega Church but we do hope to be a multiplying Church with a number of local campuses.

Thank you for joining us in the journey to L.A. Bathroom breaks are permitted.