#31-Leading a Church on Mission ft. Brett Landry & Matt Glezos

 In

Replanting

 

In this episode, Rob welcomes  2 pastors  from our BCMB  community who have a unique calling which they’ve embraced.  Brett Landry from Christ City Churches and Matt Glezos from Tri-City Church share their stories of how God led them to replant churches. We hope this conversation will inspire you as a leader in your church to think about the culture and what God may be calling you to.  Are you on mission?  Are you mobilizing your church?

 

 

“And we look at different parts of the city and they’re very different contexts. And so contextualization is a really important key in terms of how you proclaim the gospel, the gospel is the same. It’s unchanging.” – Brett Landry

 

I think the challenge, which is not a unique challenge, is just helping people to see that we are the mission of the church, that in fact, the things that we believe about the gospel for ourselves personally, the hope, the comfort, are the very same things that motivate, that shape the way that we live our daily lives.” – Matt Glezos

 

Topics Covered Include

  • Missional Drive
  • Sacrificial Sending
  • Mobilizing the Church
  • Contextualization & Culture
  • Opportunities in Covid

Show Notes

 

 

BCMB Pastor to Pastor
BCMB Pastor to Pastor
#31-Leading a Church on Mission ft. Brett Landry & Matt Glezos
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Transcription

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Brett Landry:
I think there's always going to be pain, I think that's actually something that we need to embrace. We have a cruciform faith. Our Lord is the Lord who was crucified. And so that actually forms a lot of the way we think. Now there's pain in every ministry that wants to change. And so I think, you know, pain comes, growth is painful.

Matt Glezos:
I think the challenge, which is not a unique challenge, though, to our area, is just helping people to see that we are the mission of the church, that, in fact, the things that we believe about the gospel for ourselves personally, the hope, the comfort are the very same things that motivate that shape the way that we live our daily lives.

Welcome to the BCMB podcast, Pastor to Pastor. This is a podcast by the British Columbia Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches. We want to help equip and encourage pastors, churches and anyone else who wants to listen in and be more effective in their ministry.

This is Episode 31, Leading a Church that is on a Mission with Brett Landry and Matt Glezos.

Rob Thiessen:
We want to welcome everybody to the BCMB podcast, Pastor to Pastor, and my name is Rob Thiessen. I'm the conference minister with the BC Mennonite Brethren Churches. This podcast is for church leaders, but it's also open for anyone who is listening. So if you don't fall in that category, but you want to listen and we welcome you to the podcast. And today I am glad to welcome a couple of pastors in our community who have a unique calling that they've embraced, and that is replanting. If that's the right word, we're going to talk about that of churches, that maybe we're reconsidering their future and and now have a new chapter, a new opportunity. So welcome to Brett Landry from Christ City Churches. Thank you. And Matt Glezos from Tri-City Church. Yes. Hello and welcome. Yeah, welcome. So Vancouver, Coquitlam, great to have you here.

Matt Glezos:
Port Coquitlam. I'm sorry I have to jump in because the people of Coquitlam will be very upset. Perfect. Yeah, it's a bit of a bone of contention.

Rob Thiessen:
Yeah. No, no problem. I live on the other side of the river, so, you know, we tend to sort of ignore the people on the, on the east side. So they're not actually that would be the north side, not the east side.

Brett Landry:
You guys are awesome at geography. That's what I've learned already about this. I've lived here all my life.

Matt Glezos:
That's the thing Brett, for planting churches is knowing your, know your region.

Rob Thiessen:
Yeah, well, I've become, I've become Google stupid last night like I've lived here all my life. And last night I was somewhere in New Westminster, it was foggy and I just pulled up my phone and put in home, my own home. So turned me around on the roads and. Yep, another topic. But hey, I'd love for you guys to introduce yourselves. And a question that I ask all of our guests on here is to tell us a little bit about the community that formed them. And and also, yeah, I have a thought for you guys to also say, as you tell that story, just tell us also a little bit about how the, the life priorities that you feel like God has given to you and, you know, that may sound a little onerous, but just share the priorities that are in your heart. So Brett, why don't you start us off? Tell us about the community and your journey a little that.

Brett Landry:
Yeah, I mean, the overarching community, obviously, my family very important in my upbringing, but I was brought up in a non Christian home. And so I didn't come to faith until I was 19, almost 20 years old, brought up in a really great family, loving parents, wonderful parents and wonderful grandparents. But we did not, I did not grow up in the faith. And so I came to Christ in a fairly Saul to Paul kind of conversion story. One of those like, you know, where I wasn't a Christian. And then there was a day where I was, it was a very marked point. It wasn't like a slow burn where I was sort of discipled by my family and brought up. It was a complete new thing. I'd never been to church. I'd never opened the Bible, had an encounter with God when I was almost twenty sort of Bible college six weeks after that, which I don't necessarily recommend to people I, I had not read the Bible. I'd read Genesis at that point. And then I'd read Matthew, Mark and Luke. And I knew there were four gospels and I couldn't figure out why I possibly would read a fourth one if the first three told the same story. Not knowing that, of course, there's the Synaptics and John. And John has become my favourite gospel since. So it's very interesting. I didn't know anything about anything, about anything other than I knew that, that God had saved me in Christ, that I was full of the Holy Spirit, and that I felt a call toward ministry.

Brett Landry:
And I didn't even really know what that looked like at the time. So I started a Bible college at a local church, Bible college in central Alberta, non-denominational, charismatic church with a lot of lovely people who really love Jesus. And I started there and then I transitioned that to an accredited Bible college. It's now called what was called Christ College. And then it merged with PLBC. And so I ended up finishing my bachelor's degree there. And then in terms of the learning community, over time I've pursued graduate studies at Regent College. And so, you know, that's the side of education. But the formation, I mean, the things I learned in terms of how to pray and how to walk in faith and all of that, that was back in Alberta and then had a massive shift where early on, actually, my wife and I just celebrated our 17th anniversary. And before the about a month before our wedding, I had a sense of urgency and call to plant a church in Vancouver. I don't know where that came from other than the Holy Spirit, which is why I trusted that it was of God wasn't my idea.

Brett Landry:
I'd never been to Vancouver. I didn't understand anything about Vancouver and really at that point didn't even have a desire to do that. I just kind of felt like that was what we were going to end up doing. And so over the next number of years, kind of began to work in ministry and. I didn't immediately go into vocational ministry after I graduated, I was actually entrepreneurship and started a business and helped a couple other companies start divisions of businesses and things like that and worked in the marketplace for years and then moved into full time pastoral ministry. About five years later, I moved back, maybe not even quite five years, moved to Vancouver to work with church planting BC. So the church planting arm of the Mennonite Brethren, and they welcomed me and I came here, did an apprenticeship at West Side Church and had an opportunity to do my church planting apprenticeship there and an opportunity to serve alongside James Bonney in what is now Shore Church in North Vancouver. And so I served with him and and got to learn a lot from him and from Norm as they were planting. And, and then we were sent out in 2013, we planted Christ City Church in the almost the geographic dead centre of Vancouver near Main and 41st and really, really a great story, just how we were sent and how we were empowered to go and do that.

Brett Landry:
West Side sacrificially sent us in a tremendous way. And so that was 2013. And yeah, those are the people who have really formed me. Mm hmm. I think in terms of oh, sorry, go ahead, Rob.

Rob Thiessen:
Yeah, so back in Alberta, it was the church community there, that independent, charismatic community that was a place where your faith was shaped. And, and when you encountered Christ first, Brett, was that through, through a dream, a revelation, a friend? Or how did that how did that start?

Brett Landry:
Yeah, I mean, I had just been traveling for a year, just about a year, where I've been out backpacking and I came home back to my hometown and I had this realization that things had shifted. I was not the man I was when I left and something was different. I didn't really know what that was, but I knew that I had changed a lot and grown a lot in that year.

Brett Landry:
And yeah, I actually had I don't know exactly what you would call it, Rob. I had some kind of revelation and some kind of encounter with a God who I did not know. And it felt to me very much like a power encounter with God. I was not looking for it. I wasn't on the on the pathway to becoming a Christian. I wasn't reading Christian books. I wasn't, you know, inquiring of, of things. I was searching in lots of ways. But I definitely wasn't searching through the avenue of any Christian resource. I was minding my own business. And what happened was I didn't know what that encounter was. And I talked to a Christian friend who, who had been a friend my whole life.

Brett Landry:
And, and I just said, I don't know what just happened, really. And he very patiently and, and with great kindness, kind of just pointed me to Jesus very gently. And, and eventually I met a young woman and she, she just said, Are you a Christian? And I said, honestly, I don't really know what that means. Like, if I'm just going to be with all humility, in all honesty, I don't really know what that means. And she said, well, I'd love to tell you about Jesus. And I at that point was so hungry. I said, please. And, and she said she started out with she said, you're a sinner. And I was like, I know that, that is the only thing that I've felt over the last couple of months is that I'm doomed and I don't know how to get rid of it. And so she, she talked to me and prayed with me and she led me to Christ. And it was this transformative moment in the first week of July 2001. It absolutely shaped the rest of my life.

Rob Thiessen:
Yeah, that's good. That's encouraging. We've had a productive and God glorifying conversation already. Thanks, Brett. Really good. Good. Matt, tell us a little bit about your journey and the community that shaped you.

Matt Glezos:
Yeah, in some ways my story is similar in the sense that I also was raised in a home that was not a believing home, not a religious home. So in the same way, like Brett had a great, great parents, great family life, very supportive. But it was, it was really kind of a spiritual vacuum. And, and likewise, I don't I don't know that I was really searching. But just through God's orchestration of events, I was sent to a Christian camp in the area overnight camp when I was probably 12, Timberline Ranch, and heard the gospel there probably for the first time. And then my next door neighbor invited me to Church, Willingdon Church, which was the first church that I ever really started going to. And it was a youth group where I first got introduced to the Community of Faith. It was his family that just Sunday morning said, hey, if you want to come. So I would walk across the lawn. Thankfully, my parents were supportive. They said, hey, this is your choice if you want to do this. So over the next couple of years, it, it was unlike Brett's story and that it was a slow burn for me or however long that is. It was a period of me kind of understanding the gospel, understanding a biblical worldview. And just time and again, same and that really seems to make sense.

Matt Glezos:
Like that really just explains life, that sin explains. A lot of my reality explains the world, a God who is in control of all things, a God who is loving and yet wants to bring justice. All of that made a lot of sense. And so I don't have a day where I came to faith, but I do know, I can picture myself in bed saying, Jesus, I think I believe in you and I'm sorry for my sins. And just there was a moment where I came to faith and, and so I was welcomed into the the community of faith at Willingdon Church. And it likewise was transformative. I will say, though, that later on, I mean, that was my experience living it is that through my teens then trying to go to youth group, I started getting involved with Timberline Ranch. And so I had this this community faith that really helped to disciple me. But, but looking back now, I realized that there were neighbors in my neighborhood. We lived there since I was born, Christian families that had been praying for me. I'd been just praying for their neighbors. There's an older couple, grandma and grandpa, who had invited my brother and I over for after school kind of Bible study at probably we were like five or six or seven only did that a couple of times.

Matt Glezos:
But, but after kind of genuinely coming to faith and starting to live life for Christian, I got to hear them come and just rejoice and say, you may not know this, we've been praying for you. We would pray for you since you were a kid. And, and that was so encouraging just to see how God works. And answers prayer and time, and in fact, those families now are a couple of them are part of Tri-City Church, which is just a really cool thing to be able to really be able to trace back the kind of heritage in terms of what God is doing to this family. So for me, I yeah, I started working at Willingdon Church and Children's Ministry just as a as a part time job in the summer. I thought it would be something fun to do. I wanted to be a teacher, and so I thought that would be a good combination. And so I worked there for a number of years, got my teaching degree, thought I would end up teaching high school English and in fact started started, left Willingdon, started teaching in the Coquitlam public school system, got married. And then the big shift for me was about, I think two years into our marriage.

Matt Glezos:
I was still working at Willingdon,the summers, doing day camps, and my wife felt a real sense that we should be in ministry full time. And this was a surprise to me. It was in fact, I resisted it at first because I sort of had I wanted to be a principal. I had a career in place and by that point had almost a continuing contract. I've been teaching for about five years, which meant they can't fire you every year, which was happening before that. So I thought, you know, we're serving a church, helping in the summers. We're doing everything. And yet we started to pray about it and just felt increasingly a sense of conviction. When I talked to the pastors and elders at Willingdon Church, they sort of affirmed that call. And so, and so the following September took a leave of absence from teaching and started working at Willingdon full time. And the children's ministry, which is incredibly formative in the sense of just being on staff, having a lot of theological instruction from people there and, and was there for another five years and was, was great years. Really, really enjoyed teaching kids about the gospel, crafting lessons. I realized that I really enjoyed teaching, which I kind of knew, but especially teaching the Bible and really enjoyed seeing young people have that connection to Christ.

Matt Glezos:
And from there we felt called to West Side Church. So that's where our story kind of comes back together, is that we both ended up at West Side. I was there not as a church planting apprentice. I was there as a family ministry director. So, so everything from kids to young marrieds, parenting. And so I had sort of an unplanned apprenticeship in terms of church planting, meaning that when Brett was there the same time I was there, I was with James Bonney. They allowed us to move to North Van where they were planting, be part of that plant team. So I was kind of an unexpected experience for us. I was running family ministry, but also being involved in this new plant on the North Shore and through that experience and sort of seeing as Brett came in and and seeing the launch of of Christ City Church, the second I'd say major calling our lives was that we also felt called to plant. But it, it was not an immediate it wasn't something that happened immediately for us. We, we spent some time at West Side sort of discerning with the elders there the sense of calling, and yet they didn't feel like it was the time. And there was it was a real, I'd say, time of growing in my understanding of why I was in ministry meeting.

Matt Glezos:
Was I, was I going to submit to local leadership and follow their lead. Was I just going to go and do this thing that I thought I was supposed to do, grow in a lot of skills because I was moved around at West Side to different responsibility. And then eventually came to the point where my wife and I said, I think we just need to go and do this. And so our story, at least to the Tri-City story was, was one of eventually three churches coming together to plant Tri-City Church, but to get there, it was leaving West Side. It was C2C welcoming us on assessing us, approving us conditionally as church planting couple, going to Cross Ridge Church, another MB church with Lee Francois, and then from there saying that we really feel called the Tri Cities but don't know how that's going to happen. And then finding out that Northview had just taken over a building in Port Coquitlam area and God in his timing, he brought all the things together, but we had no idea that, that was going to happen at the moment or even we left West Side. So, so it was a replanting story in a sense, but not one that we saw coming, I guess.

Rob Thiessen:
Right, right.

Rob Thiessen:
And that is kind of a unique situation to our discussion here today.

Rob Thiessen:
But both of you, both of the churches that you were involved, they were you were planters. You had that vision and call and then you ended up being in a replanting situation. And just for our listeners to draw the unusual circle that's that emerged. So, Brett, as he's going to share later, ended up taking the Christ City, that he took a church, Vancouver MB, Vancouver MB was a church that originally the people from Willingdon came from, which would my, my parents, where those people, came from Vancouver MB, my parents were married there, the church, Brett knows the story. My mother came and said, oh, that's the place where I nursed little Robbie in the back of the room, back in back room, which was an embarrassing moment, but those were great days. But so Willingdon came out of Vancouver. Willingdon then has a role in planting the Hyde Creek Church, which became Tri Cities.

Rob Thiessen:
Which Matt, who was also trained at Willingdon, is now pastoring and replanting, so there's just a weird circle and life cycles happening and yeah, and God has been incredibly faithful in bringing in a new chapter. So, Brett, why don't you just lead us a little bit into the next phase as to how your church planting vision for Christ City then converged into it, into the Vancouver M.B journey, which by that time that church had a different name. But maybe you could just talk to us about that and how that, how that changed or impacted the church planting vision, how you adapted, like what's the dynamic of what you, what happened, what you experienced that was unique and surprising for you?

Brett Landry:
Yes. The beautiful full circle that you talk about with, you know, basically these churches have in common roots.

Brett Landry:
Mm hmm. You know, I'm currently sitting in the original Vancouver M.B building right now, which is now got a sign outside that says Christ City Church. It's, it's always been Jesus Church on the corner of 43rd and Prince Edward. But, but here we are and you know. Yeah, Vancouver MB being involved in planting Willingdon and Norm working at Willingdon for a long time and then planting West Side and then West Side, sending us out to plant Christ City. We were planning on meeting in a Cineplex theatre. We had a contract in place. We were, we were planning on being one of those set up and take down Sunday morning churches. We were going to get secondary office space once we could. That was our plan. And we were, we were like going a hundred miles an hour toward that. And I got a call one day from the pastoral team at what was called South Hill Church, which is Vancouver M.B. Second iteration was called South Hill Church and South Hill Church called and said we should get together. And I said, well fantastic, like you're on my list of people I want to connect with because we're going to be doing ministry in the same kind of part of the city and we're, you know, obviously both MB churches and and so we got together for lunch and I just thought we were having a little get to know you lunch and and we're chatting away and it's going on.

Brett Landry:
And I'm a little bit slow, I think, at this point in terms of what they were actually angling toward. They said we should do some things together. And I said, yeah, we should do some things together. I'm thinking like, you know, I don't know, you know, neighborhood outreach stuff. And, you know, I have no idea what they're talking about, but I'm like super open to it. This is this sounds fantastic. And, and later on, what ended up happening was they were talking about what they should do next as a ministry. And I didn't know that conversation was happening. And so their elders called me to a meeting and basically put all the cards on the table. And they said, we think that we should fold, we should close our doors as South Hill Church. We should gift this building to Christ City Church. You should come here and plant Christ City in this building. And we you know, some of us would be very excited to be a part of that. And so that's the the very truncated version of a long story that took months and lots of conversations and lots of meetings and, and on there on their behalf, a lot of meetings to walk their congregation through what their elders were feeling led by the Holy Spirit to do

Brett Landry:
So, we ended up being gifted the building. We did a six week renovation on the building and kept our original launch date intact. And, and we moved in. And so we planted on September 22nd, 2013 in the original Vancouver Mennonite Brethren Church. And I mean, just the way that you look at the story unfolding, you just see God's fingerprints all over it. And, and, you know, Vancouver M.B, originally planting Willingdon, Willingdon, financially supporting Christ City. You know, they were, they were, they were huge financial partners in the early days and, and made it work. And then West Side also financially partnering, but sending people who felt called to come and, and help establish a new church in the city at the same time as they were moving downtown into the Centre. And just, you know, you just see so many neat things coming together that you could not make a story like this happen, apart from I mean, you wouldn't write this story. This is a story that it was written in the mind of God, and it came to fruition, I think, through really humble obedience, through his people. And so, yeah, very interesting to see that. Yeah.

Rob Thiessen:
So West Sides, you both of you have touched on West Side, your experience there. And there is something about what, what, what that community and the vision God gave to Norm to just almost immediately begin thinking about multiplying, like giving away, not looking at the obstacles to church planting, not looking at the costs in the city, every every obstacle of which there would be so many. And just in faith, Norm, just stepping ahead and just taking chances, basically. If you if you want to like he's at the table saying, I am going to roll the dice, God is telling me to roll the dice, like, let's go, let's do this thing. And obviously that's it's not a crapshoot shoot. It's, it's a faith venture. But still, that, that risk taking was a key part of this story in, in your lives. It's it's, it's awesome. I was thinking also and maybe you guys want to touch on, on this, but there's also some pain in the giving away of a ministry. And, you know, that's a very courageous decision. A bit uncommon that a group of elders would sit down together and talk about handing over the keys, closing a ministry, and there's pain involved. There's pain. I think all pastors often feel some pain through this at all. Any pastor that's left, the ministry knows it's just hard. It you don't shut something down without people being hurt. Maybe you guys could could talk a little bit about that, about about the courage and the hard, the hard things of these decisions. And I'll jump, Brett if you've got something to add to. And then we'll go to Matt to tell us a little bit about the Tri-City version of how that unfolded.

Brett Landry:
Sure. I think, you know, I think there's pain. I think there's always going to be pain. I think that's actually something that we need to embrace. We have a cruciform faith. You know, our lord is, is the Lord who was crucified. And, and so that actually forms a lot of the way we think. Now there's pain in every ministry that wants to change. And so I think, you know, pain comes, growth is painful. Being pruned by our vine dresser. John, Chapter 15 is a pruning, is a painful work, but God does that because he wants us to be fruitful. And so the way that I've talked about it a lot, Rob, is, is, is the pain is inevitable. You just have to choose your pain. So changing in an established church that's been there for 50, 60 years, change is actually very, very painful. So is death. And so you have to choose your pain. Are you going to change and revision and come to new understandings about the way that the world has changed in the way that you need to maybe do ministry differently and, and generational challenges? And I mean, this was originally a German speaking congregation in this neighborhood in a German speaking neighborhood, well Vancouver doesn't have, like German speaking neighborhoods anymore. There's not German immigration, German speaking immigration from either South America or, or Russia or Germany or anywhere that you talk about it.

Brett Landry:
It's not a predominant way of of establishing new churches. And so they had already changed a lot over the years. And every single one of those changes, I wasn't there for them. But I can tell you, I bet they were painful. And so, so we have to pick our pain. Are we going to change or are we going to die? Mm hmm. And and, you know, John, Chapter 12 is a John Chapter 12. Jesus talks about the seed going into the ground and dying. And unless the seed goes into the ground and dies, it won't bear fruit. Now he's talking about his death and resurrection, but that's actually the economy of the kingdom. The economy of the kingdom is new life coming out of death. And so we can we can understand the story of a particular local church in a, you know, 60, 70 year window as a story of death. Or we can actually look at it as a story of continuing through new life. And so I don't I don't look at it as death in that sense. I look at as them sowing a seed into something that gave birth to new life. And, and I think for, for churches that are wrestling with this kind of conversation in this kind of decision making, if you can restory yourself, if you can, in a sense, regenerate yourself and bring yourself into the bigger story of what God might be doing, you can find that it's not just a sad story.

Brett Landry:
You know, we serve the God, you know, Tolkien talks about in Lord of the Rings, which, you know, just outed me as a bit of a nerd, but that, you know, he's the one who makes all sad stories untrue. All sad stories become happy again. And that's actually that's our king. And so the pain is there. Now, the actual pain was in sitting down and talking about what they were going to do with their staff team. The actual pain was sitting in meetings and I was there for some of them, not for all of them, where really frustrated church members would say painful things out of their own pain. And those leaders had to understand that they were going to take shots for doing something aggressive and risk taking. And they just believed that the fruit was on the other side of it. They believe the reward was on the other side of it. And I think it takes courage and boldness to be able to do some of those things.

Rob Thiessen:
Yeah, that's well put. Matt, tell us a little bit about the journey at the church that was Hyde Creek and, and how that converged, like you were mentioning Northview had sort of taken ownership or responsibility for the property, but how did that journey unfold?

Matt Glezos:
That was a little bit of a different, I guess, the same story in a sense, but the timing was different. So by that, I mean, Hyde Creek had purchased this building from Maryhill Baptist. So the Baptist originally built this building, I think, in seventy one.

Matt Glezos:
And so by the time, by the time I came on the scene, Hyde Creek had essentially closed its doors. So the, the through line or the, the common parts of the story is that there was a leadership team here that still had a heart for the gospel, had, had that heart the whole time and had so much prayer into this community. What Brett's saying about Jesus having a church on the corner, in our case at the end of Nova Scotia Avenue and, and you can see a lot of the fruit coming to bear now that I know has been being prayed for the previous church before that. And in a sense, we we are getting to to see the fruit grow. It's a joy to see that happen. But there wasn't the, the overlap as much as there was for Christ City and South Hill. And so for us, the church to closed its doors, I think, for about a year. And so the building was still being used a bit for community ventures. The leadership team there still had a heart for the gospel. I was part of a group that had gone from from West Side to look at the building. And I know there've been inquiries, but they really wanted was what, what we see with South Hill, they wanted a church to be reborn, in a sense.

Matt Glezos:
And so for whatever reason, I guess God knows exactly why. But you can see the, the, the, the reason they were waiting is because what ended up happening, there are more components involved than maybe just one church taking over. In the end Northview, that's what they thought. They came and said, yeah, we feel we're not sure exactly what this is going to look like, but we see potential. We don't want to see any church real estate lost. We want to see another vibrant gospel community here. So we'll, we'll take it over and, and we'll replant. They had done Mission, so they had planned to plant a campus and then their plans sort of got, got changed in the sense that when I began speaking with them initially, it was a conversation about we want to plant the campus. We hear you're interested in doing something in the in the area. You're from the area. And I said, absolutely. But given my experience planting the North Shore, the one thing I saw that was not present was an existing group of people that was connected, you know with Mission that Northview did. Their Mission campus. There's a group of people there. They did a similar thing. They shut it down briefly.

Matt Glezos:
But there's kind of a core to start. I saw the value in that. And so some of the discussions were, look, you know, West Side and Crossridge, they actually both have, they have people they have groups of people in this area. And wouldn't that be interesting if they'd be interested in partnering and then we'd have a building that Northview brings to the table and groups of people, the church itself that are part of these other churches. And that seemed like a really a great way to make things happen. So I guess similar the sense that there is something new started in, in a building, but dissimilar in the sense that I wasn't part of that process with the existing leadership team kind of closing things down, that had happened prior, although the heart remained there of know, they held onto it for, for good reason and anticipating that God was going to do something. So there's still a lot of faith, I think, shown there. And some of those people, I think similar to, to Brett's story, I've ended up being part of Tri-City Church, which is which is fantastic. They similarly tell stories about here's what used to do. And so that's that's encouraging to see that that common story.

Rob Thiessen:
Hey, you guys. So it discussing like this always begs the question, so what happened to the old church? Like what? What happened? Why why did the ministry flatline in the churches that they didn't have the energy? And I was curious, as I would be I don't know if that's a healthy thing to talk about that in a podcast. There's hurt feelings. I think churches have life cycles. Certainly sometimes pastors and leaders are involved if they're stubborn or can't adopt a new pattern, or maybe they shift into, like we were talking about earlier, just kind of a retirement mentality coasting. I remember I've heard those conversations with pastors. I've thought them myself. I'm, I'm getting older. I'm sixty. Let's just ride this thing out. Kind of like a Hezekiah mentality. Hey, well, as long as that doesn't happen while I'm alive, then that's OK. Let it die then. And one pastor said I want to die in the pulpit and I'm thinking, I don't think that's, that might be your plan, but I'd be worried if God was going to strike me with lightning, if that was my prayer. You know, there's got to be a better vision for the church, so but I think it would be productive and helpful for us all to hear from, from both of you as to like, what are the priorities that drive you as, as missional pastors? You are both taking churches that existed in communities. You touched on Brett, that demographics changed, the ministry model changed. Just talk to us a little bit now about being pastors of missional churches and city settings and what are the priorities that, that you focus on to keep, keep mission to be a catalyst for a mission like so? Yeah. Share with us, Brett, and then I'd love to hear from you as well Matt.

Brett Landry:
Yeah. I think it's important that, that we know in our stories, our stories are different, as Matt's already alluded to a couple of times. You know, we didn't come into a dormant building that was just kind of owned, but sitting here empty and waiting for something to happen. South Hill was a church that was existing. They were they were fine. They had a budget. They were doing OK. They had, you know, 70 people on a Sunday kind of thing. Like it wasn't, it was not a dead church. They had declined over the years. And so they had declined in the season of being Vancouver Mennonite Brethren. And then what they did is merge with the English speaking congregation of a Chinese church and that, that gave birth to South Hill and that had about a seven year run where they just continued to decline from that merger onward. And they couldn't, in the words of of the elders of South Hill, they just couldn't get traction. They couldn't figure out what, what they needed to do next. And I think that had, had made them, like, kind of weary. Yeah. You know, they, they knew that there was something that they wanted to see, but they struggled to actually conceptualize that, strategically implement that, and execute the vision. And so the desire was always there.

Brett Landry:
They just felt like they were, they were kind of, you know, they were struggling and they couldn't get the traction they wanted to have. And I think that that's a very noble pursuit, you know, so it wasn't like they were a dead church that, you know, had some money in the bank, but they were just running it out for the end of their days. You know, they certainly didn't have that mentality. They wanted to reach the neighborhood. They wanted to see vibrancy. They wanted you know, they'd had decline in families, they'd had decline and, you know, a lot of younger people and, and they just couldn't figure it out. And that was what they said. They said, you know, we think that we need an injection of something different here. And the best way for us to do that in all humility is to just step out of the way. Now, those elders all ended up becoming part of Christ City and, and one of them has moved to a different city. But two of them are still a part of what we're doing and are a huge part of what we're doing. About 30 of the people, I think was twenty five adults maybe, or something like that. Twenty to twenty five adults and some children from that original congregation stuck with us and have become a vital part of what we're doing.

Brett Landry:
And so they, they now talk about like, you know, they're living in the fruit of that difficult decision and, and they would advocate for those difficult decisions being made. But, you know, I don't think it was you know, you have people who love Jesus. You have people who you know, you have all of those components that you're trying to put into the mix. And then you say, well, why isn't it effective and growing? And, and I think there's there's lots of reasons for that. But there's also like sometimes it's just not the right fit. And if you have people on the team who are perhaps really, really gifted godly men and women of God who aren't the right fit for that demographic, if you want to talk about it like that or the context, or maybe they're not in the right roles and they're feeling like they're in the wrong role. And I know the church, South Hill had tried for a long time to add to their staff team and unsuccessfully sought new leaders and they just couldn't figure out what, you know, what was supposed to happen and take shape. I think, you know, we had a group of people that were meeting already in prelaunch before the conversation started with them about us moving into their building.

Brett Landry:
And so we already had a church plant. And so what I had said to them was like, we are planting a church. It's not just coming in and replanting what was here. We're actually planting a new church in a new in an old building. And so we would talk about it very much with that language because we already had a group of people coming from West Side and then a few others that had connected with us, mostly by moving to the city and finding that they were, you know, really connecting well with the new church plant. And they were going to be, you know, founding members of this new church plant. And yes, we were a new church in an old building. And that was the mentality that we had. And and God bless those people who hung with us through the transition. We were, we were closed for about two months, months. And what we did, the renovation work. And so there were no gatherings happening on Sunday mornings. We continue with out prelaunch stuff, and then and then we opened up. It was a pretty quick turnaround, I wouldn't advocate any faster than that. I think you do have to let something die before the seed can sprout and begin to have new life.

Rob Thiessen:
Let me ask you what what do you feel like if you summarize what are the things that God has put on your heart to get you to give yourself to, uh, in, in your role as a pastor? What and, you know, it's a different context, a challenging context of you planning a church in a city. So what are the things that God where you see God at work and the things he's given to you and asking of you? This is what I want you to do. What has God been shaping in you that way?

Brett Landry:
Yeah, for me, I moved to Vancouver with a pretty clear vision of what I thought God was asking us to do, you know, my wife Alison and I were fairly compelled by what we sensed the Lord was leading us to do, and that was to establish a network of neighborhood churches. Vancouver is a neighborhood city. You know, when you talk about Vancouver proper, which, you know, we're in the middle of twenty three neighborhoods kind of plus UBC, and you can divide those neighborhoods up into kind of like minded conglomerates. And we look at different parts of the city and they're very different contexts. And so contextualisation is a really important key in terms of how you proclaim the gospel, the gospel is the same. It's unchanging. We have that in the 66 books of the authoritative scriptures that we walk in. But the context is changing. And so if you think about it like this, the scriptures are not a moving target. The scriptures we're studying are the same scriptures that they studied, you know, in the fourth century, in the same scriptures that they studied in the 12th century and the same scriptures the reformers were using in the 15th century and 16th century and the same scriptures that were being preached in Vancouver, M.B was planted in the 20th century. And here we are in the 21st century. The Bible's not changing. And so that's in a certain sense, that's the easy target to hit. It's not easy, but it's a it's a more simple target to hit because it's not always moving. The moving target is culture, culture changes and culture shifts, and it's actually shifting quite rapidly in the way that we have to constantly be on top of it.

Brett Landry:
It's like if you go to the beach with your children, sit down at the lake, at the shore, and you kind of put your chairs down when you first arrive at the beach and you're not sure if the tide is coming in or out because you haven't watched it long enough. Cultures like that, culture ebbs and flows, culture changes and shifts. And so you might have to pick up your chairs and move them back 10 feet because the tide is coming in. Or if you want to keep your feet in the water, you might need to actually get up and move your chair ten feet forward if the tide is retreating, and cultures like that, culture changes. And so contextualisation is applying the gospel to a particular culture at a particular time. And that's something that I have a huge heart for. When we train church planters, we continue to do so and talk about this a lot. It's, it's saying, yeah, you have a good theological grid, but do you know how to speak to people who don't yet know Jesus? And do you know how to equip the church who are surrounded by people in a changing culture and how to speak the truth of the gospel and bring the gospel to bear on the particular issues that are going on day in and day out? So I feel very called to do that. I feel very called to, to continue to to raise up leaders and send them out. That sacrificial sending is an important aspect of what we do and and just giving yourself to people to allow them to be formed in the seasons.

Brett Landry:
We talk a lot about faith and work because in Vancouver, most of the people that are here are building careers and they're involved in it. We talk a lot about that and how you can think about how your faith matters Monday to Friday, nine to five or whatever your schedule looks like, you know, so those are the kind of things that are on my mind a lot, all of it really being laid in a foundation of prayer. And so, you know, for myself personally and for our team, you know, I think it's an important aspect of what we do is to lay the groundwork for all of our gospel ministry in a real saturation of prayer. I think it's one of those things that people go, yeah, yeah, yeah, we all pray. And I'm talking about exceptional prayer, extraordinary prayer. I'm talking about seasons of fasting and prayer. I'm talking about like laying a foundation for the work that you're doing in, in like bringing together people to contend for the space that we live in. You know, we live in a contested territory here. You know, we understand that scripturally. We you know, and then through the history of the church, there's always going to be obstacles. And so I think a lot of those have to come down in prayer before they can come down in the way that we live. All all of that, Rob, I mean, there's a lot more, but that's some of the stuf.

Rob Thiessen:
That's a good thing. We, when we were at North Langley and planted Jericho.

Rob Thiessen:
We started with, with prayer up there. We just went to the community. And also when we started Yorkson, same thing. We just took teams, walked in the community, went to schools places and just met there to pray and seek God contend for the, for the future submitted to him. Yeah. Matt, you know, you got. A different context, so share with us a little bit about the context there and what, what being missionally engaged looks like, how what you see God doing and the priorities that the Lord is giving us as pastor and shepherd there.

Matt Glezos:
I think for context, we are obviously the more suburban, probably some of you would like to consider ourselves urban, suburban, especially in the Port Moody area. There's a lot of people that are I mean, many people move here tend to be those that, you know, had a, had a baby. All of a sudden they're their condo in Coal Harbor or wherever, Yaletown doesn't, doesn't fit anymore. So they want to move a little bit farther out, but not over the over the river because that would be crazy. So, so that tends to be our younger population is that but obviously these are existing neighborhoods that have been here for 50, 60 years. My neighbors in Coquitlam, I mean, I think they bought that house 70 years ago, 60, 60 years ago. That's it. So so you have this mix.

Matt Glezos:
And I think the challenge for which is not a unique challenge, though, to our area, is just helping people to see that, that, that we are the mission of the church, that, in fact, the things that we believe about the gospel for ourselves personally, the hope, the comfort are the very same things that motivate that shape the way that we live our daily lives. And there's, there's easily in the church has been, I think, probably since the church began. It's easy to separate those two or to naturally live in your, your daily life, your weekly world, and then and not bring in the the mindset, the heart of Christ for the people in to the people who actually live with. So, so I think that's what I felt in terms of planting. I saw the huge emphasis at West Side that was placed on our, we are the mission. Our job is as a church staff, as pastors, is to equip the saints for the work of ministry. And so it's, it's not just let us do the work or bring people in. It's, it's we already out in the mission field. And so it, it is not enough to where, you can assume that, that the people know that, that as a church we know that it has to be repeated, it has to be taught well, it has to be rooted in the heart of Christ and scripture that that he was sent, that he sacrificed, that he went out and he came and, and, and that has to be modeled, I'd say.

Matt Glezos:
So for me personally, the I guess the reminder weekly of, of not thinking that my evangelism box is checked because I preach the gospel on Sunday, but, but that I'm, I'm living it, that I, I naturally have stories to tell and examples to give of things that are going on with the families on my kid's soccer team or my neighbors. And just making that, that's normative. That's normative. And that's assumed that that's the culture. So so I think for for a plant, the, the value or in some ways the nice thing about replanting or planting is that you have, you should have a time where you are shaping culture, you're setting culture for your church, whereas the challenge of a church has been around for 50 years is that I mean, if they were planted, probably someone had that heart, that missional, that sacrificial. We're going to go and do this at the beginning. But to sustain it is difficult because all of a sudden there are as you grow, there are other questions and challenges that come up. I think sometimes people forget what a, what a win is. According to the New Testaments, you can, you can feel really great as soon as you get this is whatever size room you have is seventy percent full every Sunday morning.

Matt Glezos:
You can feel pretty good leaving and saying that, that felt good, felt like there is a good amount of people there. There's good conversations and you can walk away yourself as a pastor or maybe as a church congregation. Just feel like man this is going well, forgetting that that's not actually the win. The win is that new people are walking in the door, that the win is that new people are coming to Christ. People are growing in their faith. So I found, I guess, personally conviction just to, to continue living that and then looking for opportunities not just at the beginning, but then throughout, just reminding people. And the best way that happens is just by being in the word, unpacking the word. I find as people come, we, we the language that we use, which I guess I got from West Side, they probably got it from someone else. But is the gathering and then the scattering. So as we come in, we gather as a church to be reminded of who God is, to worship together, to have the joy. It's a great thing to be in the room together, which has been more difficult these days. But, but then to go out and recognize we are just as much the church. In fact, this is where the mission really happens. So, so reminding people of that, teaching it, equipping them, I think.

Rob Thiessen:
Yeah, you guys are both emphasize the, I so I hear you emphasizing the experience of Christ that, that, the that people have is genuine. I hear you both emphasizing the importance of teaching through scripture that the experience with Christ is grounded in the word of God and and the presence of the spirit in the person's life. I hear you both saying that the missional calling is something you have to hold in front of the community and model it. And it reminds me back like I was talking to I did a podcast with my parents about Willingdon and why what happened at Willingdon that caused the growth years ago, like when I was a kid. So and a lot of that was with Pastor Herb Neufeld when he came. And like my mom said in the podcast, one thing about Herb was every Sunday he told everyone, you are missionaries, you are on mission. It's the community that matters. Go and tell your friends, invite them, think about your neighbors. And that was a drumbeat that he brought. And when I think of Pastor Vern Heidebrecht when he was pastoring Northview, he was the epitome of a guy who always had a story about how he was sharing his faith with people. So that's how Vern catalyzed growth in Northview. It was infectious. He, he just it didn't matter a parking lot, whatever, Vern would talk to people everywhere all the time. So he, he exemplified what he was asking people to do. And it's catchy. But there also is like there are pastors who do both those things. They, they win people, they share their faith and they preach the word, but they still don't mobilize the church together. So talk to us a little bit about how then you lead people. So you're preaching, you're, you're active personally sharing how that it's the equipping of people. How do you just tell them what you should do this or do you? Is there some other leadership things that you've learned that God has impressed on you that would help pastors thinking about. Yeah, how do I mobilize my family in this?

Matt Glezos:
Yeah, do you go first Brett because then I'll just fill in the gaps after.

Brett Landry:
Ok, that sounds good. I mean, I don't think what we do now, this is, I don't think what we do is that complicated.

Brett Landry:
I think it's actually quite simple. I just don't think it's easy.

Brett Landry:
And that's, there's a real big difference there. I don't think it's that complicated, but I really do not think it's easy. The simplicity of the gospel is that you can have a conversation with a child and teach them and they comprehend it. And, and the depth of the gospel is that I will not ever fully comprehend the fullness of the love of God for me and Christ until I'm standing with him in glory and, if you have a consistent, Christ centered. you know, way of of preaching the word.

Brett Landry:
You know, we get people together on a weekly basis for worship, word and sacrament, like we just don't complicate it. We get people together in relationships, in smaller little groups. You call them whatever you want. Ours are called community groups through this season. We've called them house churches, which is has been a different journey through covid, where life on life discipleship happens. And if you teach people to love one another, you just have to recognize that the most infectious thing that the church has going for it is the way that we love one another. Jesus, said John, 13:35. They will know you're my disciples, by the way you love one another. And honestly, I know that that's going to you know, there's a bunch of pastors sitting out there going like, yeah, check. Got it. We've done that. And I suppose I would just say then keep being faithful. If you've done it, then keep being faithful. I don't you know what I read, you know, passages like, John, 15 or so. I don't see our fruitfulness being an equation where it's like I've done A and I've done plus B and I've done plus C, which equals the fruit that I want to have.

Brett Landry:
I don't see that. I think we're faithful. We abide in Christ and God prunes us to make us fruitful. So if we're faithful, you know, and we have an understanding of ministry that's faithful and all those things, we're preaching the word faithfully. I think we pray and ask God to make us fruitful and we see growth come from that. I know that that's overly simplified and I know there's lots of things that we do, but that's the heart of it.

Brett Landry:
That's the core.

Rob Thiessen:
I think I really love what you're saying, the simplicity and the loving one another.

Rob Thiessen:
So it I think that sometimes that is a piece that I'm missing and I'm thinking about a few pastors who I would say preach really well and told everyone what to do and maybe even shared some examples. But in their ministry, they I don't know whether they love the people and drew them together and showed them how to love one another, like by modeling it like the you were saying you've got to model sharing your faith, but you also have to model people.

Rob Thiessen:
This is what it looks like to have people into your home to walk with people to, to, to be a loving community.

Rob Thiessen:
And so I think that's really powerful.

Brett Landry:
Honestly, though, Rob, I think sometimes you can do all of those things and, and it's still you're just not in a season of fruitfulness. That's, you know, and I think there's there's a lot of virtue in being faithful where God has placed you and sticking with it and not trying to jazz it up. You know, I think, you know, bad leadership looks like changing the plan every six months because it's not working. Yeah. You know, it's just how if you take the core elements of our faith and, you know, you go first Corinthians 15 like this is, you know, the living crucified, resurrected Jesus, you know, and you continue to preach that what ends up happening. And I think here's maybe where there's a bit of a disconnect at times. Is the gospel compelling to you personally?

Brett Landry:
And then as you share that, is it compelling to the church, like if you have a bunch of people who have fallen radically in love with Jesus more and more and more over the period of like six months, 12 months, 18 months, 24 months? You know, for us, we've been now seven years. If you've got people who consistently hear the gospel preached and they have just come to a place of being more in love with Jesus than they ever have been in their entire life, it's infectious.

Brett Landry:
And then this is you've mentioned it a couple of times, you know, pastors who tell them what to do. I don't do a lot of that. I don't say like, OK, here's what we're going to do. We're all going to go out and we're all going to get one friend. We're all going to honestly, I'm helping people to fall in love with Jesus. And when they're in love with Jesus, it overflows out of their life. The fullness of their joy is their abiding relationship in Christ and how they are flourishing in him. And they can't help it come out. And the way that it comes out, it doesn't have to be with a Bible over the head in your workplace. The way that it comes out is the way that you handle that person who's really, really cranky. And you say you don't you don't come to them and say with a reprimand like, hey, stop being a jerk. You actually come alongside them in the workplace and go, like, are you OK? I just noticed that, you know, maybe like it seems like you may be having a bit of a bad day. And I just wanted you to know you don't have to unpack that with me. I just want you to know that I really care for you as a person and I love you and I'm going to pray for you. And if you ever want to talk, I'm here like that. That in and of itself is how people who come to faith at Christ City, that's how it's just the simplicity of loving people who maybe other people aren't would find unloving and those kind of things like and I also think this, too.

Brett Landry:
I am not a personal, I am not a great personal evangelist. You know, I work at it. My wife and I build relationships with intentionality with people who don't know Jesus, but I'm not like that person out there who is this glorious evangelist. And I'm always leading someone to Christ and I'm not. But I do know who I am. And I do know that I'm called to Ephesians 4, equip the Saints for work of ministry. I do know who I am. I do know how God has gifted me and how he's called me. And I want to be faithful to that. You know, I don't want to try and be the guy that I'm not. I want to be who God has made me to be. And what happens is when you settle into being the leader that God has called you to be and you have a confidence in the gospel, it is infectious and it's transmittable, you can pass that along. And I think there's a real sense that we have to read the latest book and go to the latest conference and figure out the latest strategy. And I'm just saying, I think you need to figure out who you are in Christ and lean into that for the rest of your life. And again, not complicated, but not simple is it's simple, but not easy.

Rob Thiessen:
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Good. Matt Yeah.

Matt Glezos:
I think the last part is what. So you think about what Brett shared about the guy in your workplace who needs needs just a word of encouragement, that is simple, but, but that is not easy for, for most of us. For many, many people. I mean, the thought of of going up to someone and having a conversation that isn't about sports or the weather or the movie they watched is, is incredibly it's difficult. And so I agree with Brett that it's, it's simple. And making it just sort of in the water of your culture is essential, but also setting expectations and perspective for you, for your church, for people reminding everyone of the expectation of suffering and that it is going to be difficult so that if they see in leadership the willingness to, to do what's right, but difficult to do what's going to potentially be most effective, to, to make decisions that are going to stretch people, being called. So when I'm sure with with Brett, when there's some growth and then making the decision, are we going to expand or we can do another gathering or are we going to put more of a burden on our people having the, the thing always in the forefront of, look, remember our goal or goals to reach as many people as we can to be as as welcoming and hospitable.

Matt Glezos:
So that's, that's our goal. So that means we're going to do this thing, which is going to take more time and energy, maybe money. But that's that's always going to be where we go. That's always we are going to follow. So in your own personal life, know it's going to be costly. What is it what is it going to cost for you to, to live in this way that sets the expectation for people to then not, not pull back, which I think is what we tend to do. We kind of have a sense of the spirit of God is leading us to, to reach out. We noticed that neighbor who could use a I mean, there's a neighbor on my block that I for four months just kept feeling this, the sense of of calling to go and and finally just stepped over the threshold. That was my own kind of reticence and maybe fear. I think it's good to share that with the community and just be like, look, this is hard for all of us. I mean, no matter, we know the gospel, but. But Brett's right. Who am I? What is, who is God placed in my life so that I might not walk in fear, but walk in confidence that there are people who need the gospel and that I know it, even though I might struggle with how I'm going to say it. But the love comes through. So being I guess equipping the Saints in that way is is helping them to see this is this is normal for us to feel uncomfortable and to feel ill equipped in a sense, and just to step into kind of a scary situation. But doing it because we really feel like it'll show love to the person across from us and that, that God might be at work here. So practically speaking, I think helping people to see, having those expectations, praying into those in the morning when you wake up or what do you, you got for me today, help me not to pass by that person?

Rob Thiessen:
Ok, so you guys have both got missional hearts. That's great. I'm going, this the last question. So in Covid. At like what what are the opportunities that are unique in this season that, that you see? I mean, I know there's lots of challenges and we have lots of calls and conversations about the challenges. But what is a unique thing, an opportunity? Do you see God at work opening doors for this time?

Matt Glezos:
Ok, I'll I'll jump in first this time, Brett.

Matt Glezos:
I think it's similar to the to the answer Brett just gave in the sense that there's a lot that has not changed. So it's still that the simple call of helping people to know Jesus, it's just that the methods that have had to change. So I kind of think of it like there are a lot of things that we would do as a church here in North America that if you were to drop us anywhere else in the world, we would we would feel totally shackled. We would be like, God, we can't we don't know how to do this because the culture is so very different. And that's why for missionaries, you, you don't just equip them in the gospel, you equip them in understanding the culture and then you go in. You're effective. I would say all of a sudden our culture has totally shifted. And so now the things that were normal and acceptable are now not. And so it's not that our message has changed, not that our goals have changed. We just have to find a way to do that in in a way that is now acceptable. And I guess you would say safe in our culture. So, so that means we're still trying to connect with people, but we're we're doing it in a way that's distanced physically or socially. We're still preaching the gospel. We're just doing it maybe online. But I do.

Rob Thiessen:
I guess my question is, do you see, do you see a greater openness in, in the culture, something unique about the questions and what people are wrestling with these days to have conversations that, you know, what are you sensing?

Brett Landry:
Yeah, I think, like probably as much as Covid has shaped us over the last six months in lots of ways. I think the cultural upheaval in being in Vancouver for sure, we're talking about racism. We're talking about cancel culture. We're talking about social injustice. We're talking about overdose deaths that have outpaced Covid deaths. Basically, the amount of Covid deaths over the last six months has been outpaced each month in British Columbia by overdose deaths. And so these are issues that, that end up being discussed within our community. You know, Matt and I lead two different churches in two very different neighborhoods, though we're only in I could get to his place in half an hour. It's very different culturally in lots of ways. And we've had to make adjustments with all of it. And so, I mean, in terms of our ability to navigate the Covid stuff immediately, what we started to do, we shifted, we shifted things to online and all that kind of stuff. You know, I think we were pretty well suited. We haven't talked much about, for us is we're actually, we're actually three churches in the city now. And so we three neighborhood churches, we call them. I lead one of them. And, and we have pastors who give leadership to the other two. And because we're smaller communities intentionally, we have a tighter knit community. And so we're able to do, the first thing we did was we reached out to every single person in our church, either via phone or zoom call, and had conversations with I mean, if we had your contact information, we called you.

Brett Landry:
And so we did that immediately. But because we're smaller intentionally, we were able to do that on a way where it wasn't just some random person calling you being like, I I'm from Christ City and you're like, I've never met you. It was, you know, we have a very tight knit incarnational model. And so we were able to do that right away. And then one of the things that we did was we said, how are you? Obviously, are you OK? Things are going well. But, but in addition to that, how can we help you serve your neighbors? And so one of the things that happened and we did, we never even asked. We just had we had about, I don't know, a little bit over thirty thousand dollars, just donated almost, you know, you would say if you didn't understand God's work, you would say randomly donated to benevolent needs. And so we started to give money away as fast as we could, any need that we found. And so what we did is we set up a system of nominations where somebody from the body of Christ City could nominate someone who they knew was in need. So somebody lost their job, if somebody had child care issues and now they're paying more to bring somebody else into care for their children or whatever the case may be, we were able to give away, and we found some agencies that were doing a great job.

Brett Landry:
So that was the first thing we did in terms of opportunities as we opened doors for people in the body of Christ City to share the gospel with their friends and family in immediate felt need kind of ways. So we basically, you know, you think about the Book of Acts when they were coming and laying the money at the apostles feet and then they were distributing it as any had need. We just had that happen for the first few months of Covid where we had a lot of money come in. And then we just distributed that as we had need. And we had a team of people who oversaw that effort. Second thing is we partnered with an agency on the Downtown Eastside that found their needs increasing and the inability to meet those needs because they used to cook a lot of meals and now they couldn't cook and distribute meals in the same way as they used to. So we started doing grocery drives for them. So we just hosted a food drive every week and resourced that ministry with all the food that they could ever use. And so we did that and built that relationship, which was already pre existing. But we, we increased our commitment to them. And, and then we continued to do, like Matt said, the effective work of of preaching the word.

Brett Landry:
And because we had people already organized into groups, our three churches handled it in three different ways in terms of how we facilitated that. And, you know, that's a worthy conversation, probably for a different topic. But that that's kind of how we started to reach out to the community around us right away. And what we realized was that there was an immediate felt need, not just financially, because a lot of people never had a financial need going through this. But all of a sudden when you're isolated and at home and all of a sudden your drinking problem takes a new shape. All of a sudden, your drug use problem takes a new shape. All of a sudden, your need for relationships that used to be met and you're going to work every day is now broken and you don't have that connection anymore. And now you realize you're just gripped with loneliness. And so we started to see a lot of engagement with people who were not followers of Jesus, who wanted to pay attention to what we were saying for the first time in their lives. But that wasn't coming. Just random out of the out of thin air because we put something on the Internet. It was coming through connections and relationships with people. So a lot of people sharing, sharing the good news as best they could.

Rob Thiessen:
Yeah. When you describe that, I just think of last week Dr. Bonnie Henry came on and they shut down. They're shutting the bars down at 10:00. You know, as pastors and churches. We should look at that and go, I wonder what that says about because people go to bars for community, right? They're going they want to find a place. Hey, Matt, you get the last word. You share with us a little bit about what you sense might be opportunities during this season.

Matt Glezos:
I think always when there's uncertainty, people are longing for, for certainty. And so I agree with Brett. We've seen an increase in just wanting to have conversations, opportunity. I think that's the beauty of the gospel. It speaks to people in those times where they are in their greatest need and communicates both the love of God and the presence of God. And, and I hope not just for the life to come, praise God that we have that in Christ, but also for right now. For right now. People can know that, though it seems uncertain. In fact, in Christ, there's, we're not shaken. And so I think as a church, we're uniquely positioned to help our communities through this. And, and hopefully we're like Brett saying, taking advantage of the of the practical ways to communicate that because the community doesn't, doesn't see the value of the gospel right away. But if they see us loving people well, putting our money where our mouth is, serving and then they find the root of that and hopefully have really great opportunities to share Jesus with them.

Matt Glezos:
So the good thing about this time,

Rob Thiessen:
Yeah, it was similar to what NT Write talks about in his book, God in the Pandemic. So he just talks about the New Testament church and saying, you know, basically when a crisis hit in the New Testament, there was a famine or whatever. They looked around and said, what are the needs and what do we have? Who are the people that we can deploy? And let's let's get after it. And by doing so, the reputation of the church just was transformed in the community. People are like all of a sudden noticing, oh, that group of people, they step up, who are they? And, you know, one of the things for a lot of our people probably would have not been to your church. Tri, Tri Cities. But Matt, your little building, originally a Baptist building sits, like kind of in a little low spot surrounded by by little hills. And it's like a little glass house of worship in the middle of a subdivision. And there's a unique sort of I think people are watching. It's a church that begs for people to watch what's happening. And so it's interesting to see, you know, the opportunities. And so for our listeners and our conversation, you know, we've ranged around church planting. Your situations are unique. So this is, this talk inspires us to think about the life cycle of our community where we're at and inspires our listeners, inspires me as a leader in the churches to say, you know, am I on mission? Am I thinking about the culture and what God has called me to and not just coasting, but thinking I this is not that complicated what you said, but it's simple, but it's not easy.

Rob Thiessen:
It requires energy. And may God give us as a BCMB community the energy and focus and grace to, to really pursue him and see what growth opportunities are at the Lord will give us during the season. So for all of our listeners, thanks for taking the time to be with us on another BCMB podcast. Thanks to you, Brett, and to you, Matt. I really appreciate. And we'll probably be hearing from you guys again as we we press in on this topic. Thanks for having us on. Thanks very much, Rob. OK, bye, everyone. See you on our next podcast. Bye bye.

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