Sixteen years ago Ellen and I were still two and half days away from Vancouver. We were driving across the continent to plant our lives here because of a vision of people transformed by Jesus Christ loving this city and the world. We were excited, hopeful, and probably a bit proud–even over confident. But, we were warmly welcomed by our new friends in the core of Gladstone, which became Cityview Baptist Church. Over the years I have looked back often at the picture I have of one of our first Sundays together and I have treasured the faith we all had that God was going to do something! I am astonished with the trust they give us as young 25 year old hopefuls!
And God has done something. I rejoice now in the hundreds of people we have been able to share the Gospel and life with in this City. I have been blessed with neighbours and friends who have immensely enriched my life. One of the things that has remained true of Cityview is that we are a people willing to risk and try new things. Confidence is helpful. Trust is essential. And listening to Jesus and discerning His direction is the way. I have always sought for us to individually and corporately wrestle with discerning Jesus’ voice. He is Lord…not me!
This year the Strategic Leadership Team at Cityview has taken another big step in our vision of creating communities of devoted followers in Vancouver and around the world. They have given me time to invest in people in the UBC Campus Community. We are convinced that God loves the students and people who live, work, and play there. And we have heard God’s call to join with other faithful people like Rich Carruthers, Suzanne Perry, and the students in Born for More to plant the Gospel in the diverse communities that together form UBC.
Our vision is to see a network of house churches or simple churches meeting in homes, coffee shops, and community gathering places because of the transforming work of Jesus and His Gospel of grace in our lives. Currently I am spending two and half days a week in the UBC Campus Community getting to know people, their patterns of life, their hopes and dreams, and their spiritual journey stories. As well, I am sharing the Gospel and including people in our community of faith.
This week I was so encouraged by a text from a friend. “Hey Craig…you still making trips out to UBC? I want to encourage you – I think that’s the coolest thing! Reminds me of soldiers that go into foreign area to do recon…” So my response was thanks…and you should come out with me! Now I know that you all can’t come out with me, but do pray for us. Pray the Luke 10:2b prayer…that the Lord of the Harvest will raise up workers for the Harvest. We have seen the Lord answer this and we are looking for new disciples of Jesus who will grow in faith and become part of the team.
After 16 years I have had to ask myself, why do I have to keep complicating my life? I have often done “two things” the whole time we have been here. It’s just the way the Lord has wired me and my family up and the way Jesus has invited me to be a part of what He is doing. I have said all along that our call to Vancouver has really been a call to follow Jesus. I wish that kind of life for every one of you.
“I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” Acts 20:24