Recently I had the privilege to go to Empress, Alberta, which is situated on the border of Saskatchewan and Alberta. The reason for the visit was to meet with a church plant core team in Empress to see how we might be able to encourage and serve them as they seek to reach the community.
Here are a few things I learned from my time there:
- There is a passion among the church in Empress to reach those far from Jesus and that passion was contagious! The people I met were broken for their community and have a heartfelt desire to see Jesus glorified there.
- The power of the Gospel is not limited to size. Empress is around 120 people, it’s a small and beautiful community, and the power of the Gospel is at work transforming lives and bringing the spiritually dead to life (John 3).
- God uses the least likely to His glory. Often in our cultural climate, seasoned (this is a nice way of saying “older/seniors”) people are often written off as being old-fashioned and out of touch with the world. In Empress, I witnessed the tears of seasoned Christians willing to put it all on the line for the sake of Jesus. This made my heart swell with joy!
- I learned that “vision” has no barriers. I toured through an old school that had been shut down for 20 years and heard the vision and saw the work of transforming that school into a hub for the community to make much of Jesus. I saw a vision for new opportunities to bring people into that community to be part of what Jesus is doing there.
- I was reminded that our “Rural” communities really matter! When you live in the city it becomes easy to think of the rural communities as “out of sight, out of mind.” The truth is our rural communities matter! I witnessed a love for the community of Empress from those who live there that I have rarely seen in people who live in the larger cities. Those people love Empress and they genuinely are seeking to be a “city within a city” to that community, bringing new city — the Kingdom of God to bear on that Community.
My heart was blessed by the church in Empress. Continue to pray for our rural communities that many will come to Jesus through the faithfulness of the faithful in the many small communities across our province.