Multi-Congregational Sponsors: New Churches Started Different Ways

by Manoj Ingle

Most sponsoring congregations in the Church of the Nazarene across the USA and Canada reflect the worship size of the Winnipeg Church of the Nazarene—averaging less than 130 each week. For these sponsoring leaders and churches, the issues for helping start new churches has less to do with how many are attending their church each week. The real concern has much more to do with how many living in their community who need to come to faith in Christ. Simply stated, it's about sharing the Good News with others who need to know.

And these new churches are unique expressions of God's life. Like children in the same family, they share a common name and DNA even though they are distinct and different. In this story by sponsoring pastor Manoj Ingle, two new multicongregational churches have been sponsored by the New Hope Community Church of the Nazarene in Winnipeg. Here's his story as told to GROW magazine.

Sharing Church Property

The month of August in Winnipeg is marked by a festival called Folkarama. The main part of this festival is to display the cultural food from all parts of the world. One of the popular foods during this festival is East Indian food. Many people look forward to getting a taste of East Indian cuisine, an indication that many East Indians live in Winnipeg along with people from other nationalities.

A group from New Hope church pr imar i ly whi t e Canadians decided to taste East Indian food at our place instead of Folkarama one year. We started our private food festival by visiting the Indian grocery store. At the grocery store, the idea of an East Indian satellite church first began to develop. The owner of the store gave me contact information of a young Christian East Indian couple Rajiv and Sahkshi Massey who had just moved from Toronto, and did not know many people in the city. We contacted them and they soon started attending New Hope Community Church.

Rajiv and Sahkshi had a growing burden to bring together to worship God people from India who live in Winnipeg. They shared their burden with me as their pastor, and we started making plans to start an East Indian satellite church. They started making contacts with people who were talking about a dream of coming together to worship God. They met people in malls, while riding in cabs, at bus stops, at the day care, and in many different places. As they spoke about their dream of an East Indian Church, people were excited about it.

But, there was one problem. Everyone kept asking the same question: "How are you going to build the church building to worship?" It was a big problem in the minds of the people, but the solution was simple. New Hope Community Church of the Nazarene became the parent church and offered to share their building for a different worship service.

It is very important for people from India to go to church on Christmas Day, December 25. A Christmas celebration is never complete if an East Indian family doesn't spend time in church on Christmas Day. So we put a plan in place to offer a service on Christmas day for them. The Christmas service was advertised in the local newspaper, Rajiv and Saskhi invited their new friends as they had shared their dream of the new church. On December 25, 2006 we waited at the church looking for people to arrive. We were not sure if anyone will show up. As the clock started approaching 10:00 AM people started coming. For the first service there were 45 people who came together that Christmas day and worshipped God. A satellite church of New Hope Community Church is now born called "Masih Aradanab" which means "worshipping God."

Friendships are now becoming stronger. Children are becoming friends, families are coming together. There is a support system for new families. This summer this new church spent t ime together camping and praying and got to know one another better. Second generation children are growing up as every other Canadian child grows up. They go to the same schools and learn the same things. For them church should not be different. Now children of this new satellite church have become part of the children's ministry at New Hope Community Church, where they also learn about God in English. They are growing closer to God and learning about God in a more understandable way.

As far as the annual holiday is concerned, it is a spiritual Foklarama at Mashi Aradana fellowship each time we meet and after every service, good East Indian food is always shared by families. It is a joy to know that lay people like Rajiv and Shakshi Massey lived out their dream of starting a church that is now a reality.

The Riverton Satellite Church

In Manitoba when people start experiencing warm weather they want to spend time outdoors. Manitobans want to maximize the summer experience to it's fullest, because winters are long and cold. So people go to lakes, campgrounds and their cottages and spend most of the time away from the city. Regular church attendees are no exception to this life style. One such destination is Hecla Island. A lay couple from New Hope Community Church saw the need to start a satellite church during the busy tourist summer months at Hecla. Every summer people are touched and lives are transformed on this island, because God's word is preached. A few years ago we reported this unique satellite ministry led by our lay couple John and Maxine Ingalls. Now the story continues.

It is not only people from the city of Winnipeg come to attend this church on Hecla Island, but people from the surrounding villages started coming to the church. One couple that was attending the new Hecla Church were Menno and Barbra Friesen, who came to the church from a town called Riverton, Manitoba. They became good friends with John and Maxine. Menno is a farmer by profession and does farming in the area. But, for many years he has been actively involved in witnessing to people and leading them to Christ. His passion is to put the word of God in people's hands so that they will know Christ. Menno and Barb have also been involved in leading many Bible studies.

As Menno and Barb were doing ministry God was speaking to them to start a church in their hometown, River ton. They have a deep passion to evangelize by starting a new church. One day as they shared their burden with John and Maxine, they learned about a day long training which was going to be held at New Hope Community Church about starting new churches. They did not know much about the Church of the Nazarene, but they decided to come for the training out of curiosity. They went through the step by step training, and realized that they have been thinking on the same lines, and were very encouraged that there is a church ready to support the call on their life to reach people for Christ by starting a New Church in Riverton.

The Friesen's learned more about the Church of the Nazarene and were invited to attend a District As sembly which was a positive experience in their journey. Since then I, with our lay pastors at Hecla Island Church, John and Maxine, and D.S. Dr. Larry Dhal met with them worked on the plans and decided to start a year round satellite church at Riverton, Manitoba. Time to time members of New Hope Church go to Riverton to help with the services. This is a positive and a new experience.

When I visited at Riverton, Menno and Barb had organized an excellent service. As time came closer, the parking lot started filling up. People started coming from all directions. Just before going into the building I looked back and the parking lot was full. That evening Menno preached the word of God with passion, and presented Christ to people. It was a new beginning with a new experience; God was present and it was a celebration.

Imagine a few years ago, if New Hope Church would have not released John and Maxine to start the summer satellite church. We would have probably never seen the satellite ministry at Riverton, Manitoba. People would still be hungry spiritually, and many would have not considered Jesus Christ in their life. At New Hope Community Church, we celebrate this new satellite at Riverton, cover Menno and Barbra Friesen with our prayers, and continue to provide them with the ministry support they need.