Do you remember that classic children’s book, called The Little Train that Could, about the little train that was determined to make it over a daunting hill? It kept saying “I think I can, I think I can,” as it chugged slowly but surely upward. For me, that is the perfect image for the Christian Reformed Church’s most recent Alberta church plant, called “Avenue Church,” located on 118th Ave, here in Edmonton. Let me tell you about this “little church that could,” and why it is important for you and me as members of Bethel Church.
“The Avenue,” as 118 Ave is affectionately called by those who live on it, was not always what you would call prime real estate. Once the home of pimps, prostitutes, drug dealers, and bars of low reputation, The Avenue was transformed through the efforts of many devoted citizens into a place better known today for its festivals and arts culture. One of the forces contributing to the ongoing renewal of the neighborhood is Avenue Church. It is led by Aaron Au, a bi-vocational pastor who also plays in the Edmonton symphony, along with the dedicated support of his wife April.
Why is Avenue Church important to us at Bethel? It is important because it is our dream to plant a church one day, and Avenue Church is a living picture of our future. It is also important because, in God’s providence, Aaron asked me to be his ministry-mentor, and this has led to a growing partnership between Avenue Church and Bethel Church.
Aaron and his wife April, along with another Avenue Church member, recently came to one of our Wednesday morning prayer meetings, where we prayed for every facet of their church’s ministry as well as for their personal wellbeing. We have made further plans to pray on location for their ministry at some time in the future, perhaps walking the streets as we do so.
In the year ahead we hope to nurture this growing partnership with Avenue Church and expand it to include mosaicHouse Church, another “little church that could”—the one that gave birth to Avenue Church. The aim is to bless these churches with our encouragement and prayers, while receiving from them the realistic perspective that comes from life in the church-planting trenches.
Expect to see Pastor Aaron, and Pastor Ko of mosaicHouse, preaching at Bethel in the year ahead. (I will be going to their churches to preach, in return.) Pray that these churches will shine a bright light in Edmonton, and that God will direct us as we consider establishing yet another shining light in Edmonton in years to come
— Pastor Tom
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