Calgary. When most people think of the Albertan city, they naturally prepare themselves for the stampede. For over a century, “the greatest outdoor show on earth” has been drawing interest from people across the globe. Of course, Calgary also serves as an oil industry hub of the West; and as such, it attracts workers from many different nations. In many ways, the once conservative, frontier town has become an eclectic mixture of cultures and backgrounds. And the beauty of the actual city itself? Well, I think Calgary is awesome. Nestled by the Bow River, the city offers scenic views and escapes. And what’s more, you can drive just northwest of town, and you will find some of the most stunning landscape in the world—the Canadian Rockies.
Sounds like a perfect vacation spot, doesn’t it? Activities, beauty, culture. It offers so much for the tourist. But let me turn your attention for a moment to another side of Calgary . . . one that moves us beyond tourism to mission. Unfortunately, spiritual darkness prevails over the city in an overwhelming way. According to our North American Mission Board, only 5.2% of Calgary’s 1.4 million inhabitants claim to believe in Jesus Christ. That is a staggering number! So many people unreached! Now, I know that we could talk about numerous cities and countries that face the same reality. In some way, the task of taking the Gospel to the world seems overwhelming . . . trust me, I feel the weight of the task. Yet, we have to begin somewhere as a people. Through our monthly support for the Cooperative Program and through our special mission offerings, we undergird the work of missionaries all around the world. To this effort, we have added other strategic partnerships in areas like Nicaragua, South Asia, Chicago, Los Angeles, Baton Rouge, and beyond.
In the last couple of years, we have sensed a leading to engage prayerfully and to participate personally in the work of Christ in Calgary. Already, we have prayed, provided financial support, and sent short-term teams to assist church planters in continuing existing works and in beginning new works. And I am beyond excited to let you know that our partnership is seeing results! This coming Sunday, a new church, Multiply Church, will launch its first official service. Many of your Temple brothers and sisters helped “prime the pump” for this moment by helping Multiply Church introduce itself to the community through soccer camps, block parties, canvassing areas, etc. Our fingerprints are all over this effort. Now, please know that I tell you this not to brag on us; but rather, I share it to let you know that you are making a difference. You are making it “Count for Christ” when you help us push the darkness back!
This weekend, we are sending three couples to join Multiply Church in their launch service. Pray for the Jernigans, the Wallers, and the Woodards as they travel and as they celebrate this new beginning. Pray for Multiply Church’s pastor, Chris Flora, his wife, Mindy, and for his family. They have been there for over a year, waiting for this moment! Pray for the leadership team members as they make final preparations and as they follow up with prospects. Just pray!
To me, the great beauty of Calgary and the Canadian Rockies shouts forth the glory of our God. Let’s do what we can so that the people of the Calgary area will join that chorus of nature by exalting Jesus Christ as Lord! See you Sunday!