Church Growing on the Streets
By John Syratt
A short time ago a handful of Christians left the comfort of their couches and hit the streets in Calgary determined to share their faith. Today, they’re making a difference in the lives of the city’s street people.
"We started with just a few of us going out on Monday nights in different locations around Calgary, to hand out tracts and share our testimonies one-on-one," reported Art Pawlowski, one of the street evangelists.
"We noticed the fruit was limited," he said, "We felt God calling us not to whisper about Jesus anymore, but to take the step of faith and start shouting about the freedom He brings and the abundant life He gives. We prayed for fire of the Holy Spirit, so that we could proclaim the Gospel with power, boldness and signs."
The group, along with a truck and PA system turned to ‘loud’, set up shop in Calgary’s downtown and spoke openly about Christ.
"People every week started to respond to the knock in their hearts," Pawlowski beamed. "One by one they came forward. Some kneeling. Some crying. But all came as they were, as we all are, filthy, dirty in their own righteousness, to receive Jesus Christ."
The street ministers began to gain success in the lives of their listeners. "Week after week we are amazed by what God is doing on the streets of our city," he noted. "Since we obeyed God’s leading and opened our mouths, we have seen thousands of people hear the Gospel every month and hundreds have received Christ; with many being baptized immediately in the Bow River."
A growing concern facing the fledgling ministry was how to handle the growth. New converts voiced their concerns, "you preach to us Mondays and leave us for the rest of the week in this hell." The group decided to give their gritty urban outreach a name and Street Church was born.
Presently the church is meeting on Sunday afternoons at 2pm in the middle of the park across from the Drop-In Centre and beside the Bow River.
This ‘church under the sky’ has never experienced Sunday without a decision for Christ and a water baptism. They are also meeting on Mondays at 7pm in the cafeteria of the Salvation Army Centre of Hope at 420-9th Ave SE.
"We have to fully rely on God to orchestrate His service and we have been blown away by what He is doing," Pawlowski added, "so we come with great expectations every Sunday." For more information about Street Church call (403) 618-7309.
City Light News