Photo: Eugene Chan leads The Living Room community in worship in Reggie’s Bar, the place where the church meets. (Photo by Michael Touchton)
Michael Jones was living in Nashville working as a professional drummer when he heard God calling him to Montreal. Now, a decade later, he’s the pastor of a church that meets in the Concordia University campus bar — despite the fact that he and wife Michele “honestly did not move to plant a church.”
For Jones, The Living Room is the result of numerous little miracles. From being given ‘club’ status at a university with no other Christian student groups, to being allowed to gather in Reggie’s Bar every Sunday evening, The Living Room has been blessed since the beginning.
The community began in January 2007 as a house church in the Jones’ living room, transitioning to the bar within the first few months:
“I asked the bar manager if we could do our Easter service there in 2007 and he didn’t understand, he thought I was crazy,” says Jones, “but he said ‘okay, as long as you clean it.’ So we got in at noon on that Easter Sunday and cleaned it like it had never been cleaned. The bar manager walked in about an hour before we were starting and he freaked out. Basically after that he said we could use it whenever we wanted as long as we cleaned it.”
Since that day, The Living Room has spent most Sunday afternoons scrubbing down counters and bar stools. Currently, church members are expected to help out with the Windex. “We say this tongue and cheek because we’re growing now, it used to be very serious but our only membership requirement is that you clean on a Sunday,” says Jones.
The Living Room is an English church despite a surrounding community that is 70 percent francophone. Moving forward, The Living Room is anticipating the beginning of fully bilingual services. “I think God is really calling us to be a community of healing and using language as the vehicle for unity and healing rather than the primary issue of division,” says Jones.
He requests prayer for the current housing situation of his family. After having been turned out of four places because of their open door ministry policy, the Jones family has been given the opportunity to rent and possibly buy a detached home in the Notre-Dame-de-Grace district. Jones and his wife feel called to own land within the community, but lack the financial resources to muster the required down payment on the property. “It’s our greatest need as a community and personally,” says Jones.
View a video that the Jones family put together to raise money for a down payment on their house. http://vimeo.com/68271610
Visit The Living Room online at: http://www.thelivingroommontreal.org/
Paul Esau is a communications intern with CCMBC and the MB Herald.