Photo: Pastor Don Froese baptizes an attendee at The Gathering. (Photo by Dale Dirksen)
When Forest Grove Community chose an area for the church’s second ministry site, they didn’t shy away from a challenge. They decided to locate the new plant in Broadway, an artsy, secular, urban neighborhood, near the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.
Choosing this area grew out of a desire to “be a credible witness of Christ,” says pastor Don Froese, “and living it out in a community that’s extremely cynical and extremely anti-church and anti-Christianity.”
The Gathering pursues an organic, almost house church approach to ministry. Worship lyrics are passed out on printed sheets rather than projected onto a screen and ‘the band’ is usually extremely simple: a guitar, perhaps a hand drum, and a vocalist or two.
So far, the two-and-a-half year history of the church plant has surprised and encouraged Froese. “Our original vision really was to reach out to the unchurched as much as we [could],” he says, “but we’ve ended up in our initial phase attracting a lot of dechurched people [who left the church earlier in life].” The Gathering offers a new beginning for many who have been hurt or become cynical following earlier experiences with Christianity.
These new beginnings are evident through the number of people Froese baptizes following a recommitment to Christ. The Gathering has already held five baptism Sundays, including a summer baptism at the South Saskatchewan River in which more than 10 people shared their testimony and were baptized.
Groups from The Gathering are also involved in inner-city ministry, community gardening, and small group ministries.
The Gathering on Broadway and Pastor Froese request prayer for:
- The planning and process of starting a second community to meet on Sunday nights. The Gathering is nearing 200 in attendance, which is becoming too big, as Don says, for “church the way we do it.”
- Further connections with the high school where The Gathering meets. Oskayak High School resources primarily First Nations and its student population represents 51 different aboriginal groups.
Visit The Gathering online at: www.forestgrovecc.com.
Paul Esau is a communications intern with CCMBC and the MB Herald.