Verdun is an older section of the greater Montreal Metropolitan area in Québec.
There are very few evangelical believers in this highly secular community of 22,400 homes. The population numbers about 66,000 people.
On hearing the possibility of a Finding the Hope/Trouver l’espoir outreach, Pastor Claude Laverdière became very enthused. His small congregation of 50 people, located in an old neighbourhood, had wanted to reach their community for a long time. But they didn’t have the resources for anything extravagant. In fact, the rising costs of month-to-month expenses and the lack of growth in their congregation kept them under the real possibility of having to close their church. On the surface, things didn’t look hopeful.
Hope Rises Quickly
We met with the pastor and began to look at possibilities. Very quickly, the vision to reach every home with a gospel message came alive. Hope and anticipation began to rise in the pastor’s heart and in the congregation as they got hold of the vision.
Prayer began to rise with fervour and hope. From Sunday to Sunday, the congregation members began to cover their neighbourhoods in prayer and lift the outreach to God faithfully. And as usually happens, with greater prayer comes greater hope, then greater expectations and then more prayer.
The strategy came together. Every home would receive an evangelistic packet containing a gospel booklet, a friendly note, a response coupon with a reply envelope and an invitation to two special events leading up to Christmas.
Church members were trained in personal evangelism and received a beautifully designed invitation to the special Christmas events to give to individuals at major city transit stations.
Visitors showed up at the events from a variety of backgrounds. Some who lived in the area commented that they were not aware of the church even though it is a visible and accessible building on a busy street and has been for many years. But now, through this outreach, their attention was drawn to it and they were invited to visit!
Pastor Claude Laverdière sent us this report.
“I want to thank you for your prayers and for your encouragement in this mission to reach all Verdun with the message of the Gospel. Last Saturday, we had a taste of heaven on earth at the church where a publically acclaimed musical artist shared his testimony of conversion. There have been decisions to follow Christ and new people are attending Sunday services. People were very happy and excited at the Christmas meal event. Visitors responded and left their contact information. Our people were eager to pass along the Finding the Hope Christmas card and evangelistic booklet. Several hundreds were distributed to friends and relatives over the season. We are looking forward to another evangelistic follow-through with a drama event on Good Friday.”
It is clear that this small struggling church has been revitalized and mobilized through this Finding the Hope outreach. It is now in motion to continue trusting in and working with God for an increasing breakthrough. Another outreach is now being planned for the Easter weekend and every home saturation will continue.
All six key points of how the Finding the Hope/Trouver l’espoir vision can help a local church have been visibly realized with this outreach.
Now, there is the very real sense of a new day for this small congregation!
EHC helps churches in various ways that are vital to reaching their communities with the Gospel. We help them:
1. present a message of the Gospel to every home in a community and also provide multi-faceted follow-up to people who respond to the message
2. raise awareness of the church’s presence and ministry in a community, with a special emphasis on its unique message of hope and salvation in Christ
3. resource church members so that they be equipped to share Christ one on one
4. connect with non-churched people in a variety of ways
5. nurture a vision that sparks an on-going process to sow gospel seeds, cultivate prospects and relationships, assist discipleship and church multiplication
6. mobilize prayer both for the labourers and for the lost in their communities.