"This is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you." John 15:12
In the fifteenth chapter of John we have the record of how wonderfully our Lord prepared his inadequate disciples for the tremendous task of spreading the message that would impact the world! He knew they needed to learn how to centre their lives in him. Only as they did so would they be able joyfully to share his love with others. Abiding in him and feasting on his words they would learn to pray within his will and experience the blessing of answered prayer. In an amazing way they were to learn the wonder of a Triune God — a Father who loved them, a Saviour who laid down his life for them, and the Holy Spirit who would be their Counsellor.
What a joy it is to see the fifteenth chapter of John being lived out in our church — Coquitlam Presbyterian- under the guidance of Dr. Terry Hibbert who has been with us for twenty-four years! Our wise Heavenly Father has led many of the church members to be involved in developing avenues of service that lead to closer walks with the Lord and the utilization of the wide variety of his spiritual gifts. A few ways of serving him are listed to provide inspiration for other churches:
1. A growing emphasis on prayer with many prayer partnerships, a pastor's prayer team, groups meeting in the church at particular times, prayer while the Sunday services are taking place, and as an essential part of the Bible study groups. An effective prayer chain deals with immediate and ongoing requests. A prayer box is placed at the Welcome Centre for prayer requests. The box is opened and utilized by the Tuesday morning prayer group. People with problems are invited to stay after church and to pray with elders or helpers at the front.
2. Some fourteen Bible Study groups meet in homes or at the church. Each group chooses an area of Bible study pertinent to the members. New members are welcomed through the year. Alpha programs have been enthusiastically attended and new Christians from the Alpha are encouraged to join Bible Study groups.
3. Men's Saturday breakfasts are held approximately every second month. Focus is on friendship, an inspiring message and prayer. The breakfast provides an opportunity for outreach, as well as spiritual growth for church members.
4. Women's Wellspring Ministry started a few years ago provides simple breakfasts for forty to eighty ladies. Emphasis is on encouraging prayer partners and providing an inspirational speaker. A new venture this year was a Retreat Day with the theme "Growing in the Knowledge of Christ."
5. Outreach to Children, Youth, and Young Adults with guidance from our Youth Pastor, Worship Director, and volunteers. Children and youth are involved in Sunday School, age-appropriate Bible Studies, Sunday Praise Teams, Children's and Adult Choirs, and a very effective Pioneer program. A Christmas Musical directed by our skilled and enthusiastic Worship Director draws community interest for several nights in December.
6. Great emphasis is placed on reaching out with love to newcomers and to faithful church-goers. Practical outreach includes utilizing smiling "greeters" at the door, after-services friendly coffee times (organized by the Bible Study groups), Sunday lunches in homes or cafés, a Welcome Centre in a prominent place in the church vestibule, and most of all a real spirit of caring and a sensitivity to others that results from a close walk with the Lord. For people on the sick list the Caring Group organizes practical help and continues to delight shut-ins with surprise packages containing different little gifts (with Bible verses attached) for each day of the week!
7. A Craft Group for women with special interest in this area providing opportunity for fellowship and love and utilization of special gifts. Beautiful banners have been crafted for the church.
8. A close link with the Renewal Fellowship by having a contact person phone to remind people about the monthly prayer meetings. Well-attended Renewal Conferences have been held at our church. The last two conferences have emphasized a healing ministry which has led to a growing interest in the church as a centre of healing — physical, emotional and spiritual. One possibility being considered is having a parish nurse — starting in a small way and then gradually extending the program.
9. Spirit-led Sermons which are always true to the word of God and which emphasize knowing Jesus Christ as a personal Saviour and Lord of our lives. We deeply appreciate our minister's faithfulness and dedication in words and action.
10. More and more our vision as a church has become making Jesus Christ the centre of all we do. A Vision Team has been of assistance to our minister in forward planning. We have experienced growth in numbers from a small group meeting in the Community Health Centre to over three hundred people attending two services on Sunday morning in our own present building. God has honoured our desire for future outreach by amazingly opening the way for us to purchase by faith two adjoining properties which came up for sale within a few days of each other! We praise God for all he is and all he does. "Great is thy Faithfulness."