Class of 2014
The Western church is haunted today by statistics showing a mass exodus of young adults out of our congregations. Once influencers, churches are now playing more of a reactionary role to changes we are experiencing in culture. Collectively, the church is being forced to ask questions of what it looks like to exist in a ‘post’ Christian society.
Over the last year and a half, I have had the chance to jump into this dilemma head on by pastoring a church called The Embassy in the heart of Waterloo, Ontario with my wife Emma.
Waterloo is an exciting city being built around two thriving universities and a booming tech industry. These areas of influence are causing the demographics in Waterloo to only grow younger, placing leverage and prominence into the hands of the next generation. Our city is poised to almost double in size in the next 20 years, most of these being young working individuals in the tech and startup industry.
We stepped out with a simple message: the gospel is still good news to bad people. We wanted to challenge the statistics of young adults leaving the church and we wanted to ask what it would look like to see our city not as ‘post’ Christian but ‘pre’ Christian. Rather than influencing this wonderful city as an organization we wanted to see what it would be like to influence the influencers in this city, who are already established.
In the past year and a half, we have experienced twenty-fold growth in The Embassy’s size. This has brought on many challenges. Without our education at Redeemer University, I do not believe we would be where we find ourselves today. When you are in the midst of influencing influencers, you are presented with questions that are not always addressed in theology textbooks and to deal with those, I thank Redeemer’s liberal arts program that it prepared us for a variety of challenges that cross fields of study. In a diverse city, you are also presented spiritual questions that are outside the realm of Christianity specifically and so I am also thankful for a comprehensive Religion and Theology program that prepared us in a way that would help us answer a multitude of questions existing in the realm of ‘world religions’.
Most of all, it was the hands-on experience and face to face interaction with professors that gave Emma and I the confidence and encouragement to step out of the boat and into the unknown into what we currently find ourselves doing. We really wouldn’t be where we are today without first being influenced by the community of staff, faculty, and students at Redeemer.