What kind of church in their right mind would give away troughs of candy on Halloween, throw an outdoor winter party in -20, spend 40k on air toys, spend millions relocating to the centre of town (instead of following the suburb-trend), pull allnighters at Gradfest, have volunteers at almost every city festival, and give out bottled water at the city’s first Pride-walk?!
Glad you asked because all of the above have happened here and some may wonder, “Has Evangel lost its marbles?!” Why do we do almost anything - short of sin - to engage the lives of people who don’t know Jesus and to be present in our city. Here’s three simple reasons:
First, we believe that Jesus is often misrepresented by stupid Christians who act like prudes. Of course, He never sinned. Never compromised. But He was the life of the party and culturally liberal as he engaged people with the life-changing message of the Gospel. He’d be at parties, sipping wine, and chatting it up with new friends. He’d walk through the darkest place of town, standing up for prostitutes, deflecting religious darts. Jesus was a hit wherever he went because He was anything BUT the unapproachable, lofty, detached stained-glass images of religiosity. We want to represent him better.
Secondly, at our core, we believe Evangel’s mandate is to be primarily about others. The church is the only organization in the world that should exist primarily for the benefit of non-members. Go into all the world and preach the Gospel? That’s our mandate, to be taking this message out there. What’s the message? God, through Christ, loves us deeply and has freely given Himself to us. And as we have freely received from Jesus, so we freely give (that’s why we seldom charge ;).
Thirdly, nothing is more fun than serving a very happy God with people you love and having a blast while you’re at it. We really do love giving away shovelfuls of candy to kids on Halloween, outdoing everyone else in generosity - it’s a picture of how extravagantly God loves us. We love dancing the night away and providing a safe environment for others to do the same - it’s a picture of the joy of being in relationship with Jesus. We love bringing our toys out to play at city events - it’s a picture of Jesus’ mission to serve, not be served. We love going further and farther then ever in our love of the city, whether moving downtown or serving a feast outside in -20 - it’s a picture of how far God goes to love each of us.