When we first arrived in Montreal we only knew one guy that we had met in our only visit here 6 months previously. We also knew by email, our immigration lawyer. That was it. Slowly we began to make neighbourhood friends, school mum friends (and i love that they are still my friends two years on), and cafe barista friends (they would write on Andrew’s Starbucks order “preacher man” as they discovered what we were in the city to do). We had a team of 11 other Aussies here with us, but quite literally did not know another Christian in the city.
It took my Buddhist friend who i met at school, inviting me over to a lunch, where she had also invited another pastor in the city, thinking it would be a great way for me to meet another Christian, that there on that Sunday afternoon i met Yanci, who is now my closest friend here in Montreal. They pastor another church plant in the city and I am so glad i went that day to my friend’s home.
Our circle was very small! But then it started to grow. We had people begin to hear of our arrival through social media (boosted FB posts), welcome from a few kind pastors in the city, offers to help in certain ways … and then we began gathering in our small apartment with team and new people we were meeting along the way. If you breathed, we invited you to come serve! Ha!
The initial team, some of whom are still with us today, were used to near daily access to our life, family and world. Our small apartment was home base. Everything was done from there. There was a connection with the intenseness of launch that has bonded us for life. We crammed 40 plus people into our home for regular gatherings until one day we just could not fit anymore. So we hired a small training room where we immediately doubled who was coming. Then we moved to the foyer of the theatre that would become our launch space and we doubled again.
The original hands on team though continued to work tirelessly for the launch and the bond was stunning. This time around though it feels different. We are already an established church, with over 130 on team, 20 interns and a strong volunteer Lead Team. This time around we have to intentionally open the circles of our life if we want to enlarge and expand the work we feel called to do. It is not small and intimate. It needs to feel large, open, genuine, but not SMALL!
If we want to keep the smallness and intimacy of the core team, then we will all burnout trying not to double all our reach. Every circle our team is in needs to double. We want others to feel what we have all experienced. The joy and connectedness of being ‘key team’. Of being ‘all in’. Of carrying at a whole new level and seeing the gold pulled out of you. That is what bonds you. So we open wide our social circles, our relational circles and we Do It Again, we go bigger to then go smaller, to go bigger again.
Friendships will shift in this time. It is not a bad thing. Bonds will stay, but more open circles will not feel as intimate for a while. That is ok too. It is launch season. It is all about who is yet to come. Our lives will be enriched by those who come into our open circles. So team, open up your lives, lives open and expansively!