Church is Family
Church planting in France amongst the local surf community is a wonderful challenge for our family. We left England just over 2 years ago with dreams of surfers being reached with the Gospel. We quickly discovered that there is no real Christian community here. It was wonderful to discover because we know our church can only grow as people discover faith and join our family. This is the heart of what we wanted to do here - be a family who loves Jesus openly, in a community that have never met or heard about Him.
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We wanted the starting place of mission to be our family home, wherever it happens to be. Building relationships with local people takes time and thus, after many dinner parties and BBQ’s, we can say that God is establishing a church here. It has taken much prayer, faith and work, and we have found that running an open house brings its challenges. It requires sacrifices in time, space and money. However, as we follow His lead we can see the hand of God upon our children, upon our close friends and upon our lives too.
Church planting and mission flows within the normality of our lives. What is more normal than a family sitting around a table eating and talking together? So we just invite our friends and neighbours to join us. Sometimes the conversation is about rugby sometimes about surfing and sometimes about faith, but we can really see that people are on a journey of faith here. People need to feel valued and accepted; that is what a real family does.
Our church is not growing through some great project we have found on the internet or some wonderful programme we saw in another church. It is simply growing as we develop family here in Hossegor. We are not so interested in how may come to our church service, rather about how many go in faith to the lost. We don’t focus on how good the worship is or how funny and profound the sermon was on the contrary, we look at demonstrating His love in words and actions in the local community throughout the week. Our church philosophy is simple. It’s about meeting with our creator, meeting with each other and sharing His love with someone else. Believe, follow, surf and smile.
Our church services are not that fancy. They’re often not that slick and our meeting will never compare to a gathering of thousands with wonderful buildings, music and preaching. But it’s real, it’s authentic, and it’s about local people and their journey. It would seem that family is what it’s about. Love one another, place others ahead of yourself, sacrifice for each other, share what you have, give away to those who have less, welcome everyone, forgive everyone, love the unlovable. That is church.
In trying to be church, we are hopefully doing something that will touch people’s lives here in France. Usually when we invest, we count the cost and risk. If it is family however, we take a different approach. You will invest to see them grow in life and faith. The cost is irrelevant because they are family. For us the needs are clear and the returns are obvious, they need us, they need all that God has given to us and as we share and become family the return is eternity. The surfers, the French, the locals - they need Christ; they need His family to invest in the real thing, His kingdom and His mission. Please get behind church planting, your family needs you!
Regi and Rich, Mani, Aj and Indie