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This is Good News! Pastor Jacques Lombard and Christian Life Assembly in Peace River, Alberta

Super Bowl party at Christian Life Assembly in Peace River, Alberta.

“Just love the people,” God said. As Pastor Jacques Lombard and his wife, Thea, prepared to leave South Africa and move to Peace River, Alberta, in 2021, this was the message that God gave him. Pastor Jacques was moving from a church community of 400 to a church of 12. He didn’t have a growth strategy; he just knew that he needed to love on the people in this rural community. When Pastor Jacques arrived at Christian Life Assembly (CLA), he challenged the congregation with the mission of making sure that the surrounding community noticed their existence – not simply with the intention of filling up the seats on a Sunday, but ensuring that the people knew the church cared for them. He clearly established the vision: have an outward focus to serve the community and reach the lost at any cost.

Prior to Pastor Jacques’ arrival, the congregation had started an annual Super Bowl party, along with a weekly Kids Club. These mission initiatives were already well established, but Pastor Jacques noticed that they needed to operate within the clear mission. The Super Bowl party had especially attracted interest within the community and had become an annual highlight. Everyone in the area was invited and CLA put out community-wide ads. The church building maxed out at near 100 people and 100 people crowded in for the party. Free, catered food was provided. Connections with local businesses brought in donations of great door prizes that got bigger every year, including prizes from the Edmonton Elks.

One guest who attended the Super Bowl party mentioned to a CLA volunteer that his family was not able to be there. (It was later shared that his son had leukemia.) The volunteer made sure that the guest went home with some free food. This act of kindness and care had a huge effect on the man’s life and he started to come to church. Not long afterwards, he had an encounter with God and has begun to attend regularly.

As CLA continued to reach out in love, the church grew from 12 people in the summer of 2021 to 30 people that winter. By the following summer, the church had doubled to 60 people and almost doubled again to 110 by the second winter. There was now a space issue and in January 2023, CLA started to hold two services, making sure to have children’s ministry and youth ministry during the services as well! The church continues to walk in bold faith. They hosted a women’s conference in November 2023, bringing in a speaker from the United States and recognizing that powerful conference can be held in rural communities.

Given the rural context and available volunteer pool, this has been an exciting challenge and the church could benefit from a bigger building with more seating capacity. However, Pastor Jacques believes in praying for the workers of the harvest, believing that people desperately want to hear about Jesus and we, as Christians, simply need to present Him in a way that people can experience Him.

As Pastor Jacques is convinced: God wants to move in a town of 200 as much as He wants to move in a city of 1 million. What is the one thing that God is asking you to do in your community?

Photos courtesy Christian Life Assembly.


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