Interview with Jason Eliason

Pastor Jason, his wife Kelsey and their three children are launching a new church in Surrey, British Columbia called Citizens Church on September 16th! Take some time to read their story and journey towards church planting in this interview!

How has God prepared you and your family to be church planters?

That’s a great question. I think most people would have a similar answer in saying that it appears as everything up to this point has, in some way, prepared us for the next season. We’ve been leaders in the local church for our entire adult lives and the grind of pastoral ministry with a vision for longevity seems to be the most valuable thing that’s prepared us for this next least I think. 


What’s the story behind naming your church Citizens Church?

It’s not a great story, actually. I was struggling over what to name the church and honestly didn’t have any good ideas. I know that a great name doesn’t make a great church but I wanted the name to reflect what was in our hearts to some degree. One day I accidentally said it out loud and kind of liked it. I did some research and found that I was far from the first person to think of it.  


How did the burden grow for Surrey as a locale for this church plant?

It was actually the place I really didn’t want to go, but could just never shake. I think this specific neighbourhood intimidated me. Surrey has a reputation that goes far beyond the border of the city and I felt so ill equipped to be the leader who would try to meet the needs of this very complicated neighbourhood.  But, we just couldn’t shake the thought that maybe God wanted to use some unlikely people to see something great happen in a place that many people could easily write off.


What’s been the biggest hurdle you have had to get over in pre-launch season?

The biggest hurdle has definitely been my own internal battle. Before we really started this journey, I made it my goal to be as emotionally healthy as I could be. For the past 2.5 years I’ve been working a lot of this stuff out in my heart. But even though I feel the healthiest I’ve ever been, there have been moments of anxiety, fear and doubt that I’ve had to wrestle to the ground.


What have you enjoyed the most about pre-launch season?

Building the team and seeing God answer prayers. I love casting the vision and getting others excited about being part of the vision. The team God has called to build Citizens Church is amazing, and being with them has been the most energizing part of this entire process. Seeing God answer our prayers and make a way has been the most faith-building experience of my life. He’s been so faithful to us through this entire journey. I hope I never forget the stories.


Five years from now, how would you like Citizens Church to be impacting Surrey?

In five years, I hope we will have planted at least one other church in our city and that we’ll be known as a group of people who love the city well. I hope we’re still running lean programs and giving life, time and money to organizations that already exist in our city.


Who are some of the partners you would like to thank for helping Citizens Church get started?

CLA in Langley: Without a doubt, we are not where we are without them. Being sent out of this church has been one of the healthiest experiences I’ve ever had in church. Derrick and the team have been insanely generous, kind, supportive and affirming of what is in our hearts. Our district has been a great partner as well and we receive support from other local churches (Horizon Church – Surrey, Northgate Foursquare Church - Comox Valley).