|There are times when we see a church revitalized, and we long to point to some specific ministry or event that really turned things around. We want to be able to point to something and say, "Aha! That's the secret! If just we add that we will get results!"
Calvary Baptist Church in Ottawa has experienced a church revitalization, but it didn’t come from chasing a particular goal or following a checklist; it came from remaining faithful to the work that God had called the church to accomplish more than a century ago.
Calvary was established in 1915, but in recent years the church was growing weary. Theirs was a multicultural congregation comprised of one third seniors and one third of families of older children, and the remaining third was a mixture of ages and stages. There was a noticeable gap in the number of college-age people and those with young families.
From the beginning, Calvary in Ottawa prayed that no matter if God would grow their church or maintain them, they would be content as long as the church was reaching those whom God had called them to reach.
Calvary began praying for the people they wanted to reach, and made efforts to have more of a presence on local university campuses. As students began attending, Calvary chose not to create additional programs or ministries, but instead they wove the newcomers into the fabric of the church. God used these multigenerational groups to bring new life into existing ministries and thereby multiplying the impact of the young adults.
Calvary began running at 95–110% capacity, and knew that a second service was needed if they were going to have continued growth and impact. They launched a second service in January 2019 and although it is still early, it has been a good experience for the church.
One senior citizen in the church has said that she may not like all the changes that have happened in the church, but she knows that the gospel is preached and people are responding to it. This woman hosts one of the intergenerational Bible studies and she loves what God is doing in their church through the younger people who are attending.
Deeply impacted by 2 Timothy 4, Matt Rudd wanted to be faithful to the Word and let the Spirit do its work. God would produce the fruit according to His plan, so they should rest in the faithfulness of God rather than chasing after explosive growth.
Throughout this time of growth, Matt emphasizes that true revitalization cannot be manufactured; if it is man-made then it is temporary, but when God breathes new life into His church it has lasting value and impact. And that is something worth pursuing.