Grace: Praying in a Theatre Near You.
Pastor Murray McLellan (left) stands with Clay Bitner, an elder candidate and church volunteer at Grace Fellowship. (Photo by Andrew Spearin, Bridges)
Nestled in the heart of downtown Saskatoon, Grace Fellowship is a Christian community intent on digging deeper into the transformational message of the gospel. On Sundays they meet in a local movie theatre, possibly sitting on the most comfortable pews in town. During the week, the church meets in small gospel community groups that bring Christians and non-Christians together to discuss tough issues, learn, and grow.
“We’re trying to really reach out to people who are not church people, never grew up in church, non-Christians,” says McLellan. “That’s my own background personally and the people who are dechurched is the other group we look at. People who have not been connected with a church but have some sort of background.”
McLellan tries to create a church atmosphere that allows people to ask tough questions, even encouraging listeners to text in questions during his sermons so he can answer them at the end. He also strives to create an environment that is not intimidating for the un-churched, which is part of the reason Grace Fellowship meets in a movie theatre. “It’s all about Jesus and the gospel, therefore we don’t have a separate message for unbelievers and one for believers,” says McLellan. “So we don’t have to distinguish and say ‘this is going to be evangelism Sunday’. In that sense every Sunday is gospel Sunday. That’s what melts my heart.”
Grace Fellowship works hard to distinguish between ‘religion’ and ‘gospel’ in the minds and hearts of the community. For many unchurched, including a young McLellan, ‘religion’ is a word which means rules, or the right ritual routine to be accepted by God. It gives a distorted view of God.
The good news of the gospel, by contrast, is motivating and transforming, wonderful and powerful.
Grace Fellowship and McLellan request prayer for:
- Wisdom as they continue to grow and church leadership makes important decisions for the future.
- New leaders to be raised up from within the gospel community groups.
- “That the gospel keeps transforming our own hearts and minds, and that we never lose our awe …if we ever lose our awe of the gospel, then we’re in trouble” (Pastor McLellan)
Paul Esau is a communications intern with CCMBC and the MB Herald.
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