Reaching First Nations in the City

By Rohan Crown, Jun 23, 2016

When my family moved to Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, to plant a church we had no idea how we were going to effectively reach the community with the gospel. Sure, we’d read all the books and gone to training, but the mission still seemed very intimidating and way beyond us. During this time a mentor gave Rebecca and me some wise counsel: be yourselves, soak your community in prayer, and remember God is wanting to do a work in you. This advice not only freed us, but laid the foundation for our ministry.

In being ourselves we just got to know people, regardless of who they were. Our community is full of single parents, addicts, and people who are hurting, lonely, and marginalized, many of whom are First Nations. At the same time we began prayer walking around our city, asking God to open doors into people’s lives.

When those two steps collided, something incredible began to happen. By God’s grace we quickly became a magnet in our community. At our kids’ school, over 40 percent of children are First Nations and over 50 percent of parents are single. We began inviting families of our children’s friends into our home and loving on them. Ministry was organic, and doors wide open for the gospel. When you begin to care and provide secure friendship, trust begins to develop.

People started asking us to do weddings of non-believers, and during pre-marital counseling we shared the hope of Christ.  We were asked to pray in people’s homes, officiate funerals, and make hospital visits. Before we even launched Amazing Grace Community Church we had a large pool of non-believers in our lives.

As Rebecca and I began to see the needs, we experienced the struggle of the First Nations people in an urban environment. Beautiful and gifted people were in pain. Instead of looking at them, as many do, as a drain on the city (many of the homeless are First Nations), we began to pray for Christ to do a redeeming work in this culture.

Lethbridge is located on the border of one of the largest reservations in North America. As we prayed for revival for First Nations, God led MTW missionaries Howard and Sandy Vander Griend here to focus on reaching the First Nations people. God has launched a ministry and lives are being impacted for the gospel.

My advice to churches? Begin to ask God to open your eyes (through prayer) to see the people in your community and how you might reach them. Remember, you are not the experts—you’re the servants. As you reach broken people, God will break you (which is good), because God works through broken people. God calls us to be faithful in following His call and He will do the rest.

Rohan Crown is the senior pastor of Amazing Grace Community Church in Lethbridge, Alberta. Consider supporting Rohan’s ministry: First Nations Ministry #97437. 

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