I began my eight-month internship at North Shore Alliance Church (NSAC) in September 2019 as a part of my theology degree at Ambrose University. Moving from Calgary to beautiful North Vancouver was just as easy as finding a place of belonging at NSAC.
At NSAC, I was involved in youth, outreach, and conversational English ministry. Everyone around me knows these eight months were amazing for many reasons. The biggest reason is what Jesus did in me. I quickly learned that the Lord was much more concerned about what He was doing in me on this internship rather than through me. I went away from my internship experience with a deeper knowledge of who Jesus is and a passion to lead the Church to respond to Him.
One of NSAC’s core values is the “mosaic mentality.” They celebrate an expression of the Church that is multi-generational, multi-ethnic, and economically diverse. I was delighted to hear that this was one of their core values and, over the course of my internship, it became a deep conviction of mine that Jesus loves all people and He calls His church to do the same.
Jesus: a lover of all ages
I developed many relationships with NSAC staff and congregants of different ages throughout my internship. Jesus reminded me that He is for both the children in our communities and our elders. He loves them equally and passionately pursues people of all ages. The only appropriate response for His church is to do the same.
He is calling His church to simultaneously honour the elderly and champion the next generation. I love that Joel prophesies an intergenerational revival with old men dreaming dreams and young men seeing visions (Joel 2:28). As difficult as this may be at times, let us be people that cultivate an expression of the church that includes all generations.
Jesus: a lover of all ethnicities
One evening, a pastor and I were getting ready to run our conversational English group. Before our program started, we heard the doorbell ring. It was an Iranian couple who were not familiar to either of us. The couple revealed they were Muslim and asked if they could spend some time praying in our sanctuary. We said yes and observed them curiously as they sat in our pews praying. This had never happened to us. After they were finished, we invited them to conversational English and engaged in theological conversations. The other pastor and I were shocked that they had wandered into our church unannounced wanting to meet God. But why were we surprised? Why were we surprised that the Lord, who is actively pursuing all people, wanted to introduce them to His bride?
It is clear from Abraham’s calling to be a father of many nations to John’s prophetic vision of the great multitude from every nation worshipping the Lamb, that the people of God are to be a multi-ethnic expression. Isaiah 56:7 witnesses to this, “…for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” Several centuries later, Jesus quotes this passage as He clears the temple (Matthew 21). The Lamb Himself is calling the church to be a house where every tribe and tongue are radically accepted, included, and celebrated. Jesus, a lover of all ethnicities, is calling His bride to do the same.
Jesus: a lover of the rich and poor
I had the privilege of teaching at NSAC’s Coffee Time ministry a few times during my internship. Coffee Time is a mid-week service hosting North Vancouver’s most vulnerable. Each week, one hundred people gather in NSAC’s basement to receive coffee, fellowship, a short sermon, and $10 grocery cards. This ministry seeks to bring people from the margins and enfold them into intimate fellowship with Christ and His people. This ministry runs on the core truth that the hope in Jesus is for all people, regardless of their economic status.
Through my involvement, Jesus reminded me that both the wealthy and the impoverished are welcome at His table. Until we can feast together at the banquet Jesus is preparing for us, He calls His bride to invite people of all statuses to our tables. Thus, let us be the Church that actively seeks out the underprivileged stranger for the sake of love.
I met this Jesus on my internship. The pursuer of people of all ages, of every ethnicity, and from all walks of life. I am in awe of this loving Lord who has met my brokenness with love and empowers me to love those around me with the same compassion. My prayer is that the Church would continue to fulfill its role in the barrier-breaking mission of God. That is—to be a signpost pointed to the Kingdom of Heaven, where every tribe and tongue are wholly loved in the presence of the living God.