More about Us – Jen & Jon Blake
We truly appreciate being given the opportunity to share our lives (or at least give a brief insight) as Co-Pastors with you. We would also like to share our Passion for community and relational evangelism with you too, as this is something we try to live by and be intentional in daily.
We see in the Bible that Jesus embraced community and communities (so too Paul and the early Church founders). When we (Jen and I) think of ‘Community’ two pictures come to mind, 1) a group of people doing life together and 2) a local area. Jesus had a special 12 person community, but also at times it included more than that (ie Mary, Martha, Lazarus, etc.). Also, Jesus enjoyed spending time in various local communities where he embraced the local people (except that one time when he went back home and wasn’t really welcomed by his people, or when he chased folk out of the temple!). It is fair to say that Jesus embraced incarnational community living and as Christ followers we feel we should too.
How do we do that? Simple, by living life! In the UK we would walk our kids to the local school with a bunch of other parents from the local community each day. We made connections, friends and through time earned the trust of those parents (to the point that if a parent was not able to walk to school one day, they would trust us to walk their child- and vice versa). Here in Edmonton it looks a little different (partly because it gets -30c in the winter!) but Jonny coaches Soccer in the local community, Jen is the president of the local pre-school, we live within walking distance from the local school and from our Church. We get involved as much as we can and we love being part of the community!
The key for us in relational evangelism (evangelism through trust and relationships) is NOT to see people as ‘projects’. I never like the feeling of going into a car dealership where the salesman are all buddy-like with you, knowing full well that I am just another project for them to get a sale from and then move onto the next. If we treat people like a project (either get them to Church, or say THE prayer as the end goal and then move on) then I feel we fail them as individuals. We don’t believe Jesus treats us like projects, so we shouldn’t treat others that way too. Disciple making is a journey and a relationship with many ups and downs, its life.
We have seen through these various relationships in our community (wherever it is at the time) that being transparent Christians is a highly valuable way to live life. In time, people are pretty open to conversations about faith and allow us to share our passions and love for Jesus with them. Some are at first pretty keen to talk and ask questions (be ready to talk and answer some tough ones- same sex marriage, infant death, abortions, etc.), others aren’t but are happy to still engage in life with us. We have been so humbled and blessed to have seen God move in some of these lives. Life truly changes and transforms with Jesus and it is amazing! It’s also messy and has challenges, but relational evangelism for us is beautiful and we love it! A stereotype of millennials is that we struggle to persevere, especially when life gets rough/tough (whether it be relationships, jobs, church, etc.). We believe that when anyone (no matter the age) is passionate about something/someone and Jesus is at the heart of that passion then perseverance comes through His strength and all glory is His.
Anyway, relational evangelism is a huge passion of ours that we wanted to share with you as it is central not only to our ministry as Co-Pastor’s but to our life as Christ followers. Any questions regarding Co-Pastoring, relational evangelism, etc. feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. We would love to hear from you. You can also check out our church website at www.southsidenazarenechurch.ca
(Since we are both ordained and have the same initials☺)