Have you ever had the experience that to go forward, you had to go backwards? Intuitively it doesn’t even make sense, especially for those of us who think of ourselves as forward-looking, but in life there are times we recognize the need to go back. There is something to repair, something to make right, someone to be reconciled with, and not going back actually hinders going forward.
This is actually a scriptural idea in the Jesus community. Jesus talked about the last being first, that to lead is to serve, that to be child-like is to really understand faith, that when faced with opposition we are to bless and not to curse. Some have called it “the upside-down Kingdom” and I see a lot of truth in that.
A number of months ago, the Elders of Lakeside Church began to pray about going back – to our roots. You may or may not know the history of Lakeside Church, but our founders emerged from the Guelph Bible Chapel in 1989 with a bold vision to plant Lakeside Church, and envisioned this new community where people would discover and fully follow Jesus.
“Emerged” is such a nice word. It sounds positive, hopeful, energetic even. But in truth, it was a little messier than that. Some that were there at the time used words like “church split.”
Through a season of prayer, the Lakeside Elders determined that they would take the initiative to call the leadership of Guelph Bible Chapel and offer, if it would be received, to have a conversation about those early days, and where necessary, to reconcile anything that needed to be reconciled.
I am delighted to tell you that in late fall 2020, the Lakeside Elders team met with the Pastor and Elders of Guelph Bible Chapel. Prior to the meeting, calls were made to hear first hand reports from those who had been there at the time and at the meeting, the results of those calls were heard. A time of prayer together ensued in which forgiveness was offered and received from both Lakeside Church and Guelph Bible Chapel. One person present that day testified that after all these years he had given up hope that such a meeting would ever take place but that even though he had given up hope, God had been faithful. There was a sense that we were all going back in order to go forward.
Subsequent to that meeting, an invitation was received from the Guelph Bible Chapel to attend an upcoming Sunday service in which this beautiful message of unity and reconciliation would be declared. This coming Sunday, March 21, I, along with two members of our Elder team will attend at Guelph Bible Chapel.
Friends, we do not know what will result from this process. What I can tell you is that whenever, and wherever possible, we make it our effort to live at peace with everyone and this process has been one small step in that direction. May God continue to make something beautiful out of it.
On behalf of the Lakeside Elders,
PS – Lakeside, recently we put out a survey and asked for your feedback. Our leadership team has gone through the results and read each and every comment. We thank you for taking the time to let us know some of the areas that you feel need improvement, places you think we’re doing well, and also some of the amazing ways you’ve experienced God over this past year. We’ve summarized the results for you and they can be found here.