Is your Facebook plagued with Friendversary videos? What even is a ‘friendversary’ and more importantly did it ever exist before Facebook? As New Creations Inn approaches its 10 year anniversary, I wonder what it’s Friendversary video would look like. Maybe it would include photos of various NCI birthday parties, Christmas celebrations, days out, and perhaps the odd picture of a Loaves and Fishes fundraiser. But this wouldn’t get anywhere near to representing what happens day in, day out, over 3650 days at this residential expression of the church which we call New Creations. See, the special events, the highlights, may be useful for one of those old-fashioned missionary style slideshows that show off our best bits as an organisation. However, our institution exists not for its own sake but for the sake of relationships, of friendships if you like.
The title of transitional housing doesn’t really cut it because if you look back over the last 10 years at NCI it becomes glaringly obvious that what people need is not just housing but relationship. So the video that Facebook will never make, and no film crew will ever document as it would be far too intrusive, would include: dinner time conversations, running errands, shedding tears, attending doctors appointments, and walks on the river walk. It would include conversations about Jesus, trauma, addiction, chores, budgeting, mental health, relapse, and repentance. It would feature the word ‘sorry’… a lot. Scenes would cover helping people navigate relationship breakdowns, deaths, taking responsibility, and the common thread between all these scenes would be calling people to choose their new life in Christ over their old one.
To be honest when I think of the 10 year anniversary I just think of a massive cake so big it takes up a whole table to its greedy self with a massive number 10 on it and large slabs of it being served onto flimsy paper plates to be enjoyed by… well by the fewer the better in order for there to be more cake to go around. And cake is good and all that but what if we could embark on something bigger? Bigger than the huge cake but also wilder than the dreams of those godly people who dreamt up NCI. The conversations about accountability and discipleship are not unique to NCI nor are they restricted to a specific location. These are things that any follower of Jesus can do anywhere. Deeper than a need for housing is a need for relationship. Any Christian can walk on the river walk and talk about sin and repentance, justice and mercy, grace and forgiveness. It’s not just that any Christian can do it but that the Bible says that every Christian is called to it. What if every follower of Jesus in Cañon City engaged in discipleship by pursuing and investing in one intentional relationship? That is the bigger dream, to see God’s people equipped and enthused to sacrificially build relationships of reconciliation, to walk through life with someone constantly calling them away from their old life and towards new life in Christ.
Instead of letting cake and festivities steal the show, and instead of spending too much time indulging in patting ourselves on the back, NCI would like to start a conversation about how we – the Christians of/church of Cañon City – can start taking steps towards the big dream. We invite the church to gather together for the purpose of the Mission of God. And there will be cake.