A few weeks ago, it was announced that Stéphan Tessier, former director of ministries at Camp des bouleaux, is setting up a new church on the South Shore of Montreal. The group already seems to have a positive impact in the city both with their neighbors and in the community area. As we see in the photo, everyone has fun in the mission. To see them go, it gives the taste to be on mission with them.
Read the second part of the interview with Stéphan Tessier; it will inspire you.
What challenges do you presently face in the Church plant?
Stephan: Just like other Churches and Church plants, our main challenge is to establish the gospel alone as a foundation. It is possible to create a sense of community focused on something other than the gospel. We can offer Bible studies and be involved in our community, but it is still a challenge to keep the gospel at the very center of our project.
“Our vision is to make disciples and to grow in our understanding of our identity in Christ. The main challenge is to determine what unites and defines us as the gospel and nothing else.”
On a practical level, we live in a fast-paced world and it is a challenge to find mature and available leaders. We would love to work with another couple to further develop the Church plant, but it is difficult as everyone is very busy. Today’s busy lifestyle presents an important challenge to the advancement of our Church plant.
On June 22, one of the Church’s mission groups organized a neighbors’ party. What a great initiative to get to know the people of the neighborhood!
Inflatable games and popsicles were at the rendezvous and the children were all very happy. For Stéphan, the neighborhood party is an opportunity to “live at the rhythm of people”. and this is the heart of his vision. Who said the mission was boring?
What encourages you the most right now?
Stephan: We started with a clear vision: to love the city and to love people, ultimately to be able to introduce them to the one who loves them above all else. Therefore, we are developing a community of missional groups. Recently we decided to take a step of faith and to meet once a month with a core group of only 25 people. We were convinced that this approach would allow us to see results and growth. Since then, the group doubled. The majority of those that join come because they want to understand and live out the gospel in their daily lives and in their community. This brings me great joy. We have a lot of opportunities to have spiritual discussions and people are open to talk about Jesus. Slowly, our relationship with people have developed and we are seizing many opportunities to share the gospel.
“We started discussion groups last fall for people interested to know who Jesus is. Two people, who did not previously know Jesus, converted and decided to follow Him! Glory to God!”
The important thing for us is to connect with people according to their lifestyle. Beloeil is very secularized; over 70% of people will never set foot in a church. However, on Sunday mornings, they go out to brunch. That is a social rhythm that we use to connect with people as we offer brunch during our monthly gatherings.
Tell us about Grain de Sel. What is the organization and how is your core group involved?
Stephan: Our mission is precise, we are committed to invest in relationships. Grain de Sel offers a food bank, allowing people gain food autonomy.
The organization wanted to start a soup kitchen, but did not have volunteers to launch the project. Since we have a cook in our group, we prepare and serve meals every Tuesday evening. During this dinner, we sit down with those who are present, we love them and get to know them, we become friends, and sometimes, we even have the opportunity to talk about Jesus. We want to love them emotionally, physically (food bank), but also spiritually. With Grain de Sel, we use food to connect with people.
“We must understand that we love people whether or not we get to talk about Jesus. We love them first and then, because of that, we introduce Jesus. We don't have a hidden agenda, we don't want to convert them at all cost.”
What are the positive outcomes of your involvement with Grain d’Sel?
Stephan: So far, we are growing in the relationships we have established, and we have plenty of opportunities to introduce them to Jesus, our best friend. We are also able to change how people perceive us. People are reconciled with the vision of the Church, as they see that we do not want to convert people to our cause. They even send other people to us, because they see that our goal is not to convert people, but to love them.
The Church can therefore be useful to the city by caring for its people.
In 2017, Grain d’sel even posted a Facebook message to thank everyone involved . In the photo, you can see Stéphan Tessier, church planter in Beloeil.
“We would like to thank everyone who participated in any way to make our benefit show a success! Thanks to you, many individuals and families will continue to benefit fresh food baskets every week and the support they need to get through difficult times. Thank you from the bottom of our heart ❤”