How leaning into your local church can change your life
By William Dmytrow
I started attending Ebenezer Baptist Church in Saskatoon after accepting Christ at 13 years old. It’s a friendly, growing church of approximately 1,000 congregants, and I am happy to call Ebenezer my home.
Once, our lead pastor Leyton Erickson preached a series called We the Church. One quote in particular left a lasting impact on me: “Today, in the church, we have more people coming less often, expecting more and willing to do less.” If true, and I think it is, that’s quite an indictment on the current state of the Church in Canada.
The Church is the body of Christ. Like our physical bodies, it is made up of many diverse parts—all functioning together in unity under the headship of Jesus Christ. The Church is at its best when each individual uses the gifts God has given them for the benefit of the whole body. I am convinced that serving alongside others is not just a matter of choice; it’s fundamental if we want to have a meaningful and engaging church experience.
Paul wrote, “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” (Ephesians 4:15-16).
Paul is telling us that we are all part of the body of Christ. We are the Church. We are the ligaments of the body—needed and necessary for it to function properly and effectively.
My experience at Ebenezer has been life-changing. I started becoming actively involved in the youth group, and almost immediately I started attending the weekend service as well. My new church soon felt like home, and the people there felt like family. I developed authentic friendships, and in no time we became a tight-knit community who actively sought after God.
As these relationships continued to grow, I began to lead a Bible study. I still stay very close to many of the people in that youth group; it is beautiful to continue growing alongside them as young adults.
My youth pastor Joel Povey hugely impacted me. He discipled and mentored me while I was in the youth group and has continued to do so now that I am in college. It has been transformational to have this kind of relationship with someone who genuinely cares for me and other students.
I continue to look for ways to get involved in my church, beyond attending every weekend. Most recently, I used my skill and passion to help design a new website for the church. I have also become a youth leader.
Committing to follow Jesus and plug into Ebenezer has helped me fall in love with my church and see its value. We are the church, and we all play roles in building one another up.
I have seen people who are scared to volunteer at a church. My question is, why? Because we don’t have time? Because we are afraid to fail? Because we aren’t good enough for God? I have thought these things at times too. The enemy doesn’t want us to build the body of Christ, but God does. He wants us to passionately use the unique gifts He has given us so that the family of God will grow.
I’m convinced that we are all called to serve the Church. For me, this was as simple as regularly attending a weekend service, actively finding ways to get involved, loving others and growing in a community of fellowship with other believers. What’s more, doing so significantly improved my church experience.
While my exposure to church has been excellent, I recognize this isn’t the case for all of us. As the Church, we all have to be aware of each other’s spiritual needs and different perspectives. Let’s all do our part so we can grow closer to God and each other.