This year’s SOAR Alberta just included staff and partners without participants but was amazing. SOAR Alberta was planned to overlap the Stampede with hopes that students would be around and excited to engage ministry in Calgary. However we found that students were working at the Stampede, at camp or still hesitant to engage in new programs.
At first this seemed like a big disappointment since SOAR has been attempted multiple times in Calgary but never worked out for a variety of reasons. However, this offered the opportunity for our staff team from central Canada to come together in Calgary and build connections with local ministries and pastors. SOAR is really built by a local team that is excited to see transformation in their community and a heart for local missions.
Since we didn’t have any of the regular SOAR teaching and worship sessions we filled those with prayer, worship and discernment, each day inviting different groups in to explore with us the potential of SOAR in Alberta. I have found that our programs often need really defined structure as we are dealing with larger groups not allowing the spaces to be flexible. However, this SOAR exploration gave us the freedom to pause and reflect on what God was up to in Calgary and where he is calling us to partner with Him.
Each SOAR experience has a few main components. It was great to experience each of these components while in Calgary. Worship, prayer and teaching fill our sessions during SOAR and it was great to engage this within our community. We always want to be challenged to learn and explore God’s heart for local mission and this is often done with a learning tour. We also want to server our community which often includes a larger community event. It was great to uniquely experience each of those aspects as we explored SOAR Alberta.
Prayer and Worship
We enjoyed the space to to spend with God as we worshiped and prayed together. We love to be able to bless those that we encounter by spending time in prayer and interceding for their ministry. This was a great opportunity to build relationship and partnership with groups like SunWest Community Church and Rockpointe Intercultural.
Our SOAR programs all include a learning tour where participants have to walk through the neighborhoods where they will be serving and learn about another culture that lives within their local setting. We explored a prayer walking tour created by the Mustard Seed, a local ministry to the street community of Calgary. It was great to walk around downtown Calgary and see the disparity between the wealth and poverty that shares this space. We are excited to keep partnering with the Mustard Seed in the future to help awaken people to the needs and ways to engage.
The picture above doesn’t do the event justice (check out the title picture for the big crowd). We were excited to help SunWest host a community pancake breakfast that feed 1,500 people and saw many more come just for the fun activities. It was a great community event and we were blessed by the many stories we heard from volunteers about how well it was received by the local community and even seeing a few new people engage the church as a result. I was stationed with the grill masters and spent 3 hours cooking probably about 4000 sausages.
It was also really good to spend time together as a team, exploring together what SOAR Alberta can look like in the future. We have a lot of fun together and when you get that close to the mountains you have to do a little exploring so we at least got to go see one waterfall. Always impressed by the power of God’s creation.
Please pray that God would continue to raise up a local team to help plan SOAR Alberta for next year. We are excited about the partnerships and really wanting teams to come and experience God’s heart for local missions.