Canadian Church Plant Grows from a Family Room to 6 Acres

baptism at The Gathering

From a family room to a golf course, a warehouse, and now a former Knights of Columbus building, The Gathering has outgrown every space it’s occupied.

The Windsor, Ontario, church plant got its start when North American Mission Board missionary Garth Leno and his wife, Patty, met with a few friends in their family room for prayer and Bible study in the summer of 2013. It wasn’t long before the group needed a larger meeting space, so it began meeting at a golf course for simple worship, corporate prayer, and Bible teaching. More people kept coming and in June 2014, what started as a home Bible study became a church. With the acquisition of a 12,000-square-foot building and more than 6 acres of land, the church sees the potential for even greater growth.

The ethnically diverse congregation of about 250 serves a community with a substantial Muslim population. From trash pickup to sports and art camps, as well as a citywide outreach called Love Windsor, the church seeks ways to show the love of Christ.

Additionally, observing spiritual growth in Windsor prompted The Gathering to be a church that plants churches. Since 2014, The Gathering has supported 3 church plants: 2 in Ontario and 1 in Nashville, Tennessee. A fourth is planned for the Dominican Republic soon. The Gathering provides prayer and financial support, while Leno spends time on the phone every month coaching the church planters.

One way Leno carries out a focus of knowing the Lord’s heart is sensing the Lord at work. He described sensing the Lord’s leading one Sunday: “I felt deeply impressed to share the gospel clearly again and invite people not only to respond but to make a public declaration of their faith.” As a result, 5 people trusted in Jesus Christ and some were baptized on Easter 2018.

The Lenos ask for continued prayer for church-planting opportunities by The Gathering as well as for the planned church in the Dominican Republic.

Lynn Durham is a pastor’s wife with a heart for teaching women how to increase their faith.

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