A House of Prayer for all nations
by Jack Taylor
Back in 1992, Ghanaian Sam Owusu burned with a passion to see a house of prayer for all nations established in metro Vancouver. A handful of others began to kneel with him in his living room. Foundations for community were laid and nurtured in Burnaby and then in New Westminster through a building which God miraculously provided. Calvary Worship Center (CWC) embedded everything in prayer. Now, there is a prayer meeting every night and over 600 people gather for the high point on Friday nights.
By 2011 space was a problem and the congregation voted to rebuild. The church has consistently grown at 20 percent every year. Eighty-five different flags demonstrate the diversity of those who have joined the movement. CWC relocated to a temporary venue in Surrey and God prodded Owusu for more faith. In the pastor’s words, “One day as I was praying, I felt the Lord say to me, ‘Go to city hall and ask for land.’” Through his encounter there another miraculous path was set for a new campus.
Jonathan Michael cites why he and his wife Christiane committed to CWC: “The preaching speaks to the heart and the mind; nothing happens without prayer; the times of praise and worship are Spirit-led; all nations are loved, accepted and cherished.” Capturing Michael’s passion on paper is like trying to feel the heat of a forest fire through your TV news channel. The personal encounter is key to CWC’s impact.
CWC is modeling what it looks like for a church to be “fueled by prayer as the engine that drives all ministry, mission and mobilization.” A vibrant radio and TV ministry combined with global evangelism preaching trips has rocketed CWC onto the international stage.
Theo Bessem is director of music and arts. Under her leadership the ministry has grown to 36 members who serve weekly on a rotational basis. Music, dance and drama are woven into the worship experience. The mission of the team is “to see the transformation of lives through worship; raising a congregation of true worshippers.”
Author, Delores Callender-Taylor shares her testimony in CWC’s 25th anniversary booklet. Seventeen years ago she and her husband were looking for a church which espoused prayer, preached the Word of God unashamedly, demonstrated spiritual gifts, fellowshipped and welcomed all nations, focused on small groups and prayer, and provided avenues for hospitality, life sharing and repentance. She wanted a place where she could be “real.” “If you don’t know how to pray,” she says “you will learn to pray, and naturally God will download in your spirit, if you submit.”
Over 150 children from 80 different nations are being trained up to share their faith as future leaders. A children’s choir, Friday Night Kids club, retreats and summer camps add to the energy of life at CWC.
Disciple Making is an emerging emphasis with a focus on public invitations for salvation followed by immersion baptism, fellowship, sharing, studying and praying in grow groups with radical generosity and compassion ministries in the mix. One on one discipleship is part of the foundation for what is happening. Spiritual maturity is marked by the habits of prayer, fasting, study, fellowship and holiness.
What makes CWC effective in communicating the love of Jesus? Michael says “We are fuelled by prayer and fasting. We wait on the Lord as many of us have come from cultures that are known for their dependence on Christ in prayer. We are reliant on the mighty Holy Spirit to lead, guide and teach us as he does wonders and miracles in people’s lives through the preaching and proclamation of Jesus Christ our Lord. We believe that the Sovereign God is present to heal and deliver just as he was in the early Church.
“People come here because they say they experience the manifest presence of God, feel comfortable in a multicultural environment of worship and praise and are fed with biblical preaching. People come from as far as Chilliwack, Hope, Richmond and even Bellingham. Langley, Delta, Coquitlam, Burnaby, New West and Vancouver are all represented at our main campus in Surrey.”
Founding pastors Sam and Pastor Rosemond Owusu are thanking God for these past 25 years of his faithfulness and looking for more Spirit-anointed ministry in the years to come. Church planting in Metro Vancouver and discipleship are priorities arising out of the constant ministry of prayer. A house of prayer for all nations has truly been established.