nightlight Canada is a multi-denominational Christian ministry operating adult-drop in centres. Staffed by volunteers from area churches, the centres are open to anyone and everyone, allowing us to show God’s love in tangible ways to the poor, the lonely, and the marginalized.
Our mission is mobilizing people to overcome exclusion through life-giving relational communities
Unpacking Things a Bit
Mobilizing people: nightlight has always been a voice challenging people to practice what they believe. The North American church knows that God calls Christians to help the poor and needy, but often that call never turns into action. The need seems overwhelmingly large. Our time and resources seem so limited. nightlight calls people to serve starting with a small, manageable commitment of a few hours a week. If you’ve ever driven a car without power steering, you know how hard it is to direct the car (turn the wheel) when it’s not moving, and how things get much easier once the car is up to speed. In the same way, encouraging people to obedience to Christ’s calling is always most difficult to start than to increase. Serving at nightlight can be a first small step in a bigger journey of discipleship.
Overcome exclusion: Society values people for different reasons. Some are attractive. Some are powerful or wealthy. Christian doctrine teaches us that human worth is not found in what we do, what we have or what we look like, but it is given to us by God who makes us in his image and who gives of himself to redeem us. God says we all have infinite worth, not just the rich, attractive or influential, not even just the good: Christ died for sinners (Romans 5:8). Christians can’t simply seal themselves off in a moral bubble from those who don’t fit their idea of “all put together.” We need to understand the depth of our own sinfulness and the extend of God’s redemptive grace at work in us. If we do, we’ll begin to see ourselves in the marginalized. We’ll begin to regard them with compassion, and we’ll stand in solidarity with them. This doesn’t erase difference, but it breaks down barriers across which we are unable to reach.
Life-giving relational communities: First, communities should be life-giving. By this we mean that the relationships should demonstrate safe, healthy and positive interaction. The volunteers should also exhibit the Christ-filled grace, love forgiveness and integrity in their relationships towards guests, helping them to see something of who Jesus is and why his message is applicable to them.
Secondly, nightlight is about community: While we don’t discourage the growth of individual friendships, we also recognize that people need to belong to a community. We seek to offer people a place to belong in relationship with others: a space to be accepted, encouraged and celebrated. If the poverty of relationships is really at the core of what causes other forms of poverty, then establishing communities where people are loved, supported, challenged and encouraged attacks the very foundation upon which poverty rests.