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Recommendations to Frosh: Local Waterloo Churches

University of Waterloo Campus

Introduction

Dear Frosh,

Welcome to Waterloo! For most of you, this coming fall term might just be your first time moving out of home. Being out on your own can be scary, and everything can just feel like it’s hitting you all at once. We’ve been there too. We know that finding a local church and getting plugged in isn’t easy, but it’s definitely one of the most important things you’ll have to do; your faith and spiritual well-being depend on it! With so much on your plate in the first few days/weeks, we upper years wanted to make things easier for you. So to help you get an idea of what the local churches are like, some of us have written down our personal experiences with these churches, along with why we would recommend them to you.

In the following sections, you’ll find upper-year testimonies on the local churches that most CCF members are a part of. These churches aren’t the only local churches, but they’re the main ones that we go to. Hopefully, as you read and find out which churches we recommend, you would get a head start in your journey of discerning which church to ultimately commit to.

Ideally, we would love for you to settle down at a good church as fast as possible, without having to hop from church to church, merely attending Sunday service after Sunday service. After all, being part of a church is more than just attending on Sundays, and deciding whether you enjoyed it or not. The church you attend shouldn’t just feel like a weekly dose of Christianity, but rather a family that you’re a member of. These are important lessons to keep in mind — lessons that can bring you many blessings.

Your first year may have just begun, but remember, time is short, and 4 months will fly by before you know it.

-John Gu, 4th Year

Trinity Bible Chapel

Alisah Chan, 4th Year

Before coming to Waterloo, a mentor back home introduced me to Trinity and sent me some info about it. She encouraged me to join the small groups there and to join the adopt-a-student program that they had back when she went. Essentially, she told me that once you join it, you’ll get free dinner, and free dinner got me xD. So in the fall term of my first year, I attended Trinity, despite having church hopped a few times. Trinity Bible Chapel also has a student bus ministry that comes to pick students up which makes transportation to church even more convenient.

I attend Trinity because I am able to see:

  1. God’s sanctifying work

“Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17). At Trinity, Pastor Jacob preaches directly from the Scriptures, verse by verse, which is a preaching style I really enjoy. When I go to receive the Word of God every Sunday morning, I learn so much from the sermon as the holiness of God is being preached and after that sermon, I’m excited for more. The preaching at Trinity helps me understand that God is holy and that I’m a sinner and am saved by His grace through faith. Every part of a believer’s sanctification results from His divine work — God alone. From attending Trinity in my first year till now, I see His sanctifying work as He took away my heart of stone to replace it with a heart that finds joy in hearing His Word and in knowing and seeking Him. When Scripture is preached at Trinity, I am reminded of the severity of my sins, the need for repentance, and the hope and excitement that is yet to come — spending eternal life with God in heaven :))

2. The church’s zeal for God

“Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in Spirit, serve the Lord” (Rom 12:11). In the first month I attended Trinity, I was very shook by Pastor Jacob’s preaching and just the members of the church. I just saw how passionate he was about preaching the gospel and preaching about Christ. This zeal for God was something that I saw that was lacking from my fellowship and church back home. So when I saw this, it made me more eager to want to learn from them and grow in my own walk.

3. Opportunities for personal growth and service to the King!

There are so many opportunities to get involved in Trinity. Serving in kids ministry, street evangelism, joining small groups — so many. I have only done street evangelism but hearing from many other friends and upper years who have served, their experience has been really enjoyable. Church is a place where you get to meet people from all different generations. I remember I was so scared and chicken when I went out for my first street evangelism event, but the people there are so nice and so eager to talk to you! That night, I just kept asking questions about evangelism to one of the leaders and he was so willing to share his experience with me; he also drove me back home! Also, having been a lil discouraged after being rejected of gospel tracts that were handed out, he reminded me that we are the aroma of Christ to God (2 Cor 2:15–17). Not first to the people of this world, but to God. By the grace of God, we are just called to faithfully share the good news (Rom 1:5). So yeah adults really do be shedding words of wisdom for the young-uns and pointing them back to the Truth here at Trinity :))

Church is so important — it is where you grow, fellowship with others, and where you get sanctified. I highly encourage you incoming frosh to find a local church to attend. I know that when I’m attending Trinity, I’m truly worshipping God there, that His Word is directly being preached from Scripture, and that I’m receiving it with a heart that desires to learn more.

KW Redeemer

Ryan Hodgins, 2nd Year

As an incoming second year, I know the troubles of trying to find a good church and fellowship when first going away to university. I struggled all year until I found CCF and a great church to attend. I went church hopping for most of my first year with what little Christian fellowship I had and it wasn’t good for my spiritual health. I wasn’t getting much out of the various churches I had tried until I committed (in my last month of school) to attending KW Redeemer regularly. Though I only attended this church for a month, it made a profound impact — so much so that even while I was away from Waterloo for the summer, I kept up with the sermons online through Spotify.

Before I go any further, I want to put a disclaimer that I have not experienced all that this church offers yet and I haven’t plugged into anything except for Sunday service as of now, but I do look forward to plugging in more this Fall semester, and I already know that this church is for me.

I knew KW Redeemer was the church I wanted to regularly attend after the very first service that I attended. It hit all the checks on my list compared to the many others I had tried before. I was greeted with a warm welcome, the worship music was very good, and the location makes getting there convenient. The community was bigger than what I had been used to, but they make an effort to ensure everyone feels included and welcomed at their church. Most importantly, however, the sermons preached every Sunday are biblically sound.

Pastor Paul is very intelligent and well-versed in the study of God’s word. The teachings dig deep into the meaning of the scriptures and break down how these profound words are applicable in all of our lives. I’ve never listened to one of the KW Redeemer sermons and left without feeling conviction. This conviction, however, isn’t temporary. It has truly encouraged me to look at how I’m living my life and to compare and correct myself based on what the scriptures say about living for God. All the sermons that I’ve listened to at KW Redeemer have been rooted in Jesus as all good teachings should be.

I’d like to mention a few pros of this Church. The first being the friendly environment, and the love that seems to pour out of the people there. I can tell that the Church looks out for one another and that they emphasize the importance of family too. They also make an effort to reach longtime Christians as well as those exploring Christian faith for the first time too! Along with the environment, it’s only a half-hour Ion ride away, which makes it very accessible from the university.

Some cons may be that the Church is still adjusting to its more recent growth, as well as the lack of an actual church building. Services are held in the Downtown Community Centre and lack the proper signage, but the Church is about the people, not the building.

To end, I’d like to share a piece of advice that one of my dear friends passed on to me (though a little late). I believe it may help some of you find the right church for you. He told me first and foremost to pray to God that he may reveal to you which church you belong with, and secondly not to church hop weekly.

My friend advised me that you won’t likely get a feel for the church after one service. Try attending everything a church has to offer for a month before going to the next one. By doing this you will truly see the nature of the people and the Church’s values. God will make it clear after that month if you belong there.

I may not have had this advice in time, and I may not have attended everything yet, but nevertheless, I know KW Redeemer is the church for me. I hope you take this advice to heart and find the church God has called you to serve with, whether it be KW Redeemer or not.

My friends, I pray that you will find a church to serve with in an acceptable timeframe and that you don’t make the mistakes that I did.

Waterloo Pentecostal Assembly

Anthony Pun, 5th Year

Growing up in the same church (shoutout to Mississauga Chinese Baptist Church), from a young age I was always in a bubble and I stayed in that bubble until I went off to university. I hung out with the same group of friends and served in the same ministries at church and it felt pretty routine, which isn’t a bad thing. I am glad to say that I was able to grow up in a Christian community and I praise God that my parents dragged me to church each Sunday or else I would not have that foundation and gospel-centred doctrine instilled in me.

As I started university I was lucky enough to have some upper-year friends that went to MCBC. They helped me settle in, and find the classrooms where I had my lectures and they also brought me to CCF and introduced me to their friends. I can truly say that I am fortunate to have known some familiar faces coming into university as it gave me a sense of reassurance knowing that I had people I could be with in this new chapter of my life. Community and worshipping amongst fellow believers is one of the main reasons why I go to church regularly and it fuels my desire to get plugged into a church. I would encourage you to not only attend a church but to get plugged in, serve, get to know those in the congregation and pour into them. Who knows, they might be the ones to point you in the direction of where your 8:30 lecture is.

Touching upon the community, I had a sense of accountability early on in the first year. I had the same friends from MCBC asking me if I went to church on Sunday morning which helped me set a routine and I made an effort to wake up on time to go. I started off attending Simply Church which was run similarly to my home church (MCBC). It was a smaller church and the congregation mainly consisted of Chinese students and some young adults. Not going to lie the snacks after service were fire but the service as a whole both worship and the sermon felt very close to home. I was talking to a few upper years in CCF and they mentioned Trinity Bible Chapel. After attending Simply for most of my first year I wanted to do some more church hopping and so I checked out Trinity in my second year. I was blown away by how blunt and raw the sermons were but like Pastor Jacob said in one of his sermons, “…even if you disagree with what we said, you still come back every Sunday.” This held some truth as I continued to go to Trinity every Sunday. After going for a few months I was later introduced to Waterloo Pentecostal Assembly (WPA) which I now call my home church in Waterloo whenever I am in the city. I was initially drawn in by the worship and the sense of community and diversity I experienced at WPA. I jumped between Trinity and WPA in my 3rd year and a bit of my 4th year. But of course the pandemic put a hold on a lot of my in-person attendance at both of these churches and even my church back home, MCBC.

Post-pandemic with things slowly going back to normal, I remember I watched a Trinity sermon online where Pastor Jacob emphasized going to church in-person, being united with believers, and worshipping as one body. Though quite controversial at the time with the lockdown that the pandemic caused, this was true and once again fueled my desire to start going to church in person again. I wanted to make it a goal to decide whether I would attend Trinity or WPA for the remainder of my 4th year and which church I wanted to get plugged into.

As I mentioned earlier, I chose to attend WPA and get plugged in. One of the main contributing factors was the sense of community and since joining a small group and a care group at WPA, I got to hear stories from fellow brothers and sisters specific to their backgrounds and culture. The preaching at WPA is quite solid too and easy to digest yet challenging at times where you have to wrestle with the content. Worship is amazing at WPA. At times the worship team includes songs sung in different languages and it reminds me of the global church and how easy it is to focus intrinsically and forget about The Great Commission God gave which is to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19–20).

Looking back on the 4 years I’ve had in university, attending church, and having conversations with fellow believers, I can truly say I’ve grown more in these past 4 years than in my time at my home church. I have been exposed to more than just your typical conservative Chinese Christian church and I would encourage you to explore the churches in the area, Google the churches and explore their website, but most importantly attend regularly and be an active member.

Closing Remarks

If you have any questions or would like to know more about these churches, feel free to reach out to us or any other upper-years at CCF. We don’t bite! (I think…)

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