Jason Koleba is the lead pastor at Cochrane Alliance Church in Cochrane, Alberta.  If you get a chance to hang out with Jason, before you reach the end of your grande coffee you get a sense that he is a person in love with Jesus and His way in the world.  In fact, a concern for unleashing the church to live more missionally is a significant part of Jason’s signature, and why he knows the importance of investing in the deepening and empowering of those who call Cochrane Alliance their home.
The following are some words of encouragement and challenge he offered to those whom he had been walking alongside over the past three years, helping them discover more deeply who God is, who they are, and what God desires to do through their lives for the Kingdom.  To be honest, I find myself prayerfully hoping for similar words and letters to be given by more pastors across North America.  The church would become an attractive community again if such “walkingalongsideness” were practiced. Just want to add my voice to all that is being said around the table this evening. First, let me say, “congratulations!” to all of you for lasting through three intensive years of discipleship.  What is amazing is not just that you did it, but that you actually liked it and have come to crave a more intentional kind of discipleship and deeper relationships with one another.

I want you to now that I appreciate each of you for what you bring to our body in terms of gifting and passion.  My hope is that your passion, and the particular voice God has given you finds deeper and richer expression in our church in the years to come.  We need people like you to serve and to lead and reveal the character of Jesus.  The community of Cochrane (and the world!) needs people like you to serve and to lead and to reveal the character of Jesus.

This is wonderful and challenging at the same time.  Perhaps all of you need to reflect on something that Jesus said, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded;  and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” So don’t step back from reading Scripture and praying and seeking to know God and yourself just because you don’t have to read those dang workbooks each week.  You know (and I know) that the temptation will be to slide back into old patterns of laziness once the accountability of the group is no longer there to keep you honest.  Ask God how the blessing of your experience can be passed on to others.  Good learning like this from God should always have a ripple effect on others.  And I will be expecting (in a good way) to see more of that happening as you live out your calling among us.

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