It's never been a question for Adrian Smith — the entire time he was entangled in a slippery mess of drugs and crime, living on a “steady diet of cocaine,” he knew it was wrong. He knew God existed, and he knew his actions didn't align with His word.
It was just the life he found himself living.
Everything changed for Smith one night, when he found himself hungry — with nothing to feed his addiction, he looked elsewhere.
That's when the relationship he had established with Jesus as a 12-year-old at summer camp came flooding back to him; The grown-up, worn-down, beaten-every-which-way version of Smith was ready to turn his life around.
Smith is now the associate pastor of Restoration Ministries Church in Val Caron.
“Adrian decided he wanted to (use) that same zeal and passion that he'd been living in the other life, and give that to God,” Jeff Edwards, lead pastor at the church, said.
Working together, the two have been helping the church reach its vision, which is one Smith appreciated. The young man, who now has a family and lives on a high inspired by divine energy, said he couldn't have come to a more welcoming place.
“A lot of people think you need to follow these specific rules and regulations — dress a certain way, act a certain way, look a certain way; but, really, what this ministry has taught me is it's all about a relationship with Jesus Christ,” Smith said.
That relationship is one to which everyone is welcome, according to Edwards. To help attract people like Smith, who may not always feel welcome at a place like church, the Restoration Ministries uses an interesting outreach tool.
Outside the big red-brick building is the outline of a blessed-looking biker. It's an image Edwards used to brand a church he used to run in Wyoming — a place where people who bond over a love of bikes could also share their love of Jesus.
“It's an opportunity to reach out to people and build relationships over a common interest,” Edwards said. “We use the motorcycle as a draw for people who wouldn't normally come to church.”
While part of what they do is use the machines to welcome the riding demographic, “the motorcycle is not the focus.” Bringing people to church, who wouldn't otherwise go, is.
“We don't want to exclude anyone,” Edwards said — no matter where they're coming from, everyone is welcome at the church. “We see this place as a refuge for people who are hurting and who are in need.”
It's also a place for searching. At an average Sunday morning service, there are about 60 people in the church. On Sunday nights, the traditional service is exchanged for a more “fun” version of church — featuring lights, music and a fun vibe. The message is always the same though; It's one of love, honour, grace and restoration.
For more information about the church, visit restorechurch.ca.
Posted by Arron Pickard