Recently I spoke at Hope City Church in Barrie, Ontario. It is a new church meeting in a downtown theatre. They are involved in street ministries similar to what I experience at New Song Church.

Before the service, the pastor and some of his lead team met with me to discuss urban ministry and ask questions from my experiences. We swapped stories and shared guiding principles that help us focus on whom we need to be as workers with Jesus in the streets.

One of my thoughts centred on being flexible. All of our preconceived ideas of how to be effective often get sidelined by the need to be lead by the Spirit in the situations we find ourselves. I described it as doing ‘improv’.

Do you remember high school drama class where you learned to be given a hypothetical situation and then improvise your lines to create a story in that moment? You could not prepare for improvisation. You simply had to be there and respond to an unusual set of circumstances.

And then… we went to the church service where Kevin Saunders and I played music as 2fish, our acoustic duo. Right after a certain song, it was my turn to preach. For the first time I can recall, I had left my preaching notes back in the car and it was now time to preach. I had to improv. Fortunately, I was familiar enough with the message to preach without notes or a Bible.

That is improv. Being ready to preach, help someone in distress, take charge in a chaotic situation, make a spontaneous gift…