Meet the millennials who are bringing God to the club

Pastor Jeff Pike and his congregation at the Mod Club during the Groundswell Sunday morning service. (Jennie Pearson)

Pastor Jeff Pike and his congregation at the Mod Club during the Groundswell Sunday morning service. (Jennie Pearson)

This Sunday marked the first ever church service held at the Mod Club. While it’s not your average venue, this is certainly not your average church.

Groundswell is a non-denominational Christian church that is attracting young people with its high-energy meetings and approachable demeanour. With a full electric band, strobe lights, free coffee and candy bar, it’s no surprise that millennials feel comfortable there.

“You can come in your jeans, come in your sweat pants, or your pajamas. We’re not going to judge you,” said Jazelle Nicholson, one of several Ryerson students who are a part of Groundswell.

Nicholson is a third-year creative industries student at Ryerson and has been going to Groundswell meetings for almost a year. She heard of the church from fellow student, Chelsea Schringa, who is part of the Groundswell team and sings with the church’s band.

Ryerson social work student Chelsea Schringa is part of the Groundswell team and sings with the church’s band. (Jennie Pearson)

Ryerson social work student Chelsea Schringa singing with the Groundswell band. (Jennie Pearson)

According to Nicholson, what keeps her around is the community. “This is a church where you can find belonging…where people really care about you,” she said.

Groundswell Church was founded two years ago by 27-year-old Jeff Pike from London, Ont.

While studying theology in Australia, Pike was introduced to Hillsong, a church with over 100,000 members around the globe. He was inspired by what a church could be.

He later moved back to Canada with his wife, Mika, and they started building their own church with the hope of creating community in a sometimes lonely place like Toronto.

“You can walk through the streets and see so many people but not connect … I’ve never met so many people, but so many lonely people,” said Pike.

While Pike’s main goal is to spread the word of Jesus, he hopes in his church he is creating a place that people feel welcome, no matter their beliefs.

“A lot of churches are known for what they’re against, and I want to be a church that’s known for what we’re for … and we’re for the people of this city.”

Groundswell will continue to hold meetings at the Mod Club on Sunday mornings. Pike hopes one day the church will have its own 24 hour drop-in centre. It’s all part of his five-year plan.

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