HOW WE STARTED
In 2009 a small group of people at a local church began to feel a deep sense of dissatisfaction with the church, as a whole, in America and in Little Rock. As they looked around they saw a church that was homogeneous and where everyone was excited to look, think, dress, act, and live the same. While they agreed that it is often times more comfortable to be with people who are similar to them than not, they also agreed that "comfortable" wasn't what God has called them to be. They believed that the church was to be a place where diversity was celebrated not avoided, even when it's scary and causes discomfort. They believed that the church should be a place where community, faith, and culture could collide in a way that made church and Christianity once again relevant to day to day life.
After much prayer and planning, their vision of a church community where anyone and everyone could feel welcome and where real life and real faith came together was realized and Canvas Community Church was born.
HOW WE GOT INVOLVED WITH HOMELESSNESS
As Canvas grew and we continued to explore more deeply what it meant to be a different kind of community of faith in the downtown Little Rock area, we began to notice that there was an immense social woe that we, as Christians, simply could not ignore, for it was literally sleeping on our front porch every night: chronic homelessness. Then in 2012, as a massive ice storm hit, leaving ice on the ground and temperatures in Little Rock below freezing for weeks, Canvas felt God leading us to care for the homeless of Little Rock by opening its doors and staffing a 24-hour warming shelter for over a week.
Over that week we fell in love with the homeless of Little Rock and felt that they, like so many of us, had been rejected and unwanted in church for various reasons. So we committed to ourselves to being not only a church that was different, filled with those who have left church or never went to church, but also one that was a place of safety and healing for these beautiful people that so many ignore.
WHAT OUR PURPOSE IS
We believe that the Christian faith is fundamentally about one thing: Life. We also believe that this Life is found when we begin to do the hard inner and outer work to reconcile to actually live the Way of Jesus: Relationship with God, with self, with others, and with the earth and the world around us. We've found that we feel most alive when we are deeply and profoundly present and healthy in all four of those areas. So our purpose isn't to try to fix anyone, stop people from "sinning," or straighten out lives. Rather we are a church family that desires most to help others feel alive and whole and as connected to God, themselves, and others as we do. We find that when we focus on this, the rest of life seems to work itself out.