A Word From Steve Jones
September 17th, 2018
Fellowship chaplains are ministering in areas where the church and clergy are not always permitted to connect. We call them “closed-communities”. A pastor or believer are not free to enter a police station and share the love of Christ. A Fellowship chaplain can.
In the past four years our chaplaincy ministry has grown from 27 to 79 chaplains. The growth has been incredible. Our chaplains are involved in a ministry of presence, seeking to demonstrate the love of Christ to many who would never visit a church. Peoples’ lives are being touched. Over 50 employees and passengers at the Pearson (Toronto) Airport Chapel came to Christ last year due to the ministry of our Fellowship airport chaplains.
I receive good news like this all the time from our Fellowship chaplains. Here are a couple updates from Guy Gravel and Wil Seppenwoolde:
Guy Gravel, Prison Fellowship Chaplain
News from the Prison
Guy Gravel is a prison chaplain in the Joliette Institution (Federal prison): “I have been chaplain of this establishment for two years now. I am witnessing the power of God and His faithfulness. During the past year, we have seen the number of volunteers related to pastoral care multiply (from five to 30). These volunteers, who are affiliated with churches in Lanaudière, come to do activities in the prison and testify of their faith. Others come for detainees who have been allowed to go out to attend worship or religious activity in the area. In 2017, we made more than 300 of these outings. Since February 2018, the number of Escorted Exit Permits has dramatically decreased, for various reasons beyond my control.
Documentary of the TV mini-series “Unité 9”
“Last October 2017, a researcher from the popular TV series, UNITE 9 contacted me to make a document on the work of a chaplain in prison. I accepted with a lot of hesitation and reluctance, because from a one-hour interview they would only keep a few minutes and I was afraid that most of what I wanted to communicate would be cut out. So I solicited prayers that God would guide me. I then met with Danielle Trottier (author of the UNITE 9 series) to express to her that I wanted to sensitize churches and communities of faith to the needs of women who are turning to God. To help integrate them in their new faith and accompany them to reintegrate in the society.
“The documentary was broadcast on Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at 8 p.m. at the ICI Radio-Canada station. I am grateful for the film crew. I believe they translated my intentions and the needs that I wanted to communicate. I am told that over a million viewers have seen the documentary and not a day goes by without my receiving requests from volunteers or churches who wish to get involved in this work of reconciliation. Thank you Lord!
“Please pray that I remain attached to God as Joseph was in his time … even in times of difficulties.”
Wil Seppenwoolde, Nursing Home Fellowship chaplain
“When I first started the end of January things were in rough shape, 16 individuals had passed away since early November and attendance at Christian functions was low. I had a few faith-filled residents who made it a priority to attend what was offered. Well, God has certainly brought about change in my long-term care home. I started by offering a real bible study on Tuesdays, I put out a few tables and placed large print New Testament Gideon Bibles at each place setting. We began by walking through the first chapter of the Gospel of John verse by verse. I brought in a complete study Bible and for some of these folks, it seems that they have never linked the Old to the New Testament or vice versa. They now come each week eager to learn more.
“Our Friday afternoon hymn sing began in a lounge on our second floor. Having spent many years in the Church of Christ, an Acapella fellowship, I can typically belt out a tune on key. The numbers began to grow as we simply went page by page through our songbook. I usually talk about a song and some of the meanings when I know them. We grew enough that we had to move to the chapel, now we are needing to move to the Ground Hall as we are once again bursting at the seams.
“God has taken this once shy young man, taught him how to be comfortable in front of people, and a heart for those who are in the final leg of their journey here on earth. To God be the glory, I serve a God who began grooming me for this role decades ago, and then patiently but consistently prodded me until I accepted the role He has chosen for me. God is good all the time.”
Rev. Sunder Krishnan
Enrichment Gathering for Ontario Chaplains
On October 25, 2018 Ontario Fellowship Chaplains will gather for an enrichment seminar for training, fellowship, and prayer. Our special speaker is Rev. Sunder Krishnan who will be speaking on “Soul Care”, addressing the prayer life of a chaplain.
Please continue to pray for our Fellowship chaplains as they minister, often alone, in settings our churches are often not permitted to connect with or touch. Their “ministry of presence” is touching lives with the love of Christ.
Please also consider supporting one of our Fellowship chaplains. Several must raise their own personal and ministry support and many are under-supported. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
If you would like to become a Fellowship Chaplain, start by clicking here to read more about the ministry and the steps to joining our growing team.
Have a blessed week,
Our Fellowship International department recently deployed three families to Pakistan and Quebec. It continues to be a joy and privilege for our International department to come alongside our local churches and support them in the sending of their missionaries. I asked Dave Martunen, our Fellowship International Director to introduce you to these choice servants and the task they have before them:
Qazis to Pakistan
In mid-September 2018, Jamila and Nadeem Qazi will be commissioned from Parkland Fellowship BC, to Karachi, Pakistan. What shines through them both, with undimmed power, is the hope of knowing Jesus as Lord and Saviour. The Qazis embody the motto, Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God!
Nielsens to Quebec
Eric and Valerie Nielsen along with their two children, Zachary and Julia, relocated to Saint-Jérôme, QC, in early July this year. Eric completed his studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in 2015. He then took up an internship in their new home church, Maple Avenue Baptist in Georgetown, ON. Under Pastor James Seaward’s leadership, Eric was focused on young adults and his passion to make disciples among college and career-aged people in Montreal was affirmed. To fulfill this vision Eric and Valerie will first acquire French language through a tutor in Saint-Jérôme. Eric and Valerie have raised a strong support team among their families, friends, colleagues, and Fellowship churches in Ontario. This couple will serve as catalysts to form disciple-makers. Canada’s open immigration means that Francophones from all over the world have made Montreal their home. The nations are in our neighbourhoods! As people come to Christ, we envision that by supporting AÉBÉQ, our French-speaking Fellowship Region, we will see their work serve as an incubator for disciple-making movements among Francophone nations around the world.
Middletons to Quebec
Chris and Sara Middleton, and their two boys, Jude and Ethan, have deployed to Quebec after eight years in our Fellowship International office. Chris and Sara served separately and then together (after their marriage) in Turkey for eight years by using creative methods to present the Gospel and then to disciple Turks. A series of events resulted in their return to Canada. Both Chris and Sara nurtured an open desire to return to disciple-making initially believing that this would mean an eventual return to Turkey. However, as they prayed, and pursued counsel, the Lord opened their hearts to Quebec. They see themselves as formed by God to support disciple-making movements in Quebec by coming alongside Fellowship leaders and Francophone disciple makers. Our Quebec Region has asked that Chris and Sara assist them to orient missionaries who are being sent into their Region from all over the world. In order to form effective partnerships, Chris and Sara will be part of a team focused on orienting new missionaries into the Region and culture of Quebec. Chris and Sara are uniquely qualified to facilitate these outcomes. Right now they are committed to acquiring French language. To make that a reality, the Middletons purchased a home in the greater Montreal area, relocated their family to Quebec at the end of June, and will begin language acquisition. They, too, have a strong partner base from among their families, friends, and Ontario Fellowship churches. The Middletons embody the motto: Just because you can’t do everything, don’t fail to do something.
Thank you to the many churches and donors who have generously supported these three families. Please be mindful of praying for them in the months and years to come.
Have a blessed week,
Dear Prayer Partners,
I am so grateful to each of you for your continued prayer support these past few months.
Please find attached – my latest quarterly prayer news.
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Today is “Labour Day”, when we pay homage to all the hard working people of our nation. But too much of a good thing can be a problem. Burnout is a problem in the church.
In a survey conducted by Dr. Richard J. Krejcir, he discovered 90% of pastors stated they are frequently fatigued and worn out. In a Focus on the Family survey, 80% of pastors were discouraged in their role as pastor. In both surveys, 70% of pastors admitted to not having any close friends.
Burnout is characterized by emotional exhaustion and/or low satisfaction.
The occurrence of burnout among pastors in North America is increasing, and ministry (job) satisfaction is one of the strongest predictors of burnout; only second to personality factors such as not having good personal coping mechanisms, an overwhelming desire to please others or inability to differentiate self from role.
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A couple years back several Canadian denominational leaders were interviewed and all expressed concern regarding a future clergy shortage among evangelical churches. Everyone is seeking ways to keep pastors healthy, particularly young pastors. Surveys consistently show that younger pastors ranked their job satisfaction lower than older pastors. How do we keep younger pastors from burnout and losing them from decades of fruitful service in pastoral ministry?
Thom Rainer spoke at our FNC 2015 in Gatineau, QC. His research and practical advice to pastors and churches is legendary. In a brief article, From Burnout to Vision, he shares 12 ways pastors went from burnout to effectiveness. He spoke to 17 pastors who had experienced burnout and later re-engaged into exciting ministries.
Thom asked them what they did to reverse their dark spiral of burnout? He tabulated their answers and formed them into the following dozen behaviours:
Our Fellowship offers, in cooperation with Focus on the Family, a service to all Fellowship pastors, missionaries, chaplains and their families. Clergy can phone the “Clergy-Care” hotline (1-888-5CLERGY) to get help. A confidential call to a qualified Christian counselor who will be happy to talk to you for two to three calls before referring you (if necessary) to a Christian counselor in your area. Our Fellowship Health Plan also has some coverage for counselor fees as well.
Don’t delay. If you are in some prolonged distress, start by making a confidential call to 1-888-5CLERGY. We are responsible to manage our soul-care…make the call. Click here to get more information about the Fellowship Clergy Care ministry.
Warmly in Christ,
PS. October is “Pastor Appreciation Month”. What are you planning to do to encourage your pastor and their family in October?
John Newton penned these familiar words:
“Amazing grace how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now I’m found,
Was blind but now I see.”
These lyrics, sung in churches and stadiums, have sought to capture the saving work of Christ in the life of an individual sinner saved by grace. But, words like “saved, converted or born again” get bad press these days. Should we use them?
I won’t weigh in on this question specifically. I suppose other words could easily be used. However, one of the key tenants of evangelical Christianity is the conviction that “conversionism” is a necessity.
Conversion is a concept found throughout the New Testament. The gospel writers used the Greek words “metanoia” (to change your thinking, to repent), “epistrephein” (to turn back), the “new birth” (1 Peter 1:3) and “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17). All these terms sought to describe people turning from their former loyalties to a new allegiance with Christ.
This “turning” looks different with different people, but an identifiable turning is clearly experienced. Augustine’s “light of confidence” over a process toward monasticism, Luther’s sudden conversion after years of inner struggle, Wesley’s heart being “strangely warmed” after years of religion, thousands responding at Billy Graham crusades and the “belonging” before “believing”, that seems to happen at Alpha and Christianity Explore local church dinner meetings. All have in common the reality of turning and changing one’s allegiance. Let’s never forget the necessity to call people to change, not just a decision.
In recent years, Willow Creek (Chicago) and Bill Hybel’s admission that a new emphasis of “making disciples, not just decisions," was necessary (in their REVEAL book) sparked much thought, studies and books. A good emphasis on our call to “make disciples”, not converts has occurred. The Engel’s scale emphasized the process many people are in towards a decision. Missional Communities were a means to go to the people and engage them in that process. Evangelism has become or is becoming the natural outflow of your daily life in Christ. Not just a tool, even of ministry. None of these are bad, but better used in a life lived in community.
In this development and understanding of the process to conversion, and the critical nature of discipleship in the local church; is there a possibility that “conversionism” is being pushed out? Do we lose the language because we see the discipleship failures of the late 20th century? Hmm…
I still remember hearing one of my pastor friends (thanks John) say in a sermon: “If you’re not sure when you decided to become a Christian, maybe it’s because you’re not. Surely such a life-changing event would be memorable!” Good counsel.
The decision may happen over time or in an instant, but it must happen.
Register for our upcoming Fellowship National Conference (FNC 2018) by clicking here. This year we will be in Richmond, BC from November 12 to 14.
Our speakers, Jeff Vanderstelt (Missional Communities / SOMA) and Paul Watson (Disciple-Making Movements) will certainly challenge all of us in the work of “making disciples”. We will also be voting on two important documents at FNC 2018; our new “Marriage and Human Sexuality” policy and a new Bylaw, Article 15.1, which defines the authority of all national documents. The wording for these policies will be sent to all Fellowship churches in September.
Have a blessed week,
Steve Jones here… The local church ministry season is about to pick up… September is about to appear. I thought I’d share some counsel on best practices for church leadership Boards.
The health of a church Board is essential for maintaining church health. Most of the following is borrowed from the BoardSource paper, “The Board Building Cycle.”
Board members are often in short supply. But the job of building a church Board is more than just filling slots. It is also about being strategic about the composition of who should be on the Board. Is the individual passionate about Jesus, the mission He has called us to accomplish, and deeply committed to our church’s vision? How are we constantly identifying and cultivating these potential future candidates? The “nominating committee’s” role is not just to fill the slots, but also to ensure the Board continuously strives to be as effective as it can be with the best leaders.
BOARD ROLES and RESPONSIBILITIES
The governing Board of any local church should be thinking about accomplishing the following:
- Develop and maintain focus on mission and vision.
- Establish strategic direction.
- Delegate authority for organizational management.
- Articulate, safeguard, model, and promote organizational values.
- Develop policies related to the generation of financial resources.
- Ensure that the necessary resources are made available for implementation of the mission.
- Ensure that the organization has the leadership needed at both the staff level and the Board level.
- Establish financial policies and ensure accountability.
- Ensure compliance with applicable laws and ethical standards.
- Monitor progress toward strategic goals and evaluate outcomes.
INDIVIDUAL BOARD MEMBER RESPONSIBILITIES
- Attend all Board and committee meetings and functions, such as special events.
- Stay informed about the organization’s mission, services, policies, and programs.
- Review agenda supporting materials prior to Board and committee meetings.
- Serve on committees and offer to take on special assignments.
- Make a personal financial contribution to the organization.
- Inform others about the organization.
- Suggest possible nominees to the Board who can make significant contributions to the work of the Board and the organization.
- Keep up-to-date on developments in the organization’s field.
- Follow conflict-of-interest and confidentiality policies.
- Refrain from making special requests of the staff.
- Assist the Board in carrying out its fiduciary responsibilities, such as reviewing annual financial statements.
—Adapted from “Six keys to recruiting, orienting and involving non-profit
Board members” by Judith Grummon Nelson, BoardSource, 1993
Good governing Boards do not just happen. Boards must be intentional. Wise leaders spend time not just doing the work of the ministry, they also spend time and attention on the training and equipping of current and future Board members. Good Boards need to work to become great Boards. Below is an example of a nine-step Board Building Cycle. Good Boards will ensure they are regularly taking steps to strengthen their performance at each step of the cycle.
The Board Building Cycle
Step 1: Identify the needs of the Board: the skills, knowledge, perspectives, connections, etc., needed to implement the strategic plan. What do you have? What is missing?
Step 2: Cultivate sources of potential Board members and identify individuals with the desired characteristics. Ask current Board members, senior staff, and others to suggest potential candidates. Find ways to connect with those candidates, get them interested in your organization, and keep them informed of your progress.
Step 3: Recruit prospects. Describe why prospective members are wanted and needed. Explain expectations and responsibilities of Board members, and don’t minimize requirements. Invite questions, elicit prospects’ interest, and find out if they are prepared to serve.
Step 4: Orient new Board members both to the organization and to the Board explaining the history, programs, pressing issues, finances, facilities, bylaws, and organizational chart. Describe committees, Board member responsibilities, and lists of Board members and key staff members.
Step 5: Involve all Board members. Discover their interests and availability. Involve them in committees or task forces. Assign them a Board “buddy.” Solicit feedback. Hold everyone accountable. Express appreciation for work well done.
Step 6: Educate the Board. Provide information concerning your mission area. Promote exploration of issues facing the organization. Hold retreats and encourage Board development activities by sending Board members to seminars and workshops. Don’t hide difficulties.
Step 7: Evaluate the Board as a whole, as well as individual Board members. Examine how the Board and chief executive work as a team. Engage the Board in assessing its own performance. Identify ways in which to improve. Encourage individual self-assessment.
Step 8: Rotate Board members. Establish term limits. Do not automatically reelect for an additional term; consider the Board’s needs and the Board member’s performance. Explore advisability or resigning with members who are not active. Develop new leadership.
Step 9: Celebrate! Recognize victories and progress, no matter how small. Appreciate individual contributions to the Board, the organization, and the community. Make room for humor and a good laugh.
Steps 1-4 of the “Board Building Cycle” addresses the need to replenish the Board with the best people possible:
I trust this brief study on Board recruitment and performance helps your church experience a great ministry season.
Have a blessed week,
If love is more an action than a feeling, what action best represents one’s love for another?
The “love chapter” (1 Corinthians 13) declares that love is kind; it does not envy; it is humble, respectful, and patient. The ultimate test of my ability to do all of these is found in a single act.
When someone hurts me, how do I respond? Do I keep a grudge, seek revenge, or get bitter? 1 Corinthians 13:5(b) says that our love should “keep no record of wrongs”.
One husband said, “When my wife and I get into an argument, she gets historical.” His friend said, “You mean hysterical”. The husband responded, “No, I mean historical. She brings up the past!”
The ultimate test of my love is whether I will FORGI VE. Forgiveness gets abused and misused; there is a lot of faulty thinking around the Biblical concept of forgiveness. Take the following test to see how well you grasp the concept:
Forgiveness Quiz T F
A person should not be forgiven until they ask for it.
Forgiving includes minimizing the offence and pain caused.
Forgiveness includes restoring trust and reuniting the relationship.
You have not really forgiven until you’ve forgotten the offense.
When I see someone hurt, it’s my duty to forgive the offender.
Carefully read these statements and you’ll agree that each is false according to Jesus’ teaching on forgiveness.
To demonstrate true Biblical forgiveness, we are going to need to ignore our right to get even.
Romans 12:19 (NLT) says: “Dear Friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, ‘I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord”.
Many of us feel that if we give up our own right to get even, then somehow that is unfair — you’re right! It is unfair. But who said forgiveness is about fairness? Was it fair for Jesus to go to the cross? Thank God, the Lord does not treat us fairly. Instead, He treats us graciously… and he promises that one day He will settle the score and make all wrong right.
If we don’t do this we fall into the trap of bitterness. Like a cancer, it will eat us from the inside out. You become miserable and make others around you miserable.
In Simon Wiesenthal’s book, “The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness”, the Austrian Nazi hunter tells his own story in the first half of the book. He was pulled out of his Nazi concentration camp, brought to a hospital and into a room with a lone SS officer lying in bed near death. The SS officer spoke of the atrocities he had done to the Jews. He thought they were all gone until the nurse mentioned there were still some in the camps. The SS officer was burned beyond recognition and near death. He asked Simon to forgive him on behalf of all Jews. Simon quietly left the hospital room, never saying a word. He then asked if he had done the right thing. The second half of the book is comprised of the answers he received from people who responded to his question. People of faith, politics, philosophy, and great thinkers responded, and, except for a few Christians, all agreed that he had done the right thing in not forgiving the monster that lay dying in his hospital bed.
Had Simon done the right thing? I can’t imagine being in his predicament, being asked to forgive a fanatical Nazi with the blood of innocent Jews on his hands.
Some of us have been deeply hurt. I don’t want to come across as insensitive or to minimize the wounds that others carry. The hurt, rejection, abuse, and betrayal that some have lived through is horrendous.
But, the only way to get on with life in a healthy way is to forgive. The ultimate test. It’s the only way to get over the hurt. Do it because God forgave you — He expects this of His children, and the alternative is miserable.
Have a blessed week,
Christianity Today reports, “Researcher found that 82% of Protestants consider a sermon’s Biblical lesson as a major factor that draws them to worship services.” Another 80% of these same worship-goers said they valued sermons that connect faith to everyday life.
Churches spend a lot of time on the quality and excellence of a lot of things in congregational life. But do we spend adequate time on the one thing most people show up for Sunday by Sunday?
It should not surprise anyone that people are especially hungry for truth in our current post-truth, post-facts culture. People are finding it harder than ever to identify fact from fiction, fake news from real, and reality from conspiracy. People are thirsty for what Scripture promises… the truth that is Christ Himself.
Ed Stetzer pointed out that one mega church has started to “beef up” its teaching in response to unchurched people asking for it. Ed writes, “In other words, those for whom sermons were being dumbed down for aren’t dumb. They are interested in the truth or else they’d be out golfing.”
The Church will never win the entertainment battle. So stop trying. Gathering for worship isn’t ultimately about us anyways. We gather to be instructed, admonished, equipped, and encouraged.
To do this takes hard work. Preparing Biblical, deep, practical sermons resting firmly on the authority of Scripture requires a lot of study, imagination and prayer. There are no short cuts.
If preachers consistently take short cuts, their churches too often become “a mile wide but an inch deep.”
Let me encourage you to study hard, write, wrestle, prevail, pray and remember the measure of judgement applied to preacher-teachers. A sobering thought that must drive the preacher to depend upon the Lord.
Preaching God’s Word. Foolishness to the worldly wise. However, still the most powerful way to change and transform the hearts and minds of truth-hungry people.
Have a blessed week,
Steve here… On April 23, a terrorist plot in Toronto resulted in human misery and loss of life. I contacted Pastor Bruce Jones of Willowdale Baptist Church the day after the event. This Fellowship Church is very close to the location of the terror incident.
Bruce wrote back:
“It has been an absolutely surreal time over the last few days… so many interviews and opportunities to share the love of Christ. We have opened the doors of the church since we’re so close to Olive Square; the ground zero of the situation. Coffee, tea, snacks, food, conversation, a warm, dry place… it has been well used and we’re trying to set things up to keep it open for a few more days.”
“Someday, maybe I can give a more detailed response. Suffice it to say, it’s been heavy and exhausting, but we can tell that God is up to something at Yonge and Finch. Thanks for your prayers; we need them more than you know!”
“Blessings in Jesus, Bruce”
It’s been a few months since the terror event. So I contacted Pastor Bruce to comment on what happened. What did he and his church learn from this tragic event?
I’ll let Bruce comment:
“When a deeply hurting person drove a rented van onto the sidewalk just steps away from our church on April 23rd, taking the lives of 10 people and severely altering the lives of 16 more, the Willowdale community was just like any other community in the mega-city of the GTA… bustling and self-focused, yet relatively secure and unconcerned with safety issues any more complex than walking unscathed across the very congested streets.
“As the immensity of the tragedy reverberated around Canada and the world, however, folks living and working near the main artery of Willowdale — Yonge Street from Sheppard Avenue on the south to Finch Avenue on the north—quickly realized that life was never quite going to be the same again. Our church (Willowdale Baptist — just steps south of Yonge and Finch) made the decision to open our doors to the growing number of people drawn to a make-shift memorial in Olive Square, a 30 second walk from our door. People were visiting this site to sign letters of condolence, lay flowers, light candles, pray and cry for the lives affected. This tiny greenspace became the headquarters for the city and country’s grief for weeks to come. News and camera crews cluttered the area and the site became a place of pilgrimage for hurting people.
“We simply put out a sandwich board sign near Olive Square alerting the people to the fact that we were open to attend to some immediate needs — a warm and dry place, washrooms, hot drinks, prayer, a quiet place for reflection and/or to talk to someone who cares. When we opened the church lounge, we had no idea if we could handle the needs or would have enough coffee or enough caring ears to make any difference at all. That’s where the Lord took over!! Within an hour of opening the church, I met a couple of blue-shirted blessings who identified themselves as ‘Rapid Response Chaplains’ from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. They had arrived on the scene that morning, sure that their training in Critical Incident Stress Management and their skills in sharing the Gospel could be of benefit. They were simply looking for a place to ‘set up shop’. We accepted their offer with thanks and for the next full week we had six trained chaplains operating out of our building! In addition, the Family Life Centre of Tyndale University sent various professional Christian therapists who met with folks needing counsel — a couple of them brought trained therapy dogs who helped to create safe spaces for people to open up. Other trauma counsellors and Christian workers were drawn to the area, playing an important role in the first steps of dealing with the grief of the community.”
“The challenge now is to continue the care started in late April, taking opportunities to present the Gospel of Christ to those who need to respond to His love. A member of our church who works at Yonge Street Mission has started a grief support group. In addition, one of our associate pastors, working with a group of other pastors and Christian leaders, created the ‘We Love Willowdale’ team which has spearheaded the interdenominational Christian response to the tragedy, beginning with a stirring worship walk down Yonge Street just days after the attack. As a church, we have seen an increase in the number of hurting people coming through our doors on Sundays and throughout the week which has provided us with many discipleship opportunities.”
“In the weeks following the event, we keep coming back to a couple of scriptures — Genesis 50:20, where Joseph tells his brothers that something they had meant for evil, God meant for good, for the saving of many lives… and Romans 12:21, ‘Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.’! God is working, even through tragedy!"
—Pastor Bruce Jones, Willowdale Baptist Church
A big thank you to Pastor Bruce, his pastoral staff, and the Willowdale Baptist family who represented so well Christ’s love and compassion.
Have a blessed week,
The Joshua Project continues to do essential research on the unreached people groups of the world. Started in 1995, the project continues to discover the number of evangelicals among the 16,508 identified people groups of the world. Among the 236 countries of the world, 6,686 of the people groups are classified as “unreached”. How does the Joshua Project define whether a people group (16,508) or ethnic group (9,803) is reached or unreached? There are five classifications:
Table reproduced from https://joshuaproject.net/global/progress, current as of June 12, 2018.
Let’s briefly look at one of these classifications more closely.
Classification #2: Formerly or Falsely Reached Peoples
“Formerly or Falsely reached peoples” who identify as Christian but there are few evangelicals.
THIS IS QUEBEC
The classification defined above describes Francophone Canadians (7.8 million), with only 0.8% self-identifying themselves as evangelicals. Their low evangelical percentage and high professing Christian percentage has actually inoculated many against the Gospel; often even becoming hostile to the Gospel.
Many think they know Christianity, but they only know a distorted caricature of the real thing. French Canadians need to be re-introduced to Biblical Christianity. They must meet and witness devoted followers of Christ in their communities.
It is for this reason the Fellowship’s AÉBÉQ (French) Region asked our Fellowship International ministry to send workers to Quebec. Two couples have heard the call and need you and our churches’ partnership and support.
Introducing the Nielsens and Middletons
Eric and Valerie Nielsen will be moving to Quebec to make disciples and help plant Gospel-proclaiming churches in Montreal with impact on the world. They will serve alongside other leaders, providing supportive leadership within a core team of new French-speaking church plants in Montreal, disciple believers, and build up future leaders for Gospel impact.
Chris and Sara are moving to Quebec this summer as Fellowship International missionaries to catalyze disciple-making movements among Francophones. As they serve they will also be filling the role of field leaders for this new mission field for Fellowship International (recruiting, mentoring, and leading Fellowship International personnel in Quebec).
Please prayerfully consider support of the Nielsens and/or Middletons who will be missionaries among a “formerly reached people group” – Canadians who happen to speak French.
To find out more about the Nielsens and/or Middletons click HERE.
QUEBEC VISION TOUR (October 15-17, 2018)
Twice annually I take pastors, leaders and donors to tour Quebec church plants for two days. It’s an opportunity to see the huge spiritual need and consider partnering with a French church plant for several years. If interested, check out this VIDEO and contact me HERE.
Have a blessed week,