Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Steve Jones here… A few months back I attended Church Planting Canada’s “Catalyst Conference”, which is a gathering of church planting catalysts from almost every evangelical denomination and ministry seeking to plant churches within Canada. I mostly listened and we also shared about the Fellowship’s current church planting efforts.
The one thing I heard over and over again was the admission that each ministry or denomination did not have their church planting act totally together yet, but almost everyone declared they were doing far better than 10-15 years ago.
From what I heard, I would agree. Currently our Fellowship Regions — working in concert with our local churches — are shepherding close to 50 church plants. We give God the glory!
Church Planting NEWS from our Regions
I recently sat down with our Regional Church Planting Directors from each of our five Fellowship Regions. We gather four times a year to encourage the sharing of resources, best practices, communication, and to plan shared initiatives. We spent a lot of time just sharing what is happening in each of our Regions concerning church planting. Again, I was encouraged by what I heard and thought I would share a few highlights.
Todd Chapman is the Regional staff member in our Fellowship Pacific Region who cares for church planting. He spoke of West Village Church near Victoria, BC; a church planted around six years ago. They planted their first satellite church recently. Pray for Pastors Chris and Robin as they steward these two young churches. The Pacific Region also shared about their aggressive, faith-filled vision for planting new churches over the next several years.
Mark Breitkreuz, our Fellowship Prairies Regional Director does double-duty caring for church planting among our Prairie province churches. He mentioned the recent interest in planting ethnic churches in Calgary, Edmonton and Saskatoon, focusing on Filipino and Arabic communities. There will also be a replant of Westbourne Baptist in Calgary this fall 2017.
Tom Haines serves as FEB Central’s Church Planting Director. He shared encouraging news of eight plants this past year and likely 10 more plants in the upcoming year. Tom spoke of 22 potential church plants in the “incubator” stage. Examples were a healthy church plant in Picton, several Arabic-speaking church plants, a Filipino church in Kingsville and a “biker” church in London. Big things are happening among our churches in Ontario.
Terry Cuthbert shared that his Church Planting Director’s role in our AÉBÉQ (Québec) Region recently passed to Pastor Jean-Pierre Gagné after a couple years of succession in planning. Terry now serves as Jean-Pierre’s Associate Director. Our Québec Region is currently working with 14 French-speaking church plants and two English-speaking plants. Three missionary couples from Canada, USA and Colombia (there are 3,100 Colombians living in Granby, QC) are on their way to Québec to help in their church planting efforts. In a recent leadership training seminar, 240 participants attended, indicating an interest in being trained for greater leadership responsibility. The hope is some potential church planters and/or launch team members are among this group of believers.
Pastor Brad Somers is a church planter in Halifax, NS and he also serves as Fellowship Atlantic’s Church Planting Director. Our Atlantic Region is our smallest region with 16 churches, but they are definitely “punching above their weight” with three current church plants in progress. One plant in Parsboro, NS began in November 2015, and in their first nine months have baptized 16 new believers. God is so good. Please join me in praying for a church to be planted in Newfoundland — the only province where no Fellowship Baptist Church exists.
This is only a brief snapshot of what is happening in our Regions. I hope it has encouraged you as it has me. My prayer continues to be that healthy Fellowship churches multiply themselves through the planting of churches. We have a rich heritage of planting churches. It’s in our DNA. Our Regional Church Planting Directors would love to support you in your efforts to launch out in 2017.
Have a blessed week,