A Word From Steve Jones
february 18th, 2019
Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Steve here… I thought you would be encouraged to hear about some stories of ministry from our Fellowship International missionaries. These are good news stories:
It is difficult to share Christ in this country. Last year one of our veteran missionary families was told by the government they had two months to leave the country. After 20 plus years of ministry and no explanation, this was a shock. Our mission’s personnel live in difficult circumstances, but God remains faithful and the church continues to grow. Our personnel have been involved in Family Camp through the years. Here is one story, the testimony of one Pakistani mother who attended a family camp recently:
“When my husband said we were going to a family program, I was extremely worried; who knows what kind of environment it will be? My husband said they are not of our religion (those at the camp where we would be going), so I made a lot of excuses so that we could not go. But my husband and children really wanted to go.
“The first day went by with a lot of shame and fear, and I only enjoyed it a little bit. But by the second day it seemed like everyone were brothers and sisters; they were like friends and people we’ve known for a long time – I received a lot of love.
“I say my daily prayers and used to believe that only our fellow religious people are good and worthy and that all others are blasphemers. But coming here to this camp, I felt like I was in my own home or together with my own relatives. I have learned fundamental things about family life, even though I am a teacher at a government school.
“I will tell my relatives and friends that the followers of Jesus Christ are people of love. We hope we will receive an invitation to the next camp. I will bring my girlfriends’ families with me.”
Our Fellowship International personnel serving in Spain live in a region called Extremadura (which, in English, means “very hard”). The ground is stony, but they have experienced some very encouraging signs of spiritual thirst. Here are a couple recent stories told by our missionaries themselves.
Cookies turn to conversation with a “person of peace”:
“November 13, 2018 was International Kindness Day, so I baked some cookies to deliver to friends and neighbours. There are too many details to share here, but the best part was the reaction of the owners of a nearby bookstore, a married couple with whom we’ve chatted from time to time. At the precise moment I walked into the shop with my basket of cookies, they had been talking about inviting me to be the guest storyteller at the bilingual school’s Christmas celebration. They were surprised, to say the least, to see me arrive just then! The secretary of the parents’ association was in the store at the same time. To summarize, the couple asked if they could meet for coffee with us and some of their friends (including the secretary and her husband) so they could hear us talk about our “stuff” (and that’s how they put it!). They would plan the place and time and do the inviting. On December 1st, we met for the first time and they chose the coffee shop of some other friends of ours who are also, we believe, seeking Truth. We were able to share about how God led us to Spain and why our faith is based on the Truth of the Word of God rather than tradition. They were very open and want to meet again. We believe this couple are “persons of peace”. Please pray that they will schedule another gathering and that a regular time to meet will be set up."
A Book begins a friendship with an Apollos:
“Early in December 2018, we received a call from the Catholic radio station that covers all of Extremadura, requesting an interview about the book I wrote about marriage. The interviewer asked very good questions and we were pleased by how it went. About 10 days later, we received an email from someone who lives in a town about two hours away. He had heard the interview and wanted to purchase seven copies of the book. You may remember that last fall, I had travelled to pray in every town and village in Extremadura. The town this man lives in was the one that I decided I wanted to return to. So, the decision was quickly made that we’d go to his town to meet him and deliver the books in person. We spent several hours with him. He happens to be the Catholic priest of this parish. Could he be the Apollos we’ve been praying for? He was very open about his frustrations with the empty ritualism of his people and his desire to see them have a real encounter with Jesus. It was an amazing conversation that went on for several hours as he showed us the town. He’s a very nice guy and we feel this is the beginning of a friendship. We feel God is up to something special and amazing! Pray for Kingdom advances!”
Fellowship International missionaries seeking partners
Thank you for praying for our Fellowship missionaries around the world. Currently, we have four career missionaries looking to go to their field in 2019 / 2020. They are looking for churches and people to become a part of their support team. Please prayerfully consider this:
Bechara and Roula Karkafi
to Lebanon; sent by Greenbelt
Church, Ottawa, ON
Kevin and Micaela Miller
sent by Calvary Baptist Church, Edmonton, AB
Adam Pietrantonio to Japan; sent by Church of the City, Guelph, ON
Wayne and Shirley van der Merwe
to Indonesia; sent by Westsyde Fellowsh
Have a blessed week,
Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Steve here… Our mission as a Fellowship movement of churches is to make passionate disciples of Jesus Christ. Are we accomplishing our mission?
In the latest winter edition of the Fellowship’s THRIVE magazine, we investigate this topic in “WALK: Disciple Making Movements”.
I strongly encourage you to click here to check out this important edition of THRIVE.
Read about what a Disciple-making Movement (DMM) is and learn about some encouraging signs on the mission fields where our Fellowship International missionaries live and serve. Our Fellowship International department has adopted the principles of DMMs to advance the gospel.
Read about three case-studies on how to adopt a multiplying disciple-making pathway as a local church.
I found Pastor Spencer Adams of Church of the City (Guelph, ON) especially helpful:
When Jesus said to His disciples, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men,” He wasn’t inviting them to attend a class or purchase a curriculum. It was an invitation to share in His everyday life—to eat at his table, follow where He went, and minister alongside Him. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, He commissioned His followers to do with others what he had done with them. That same commission rests on us today.
This is what we, at Church of the City, aim to accomplish through missional communities: men and women applying the truth of the Gospel to everyday life. In order to accomplish this, missional communities explore three Gospel identities.
First, because of our adoption by God the Father, we are now the family of God. Missional communities ask, “How will we live as the family of God?”
Second, because Jesus promised that the same Spirit that empowered His ministry would live in us, we believe that we are missionaries sent out in the power of the Holy Spirit. Missional communities ask, “Where are we being sent to demonstrate the Gospel in word and deed?” Finally, because even after Jesus’ death and resurrection some of the disciples were still doubting, we recognize that being disciples of Jesus is a lifelong apprenticeship. Missional communities ask, “What are our next steps in our apprenticeship to Jesus?”
On the most practical level, this looks like a lot of meals shared together, men and women committing to Gospel-centred accountability over the long haul, parties and celebrations that include Jesus followers and those far from God, and tangible displays of the Gospel in our neighbourhoods.
Our Fellowship Pacific Region reports in our latest THRIVE magazine that every church in their region will intentionally implement a discipleship plan by 2022. Why this massive goal? Because they discovered only a small percentage of their churches (BC/Yukon) had a plan and even fewer were implementing one.
I encourage you to read our current THRIVE magazine and consider what you and your church is doing to make disciples who make disciples
Have a blessed week,
Please find a copy of my most recent Prayer Newsletter attached to this email.
Click to Download and Print Below:
Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains, and friends,
Steve here… The times are “a changin’”, as Bob Dylan once sung. The secularization of Canada and the subtle establishing of a secular public confession continues:
It is because of this that our Fellowship National Council has planned a Communication campaign this year to make our churches and leaders more aware of what is at stake regarding religious freedom in Canada.
Religious Freedom Survey Results
You’ll receive further blog reports from “A Word from Steve” and Religious Liberty Communiques. This past Fall our Fellowship National office hosted a “Religious Freedom Survey”. Almost 20% of our churches responded; 88% of the respondents were our Lead Pastors. Here is a snap-shot of what we are saying on the subject:
A December 2018 senate Committee on the Charitable Sector in Canada may possibly be suggesting some of these very same things.
When asked in the survey what Fellowship National might do to practically support our churches in protecting religious freedom in Canada, the top five responses were:
We are looking for local churches who will become our first Fellowship Religious Freedom local churches. These are churches who will seriously consider their involvement in the religious liberty fight in Canada; churches who will assign a leader or team to identify, plan and implement attempts to influence our culture; churches who will put some of their resources behind this endeavor, sharing tools, documents, resources, lessons learned, and finances to continue battling the current negative trajectory in Canada related to religious liberty. If interested, please contact Steve or your Regional Director.
The most important thing we can be doing is pray. Pray for our country. Pray for our churches to remain salty. Pray for our civil authorities. Pray for righteousness in our land. Stay tuned for more updates.
Have a blessed week,