A Word From Steve Jones
October 14Th, 2019
The month of May is called, “Leave[DB1] a Legacy” month in Canada. Canadians are encouraged to leave a gift through their will or another planned-giving vehicle.
We’re encouraged to donate towards those ministries or organizations that we already support and have a meaningful attachment to. One Development Coordinator said, “It’s a way to make a tremendous impact and control what your legacy is”.
Our Fellowship created the Fellowship Foundation in 2015 and I have been very encouraged by many within our Fellowship family who have used it for direct and investment purposes along with legacy giving through their estate. In less than four years our Foundation has grown to almost $6 million, of which $3.32 million are legacy gifts designated to a variety of Fellowship ministries including local churches, Regions, schools, and national ministries. The following pie chart indicates the designations and percentages. These ministries will benefit from the foresight of donors for years and years to come.
A Couple Tips to Consider
A Word from Gord
“If you are considering this step and would like more information, feel free to contact me. We will assist in helping you fulfill your generosity by providing you with the means to distribute that which God has laid on your heart and direct your legacy to the ministries that you are most passionate about. If you do not have a will, we can provide the legal support to have one done for you quickly, easily, and with a legal cost that is affordable. Feel free to contact me and together, let’s complete your legacy to God’s Kingdom.”
Gord Baptist is Fellowship Advancement Director and can be reached at:
519-821-4830, extension 244 – fax: 519-821-9829 – email@example.com
During the month of May, please prayerfully consider leaving a legacy to the Fellowship through your will. If you’ve been part of our Fellowship family for years, even decades, this would be a tremendous support to the faith-family you have served and loved for years to come. Think strategically when it comes to your estate. What have you highly valued all your life other than your children and other family members? For some, including a charity in your will can actually increase the amount we leave to our spouse or children because of off-setting taxes.
Contact Gord and he can answer your questions.
Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Steve here… Forty-four thousand people daily flee their homes. More than 10 million are stateless, living a life deprived of identity, education, healthcare, the possibility of work or the freedom to move about.
A Crisis in our Time
According to figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) close to 70 million people worldwide have been forcibly displaced from their homes. Almost 26 million of these have been forced to seek refuge in other countries. Half of these are young people under 18 years of age. Many have overstayed their welcome in their host countries. As illegals they move from place to place, hiding from authorities, fearing jail or deportation back to their homelands to face even greater hardship, and possibly death.
For countries close to the epicenters of the conflicts that have resulted in these forced migrations, the challenges of handling an influx of refugees can be overwhelming. For example, Lebanon has a population of six million people, almost a million and a half of which are refugees. Not only does this have a serious impact on the resources needed to look after those crossing the border, but it also threatens to upset the balance of power that maintains the uneasy peace between political factions within the country.
The UNHCR website notes: “In Lebanon, life is a daily struggle for more than a million Syrian refugees, who have little or no financial resources. Around 70 per cent live below the poverty line. There are no formal refugee camps and, as a result, Syrians are scattered throughout more than 2,100 urban and rural communities and locations, often sharing small basic lodgings with other refugee families in overcrowded conditions.”
Two Fellowship International Missionary Families
Two ministries supported by our Fellowship and staffed by Fellowship missionaries, Cedar Home and the Clementia Learning Centre, deal with the realities of the situation on a daily basis as they seek to provide for refugee children and their families.
Cedar Home in Beirut, Lebanon
Fellowship International missionaries Karim and Rita Anayssi direct a Christian home for young girls, many who are Muslim and several who are Syrian refugees, all who are experiencing the love of Christ. Karim is looking for partnership with Fellowship churches to care for these girls.
Clementia Learning Centre in Beirut, Lebanon
Fellowship International missionaries Bechara and Roula Karkafi give direction and care for a Christian school specifically designed to minister and educate the thousands of Syrian refugee children living in Beirut. Clementia Learning Centre is looking for partnership with Fellowship churches to help care for these poor children.
God’s Word on the Care of Refugees
As Canadians, we understand immigrants. Almost all of us come from immigrant stock. But somehow welcoming refugees feels like the “elephant in the room” — too big and too scary to talk about much less deal with. The “elephant” often seems threatening. Its presence engenders fear. Its needs makes demands on our time, our money, our energy, our patience, and even on our faith.
But as believers, we can’t ignore “the elephant.”
“…the Lord your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, who shows no partiality…He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 10:17-19)
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not turn away from your own flesh and blood?” (Isaiah 58:6, 7)
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The king will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you have done for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’”
The Elephant in the Room: Our Response?
A few of our Fellowship churches are engaged in helping the aliens, wanderers and strangers in our world. In fact, it was in response to an expressed desire of some of our churches that the Fellowship, through FAIR, formed a partnership with the Christian & Missionary Alliance in 2015 to facilitate their wish to engage in refugee sponsorship.
But “the elephant” is still daunting. How do you tackle something that big?
How do you “eat an elephant?” You know the answer: “One bite at a time.”
Which in our context would mean one refugee, or refugee family, at a time.
And that’s refugee sponsorship.
“The need is urgent!” writes a member of one of our Fellowship churches involved in sponsoring refugees. “The situation for the refugee families I know of in Turkey has only grown less hopeful with the UNHCR completely leaving Turkey and the U.S. accepting extremely few refugees. That is, almost hopeless apart from private refugee sponsorship.”
If each one of our 500+ churches across Canada sponsored one refugee family, we’d still only be taking a small “bite” out of the “elephant”. But it would be a good beginning.
Visit: https://www.fellowship.ca/CMA for more information on FAIR’s partnership with the Christian & Missionary Alliance as together they seek to help our churches through the process involved in sponsoring refugees. Contact us for further information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Fellowship is all of us as believers and imitators of Christ, working together on that “elephant” just one “bite” at a time, and knowing that in following the Lord’s command a blessing always follows:
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-drenched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” (Isaiah 58:9-11)
Have a blessed week!
Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Steve here… The following are some fresh ideas on how to celebrate Easter with your church family from some of our colleagues. Enjoy.
“One of the most memorable Good Friday services in my memory was one we planned two years ago. The service followed a dramatic thread called, ‘Living Last Supper’. Thirteen of our guys were situated on stage at a long, low table (similar to da Vinci’s ‘The Last Supper’ painting). Throughout the service, each disciple, in turn, came to the front of the platform and shared a monologue of their own perspective of Jesus. Judas betrayed Jesus, and exited. Jesus led everyone (congregation as well), in the Lord’s Table. A very impactful and moving experience.”
— Lee Brubacher, Worship Pastor, West Highland Baptist, Hamilton, ON
“I have been part of a Maundy Thursday foot washing service as well as a Maundy Thursday Tenebrae service. Both were powerful experiences for us as we thought about Christ’s service in the midst of suffering and how Christ’s candle was the only one in the darkness. We also did a Maundy Thursday midnight watch service at my first church.
At Temple, we have had musicals on Easter weekend and had a Passion Art gallery where the artists from our church submitted art that reflected Easter. Our Good Friday services are also a highlight every year!”
— Jonathan Stairs, Lead Pastor, Temple Baptist, Cambridge, ON
“I get someone to build me a mock door and I paint it while I preach about the first Passover. When I am done the sermon, people have to walk through the door to pick up their communion bread and cup. I have had people come to Christ as they listen and take part in communion like this.
— Phil Webb, Fellowship International missionary, Colombia and Edmonton, AB
“We decided that a great way to celebrate Easter and going from death to life, old to new, lost to found — would be to share stories of those in our church community who were willing to share their struggles and victories. We then had them boil down their story into a few short words with the ‘old’ on one side of a large cardboard sheet, and the ‘new’ or ‘victory’ on the other side of the sheet. This was a great way to show the power of the Gospel in the lives of our church family and was one of the highlight services we have had at West Park in the last years. Things that were shared, were (before) loneliness, (after) in community, or (before) addicted to pornography, (after) free from sexual bondage. Very powerful images.”
— Corey Brown, Worship Pastor, West Park, London, ON
“We use the arts. We have a large contingent of young girls and teen girls that are taking tap/ballet/jazz at our local dance studio. A few years ago we decided to choreograph a worship dance (ballet style) to the worship song, ‘I Will Rise’ as part of our Easter services. It was beautiful and struck a chord with people in the congregation that respond to the arts. The feedback was, ‘Thank you so much for using the arts—that spoke to me this morning in a different way than a sermon or worshipping in song. As I watched—it felt like more of a prayer.’
“Four years ago for our Good Friday service we had a local artist paint live on stage as I preached. I had given the artist my Good Friday sermon 3 weeks before which allowed her time to sketch out themes and concepts. As she painted on stage the eyes of the congregation were glued to her as they listened to the gospel being proclaimed.”
— Darin Phillips, Lead Pastor, Oceanview Church, Ladysmith, BC
“We started the Good Friday service with all lights on and all curtains opened (like a typical service at Grandview). The first piece of our service was a welcome and a reading from Matthew 26:17-35 (the Last Supper). Following the Scripture reading we sang a song that emphasized that Scripture passage. Then we read from Matthew 26:35-56 (Jesus in Gethsemane) and responded with a song related to that passage. We proceeded to bounce back and forth between song and Scripture, through the Gospel of Matthew. Each time a passage of Scripture was read (and we moved closer to the Crucifixion), the lights became more dim until the whole room was dark as we read about the crucifixion of Christ (Matthew 27:45-54). After reading this passage, nothing was said. We left the room in a state of darkness and awkwardness (is the service done?) much like the uncertainty and awkwardness the disciples must have felt. After wrestling with the awkwardness, a few people began to leave in silence and others followed until the room was empty.
“Then, on Easter Sunday, we began with the room in darkness. The first song we sang was, ‘Death was Arrested’; a song that begins with the hopelessness of man, ‘alone in my sorrow… and dead in my sin… lost without hope… no place to begin…’ The song ends with hope in Christ, and when we sang the lyric, ‘but then Jesus arose with our freedom in hand,’ the lights flashed on and the curtains were opened! Symbolizing and emphasizing the hope and life that Christ gave his followers when he conquered death in His resurrection!
“This effect caused people to appreciate the awkwardness and hopelessness seen on the cross which then helped people appreciate, all the more, the power of Christ over death and the life He gives us, as we celebrated His resurrection during the remainder of the service!”
— Jacob Elliot, Worship Pastor, Grandview Baptist, Kitchener, ON
“On Good Friday we gave everyone a large iron spike when they came in. During the service when we talked of Jesus having taken away our sins, the ushers came up to collect the spikes. They passed metal bowls up and down the rows to collect the spikes, then poured the spikes into metal pails. A CD was playing as we did this – Kiriye Elieson – Lord, forgive. It was very impacting.
“On Easter Sunday we had the two biggest guys in the church dress all in white and stand by a cardboard tomb. Two women came up the aisle asking each other (in a Mennonite-Yiddish accent!) how they would open the tomb. The worship team began singing, ‘Hear The Bells Ringing’ by Second Chapter of Acts and it was timed so that when the ladies reached the front, the words rang out, ‘the angels up on the tombstone said He was risen, just as He said!’ Then as they pointed to the back, the women rushed out as the team sang, ‘quickly now go tell His disciples, that Jesus Christ is no longer dead!’ Then we all stood to sing the chorus together, ‘joy to the world! He is risen! Hallelujah!’ That was wonderful!”
— Rod Black, Fellowship International missionary, Pakistan and Edmonton, AB
“We purchased enough hot cross buns from our local bakery (best on the Island in most people’s opinion) for 250 people on Easter Sunday. Our services are 9:00 a.m. – 10:20 a.m., and then 11:00 a.m. – 12:20 a.m., so the 40 minutes in between allows us enough time to really have a great social time between services. We talk about the local bakery, the great deal they give our church and what a hot cross bun symbolizes.It’s dead simple but it means something to our local merchants in town.
“I was at a Downtown Business Association meeting a couple of years ago and a number of business owners honestly shared their frustrations. They said an event is put on in town like the Soccer Mini-World Cup (25 kids’ soccer teams from the central and North Island invade Ladysmith for the weekend). The organizers ask the local grocery store for free water/oranges/Gatorade mix, etc. The store owner approves the donation for this great local event. As soon as the organizers decided they wanted to run a concession stand they didn’t choose to shop local, they ran to the next city and bought everything at Costco. That frustrates local business owners who had been so gracious in the beginning. Churches need to think about this! Where you purchase can be a testimony to your local businesses.”
—Darin Philipps, Lead Pastor, Oceanview Church, Ladysmith, BC
Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Steve Jones here… When the Moravian missionaries first visited the Inuit peoples, they struggled to find a word in their language for “forgiveness”. So the missionaries created a new Inuit word made up of 24 letters:
The word has a beautiful connotation, meaning:
When it comes to forgiveness, this is the very attitude Jesus is looking for. In Colossians 3:13 (NIV) we read: “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you”.
As the Easter season approaches, it is important for us to keep this in mind. A genuine believer is familiar with both giving and forgiving. Jesus gave all He had and forgave all He could.
Why do you suppose it is important to both give and forgive?
Likely because it is very difficult to love one person while remaining angry or resentful of another person. Bitterness divides the heart and chokes love from our system. It is toxic.
You say: “Wait a minute. You don’t fully understand what I’ve gone through. My father, mother, spouse, boss, teacher, friend, neighbour, coach, pastor, church treated me horribly. They need to pay in some way for what they did to me.” I agree.
But the truth is, Someone already did!
You say: “Hold on a second. They don’t deserve God’s unconditional love, unfailing grace nor my forgiveness.” Again, I’m not going to disagree with you. But if they don’t deserve it…do you?
Before you pass judgement and demand payment, try to recall the last time you broke your word with the Lord. Likely, you need only think back to the past 24 hours. What was God’s reaction to your broken promise?
Max Lucado writes: “The key to forgiving others is to quit focusing on what they did to you and start focusing on what God did for you.”
Let’s all keep re-learning the importance of giving and receiving forgiveness. As we approach another Easter season, as we celebrate the cross and empty tomb, may the marvelous news of Christ’s forgiveness guide our actions in the days ahead.
Have a blessed week,
Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Steve here… I recently studied the giving patterns of our local churches toward Fellowship National ministries and our Fellowship Regions.
There was good news and bad news. I thought you might be interested in learning about some of the data regarding relevancy and added value.
Some of you may be saying, “We don’t partner because we see no relevancy or added value inherent in our relationship with our Regional or National ministries.” I beg to differ. Our Regional and National ministries’ sole existence is to support our local churches to mission effectiveness. I am more convinced of this than any time in my life. I encourage you to take another look.
The proof is in the growing spirit of interdependence in our Fellowship at large. Our Regions are experiencing this. One of the fruit of this reality is the remarkable number of churches being planted in shared partnership in our Regions. Our National ministry has seen record numbers of missionaries and chaplains being appointed. It has been very gratifying to see our local churches coming to their Region and National ministries looking for partnership, support, and help. We exist for our local churches. We love the church.
Where Your Heart is, Your Wallet Will be Also?
Our Fellowship Association of churches is currently about 510 churches. The chart below is the giving results of 500 of our churches based on what churches gave to their Region and National ministries in 2017:
A Few Observations from 2017
A Humble Suggestion for Next Step(s)
I thought long and hard before writing this “Word from Steve”. Whenever you talk about money you’re sure to be misunderstood. However, I thought it important you know the results of this recent study. We generally support what we value. Now, back to you…
Have a blessed week,