A Word From Steve Jones
January 15th, 2018
Collection Week is November 16th to 22nd.
You will note that there is to be "No Candy or Food" to be put in the boxes this year from Canada!
Bring your boxes in as soon as possible!
Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Steve here… One of the most important tasks Christian leaders are given is the preaching of
God’s Word. We would all agree to this.
However, is that what’s happening in churches across Canada Sunday by Sunday? I recently had lunch with one of our pastors. He is new to our Fellowship and he helps me see our movement from a fresh perspective. While he has an overall positive view of our Fellowship… he did have a couple concerns.
He asked me to tell him what I thought the main character traits of the Fellowship were.
I quickly responded:
1. Centrality of Christ (the Cross).
2. Fidelity to God’s word (sound preaching).
3. Passion for disciple-making (evangelism and church planting).
4. Commitment to mission (local and global).
He questioned #2. He had my attention. His brief experience with our Fellowship of churches has convinced him we are “eclectic” when it comes to the preaching of God’s Word. He has not been convinced yet; that a believer would receive the same offering of a biblically rich sermon from one Fellowship church to the next. Hmm… this observation got me thinking.
A couple months back I got an email from a dear friend. The email was entitled: “Expositional
Imposters.” The premise of the email/blog was that preaching should take the point of the sermon directly from the point of a particular passage of scripture. Simple enough, many of us learned this in our first year hermeneutics class.
However, the point of the email was that some sermons which intend to be expositional, fall short. Mike Gilbert-Smith exposes some of these subtle, and not so subtle, pitfalls as preachers fail to see the actual text. I think his observations are helpful. I quote him directly:
1) The “Unfounded Sermon”: The Text Is Misunderstood
Here the preacher says things that may be true, but in no sense come from a correct interpretation of the passage. He is careless either with the content of the text (e.g. the sermon on “production, prompting, and inspiration” from the NIV of 1 Thessalonians 1:3, though each word has no parallel in the Greek) or with the context (e.g. the sermon on David and Goliath, that asks ‘who is your
Goliath, and what are the five smooth stones that you need to be prepared to use against him?’).
2) The “Springboard Sermon”: The Point of the Text is Ignored
Closely related is the sermon where the preacher becomes intrigued by something that’s a secondary implication of the text, but is not the main point. Imagine a sermon on the wedding at
Cana in John 2 that focuses primarily on the lawfulness of Christians drinking alcohol and said nothing about the display of the New Covenant glory of Christ through the sign of Jesus changing water into wine.
3) The “Doctrinal Sermon”: The Richness of the Text Is Ignored
God has deliberately spoken to us “in many ways” (Heb 1:1). Too many sermons ignore the literary genre of a passage, and preach narrative, poetry, epistle, and apocalyptic all alike as a series of propositional statements. While all sermons must convey propositional truths, they should not be reduced to them. The literary context of the passages should mean that a sermon from the Song of
Songs sounds different than one from Ephesians 5. The passage may have the same central point, but it is conveyed in a different way. The diversity of Scripture is not to be flattened in preaching.
4) The “Shortcut Sermon”: The Biblical Text Is Barely Mentioned
The opposite of the exegetical sermon, this kind of preaching shows no exegetical “working” at all.
Though the Lord has set the agenda by his Word, only the preacher is fully aware of that fact. The congregation may well end up saying, “what a wonderful sermon” rather than “what a wonderful passage of Scripture.”
Let’s keep encouraging our congregation to hear God’s voice not just ours, by frequently pointing them back to the text: “look what God says in verse five” more than “listen carefully to what I’m saying now.”
5) The “Christ-less Sermon”: The Sermon Stops Short of the Savior
Jesus castigated the Pharisees: “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life” (John 5:39-40). How sad that even we who have come to Jesus to have life would bring a whole congregation to study a passage of Scripture and yet refuse to bring them to see what that Scripture says about Christ, turning Old Testament texts into moralistic sermons, and even preaching Christ-less, gospel-less sermons from the Gospels themselves. Imagine the horror of a sermon on Gethsemane narrative that majored on lessons on how we could handle stress in our lives.
The author goes on to identify seven more:
6. The “Exegetical Sermon”: The text remains unapplied.
7. The “Irrelevant Sermon”: The text is applied to a different congregation.
8. The “Private Sermon”: The text is applied only to the preacher
9. The “Hypocritical Sermon”: The text is applied to all but the preacher.
10. The “Misfit Sermon”: The point of the passage is misapplied to the present congregation
11. The “Passionless Sermon”: The point of the passage is spoken, not preached.
12. The “Powerless Sermon”: The point of the passage is preached without prayer.
My new pastor-friend shared a concern. It was expressed with humility; not in a prideful spirit nor judgmental attitude. I appreciated his candor. I thought it was important to let you know and address it.
Our preaching of God’s Word, His whole counsel, is so important for the health of our churches.
May this be an opportunity to quietly ask ourselves whether we are in fact making the point of our sermons the particular point of a passage from God’s Word.
Thank you for taking this to heart. All recent studies show that exposure and engagement with
God’s Word is the most fruitful way to see transformation in the lives of God’s people.
God’s Word is powerful. Let’s preach it!
Have a blessed week,
“…at least seven people have died in floods… As many as 2,000 people have been left homeless in Siguatepeque and the local authorities there have declared a state of emergency”. —FloodList (October 19, 2015)
For almost 10 years Fellowship International has had a presence in Honduras through the ministry of Melodie Francis. Serving at Casa Hogar, Melodie and other staff members provide a home environment for 40 street children.
The region’s rainy season began in May and currently the rain-drenched soil is incapable of holding excessive water. On October 17th a significant system hit the region causing flooding which has killed seven and left over 2,000 homeless. Located near the town of Siguatepeque, one of the hardest hit areas, Melodie writes:
“Please pray for people in Siguatepeque (in light of) incredible flooding and rain (which fell) last night. Lots of families have been evacuated and lost everything. The children's home is okay, my parents are okay. But the community is overwhelmed. It is being said that it's the first time a natural disaster (has) hit this area in such a way.” The current crisis has been far more devastating in Siguatepeque than the flooding caused by Hurricane Mitch in 1998.
Fellowship International missionaries John and Lise Francis, also serving in Siguatepeque, are involved in national leadership training and report that their local church is, “…helping out three of our own members who have been affected. Some men from the church went on Saturday morning to help clean (shovel) the mud out of (one of) the houses. The family will have to buy new beds and other furniture.”
In part, FAIR exists to respond to natural disasters and emergencies which arise where our missionary personnel are on the ground and connected directly with the community in need. We have established an account to receive donations that will be forwarded to help reestablish families in need. FAIR is preparing to advance $5,000 to assist with the immediate devastation and loss of livelihood. We encourage your partnership as together we help those impacted by this crisis. Please designate your gifts to: “Honduras Flood Relief”. CLICK HERE to donate via our secure website. (see photos below in next post)
~ The Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Canada ~
PO Box 457 Guelph ON N1H 6K9 www.fellowship.ca
From Melodie Francis: (October 18th, 2015)
Please pray for people in Siguatepeque, incredible flooding and rain last night. Lots of families have been evacuated and lost everything. I will try and send pictures/videos when I get better access. The children's home is ok, my parents are ok. But the community is overwhelmed. It is being said that it's the first time a natural disaster hits this area in such a way. The consequences are far more devastating than hurricane Mitch (in Siguatepeque )
Below are some photos of this Flood Disaster:
Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Steve here… I’m spending much of this week traveling around Québec with a couple of van loads of Fellowship pastors. Twice annually (October and June) I take leaders from our churches (from across Canada) on an exposure tour of one of the most spiritually-needy places in North America!
Those who self-identify as evangelical Christians in Canada is approximately 7.7%. However, of the 7.3 million French Canadians, only 0.8% self-identify as evangelical. There are approximately 80,000 evangelicals in a province of over six million. The spiritual needs are staggering. We must go to countries like Pakistan (0.6%), Japan (0.6%), and Poland (0.4%) to find similar statistics. We have Fellowship International missionaries serving in each of these nations.
However, very few countries are sending missionaries to Québec. I believe in a theology of proximity. You are more responsible to reach your neighbour than I am. And I am more responsible to reach my neighbour than you are. For English Canada, French Canada is our neighbour.
In the last year, over 100 Fellowship churches and individual donors have committed to this very Canadian “mission field”. These donors have committed financial and ministry resources for a seven year partnership. The formula is simple:
The math is bad, but the formula is working. Seven churches or individuals partner for seven years to create and establish one French church plant. Our AÉBÉQ (Québec) region is currently involved in a dozen church plants and I am looking for partners for many of them.
My hope is that most of the leaders on my “Québec Vision Tour” (QVT) this week will be guided by the Spirit as they consider a partnership with a young French church plant.
My prayer is you will prayerfully consider your partnership in the advancement of the Gospel among French Canadians. Click HERE to watch a brief video clip on what to expect on a QVT.
Contact me if you have any questions or want to join a Québec Vision Tour in 2016.
Have a blessed week,
"Thanks to all those who contributed to the building of this soccer field ! This shows you made a difference in the lives of these children!"
Trust you are planning to be involved in our upcoming Fellowship Day of Prayer.
My hope is every Fellowship Baptist Church will participate on November 15 in some way, praying for our churches, pastors, missionaries, chaplains, regional/ national staff and our missional effort to reach the spiritually lost for Christ. Spend several minutes in your Nov 15, Sunday Worship Service getting your people praying for our larger Fellowship family for the Glory of God and our great benefit!
Denise Wicks Administrative Assistant
The Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Canada
(519) 821-4830 x232 ~ fax (519) 821-9829
Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Steve Jones here… What can we learn about leadership from a study that included one million survey participants? The researchers have studied this topic for 30 years with their claims validated on six continents. Pretty impressive, eh?
In their new best-seller, “The Truth about Leadership,” Kouzes and Posner identify outstanding truths that will help every leader. But don’t miss this, the first truth that the researchers discovered is that all good leaders believe in one foundational truth: YOU MATTER!
In their foundational first chapter the authors clearly state: “You have to believe that what you do counts for something. If you don’t, you won’t even try. Leadership begins with you.”
You already have more influence than you know. After analyzing the data from more than one million people, Kouzes and Posner state emphatically: “Leadership is not about who you are or where you come from. It’s about what you do.” That means you and I can improve our leadership by changing our behaviour.
When asked about the most powerful Leader Role Models that they had personally met, 18 to 30 year olds say the following:
· Family member: 40%
· Teacher or Coach: 26%
· Community/Religious leader: 11%
· Business leader: 7%
When asked the same question, people over 30 years old responded:
· Family member: 46%
· Teacher or Coach: 14%
· Community/Religious leader: 8%
· Business Leader: 23%
That means that if you are a parent, work with youth, or if you are a community/religious leader, you have more impact over young people than anyone else. And if you are a business person, you have significant influence over the people who work for you, especially those who report directly to you.
People see leaders as role models. And people model what they see and experience under our leadership. Therefore, a leader’s values, attitudes and behaviour is critical.
Research reveals that the very best leaders practice model behaviours in five particular areas:
· Model the Way
· Inspire a shared Vision
· Challenge the Process
· Enable others to Act
· Encourage the Heart
Drs. Kouzes and Posner also discovered that when it came down to one primary word to describe the best model (practices) of leaders, they said it is CREDIBILITY. Without it, most leadership fails.
There is good news here, even for those of us who have failed as leaders in the past. Credibility, or believability, is an expectation that can be met in the future, even if it wasn’t in the past. It has to do with personal character and if the expectations are met, people are more willing to follow.
Leaders from every kind of organization and every ethnic background were asked to identify the top seven characteristics they admire in leaders they would willingly follow.
The top ten answers are:
· Honest 85%
· Forward-looking 70%
· Inspiring 69%
· Competent 64%
· Intelligent 42%
· Dependable 37%
· Supportive 36%
· Fair-minded 35%
· Straightforward 31%
· Determined 28%
Note the obvious gap between the top four answers and the rest of the field. If we can embrace and grow in the top four areas, our future opportunities to lead willing followers will grow exponentially.
Leaders, our assignment is clear! We must tell the truth and be worthy of the trust that is afforded us. We must have an increasingly clear sense of our direction and how others share in our vision. We are to be optimistic and share the future with enthusiasm. And “let your yes be yes”; we must do what we say we will do.
Which area do you need to work on? Let’s make sure our beliefs behave well.
Have a blessed week,
Please find attached, a copy of my most recent Prayer News. Thank you for your continued prayer support.
(click on button to Download and Print)