A Word From Steve Jones
December 4th, 2017
I was chatting with Pastor Chris Kovacs of West Highland Baptist Church, Hamilton, Ontario about a novel way to help fund the advancement of the Gospel worldwide.
I thought it deserved a broader promotion and so I asked Chris to share this opportunity with you:
“As pastor of outreach at West Highland Baptist in Hamilton I am always looking for ways to further the outreach in our city as well as to strengthen our mission’s impact around the world. Our city is becoming more religiously and ethnically diverse while at the same time becoming more secular. The world’s population is growing faster than our mission’s budget. Our goal to go to ‘all nations’ seems to be pulling away from us. Are there any resources that can help?
Last year a ministry colleague approached me with a unique opportunity to increase our impact both at home as well as abroad. On behalf of our church he applied to Google for their AdWords Grant program –which any CRA registered church is eligible for. The grant is substantial and gives free online Google advertising to one website. To ensure maximum use he developed a website for our local outreach initiatives which also had a Polish language gospel component. The Polish language portion was to support our mission work in Poland. It contains articles to help seekers understand the Gospel and answer some basic questions they might have. You can think of it like a web-based online Alpha program. With the Ad Grants program our church is able to advertise across our city any outreach event we put on as well as our regular Sunday Services. We have used these ads to promote our summer VBS, music camps, sports camps, Christmas concerts, Father’s Day car shows, Alpha programs, Easter plays. In slightly over a year we have passed out over 1,200 e-invitations to our programs in Hamilton. Since this is in the Google Ad Grant program it did not cost us anything and supplemented our regular advertising.
As good as that is, it is in the Polish component that we are seeing benefits — national in scope. Having run the Polish ads in Poland for almost five months we have spent over $50,000 (in free money) to pass out 60,000 web articles across the Polish-speaking world explaining the Gospel and answering questions. Because of Ontario’s diversity some of those were passed out in the Greater Toronto Area, but the majority of articles were read in Poland. Our next step is to see if we can develop a network of pastors across Poland who can follow up with people who write in on the site. This has the potential to not only bolster the local ministry of the missionaries we support in Poland (Fellowship International missionaries Ben and Krista Taylor) but can create a movement across the country.
Google supports over 100 languages and they developed the grant program so that charities can “share their story with audiences all over the globe”. If we as a Fellowship coordinate our efforts we could share the Gospel story in these languages and the nations they represent, increase our impact in our communities all while using a grant program that is a free service. If, as a pastor, you have the same concern for local outreach and global missions as I do, why not take a look at how we are using this grant and see if it can fit in your church’s ministry toolbox? I’d be happy to explain it further to you.”
Let me encourage you to find out more about this by contacting Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a blessed week,
Dear Prayer Partners,
Please find attached, a copy of my latest prayer news for Oct-Dec. 2017.
Thank you for your encouragement and prayers these past few months.
Steven Jones, President
The Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Canada
(519) 821-4830 ~ fax (519) 821-9829 ~ www.fellowship.ca
click below to print:
In this blog I wanted to comment on the current legislation (Bill C-51) being considered by our Federal Government considering religious assembly protections. The consequences could be very real in how Christians and clergy conduct themselves within the “public square”.
Freedom for Religious Assembly in Canada (Bill C-51)
On June 15, 2017, Bill C-51 was introduced to the federal government with four objectives relating to our current criminal code in Canada:
Currently, Section 176 (1) of the criminal code protects clergy from prevention of performing religious duties including travel to perform those duties. A wedding, preaching, hospital visitation, communion?
Section, 176 (2) broadens this protection to anyone participating in the religious service by criminalizing the intentional disturbance or interruption of the religious service. Disrupting a worship service, vandalism, and public protests due to opposition to church dogma? Bill C-51 eliminates both these laws. Bill C-51 will be reviewed by the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in the fall of 2017 when Parliament resumes sitting.
What’s at Stake? One could argue these two sections are outdated in the 21st Century or that other current laws will cover these concerns. However, if an individual were to silently protest, with a placard stating “politely” his concern for your church’s beliefs, he would be in his legal rights. Not charged for “uttering threats” or “forcible confinement” by stopping a pastor from going to preach at his church. There is conduct that would no longer be considered criminal if sections 176 (1) (2) were removed.
To learn more click HERE for information from the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC), or HERE for information from the Gospel Coalition.
Soon the EFC will be intervening in a Supreme Court case that determines whether the courts have the right to weigh in on the disciplinary process of membership decisions of churches and other faith communities. Should our government make determinations on matters of theology and religious practice?
What’s at stake? Does a former member of a church have legal recourse for undergoing church discipline, violating religious belief and practice? Should government have jurisdiction over the internal decisions of churches and their core beliefs which are closely tied to these beliefs? What if a pastor or member declared their sexual orientation had changed since affirming their local churches statement of faith? The story continues…
Have a blessed week,
On Sunday, November 19, 2017 all churches and friends of the Fellowship are encouraged to gather for prayer. This is an opportunity for our churches to lay aside some time in their worship service (or other venue) for prayer for our Fellowship churches, Regions, missionaries, chaplains, pastors, church planters and National/Regional staff. A pastoral prayer, several folks leading in prayer, or breaking into prayer huddles are all ways you can participate.
CLICK HERE for promotional and prayer resources that can be used on the Fellowship National Day of Prayer.
I would also encourage you to watch the excellent We Are the Fellowship video (4 min) that introduces the mission and vision of our movement of churches and how our Regions and National Ministries support our local churches. Also available on the same site is a copy of our Fellowship Directional Document (FDD) which serves as our statement of faith as an entire movement. This document clearly identifies who we are and what we do as local churches.
WE ARE THE FELLOWSHIP VIDEO
You can find both the FDD document and video at > www.wearethefellowship.ca.
I hope we will all gather together on Sunday, November 19, 2017 to PRAY together. Asking the Lord to open the windows of Heaven to bless our churches as we advance the Gospel in Canada and beyond.
Have a blessed week,
A historic Summit focused on the unprecedented scale of increased persecution of Christians worldwide called the global Church to prayer and action.
Over 600 delegates (150 being victims of persecution) from 130 countries gathered in Washington, D.C. in May 2017. Some bore scars of their beatings and torture. Each had a story to tell from countries where following Christ is perilous.
They gathered at the first ever “World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians.” The Summit’s purpose was five-fold:
DECLARATION on the Persecuted Church Worldwide
In the closing session of the World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians, a final declaration was created; calling all followers of Christ to pledge solidarity in spirit and action with fellow believers worldwide who suffer for Christ’s sake. The declaration is meant to be a catalyst for individual believers, local churches, and governmental agencies to take action after a decade in which persecution of Christians globally has increased at an accelerated pace reaching unprecedented levels.
The final portion of the DECLARATION is a call to action. It reads:
“Let us declare our allegiance with all who suffer for Christ’s name and pledge to make the following commitments:
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day…” (Ephesians 6:12-13).
IDOP Sunday is November 12, 2017
Please consider praying for persecuted Christians worldwide in your local church on Sunday, November 12. Consider this call to action….
FAIR and Operation Mobilization respond to Hurricanes Irma and Maria
FAIR is responding to the devastation in the Caribbean Islands after Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Funds raised will be used to support relief efforts, enabling the local church to distribute much needed supplies such as water filters, tarps, and hygiene kits. Cleanup and rebuilding efforts will also be supported since many homes and livelihoods were destroyed after the Islands were hit by the two category 5 hurricanes.
Many of the hardest hit areas are currently unreachable by roads. Join us in praying that relief supplies will make a significant impact in the lives of those who need help and that volunteers distributing aid will be able to effectively share the love of Christ with hurricane survivors.
Watch the VIDEO to see how FAIR’s partner organization Operation Mobilization is responding to the need in one of the hardest hit islands – Barbuda.
Have a blessed week,
A Word from Steve Jones: Religious Freedom (Trinity Western University) and Conscience Freedom (Bill C-14) in Canada
There is a lot of legislation currently being discussed that concerns Christians in Canada today. Much of it will have far reaching consequences and impact on the church in our nation.
Here are a couple updates with some links. These are not exhaustive — just a taste to whet your appetite to discover more:
They argue the University’s “Community Covenant”, which includes a requirement to abstain from sexual intimacy outside of heterosexual marriage, deprives students, including the LBGTQ community, from access to education from TWU.
What’s at stake? If TWU loses this autumn, all Christian organizations may be denied public accreditation because they uphold Biblical principles and beliefs. The Supreme Court’s decision will have far-reaching consequences.
2. Personal Conscience Freedom in Canada (Bill C-14 MAiD Law)
Doctor-assisted suicide (death) and euthanasia is now legal in Canada. The Medical Aid in Dying (MAiD) Law allows competent, consenting adults in advanced stages of irreversible declining health to commit suicide. The BC Civil Liberties Association has filed suit saying the law is unconstitutional and too restrictive. Doctor-assisted suicide should be available to anyone (children/teens?) who suffer from chronic illnesses that may not cause their untimely death.
This past June 13-15, EFC and other Christian groups intervened in support of five doctors and the Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada. These doctors are challenging Ontario’s requirement that all medical practitioners perform the medical service (suicide) or refer the patient to someone who will perform it, thus violating their conscience and personal belief system. Many doctors of faith believe referring patients for suicide is no different morally or ethically than committing the act themselves. Ontario’s policy requires doctors to violate their conscience or lose their job.
What’s at stake? Those in society who are particularly vulnerable, the aged, or living with disabilities, are concerned that any protection under the law may vanish, possibly leading to the abuse or misuse of MAiD.
Click HERE for a full brief of what was shared on June 13-15, 2017.
And the story continues...
Have a blessed week,