A Word From Steve Jones
January 15th, 2018
Do you remember this historical vision communication?
On May 25, 1961, John F. Kennedy said,
“I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before the decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.”
By July 1969 the vision was completed with Neil Armstrong standing on the moon. Vision must be short, sweet, and memorable. But vision is mandatory if mission is ever to be completed.
While serving as a pastor, I shared “vision vignettes” from time to time. They were brief challenges, stories and parables that succinctly crystallized the vision or mission of our church. Answering, why do we exist:
Here is one of those vision vignettes:
“Let me ask you a question. What is the oldest profession? I know what half of you are thinking right now! You’re wrong. The oldest profession is actually gardening. Adam and Eve began as gardeners and the world will end in an eternal gardened city.
Imagine with me the Church as a garden. The church needs to be a green garden with peaceful spaces where parched people can find rest for their lives. One of my favorite verses is Isaiah 58:11 (NLT): “The Lord will guide you continually, watering your life when you are dry and keeping you healthy too. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.”
People need nourishing green spaces in life to connect with God. But, there is a danger in thinking the church’s mission is to solely be a lush, green garden. A safe green space for people to gather and grow and flourish spiritually. The reality is that we do not yet live in heaven. We live in a fallen world surrounded by sinful people. And unless we tend to our little garden regularly with care, the weeds of this world will invade our garden.
I read W.O Mitchell’s book, “Jake and the Kid”. It’s a story of a twelve year old boy growing up in the Canadian Prairies during the 1940s. There is a line in the book that struck me. It went something like this “The prairie will take over if your backyard don’t fight back.” Our garden is not a playground. It’s a garden we must continually tend and fight for. It’s a green space surrounded by the ravages of war. A spiritual battle that is constantly “fighting back”.
So our mission as a local church is not to build nice, lush, peaceful gardens to protect us from the battle, but, to use our gardens (churches) to prepare us to assult the beaches of our common enemy.
My son Alec, and I, took a trip together to visit the War Memorials, mostly found in France. An awesome experience shared with my boy. We visited the beaches of Normandy where 70+ years ago brave Canadian soldiers stormed Juno Beach.
On D-Day the allies established a beachhead and repelled the enemy further inland. But the War (the work) wasn’t finished in one day. They had another 11 horrifying months before their mission was complete. However, the beachhead on June 6th, 1944 became a “green-space” to rally the troops, re-equip the soldiers and direct the army to continue inland.
This is what I’m picturing when I call the church to be a “well watered garden” (Isaiah 58:11). Not a place to get comfortable and meet my needs; but, a green place, a stopping off point, to get refreshed and prepared to go back out there into the battle and advance the beachhead inland for the sake of Christ. It’s not a playground out there. It’s a war zone where spiritual battle is taking place every day.
I know you know this. That’s why I love you for leading the charge. Spiritual orphans all around us are counting on us to lead the charge forward. Jesus, our Commander in Chief, once said to us, “GO!” (Matthew 28:19)
Leadership author, John Kotter wrote:
“In every successful transformation effort that I have seen, the guiding coalition develops a picture of the future that is relatively easy to communicate and appeals to people. A vision always goes beyond the numbers that are typically found in five year plans. A vision says something that helps clarify the direction in which an organization needs to move. Sometimes the first draft comes mostly from a single individual.”
That individual is you. The leader, in consultation with others. It is the responsibility of leaders to cast vision. It is a dereliction of their duty not to state clearly, simply, often, and memorably…. The preferred picture of the future. Go cast vision!
Have a blessed week,
During my address at our Fellowship National Conference (November 13-15, 2017) I introduced our theme verse for 2018 by reminding ourselves we live in troubling times.
We have a God and Gospel of hope, however our hope is in the context of trouble, and so, we must PRAY! Our theme verse for 2018 is Romans 12:12 (NIV) during our year of prayer:
“Be joyful in HOPE, patient in AFFLICTION, faithful in Prayer”
The following is the last point I made during my FNC address:
“The 17th Century Poet and novelist, John Dunne once told a story of early Spanish sailors who reached South America. They sailed into headwaters of the Amazon River, an expanse of water so wide, so immense, that the sailors presumed it was just the continuation of the Atlantic Ocean. It never occurred to them to drink the fresh water below them for they assumed it was the salty Atlantic. As a result, some of the sailors died of thirst.
“The scene of the men dying of thirst as their ship floated into the world’s largest single source of fresh water is a perfect metaphor for our age: a society thirsty for meaning but dying of thirst, spiritually speaking, because of its head-strong refusal to receive their Saviour.
“We are living in one of the greatest nations in the world… ranked #1 by the UN since 1994. Like other favoured nations we got this way because of the preeminent Christian foundation many of our founding fathers embraced and Christianity flourished for 100 years. (1867-1967). Christian mission and influence still floats everywhere in Canada today, but millions would rather die of thirst than drink from the Living Water. On this, the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, we need to take Luther’s advice and PRAY.
“This is a year of Anniversaries in Canada:
375th Anniversary of Montreal (May 17th, 2017) ($1 billion price tag)
150th Anniversary of Canada (July 1st, 2017 ($500 million price tag)
100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge (April), and it was 100 years ago when the Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings was reconstructed after the great fire of February 1916.
“On July 2 1917, Prime Minister Sir. Robert Borden dedicated the grand new Centre Block. The peace tower is the Centre Piece and is a vibrant symbol of Canadian Values. In the reconstruction, scripture verses were inscribed throughout the Peace Tower.
Over the east window is Psalm 72:8 – “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea”.
Over the south window is Psalm 72:1 – “Give the King thy judgments, O God and thy righteousness unto the King’s son” (KJV)
Over the west window is Proverbs 29:18 – “Where there is no vision the people perish.” (KJV)
And seven more Bible verses are carved into the Centre Block’s Memorial Chamber into the Peace Tower. Scriptures, carved in stone, permanent reminders, accessible for all to see in the very centre of our democracy. I imagine many MPs likely to see this today as politically incorrect in an age of “Charter-values” rather than “Christian Values”. But we must remain vigilant reminding our Nation that permanent peace can only be found in Christ. The largest of the 53 Carillon Bells that ring across Ottawa from the Peace Tower is a 10,000 kg bell, installed in 1927 named the “Bourbon”. On the bell is inscribed Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill to men.” I imagine some of our MPs have plans to melt down the Bourbon Bell. But do not let this dissuade us from continuing to ring loud and clear the Gospel across our nation. Displaying Jesus and the Spirit of Christian love so brightly that people see their Saviour. In my July 1st weekly blog, “A Word from Steve”, I encouraged us to pray for our Nation on our 150th Birthday. You’ll see that prayer on the screen. Would you kindly stand and join me in this prayer. A declaration to love our country back to God:
“A Prayer for Canada
“Father, renew and embolden the Church in Canada to take its rightful place in our nation so that our nation might take its rightful place in the world. Father, help us, your children, to be salt and light in our country. Enable your children to be examples of your grace, mercy and love. Our nation’s greatest need is spiritual renewal. Father, our plea is that You would renew your church, chasten it, revive it again. May your bride become a radiant influence for godliness in our blessed nation. Bend us, break us, do whatever necessary to bring your glory to our shores. For your glory and great good. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Joyful in Hope….
Patient in Affliction….
Faithful in Prayer….
Join me in making 2018 our year of prayer.”
Have a blessed week,
He attended the Council of Nicea in 325 AD where he supported the Biblical doctrine of the trinity. There is a rich tradition that speaks of his commitment to Christ despite much persecution and threats of martyrdom.
Stories abound of his compassion and shepherding character that compelled him to love and care for children. He became well known for giving gifts to young children. Gifts that would symbolize God’s ultimate gift…our Saviour.
Nicholas would somehow morph into today’s Santa Claus and largely be forgotten. Born of wealthy parents in 280 AD in the small town of Patara in Asia Minor, his parents died in an epidemic when he was very young. But, they had instilled in Nicholas a strong faith.
He was later made Bishop of Myra and imprisoned for his faith by Roman Emperor Diocletian and later released by Emperor Constantine. Stories abound about his generosity and compassion. He begged for food to feed the poor, gave a girl’s dowry to marry her future husband, but the best known story is the disguise he wore while giving gifts to the poor children. He gave away everything he owned and died penniless.
Poets and writers have written strange things about him. Clement More gave him a red nose and eight tiny reindeer. Thomas Nast illustrated him as big and fat wearing a red suit trimmed with fur. Others renamed him Kris Kringle, Belsnickle, St. Nick, Pelznickel, Father Christmas, Père Noël, Babbo Natale, Kanakaloka, Julenissen, Ded Moroz, Kerstman, and Santa Claus.
But most important Nicholas possessed the self-giving character of Jesus…. Their love would touch the whole world.
We celebrate Jesus, not Santa, at Christmas. We rejoice that our Saviour was born in a cradle to later die on a cross offering all humanity the gift of salvation.
On behalf of the entire Fellowship National staff, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a blessed 2018!
Merry Christmas from the Fellowship National Staff
You won’t receive a “Word from Steve” for a couple of weeks… we will connect once again on January 8, 2018. Happy New Year!
Have a blessed week,
I love movies. I studied film-making while in Art College before I was persuaded, by God’s call into the ministry. Other than the inspirational power of a single extraordinary communicator speaking live and passionately to a crowd, I believe film is the second most powerful communication medium in our world. I’m convinced of its emotive, cerebral, transcendent power.
I watched a movie a year ago which I watched again recently. It was even more inspiring the second time. The movie, Arrival, by French Canadian director Denis Villeneuve, explores so many cool questions about life. WARNING: it’s a Sci-Fi flick, but I encourage you to watch it anyway.
He delves into eternal themes as we “terra firma” creatures grasp our time-bound world. The film got me asking, “How does the majority of our society, as professing secularists, deal with the transcendent and supernatural as they listen to “Joy to the World, the Lord has Come!” while Christmas shopping in their local shopping mall?”
Villeneuve touches on diverse themes such as time, sanctity of life, foreknowledge, and free will. Is reality predetermined? And if I could know the future, would that be helpful or make life a drudgery as I walk, step by step, toward the end?
This is the Advent season. Jesus arrived in a cradle, and played out His role on earth knowing His future. How hard would that be?—forever showing compassion, and kindness to the same ungrateful creatures who would one day nail you to a cross.
There are no Christ-figures in the movie Arrival, but there is Christlikeness. The main character (played by Amy Adams) chooses to sacrifice and love even though she sees the pain ahead. She chooses suffering ahead. In some small infinitesimal way the film alludes to the agonies Jesus must have felt in His incarnation; knowing His suffering awaited, but choosing to show up anyway “for the joy set before Him” (Hebrew 12:2).
Brett McCracken, “Christianity Today” magazine film critic, writes:
“Arrival is a perfect film for Advent, the season when we contemplate the mystery of an eternal God taking on temporal form “in the fullness of time” (Gal. 4:4). It’s a film that helps us approach the incarnation with fresh insight and appreciation, an invitation to revisit a familiar story and consider again the mysteries the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us, a beckoning to go back to Bethlehem and see it with fresh eyes. Who knows? Perhaps, in the words of Eliot, “to arrive where we started / and know the place for the first time.”
I encourage you to read McCracken’s critique of the movie, “Arrival” by clicking > HERE <
Have a blessed week,
I recently attended the Momentum Church Planting Congress in Montreal. Our Fellowship sponsored 53 church planters to be there and take part. Fellowship National hosted a Fellowship Night during the conference and 60 of our leaders showed up. A sweet evening together!
Fellowship National church planters "Fellowship Night" during Momentum
Our Fellowship Regions and churches are currently involved with 35 church plants. There are still others in the gestational phase of being established. God is so good!
First Filipino Baptist Church Multiplication
Back in the early summer I spoke at the 40th anniversary of First Filipino Baptist Church (FFBC) in Toronto. After the morning service we went to a large banquet hall to continue the celebrations. I was surprised to see over 700 people there. They came from multiple churches that have all been birthed from this one church. Honestly, I was blown away! With the help of some of the pastors present, I started to map out the church planting family tree of this one Fellowship Baptist Church on my serviette. I quickly ran out of room. It’s amazing to see, and God gets all the Glory!
First Filipino Baptist Church 40th Anniversary Celebration
FFBC started with four young adults gathering at the foot of Roncesvalles Avenue and Lake Shore Boulevard. during the summer of 1975 in Toronto. The Bible study grew and two years later (May 1977) they formed First Filipino Baptist Church. Their first pastor was Godfrey Catanus who moved to the USA as a missionary in 1982. His brother, Eliezer, became the lead pastor and served 31 years, retiring in 2015.
From 1984-2017, First Filipino Baptist Church planted eight churches out of which nine granddaughter and great-granddaughter churches were born… a total of 18 churches. They honoured the four founding believers at the Celebration Banquet… all still attend the church. Pastor Henry Manansala of North Victory Baptist Church, one of the daughter churches of FFBC sent me the attached Church Plant Family Tree. Take a peek!
Looking at the Church Plant Family Tree above I’m reminded of something my old friend Dr. Roy Lawson used to say: “If that don’t light your fire, your wood is wet!”
First Filipino and its daughters and granddaughters have much for which to thank God. Our Fellowship has much to be grateful for as dozens of new church plants have been established in recent years. Please be regularly praying for our church planters and their young churches.
Have a blessed week,
I wanted to give you an update on our recent FNC 2017 (Fellowship National Conference) held in Toronto from November 13-15, 2017. We had a very important VOTE on our Membership – Baptism issue… Keep reading to learn more.
November 5-19 — #TheGreatestBook
It was good to hear from some of you and your local churches who participated in our Fellowship Bible Engagement project, #TheGreatestBook. In an age where Bible illiteracy is so prevalent it’s our hope that this brief reminder underscores the need for the Fellowship family to be in God’s Word regularly. Study after study shows that regular Bible reading and study significantly impacts a believer’s spiritual maturity.
Comments received from #TheGreatestBook participants include:
“We attend at First Baptist Church in Timmins. My family and I have been reading the 14 day Greatest Book devotional for our family bible time each night. Thank you for taking the time to share this resource with Fellowship churches. The reminder to focus on God’s word is both essential and rewarding. Thank you!”
- Nathan Kring
“Steve, thanks for presenting the greatest book initiative, and for the provision of the excellent resource materials. Our people are using the 14 day devotional, and hearing a three week sermon series on why and how to read the Bible. A most excellent challenge which should slow down and maybe even help reverse the troubling downward trend of neglect of this most excellent Word.”
- Roy Sommerville, Pastor, Queensway Baptist (Etobicoke)
If you and your church missed getting involved in our Bible Engagement Project from November 5-19, why not consider doing it sometime in 2018? All the resources and tools for the two-week project are available at www.thegreatestbook.ca where you’ll find #TheGreatestBook 14-day devotional, sample sermons, and age-appropriate Bible studies for children, teens, and adults. All resources are written by leaders within our Fellowship family.
November 13-15 — FNC2017
Our National office has plans to send our churches a full report of FNC2017 in early 2018. In brief, our National Conference in Toronto was very well attended with 166 churches and 379 delegates and other attendees registered. The theme, 500 and Beyond, sought to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Our speaker, Dr. John Neufeld of Back to the Bible Canada, did an outstanding job pointing us to the scriptures that instrumentally reformed the church in the 16th century, with a special call to preachers and teachers to preach the text boldly.
We spent time in praise and prayer together, hearing great reports of mission advancement. Fellowship International and Fellowship Chaplaincy reported a record recruitment year and FAIR (our humanitarian relief department) announced a new organization partnership with BridgeNorth, a ministry to the sexually exploited in Canada. We gained practical insights in workshops, heard from OMF’s Executive Director Jon Fuller on current mission practices in Canadian churches, and from Trinity Western University's Carson Pue on their very public religious freedom court battle with the provincial Legal Societies of BC and Ontario. TWU will defend their case on November 30 through December 1 at Canada’s Supreme Court… we are encouraged to pray on Sunday November 26 in our churches for religious liberty in Canada. All this was capped off with a great banquet and laughs with the improv troupe The Fidgets.
OUR MEMBERSHIP VOTE
In the middle of FNC2017 we gathered together in a business session for discussion and a VOTE of our Membership-Baptism issue. We have been dialoguing on this issue for three years. At FNC our delegates voted on “National Council’s MOTION”… 451 votes were cast (79 were remote votes) and the result was as follows: YES – 53% NO – 47%. The motion failed as it required a two-thirds threshold. A second “member’s Motion” was discussed but later withdrawn by the mover and seconder.
November 19 — Fellowship Day of Prayer
I hope you and your church took advantage of our annual Fellowship Day of Prayer. I’d love to hear back from some of you on what your church family did to focus on the Fellowship in prayer on Sunday, November 19. If you missed this opportunity, why not consider scheduling another Sunday worship service or other gathering. You can go to www.fellowship.ca/DayofPrayerTools for some resources and tools to help you plan this.
Have a blessed week,
Many have experienced a short-term missions (STM) experience. Today, I’d like to share some of my own personal experiences from a recent trip to Lebanon as well as the STM experiences of Willowdale Baptist (Toronto, ON), and newly appointed Fellowship International missionary, Kim Doro (City Centre Baptist, Mississauga, ON).
Karim and Rita Anayssi and their girls have been Fellowship International missionaries since 2011 serving at the Cedar Home in Beirut, Lebanon as Executive Director. Cedar Home is a not-for-profit Christian orphanage caring for girls ages 3-16 who have lost at least one parent. The home provides a family atmosphere with spiritual, physical, educational, and emotional support for girls.
When I visited Cedar Home during my recent trip to Lebanon, I was so impressed! By the facility itself, the evident love between the girls and care-givers, and the vision Karim has for further growth and impact. Karim shared the stories of Baby Lucas — a newborn found in a blanket at the front door — and Syrian refugee sisters (ages 5 and 6) who were recent arrivals. This would be a great ministry for many of our Fellowship churches and donors to get involved with. I’d love to talk to you about it.
The Anayssis’ sending church is Willowdale Baptist (Toronto). Recently, the church’s Executive Pastor, Ben Porter, and an STM team visited Cedar Home.
We asked Ben to comment on their trip:
“From May 29th to June 12th, I had the opportunity to lead a short-term mission team from Willowdale Baptist Church which served in Lebanon. We spent months praying, planning, and fundraising. God opened many doors to bring this ministry opportunity to fruition.
“The team came together at Cedar Home in Lebanon. We spent much time building relationships with the 15 girls who live there. We led games, crafts, devotionals, worship and prayer times. God loves these girls so much and though they come from rough backgrounds, they were so loving and caring. God is using Karim and Rita to save these girls’ lives. The vision for expansion and the favour God has poured out on this ministry is nothing short of remarkable. I definitely got the sense that the Holy Spirit is moving through Cedar Home.
“With hearts filled, and eyes needing to be dried, we said good bye for now to all those at Cedar Home with the hope that we will return soon.
“Please keep Karim and Rita in your prayers. God is moving through His people all over the world! I want to thank the Fellowship International staff for their guidance and wisdom in making this life-changing mission trip possible.”
In September 2017, Kim Doro was sent by City Centre Baptist (Mississauga, ON) to Cedar Home. She is serving for several months as a mentor and tutor to the girls in the home as a mid-term missionary. Kim’s story is unique in that she grew up at Cedar Home and is now going back to love the girls. We asked her to tell her story…
“It was many years ago when I first entered the doors of Cedar Home. Just a few days before my mother's death, at four years old, my two sisters and I were left to be cared for by strangers. I remember well how I hated that place and the people there. In that same place I spent my childhood and adolescent years. During the early years, many times I swore to myself that once I left Cedar Home, I would never return or want anything to do with it.
“However, in that same place, I was introduced to my Lord and Saviour — the best gift anyone has ever given me. I learned about His true and unconditional love. Although I swore never to return, something within me started to feel different. I knew the impact that place had on my life and at one point I said: "Well, there is a possibility... one day! Maybe one day after I retire and have nothing else to do". I did not realize how soon that day would come.
“ At the beginning of this year, during a very challenging time in my life, I kept asking the Lord about the reason for all those challenges. One word was always the answer — MISSION. I struggled for awhile with the Lord and where I felt He was leading me. I prayed more, asked more questions, and asked for different signs. To my amazement, the answer never changed and the reassurance of what He was asking of me was becoming clearer. God was asking me to retire early, go back to Cedar Home, and work with the girls. WOW! I was astonished! My life was turned upside down! Talk about when God wants your full attention, complete surrender and unconditional obedience! At that point I asked God to give me peace and courage to take a leap of faith. Sure enough, He showered me with what I needed; I stood one Sunday in awe of His work in my life and I surrendered all to Him!
“Here I am after more than 40 years, and am looking forward to going to that same place to serve among the girls using the gifts that the Lord has given me. This time I am willingly going. I am excited to see what the Lord has in store for me, believing that I will be blessed beyond measure.”
Please be praying for Karim, Rita, and Kim as they continue to serve at Cedar Home and impact the girls for Christ.
If you have any interest in connecting or getting involved with Cedar Home, please contact our Fellowship International department. We would love to talk to you about this ministry or any other short-term mission’s initiative you might be thinking about.
Have a blessed week,
FNC 2017 has begun! Hundreds of delegates from our churches across Canada have arrived for our Fellowship National Conference (FNC) in Toronto.
Online Live Streaming and Voting at FNC 2017
This year we are voting on the Fellowship National Council’s motion below; an issue we have been discussing and debating for three years:
“To change section 4.1(a)(ii) in the Fellowship Bylaws from “Demonstrates agreement with the Affirmation of Faith” to “Demonstrates agreement with the Affirmation of Faith. The definition of baptism as ‘the immersion of the believer’ (in the Ordinances Article) and the definition of a local church as a ‘company of immersed believers’ (in the Local Church Article) are intended to describe the normative practice of baptism and the resultant nature of the church. Notwithstanding those definitions, it is recognized that MEMBER churches may choose, in exceptional circumstances to practice believers’ baptism where an individual cannot be physically immersed or to accept into membership an individual baptized as a believer by another mode.”
In the event member churches were not able to send delegates to FNC 2017, an opportunity to register remote delegates was given to our Fellowship constituency. While it is too late to register voting delegates, please be in prayer as our Fellowship family discusses and votes in the Tuesday afternoon (November 14) business session.
The Fellowship Bible Engagement Project: #TheGreatestBook
We’re right in the middle of our Bible Engagement Project
#TheGreatestBook (Nov. 5-19) and I am hoping you and your church are involved in this endeavour. For the past 18 months we have been promoting involvement in #TheGreatestBook as a way to encourage all Fellowship Baptists to be in God’s Word daily.
I have a favour to ASK:
I would love to receive some brief testimonials from those who benefited from this Fellowship Canada-wide project. I plan to share these in a future Word from Steve blog. Ways to share:
Fellowship Day of Prayer
Just a quick reminder that our Fellowship Day of Prayer is coming up this Sunday, November 19. This is one Sunday where all Fellowship churches are encouraged to pray for our movement of churches — church health, church planting and leadership development — along with our Regional National ministries — international, humanitarian relief and social justice, francophone, and chaplaincy ministries. Resources and tools for the Fellowship Day of Prayer are available HERE.
We are stronger together and all success is due to our collective commitment to prayer. Thanks for praying for our amazing Fellowship family this Sunday (November 19).
Have a blessed week,
October is Pastor Appreciation Month! I hope we thank our pastors on Thanksgiving weekend! Hope all pastors got some rest on the long weekend, too. It’s so important to recharge our batteries. You can’t keep charging without recharging.
The Psalmist reminds us of God’s desire for each of us to find adequate rest, saying in Psalm 127:2 (Message): “It is useless to rise up early and go to bed late and work your worried fingers to the bone. Don’t you know that God enjoys giving rest to those He loves?”
Did you catch that? God enjoys it when we have a good rest. So do something spiritual today… have a nap this afternoon? God is very clear about our need for rest. To ignore His fourth commandment is foolish. When we function outside the way God designed us, we are headed for trouble: spiritual, emotional and physical burn-out. A Sabbath rest each week is commanded to rest the body, recharge our emotions and refocus our spirit… sounds like a three point sermon, eh?!
THE CLERGY CARE NETWORK (CCN) CALL 1-888-5-CLERGY
If you are feeling overwhelmed today, please contact someone. I know there are resources available in each of our Regions to support you.
One such support is the Clergy Care Network (CCN). Our National Fellowship pays for free phone counselling help for all personnel of The Fellowship including pastors, missionaries and chaplains, along with their spouses and children. Access is FREE to you.
The number is 1-888-5-CLERGY.
CCN is provided by Focus on the Family and developed in conjunction with the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. Its purpose is to provide a listening ear. Pastors, missionaries, chaplains and their families can access the CCN help line through e-mail or by using a toll-free number. Callers can remain anonymous if they choose. The staff of the Clergy Care Help Line can:
Need some support? Make the call!
Have a blessed week,
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 email@example.com.
Have a blessed week,