A Word From Steve Jones
July 15th, 2019
Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
French Canadians continue to be one of the largest unreached people groups in all of the Americas. With over 7 million in Canada and only 0.8% self-identifying as evangelical Christians, the spiritual needs are staggering. They remain the largest mission field in Canada.
Let me tell you about a recent story in one church plant in Plessisville, QC.
Both Pastors Peter Erratt (Red Deer, AB) and Karl Fortin (Plessisville, QC) tell their stories below.
“I just wanted to briefly share with you a story of friendship, thanks to our Fellowship National strategy of connecting churches across our country. In 2014, I accepted an email invitation to fly out to Quebec and tour around for two days to meet Fellowship friends in various locations of the province. I was prayerfully sent by our church leadership to look for a strategic partner for our church in Red Deer, AB. It was on this trip that I was introduced to some new friends, Steve Cloutier and Karl Fortin of Plessisville, QC. In 2015, we signed the 7-year partnership agreement between our two churches, and our relationship has grown from strategic partners to family friends. In 2017, I flew my family (my wife and four girls) out to Plessisville to partner with them in their ”j’aime mon voisin” summer ministry outreach. It was during this time that Karl and I saw our families serve together and become friends, and we felt blessed and thankful. Since then we have had the opportunity to connect various times over the past few years, and each time we are encouraged and thankful to know each other. We just spent a whole week (January 2019) with Karl and his wife, Naomi, and their four girls here in Red Deer. I have to say, I never thought we would gain such good friends when I accepted the invitation to go to Quebec over six years ago. I just wanted to thank the Fellowship for connecting our two families and our two churches. We have become not only good partners in ministry, but our relationship has developed into a great friendship.”
“The Vision Tours Steve Jones has organized to pair English Canadian churches with Quebec church plants has not only made church planting in Quebec more possible, it has also set the stage for partnerships to evolve into relationships. Through that, beautiful friendship can emerge. This is what I feel has happened between Peter’s family and ours. At first Peter and I would connect at conventions. That connection was then strengthened with trips to Alberta and hiking in the Rockies! Then we integrated our families into our relationship (Peter and I each have four girls who are close in age), and the connection has been really good on that level, as well. As we were getting ready to leave Red Deer in January after visiting the Erratts, my girls were pleading to move to Alberta! This relationship is good for our churches, as it is a great testimony of bridging the gap between Quebec and the rest of Canada. However, it is also incredibly good for me as I get a great friend with whom I can serve God on the same project, but from a different perspective. I am thankful for God’s grace and how he has orchestrated the friendship between the Erratt and Fortin families.”
How to Get Involved: 7x7=1
While the AÉBÉQ Region has matured and the Fellowship French Mission dissolved, the spiritual needs of Francophone Canadians are still staggering. They remain one of the least-reached people groups in the world….and they are right next door.
Because of our proximity and history, the Fellowship of churches and our faithful donors from across our nation have a unique responsibility and opportunity to support church planting among Francophones. It is crystal clear that church planning in Quebec has been, and will continue to be, the most effective way to reach new people and new communities with the Gospel.
Our partnership strategy continues to focus primarily on Quebec, where 85% of Canada’s Francophones live, however we will also focus on the other French-speaking regions of our country. It is our sincere hope and expectation that dynamic church planting partnerships will be developed between English-speaking congregations and/or individual donors and Francophone church plants across our nation.
The Plan: 7x7=1 Yes, we know…the math doesn’t work, but the plan will! It involves:
*7 Churches and/or Donors — Fellowship National has the responsibility to prayerfully seek out and find churches or individual donors to partner with Regionally approved Francophone church plants.
*7 Years — Fellowship Regions have the responsibility to manage and encourage these partnerships between churches or individual donors and Francophone churches within their Region. These partnerships will be in place for seven (7) years, with the possibility of a three (3) year extension.
*1 Francophone Church Plant — Our partnership objective will be to see each Francophone church plant develop and mature into an autonomous self-governing, self-supporting, and self-propagating local church to the glory of God!
Join my next “Quebec Vision Tour” on October 7-9, 2019. Twice annually I take a dozen pastors and church leaders to Quebec on an exposure tour. Over 48 hours they visit seven to eight church plant locations (meeting the church planter and launch town) and get a good idea of the massive spiritual needs among Francophones. They are Canadians who speak French, and most are entering a Christless eternity.
My prayer continues to be that every Fellowship church might partner with our predominant “Samaritan” (Acts 1:8) people groups, Francophones or First Nation peoples. I recognize that there were poor connotations associated with Samaritans in Jesus’ day. All I mean by the use of the term is people who are in our society, but are “distinct” from within the culture.
If interested, > click here < and take a few minutes to watch a brief video describing a “Quebec Vision Tour” (QVT) experience.
Please pray about supporting the mission in Quebec. Consider joining me on my next QVT on October 7-9, 2019. I need to hear from you soon….first come, first served.
Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Each year I give you the current number of local churches that make up our Fellowship of churches.
We have completed all five Regional Conferences and you’ll read reports below from each of our Regional Directors.
As of this week, our Fellowship numbers are:
Report from Fellowship Pacific
All In: Individual . Team . Mission - That was the theme of Impact 2019 (the conference name) which took place in Delta, BC on April 24-26. With a focus on relationships, Impact took on a whole new look and feel that allowed pastors and delegates more time to connect with each other. The atmosphere was energized and fun as guests enjoyed an opening celebration reception to kick off the next two days. They were treated to a great time of worship, and stories from eight different speakers (including Jon Thompson of C4 Church in Ajax, ON) who brought the theme to life with their personal stories of being “All In” for Christ as individuals, as part of a team, and “on mission” in their communities and beyond. Focus groups for small, medium, and large churches provided some excellent resources and information for our churches. Impact 2019 wrapped up with a meaningful time of worship and communion which reminded us that being “all in” means, “…we must carry out all that God requires (Matthew 2:15).”
David Horita, Regional Director Fellowship Pacific
Greeters at South Delta Baptist Church
Jayson Oldham leading worship
Report from Fellowship Prairies
Our Regional Conference (Equip 2019) took place on May 2-3 at West Edmonton Baptist Church. We had a great time together anticipating what our future holds, while reflecting on God’s goodness to us currently. A panel of some of our new church planters, along with one of our Colombian church planters, was both inspiring and informative. We have seen God adding to our Region through some church plants recently, and are intentionally focusing in this direction going forward. This information and encouragement was helpful to process what involvement might look like as we move ahead in this area. We are grateful to God for another great year!
Mark Breitkreuz, Regional Director Fellowship Prairies
President Steve Jones at Equip 2019
Panel of some of our church planters
Report from FEB Central
Held at Forward Church (Cambridge, ON) and with an attendance over 300, this year’s FEB Central ‘Recharge’ conference was an encouragement to all who attended. Mike Bullmore, Pastor of Crossway Community Church in Bristol, WI spoke on “The Sufficiency of the Word in the Life of the Church.” Max Oates (City Centre, Mississauga, ON) led worship, and we enjoyed a special presentation by Heritage’s choral group directed by Doug Thomson. Five workshops were offered and one that attracted special attention was ‘Handling Public Backlash to Church Sexual Ethics’. It was about the experience of one of our churches when a human sexuality discipline case went viral on social media. The insights and lessons shared were timely and extremely helpful – a workshop all of our churches would benefit from hearing. This year’s recipient of the Eagle Award, who received a standing ovation, was Pastor Don Perkins. Don has endeared himself to so many and over five decades has discipled and mentored countless individuals for the Lord. Another highlight was welcoming 10 new churches, eight of which were church plants that have now achieved full autonomy. In addition to our formal gatherings, we were enriched through informal times of eating, connecting, and networking together. Yes, in one way or another, we left Regional conference feeling ‘Recharged’!
Bob Flemming, Regional Director FEB Central
Regional Director Bob Flemming praying for the pastors of 10 churches
Pastor Don Perkins, Eagle Award recipient
Report from AÉBÉQ
The Sommet 2019 is a new initiative from AÉBÉQ which joins two of our best events: our annual Congrès and the conference “Un pas plus loin.” This new way of organizing this event came from a thoughtful reflection. We wanted to reach a significant number of the members of our churches and interest them in the mission in Québec. More than 200 people participated and we believe the number will increase in the years to come. Everyone agrees, this event was a divine success!
Louis Bourque, Regional Director AÉBÉQ
Presentation on church planting
Members from the church in Le Plateau (Montréal, QC) were presented
Norton Lages, main speaker
Report from Fellowship Atlantic
Fellowship Atlantic’s Regional Conference was held at Crossroads Baptist Church near Truro, NS on May 10 and 11. Our Region consists of 19 churches; 17 of those were represented at our conference this year, a new record. The theme was church planting, and Brad Somers (PAXnorth, Halifax, NS) was keynote speaker. He connected the early church planting formulae from Acts 2-17 with modern-day planting. We heard verbal reports from every one of our attending churches. Crossroads’ hospitality was great. National representation included Steve Jones, Dan Shurr, and Richard Flemming.
Frank Kohler, interim Regional Director, Fellowship Atlantic
Worshipping together at PAXnorth
Brad Somers speaking
After reading these Regional reports, we can only stand amazed at how God has truly blessed our Fellowship over the past year. All glory goes to Him, the immortal, invisible God, in whom we move and have our very existence.
“May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God...” Psalm 20:5
Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
The social and financial cost to Canada would be immense if Canada were to view charities as not providing a high return on society’s investment through the tax system.
Religious values move people away from self-interest toward civic engagement. Study after study proves this. Religion is likely the most powerful corrective to the “individualism” prevalent in current Canadian culture. And for this reason, we must vigilantly protect religious freedom in Canada.
John Pellowe, Executive Director of CCCC (Canadian Council of Christian Charities), recently shared a report to a Senate Committee studying potential changes to the charitable sector in Canada. I found much of his report compelling and want to share some “tidbits” from his presentation.
He made a persuasive case for the immense prosocial impact the religiously “very committed” (defined as attending religious services weekly) make on our country. Religious practice increases civil engagement, economic output, and social infrastructure, while producing excellent citizens. Religion impacts every aspect of life in Canada in a positive way. Here are just a few of the social impacts:
The fact remains, advancing religion in Canada provides an outstanding tangible ROI (Return of Investment) in Canada. The ROI is clearly seen in the empirical evidence. For those who believe that the tax concessions given to churches and donors is unfair and a drain, a case is easily made to prove the contrary. A cost-benefit analysis proves otherwise.
In a 2017 analysis of 16 churches, the ROI was calculated determining the “lost” municipal property taxes in comparison to the socio-economic benefits contributed to the community from each of these 16 churches. The result was a return on investment that is 12 times higher than the lost taxes. The fact is, those taxes are not lost but an investment. Canada’s investment in religious charities through our tax system provides an outstanding return on investment to all taxpayers, reducing the burden taxpayers would otherwise have to pay to continue the differing social benefits in their communities that churches currently provide.
Let’s pray our Federal government remains convinced that it is good public policy to remain committed to the “very committed.”
Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Changes to Canada’s charitable laws are likely coming in the future. In January 2018 the current Federal government formed a Senate Committee to investigate the charitable sector in Canada. The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada’s (EFC) President mentioned to me and others that other western nations who have done something similar have made significant changes to their charity laws.
The Senate Committee was to submit their report in December 2018. According to the online Senate Parliamentary Record, the special committee met December 10, 2018 but no report was forthcoming. However, on March 18, 2019 the special committee convened and heard from the Canadian Council of Christian Charities’s (CCCC) Executive Director, John Pellowe, on “The Impact of the Advancing Religion Charitable Sub-Sector in Canada.” John presented a report on the benefits religious life gives to the overall social and civil life of Canada.
The stats indicate there is a clear relationship between good citizenship and one’s religious commitment. Therefore, institutions (like local churches) that develop prosocial citizens provide an important public benefit to Canada.
Kurt Bowen write, “There is a gentleness among the “very committed” that sets them apart from other Canadians.”
They care about justice, but are careful to pursue justice in lawful ways. The very committed are twice as likely to support a boycott or attend a legal demonstration as the non-religious. Across six forms of anti-social behaviour, the “very committed” strongly disapproved of these behaviours. Bowen concludes: “The common thread underlying these findings on both protest and permissiveness is that religiosity is intimately linked to civility.” Religion has a big impact on Canadians when it comes to viewing the importance of community and acting civilly in society. The benefits to Canada are immense.
Knowing there is a God external to me whom I am answerable to, convincing me the world does not revolve around me, helps to focus my worldview on others, not just on myself. Religion provides an immense public benefit to Canada. Canada would be significantly diminished if religious charities and places of worship were to disappear due to changes to current charitable laws and tax practices that have been a wise investment in the social fabric and well-being of our country.
Keep praying that all government officials remain committed to the “very committed” in our country.
Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
For 50 years our Fellowship International department has been serving in Pakistan. We have sent missionaries, particularly to the interior Sindh province, via a variety of ministries.
We just sent Nadeem and Jamila Qazi in September 2018 and hope to send Kevin and Micaela Miller by later this year.
A Summer Appeal for Pakistan ($60,000)
We have a unique opportunity to partner with Fellowship International in Pakistan through four key areas in order to advance His Kingdom in this challenging work.
New Missionaries Preparing to Depart
Missionary appointees, Kevin and Micaela Miller (from Edmonton, AB) are currently partner-raising in preparation for their planned departure to Pakistan later this year. God has given them a passion for evangelism and discipleship and they are eager to come alongside and minister to the people in the Sindh province. A portion of the funds raised through this project ($20,000) will be used towards language study and assisting the Millers as they settle into their ministry.
Sindhi Language Media
Fellowship missionaries Rod and Donna Black served in Pakistan for over 20 years. Today, Rod’s ministry, now based in Canada, includes a significant component that involves the preparation and production of print and audio visual materials (books, music, videos) in the Sindhi language. The struggle has been to be able to reproduce and distribute the resources to those who have indicated an interest in spiritual matters. With this need in mind, we are striving to raise $10,000 to be used to purchase/produce and distribute print and audio visual materials, including books, videos, and music.
Shikarpur Christian Hospital
The Christian Ministries team at Shikarpur Christian Hospital (SCH) was assembled under the leadership of recently retired Fellowship missionary, Elaine Eby, and is an integral part of the hospital’s ministry. They are the spiritual care component of the holistic care that the hospital provides. Caring for patients, their families, and visitors to SCH both at the hospital and within the community, the Christian Ministries team is comprised of four workers who effectively engage with people who come to SCH for care. Together they form an effective team serving as chaplains within the hospital, and as evangelists and disciple-makers throughout the northern Sindh province. Working through the hospital, they have unique opportunities and often an open door to share Christ. We are seeking to raise $15,000 to assist with transportation and operational costs for this team, in addition to a modest salary for team members.
Pakistan Bible Correspondence School
Another group that is also effective and has a wider geographic area of impact within Pakistan, is the Pakistan Bible Correspondence School (PBCS). For the past 50 years, the PBCS has been involved in making it possible for thousands of Pakistanis to study the Word of God through correspondence courses. A team of four men work to provide print and electronic media to those who indicate a desire to learn more about Jesus. Without their efforts, many of these people would never have heard the Truths of the Gospel. The team also provides access to God-honouring music and videos in the Sindhi language distributed on MP3 players and SD cards (to be played on cellphones). Fellowship International missionaries, Rod Black and Terry Wiley, have had a long and fruitful partnership with the leaders of this life-giving ministry. Through this appeal Fellowship International hopes to raise $15,000 to be used to purchase equipment and supplies for the PBCS team, and to provide very modest salaries for these workers.
Will you prayerfully consider the role God would have you play in reaching the Pakistani people for Christ? Each of these projects is involved in bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to this spiritually dry and thirsty country.
Please > click here < to view an appeal brochure and send your gift today to “MISSION POSSIBLE: Pakistan.”
Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Last week I introduced you to a new Canadian research study on what defines a flourishing church.
Sociologist Dr. Joel Thiessen of Ambrose University, and other academics, completed an initial exploratory study interviewing 109 church leaders face to face, and another 66 individuals within nine focus groups made up of Catholic, mainline, and conservative Protestant leaders. This study has led to a further study whereby Dr. Thiessen and his team are surveying hundreds of Canadian congregations.
The current completed study concluded they could not anticipate a single shared definition or perception of what constitutes a flourishing congregation, however this first exploratory study did discover points of convergence and divergence.
Here are the common traits of flourishing congregations in Canada:
I. Organizational Ethos:
II. Internal Factors:
Discipleship: A congregation’s sign of flourishing was its ability to:
1. Hospitable Communities: Congregations flourish when they offer a “home” to those inside and outside the church where people are known in a safe, loving, and accepting community:
2. Engaged Laity: Congregations flourish when congregants are regularly involved in the life of their local church. Differing faith groups measured involvement in varying ways. Catholic leaders emphasized attendance at mass, while conservative Protestant leaders added behaviours such as tithing and prayer.
3. Diversity: Congregational diversity surfaced as a perceived indicator that a congregation was flourishing. By diversity, leaders singled out: race, social class, age, gender, and sexual orientation to those in the pew and those in leadership.
As one Catholic leader put it, “it’s the only place where the poor and rich, healthy and unhealthy, young and old, educated and uneducated, can sit beside each other. When any one of these feels excluded, I don’t think it’s a flourishing congregation anymore.”
Mainline Protestants spoke most strongly about diversity and embracing the LGBTQ community. In fact, some mainline readers criticized conservative Protestants for saying they are open to the LGBTQ community, but limit full involvement in their local congregation’s ministry.
III. Outward Variables:
Congregations that flourish must be outward focused in at least one of the following areas:
Catholic (40% of Canadians), mainline (16%), and conservative (10%) Protestant leaders appear to share the following views on the cause of a flourishing congregation:
However, Catholic, mainline, and conservative Protestant leaders differently prioritized the cause and effect of a flourishing church in the following areas:
These variations can be attributed to areas such as theology, polity, organizational structure, and demographic realities. These distinctions serve as the important boundaries that mark “our” tradition from “their” tradition. For example, Protestants valued innovation, whereas Catholic leaders did not. Mainline Protestants framed their need for innovation against the backdrop of their numerical decline. Evangelism and discipleship emerged across all three traditions, but especially among conservative Protestants. Nowhere were differences most noticeable along theological traditions than on the topic of diversity, the only occasion where strong accusations were voiced between the three traditions.
These findings are from the first exploratory study. Dr. Joel Thiessen and his team are currently completing a second, larger study surveying hundreds of local churches in Canada.
Stay tuned for more information on what makes a flourishing congregation.
Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
How might you describe a flourishing local church? A congregation that is alive and thriving.
A major study asking this very question is being conducted in Canada. Sociologist, Dr. Joel Thiessen of Ambrose University and other academics have completed an initial exploratory study which has led to a larger study of hundreds of local churches across the country. I encouraged many of our churches to participate in the second study several months back.
I wanted to give you some of the findings from their exploratory study report published in the “Springer Review of Religious Research.”
The first study asked Canadian Catholic, conservative and mainline Protestant leaders how they would define what constitutes a flourishing congregation. Their findings were drawn from interviews (109 face to face), and focus groups (nine groups with 66 individuals), and data from leaders across Canada. The study wanted to gather the perceptions, narratives, and experiences that church and denominational leaders hold about flourishing congregations.
There was some wide divergence between the faith traditions, urban and rural churches, liberal and conservative theology, large and small congregations, among other things, however, several common themes did surface within the differing Christian faith families in Canada.
The study captured these common themes within three overarching domains:
1. Organizational Ethos or the “hardware” (strategy and structure) and “software” (style, systems, staff and shared values) of the local church. Four distinct ethos surfaced:
2. Internal factors or the initiatives, demographics, and realities that primarily pertain to those within the congregation. Four distinct factors surfaced:
3. Outward variables or the activities that link these within the congregation to those outside the congregation in the community. Three distinct variables surfaced:
There was divided opinion on whether flourishing necessarily means numeric growth. The importance of numerical growth seemed to be directly related to the influence the consecutive church growth (1960s-70s), church health (1980s-90s), and missional church movements (2000s) have had on the leader being interviewed. Also there was some difference in describing the supernatural impact on flourishing churches among the differing faith traditions especially between those mainline Protestants who espouse liberal theology and conservative Protestants and conservative Catholics. Lastly there was difference of opinion among the faith groups when referring to diversity. Conservative Protestant and Catholic leaders referenced the importance of ethnic and socio-economic diversity while many mainline Protestant leaders reference diversity based on sexual orientation.
Despite these differences, the study discovered seven major common themes, among the three faith traditions, concerning what makes a flourishing congregation:
Next week, I’ll spend more time describing each of these common traits as we discover what defines a flourishing local church.
Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Our Fellowship International department is partnering with Fellowship churches and pastors to get involved in the training of pastors and leaders in churches around the world. You could get involved in the Fellowship’s “LeadersFormation” ministry led by our Coordinator Hannibal (Hanni) Muhtar.
What is Leaders Formation?
Hanni Muhtar, LeadersFormation International Coordinator
Due to limited resources, pastors in a number of countries around the world have had no opportunity for theological education. LeadersFormation is a ministry of The Fellowship that promotes a joint effort of churches across Canada who are partnering with churches in other countries to provide leadership training and development where it is either unavailable or not possible. In the last two decades LeadersFormation has trained hundreds of church leaders in a number of countries while our own churches have benefited from both the partnerships and the training they facilitate.
Facilitating and More in Nigeria
(report by Pastor Mark Farrow, Stoney Creek Baptist, London, ON)
Facilitators from Canada lead the sessions and help participants complete one manual per visit. They have the opportunity to see benefits just as Mark Farrow and Hanni Muhtar did in the town of Owerri. Mark shares,
“We were able to finish the book "Passing On Your Beliefs" with time to spare on Thursday. Many of the men seemed to be quite challenged by the Word of God’s charge to men to be the spiritual leaders in their home and to be actively training their children to pass on the faith. Several shared positive testimonies of what God had been teaching them, and they were all very encouraging. It was also a blessing hearing many of their stories of the spiritual opposition they have faced (and continue to face) in the planting of their churches and how God continues to show Himself stronger time and time again. It was beautiful. The stories were like stories straight out of Acts. I praise God for what He’s doing in southeastern Nigeria!”
Mark Farrow and a Nigerian pastor
And there were unexpected highlights for the team:“In Owerri on the way back, the security guard who checked my bag saw my Bible and asked me to pray for him right then and there. The security guard beside him paused checking the bag of the person beside me and bowed her head along with us. Then the final security guard, who saw and heard everything, asked me to pray for him! When I pray in those situations, I always preach the Gospel in my prayer. Join me in praying for these guards.”
Nigerian pastors studying together
Beyond the four days of working with participants, how else do our facilitators get involved locally?
“I would highly recommend any facilitator that (participates) to plan to stick around for the National Conference of the TETMI churches. It was fantastic getting to see several of the men in a different setting (outside the “classroom”), being pastors to their church families. And it was great to be able to meet their wives and children! I spoke three times over the three days and it was an absolute blessing!”
Growth in the Philippines
(report by Pastor Ian Smith, Mayerthorpe Baptist, AB)
This project consists of two cohorts, one based in Ormoc, Leyte and one in Banga, Mindanao. Pastor Ian traveled to the Philippines along with his family, and took Jason Eklund, one of his elders, as well as Jason’s family. Jason has been trained as a LeadersFormation facilitator.
Jason Eklund facilitating a training session
The Philippine cohort has been in operation since 2015 and students are at the point where they are involved in the actual facilitation of the sessions. Ian shares, “The participants handled 95% of the facilitation time and overall they did a very good job. In fact I was surprised by the engagement of certain leaders.” They were able to ask key follow-up questions and had the opportunity and skill needed to challenge fellow students on their responses.
After gathering together over the last four years, it is an encouragement at this stage to see how much students have advanced since they first began to participate in the program. Ian writes, “I could see growth in them since May 2018, and when I think back to 2015 it is almost unbelievable that this is the same group. They continue to do well.”
Pastor Ian Smith with pastor Edsil
And just as with other projects, there is more to the week than just facilitating. Ian continues, “The Eklund family visited a sponsor child they support through Compassion Canada. I was privileged to preach four times during the Ormoc week and again in a church in Banga. As well, our team was invited to a couple of birthday parties being celebrated within the church family. We also visited Lake Sebu as tourists for a few hours before we began the co-hort.”
In the Banga cohort, the work of facilitating has its highs and its lows. It was a great encouragement for Ian to see one particular student excel in his ability to facilitate the cohort and to engage his classmates in in-depth discussion. However, students are still needing some prompting for deeper questions that bring about more in-depth discussion.
These two cohorts graduate this year and several of the participants are planning to continue mentoring others.
(by Paul Harbourne)
In May 2018 we had the initial session of the latest LeadersFormation Kenya project in the town of Kisii in the western part of the country near Lake Victoria. We were blessed with a good group of 23 passionate church leaders from three different areas of the country gathering at the St. Vincent Centre to begin our learning together. The participants quickly blended and for that we were thankful as many had met for the first time. We had some very in-depth and, at times, animated discussions as the group worked through the issues of baptism and Christian liberty. We had an excellent spirit of questioning and explanation as we came to the biblical truths on the issues. What a blessing to see this dynamic develop so quickly.
Cedric Shibuyanga, Regional Coordinator
Much of this would not be possible without our Regional coordinator Cedric Shibuyanga who lives in Kenya and understands culture and language so very well. He can quickly clarify concepts that get lost in translation and has become an invaluable partner and a dear friend.
Cedric has already planned to check in on each group in their home areas before the next session.
—Paul is senior pastor at
Fellowship Baptist Church in Collingwood, ON.
We are looking for four more churches to partner in the project in Indonesia which is due to begin in 2019. The Kenya and Nigeria projects are also looking for additional partner churches.
Partnership includes spiritual support through prayer, financial support by giving through Fellowship International, and practical support by sending trained facilitators to the project once a year. >Click HERE< to contact Fellowship International for more information.
Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Steve Jones here…
Are Canadians generous? Depends who you ask.
In recent years we have seen some unfavourable trends in charitable giving within Canada. Giving is down among every age group with only one-fifth or 20% of Canadians donating to charities. Studies show that if you have not given in the past, it is unlikely you will begin unless you make it a priority (2015).
The average annual donation per Canadian has decreased from $365 to $343 from 2006-2015. More alarming is Canada’s donors are changing what they give. Canadians aged 55 and older collectively donated $6.4 billion to charity in 2015, almost double the $3.5 billion given by Canadians aged 25-54. This reality is also due to the more discretionary cash that older Canadians have to give. But that is not universally true. Giving habits are changing among a large millennial demographic.
As government funding dwindles, donors in the older age groups “age out”, we potentially lose charitable status in Canada. As churches and charities neglect to focus on millennial donors, there will be funding gaps in the near future among churches and faith mission organizations.
So what are donors giving to these days? In the 2018 Global Trends Giving Report (click here to read the report), the following was discovered:
May is Leave a Legacy month in Canada
Canadian Christians typically give more than the average Canadian. As stewards rather than owners, we give faithfully and generously. We are conduits, rather than hoarders of God’s blessing to others. We seek to give cheerfully as an investment to advance the Gospel cause. We can do this in our lifetime as well as beyond the grave through wise estate planning.
During the month of May, I’m encouraging our Fellowship family to think strategically about leveraging their good deeds well into the future by giving a legacy to our Fellowship Foundation.
Our Foundation began in 2015 and has grown to almost $6 million in direct gifts, legacies, and investments. See the pie chart to discover where generous donors have designated their legacy gifts to benefit Fellowship local churches, Regions, schools and national ministries.
Legacy Gifts and the different Fellowship Ministries
Please prayerfully consider a legacy in your will toward the Fellowship foundation. Consider contacting Gord Baptist to learn how you might do this.
A Word from Gord Baptist
“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 >>HERE
Occasionally I’m asked what the difference is between the work of Fellowship chaplains and our pastors. In the manual, “The Work of the Chaplain”, Paget and McCormick state:
“It is important to keep the two roles (pastors and chaplains) distinct. Chaplains are, ‘providing a credible spiritual service and pastoral support as they bring the presence of God into the workplace’.
“A chaplain is essentially a spiritual representative attached to a secular institution. They are expected to serve the spiritual and emotional needs of others.
“A chaplain is one who formally serves as a recognized spiritual provider in a ‘particular’ context that is not generally accessible to the public, including pastors. As chaplains bring Christ’s presence into the workplace the Lord opens doors for them to provide, ‘credible spiritual service and pastoral support’ to those who may or may not be intentionally seeking help.”
Some News from a couple of our Chaplains
Danielle Presseault: Community Chaplain
Currently, 17 of our 88 Fellowship chaplains are female. Chaplain Danielle is a “community chaplain” in the Ottawa, ON area. She is also a mother, and wife of pastor Kevin Presseault of Greenbelt Community Church (a Fellowship church).
I will let Danielle introduce herself and her chaplaincy ministry to you:
Danielle Presseault, community chaplain
“I serve as a chaplain in the Beacon Hill community, and am a member of a committee which specifically reaches out to the Jasmine Crescent neighbourhood, a community paralyzed by a long succession of violent crimes. Working alongside the local resource centre team (police, child and youth workers, the city councilor, as well as Jasmine Crescent neighbours) we seek to help restore hope in the community.
“Initially, there had been pushback from local stakeholders as to whether or not to allow the Christian community onto the team, as there were concerns about proselytization, but God brought down one wall after another. I am now just another member of the team who is relied upon as part of the puzzle offering services, support, and hope.
“Free space in the Ottawa Public Library has been generously offered to provide spiritual care and counselling right where the people are – in their community. I have begun a partnership with volunteers so that Beacon of Hope can offer ESL classes, paint workshops, and seniors groups, also in partnership with the library.
“I’ve also hosted a small Bible study in the Library using video resources from RightNow Media which is being made available to us by Greenbelt Baptist Church. We are seeing people gain a greater understanding of who God is and how that makes a difference in their lives.
“Our prayer is that God would give Beacon of Hope Chaplaincy favour in the community and that the people He wants us to reach or meet the needs of would be receptive to the activities and services offered. We want to build a positive and warm rapport with whomever God brings.
“I have been sincerely amazed by our volunteers and their willingness to share their gifts with our community! I have also been in awe of God and how He has connected us to so many beautiful people. Our weekly ESL and Bible study, entitled Spiritual Rhythms, are just a couple of ways I remain connected to our community.”
(Captain) Alexander Krause: Military Chaplain
I visited with Alex in Winnipeg in November 2018. As a military chaplain with the Canadian Armed Forces, Alex is required to be credentialed through his Church Association. Alex will be completing his MDiv Studies and beginning a two-year internship with Bethel Baptist Church in Winnipeg, MB. Pastor Arden Boville will have the joy of coaching this godly man for two years as he prepares for chaplaincy ministry in the armed forces.
In a recent phone conversation, I learned from the “Baptist Rep.” on the Canadian Armed Forces Chaplains Council that the fastest growing group among new chaplain recruits are “evangelicals”. Alex and several new Fellowship military chaplains have a ministry of presence among the soldiers they serve.
I will let Alex introduce himself to you:
Captain) Alexander Krause, military chaplain
“My name is Alexander Krause and I joined Fellowship Chaplaincy in 2015. I am a military chaplain and am currently studying at Providence Seminary within the Masters of Divinity program.
“This past year, I have had the opportunity to minister in Winnipeg with some fellow believers. We try to go into the city once each week and distribute sandwiches to the needy and pray for those who are open to us doing so. I have talked with many homeless people and have had the opportunity to tell them about Christ's love for them.
“Please pray that God would continue to reveal himself to me and that I would seek him through my studies as I work toward completing the MDiv program at Providence Seminary.
Take Aways – Fellowship chaplain one-liners collected from visits with them