Dear Pastors, Missionaries, Chaplains and Friends,
Steve here… I just returned from a tour of our churches in our BC region (Fellowship Pacific) and wanted to share some highlights; I think this will encourage you.
Our Fellowship Pacific Region has experienced some tremendous growth in recent years, for which we praise God. Six years ago the “growth rate” among our Pacific churches was only 0.1%. However, currently these same churches are collectively averaging a 5% growth rate. Outstanding! I don’t know of another evangelical group in all of Canada experiencing this marvellous increase. Regional Director, David Horita, his team and the pastors and people of our Pacific Region get the “brownie” for the day. In our National Office, getting the “brownie” means - you done good!
Several anecdotes from my recent visit to the BC lower mainland and Okanagan are:
· South Delta Baptist and Pastor Paul Johnson planted the Village Church in 2010 and have begun to consider their next plant. Their own church has doubled in size in the last five years.
· SouthRidge Fellowship with Pastor Brent Chapman continues to grow. I preached to this great church and later stood in the foyer and watched an amazing sense of community and love…very impressed.
· Oakridge Baptist and Pastors Brad and Sampson have a unique set-up. Two congregations under the same roof, but led by one board. A Caucasian and Chinese church who serve their Vancouver community together.
· The Village Church in Surrey with Pastor Mark Clark, a church plant (2010) that has grown to close to 2,000 worshippers in two campuses with another satellite campus being planned. This church needs staff…Pray for Mark as he searches.
· Dunbar Heights Baptist, in very expensive West Vancouver, with Pastors Barton and Kyle having developed an amazing leadership development mentorship program along with future plans for church planting in “West Van”. I was very encouraged to hear their church will soon be supporting Fellowship International missionary appointees to India: Raj and Kim Vannadil.
· Met with Howard Johnson, CEO of BC Baptist Housing, the BC government’s organization of choice for retirement facilities. Their foundation has made a lot of funds available through the years for Fellowship Pacific Ministries. A big thank you!
· Westsyde Baptist and Pastor Don Tyler in Kamloops which has experienced great blessing. The church has tripled in the less than four years that Don has pastored there. God is so good.
· Salmon Arm and Pastor Ben Hall, a church that has planted two churches in recent years with plans to do more. Very encouraging news.
· Revelstoke Fellowship church and Pastor Rick Eby who leaves with another nine-member short-term mission team to Medellin, Colombia in January 2013. Rick and his church have developed a multi-year partnership with Fellowship International missionaries Diego and Claudia Cardona, doing evangelistic ESL events each year as a tool to help Diego grow his new church plant. We want more and more Fellowship churches to enjoy the blessing of partnering with our missionaries in short and long-term collaborative projects. (See the new Fellowship International directional document online for more details.)
· Lavington Fellowship Church with Pastor Dave Bunn. I had a great visit with Dave and Ruth and was introduced to their three newly adopted children (15, 10 and 5) from Ethiopia. With their other four children, this makes a “perfect” 7.
· First Baptist, Armstrong and Pastor Dennis Bunio where I had an opportunity to preach. A great church family. They were busy starting to work on their Christmas outreach “Bethlehem Walk” where 1200 will hear the gospel. Well done!
These are only several of the many visits and encouraging stories I heard in my 11 day tour. God is doing a good thing out west and we need to be grateful . Thank you, Lord!
In the event you had not heard, all the Fellowship 48 (National Convention, Nov 5-7) sessions and workshops that were recorded are now available at the Fellowship National website (www.fellowship.ca). Take a listen. Make sure to watch the excellent Project 2013 video (8 minutes) also available at the Fellowship National website.
Have a blessed week,
Theme verse for 2013
“We live by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7