A Word From Steve Jones
May 18th, 2020
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
The month of May is a time when pro-life ministries and organizations especially, double their efforts promoting the life of the unborn in Canada. This week, on May 9, many pro-lifers are traveling to Ottawa to lobby the federal government and the rest of Canada through the “March for Life” campaign.
One-third of hospitals in Canada perform abortions. They perform two-thirds of the abortions in the country. The other third is performed by doctors in public and private (for profit) clinics. Some 97,254 abortions occurred in Canada in 2005. In one year (July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018) 385,777 babies were born in Canada—do the math. One in five pregnancies are terminated by abortion in Canada. Doctor-assisted death (suicide) has increased exponentially since it became legal in June 2016. We live in a culture of death promoted and sustained by a radical view of individual rights.
In 2016 the Canadian birth rate was 1.6 babies per mother. Experts state the sub-replacement fertility rate in any country must be 2.1 children per woman to sustain the country’s population. Without a robust immigration program, Canada’s population will decline due in part to the culture of death prevalent in our country.
There has been a new attack on the unborn in recent months. This should concern people of faith committed to sanctity of life issues.
Summer Jobs and Pro-Life Ministries
By now you’ve heard that the attestation was removed from the federal government’s Summer Jobs funding program. What happened and how has it affected faith groups from receiving public funding?
Employment minister Patty Hajdu wrote this concerning the federal government’s constitutional mistake:
“While the government had tried to make it clear the attestation wasn’t targeting ‘beliefs or values’, some people were still confused and uncomfortable.”
Her explanation inferred that the citizen’s “confusion” was the fault of overall public ignorance. The federal government’s claim is that it was misunderstood. This, of course, is not true. Every major media outlet (newspapers) in the country called them out for being constitutionally off-side. Also, most faith-based groups saw past the federal government’s feigned effort to distance themselves from their extremist, abortion values.
While many politicians, including the Conservative party of Canada, and several Christian organizations, were quick to claim a victory, it is clear that removing the value attestation was a step forward in eliminating any eligibility for funding of any organization whose core mandate is viewed (by the Employment Ministry) as hindering the reproductive right (code for abortion rights) of women. They would become ineligible for any public funding.
Global News noted this, saying:
“Now groups that work to undermine those [abortion] rights or that promote discriminations simply won’t be eligible for funding.”
The Fellowship’s National Council mentioned their concerns in a January 2019 letter to our churches. Many view this new reality as being just as bad as the attestation, especially for pro-life organizations. The federal government is saying you can be pro-life, but you can’t get public funding and the government wants you to keep quiet about your views that hinder women’s “reproductive rights”.
21-week-old Human Fetus
Once again, let me say it among the chorus of well-informed Canadians, abortion is not a Charter right. This is not hear-say nor a private opinion, this is a fact. The current federal government seems to intimate this is not a fact. As some like to say, facts don’t care about our Prime Minister’s feelings. The fact is abortion is widely available in Canada (since 1988) not because of a law (or right), but due to the absence of one. In 1988 the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the 1969 law as unconstitutional and gave Parliament one year to institute a new law. Parliament tried, failed and seemingly gave up. Canada is one of only a few countries in the world with an enduring legal vacuum when it comes to abortion. God have mercy on us and the successive governments that are hoping (happy) to ignore this reality.
Choice42.com: A Pro-Life Organization
I encourage you to check out the choice42.com website and videos on YouTube . This pro-life organization was started by some Fellowship friends. Laura Klassen has been featured in several brief videos produced by “Choice 42” (choice four-two, not choice forty-two; clever eh?!)
I love their brief video, “The Magical Birth Canal”. I encourage you to click here to watch this “tongue in cheek” approach to unmasking the insane thinking related to when a baby becomes a baby affording human rights.
This pro-life organization is looking for friends and allies. Please check their website by clicking here .
How do we continue to speak up for life in a culture of death? How do local churches speak up or come alongside pro-life organizations like local crisis pregnancy centres and give them a lift? Good place to start the discussion.