Horizon Weekly | 15 July 2020
By Peter Blackaby
From new professions of faith to new churches to new couples feeling called to plant, God is moving in Western Canada!
Crisis Creates Open Doors
There is no doubt that the past few months have been like none other. Yet this very season of interruption and even heartache led to new hope for so many lives. Here are just a couple of stories.
Sometimes the greatest opportunities come just by answering a phone call. Sam Chua, pastor of Westlynn Baptist Church, recently shared about an individual whose COVID-19 life disruption had caused him to begin a spiritual quest. Though he had no previous connection, he called the church and connected with Pastor Sam. The two were able to connect over the following weeks and began having deep spiritual discussions (from a safe social distance). After multiple meetings, this individual decided to commit his life to Christ and will be baptized this month!
Dustin Conner, planter/pastor of Hope Church, tells the story of a family who used to live in their Calgary area community. Dustin’s family started getting to know them but they moved back to Newfoundland last summer. “We kept up lightly through text but about a month into COVID lockdowns,” Dustin said, “he sent me a Facebook message and asked if we could do a weekly Bible study. He felt like he needed God in his life and wanted to know what the Bible says. He’s not a believer ... yet.”
Mosaic Church (Lloydminster, AB) is celebrating 34 people who accepted Christ during the first month of them moving to online gatherings. Each of these are precious individuals whose lives have been transformed. Pastor Jon Las says, “Each number is a person with a name, loved by God, and for whom Christ died.” Read the full story here.
Adapting and Connecting
One of the members of Hope Church in Calgary did a seven-day “Jericho style” prayer walk around their community to pray for families affected by COVID-19. She also passed out flyers which have connected the church with several families in need. Dustin Conner says, “Her prayer walking has now inspired several of our families to go out for weekly prayer walks and we provide prompts for them to use each week.”
Kingdom Minded Church and West Edmonton Fellowship are both pastored by Vedaste Ndamiye and so they recently combined their online worship and community service efforts. During the COVID-19 lockdown, these two Edmonton churches partnered with a local agency to prepare and deliver food hampers to people who are in need.
Likewise, Towers Baptist Church in Metro Vancouver partnered with a secondary school next door to provide food hampers for 40 families in need. Another Vancouver church planter partnered with a community centre to safely deliver provisions to vulnerable people in quarantine. These are just a few examples of how our churches have been able to love their neighbours as themselves during their time of need.
Our CNBC Family Is Growing
We celebrated the launch or affiliation of five churches in BC and Alberta in the first few months of 2020. These churches minister in English (multiethnic), Spanish, Korean and Japanese. Church plants include: Iglesia Bautista Emanuel Calgary, International Baptist Church (Langley, BC), Japanese Bible Church (Metro Vancouver), and Jesus Vision Baptist Church of Vancouver. We welcomed by affiliation: Urban Grace Church of Calgary.
Of course, the ongoing provincial pandemic measures have caused several other church plants to delay launch timelines as they adapt to new ministry realities or perhaps even revisit their entire model of ministry.
Leaders Raising Up for the Harvest
We are excited to have 17 church planter candidates who will be assessed in the late summer to early fall of this year. These include individuals/couples who are sensing a call to plant in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. Some candidates were on pace to be assessed this past spring before COVID-19 cancellations, and others have come on board more recently, but all are an answer to our Luke 10:2 prayer: “He told them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’”
God is moving in Western Canada! While these are challenging days, this is also a time full of great opportunity. Please continue to pray with our churches and church plants as they navigate the months ahead and adapt ministry to join God where He is at work in their cities, towns, and communities.