Pastor’s Perspective – October 2015

This newsletter marks the final quarter of 2015. It is remarkable to look back over the past 9 months and see how much transition this church has experienced and navigated by the grace of God. We have lost, we have gained, we have failed, we have succeeded; all of which is used of God to build His testimony in our lives and in the life of this church.  As we have seen this year, we are not exempt from experiencing each life stage that is mentioned in Ecclesiastes 3; otherwise known as the “time for everything” passage.

 

Whereas 2015 began with much transition, it also began with much prayer, hope, and aspiration to a fresh work of God in and through us.  Upward Basketball and Cheerleading had record enrollment, the Search Committee was eagerly receiving resumes for the vacant Youth/FMC Director position, and our church began discussing the opportunity of mission work in Canada—to name only a few. With that said, Upward was a success, God sent us Josh Rinker (and family) as our new Youth/FMC Director and the Canadian Vision Team and the Missions Committee has reached a long sought after decision concerning partnering with a church planter in Canada.

 

For those of you who are new, here is the short story on the potential of a mission partnership with Canada.  The Mission Committee and I assembled a group of people to investigate a potential partnership with a North American Mission Board church planter in Canada.  The Mission Committee spent several weeks seeking God’s direction in touring two cities in Canada, Toronto, Ontario  and Vancouver, BC.  The Vision Team went to Toronto in May and then Vancouver in July.

 

We met with our Southern Baptist Convention church planters in both cities and learned how God was assembling so many diverse pastors (and their families) in Canada to literally reach the world with the Gospel. For Canada’s government, and most of it citizenship, is open to immigrants and refugees from all over the globe. So much so that I learned that the Canadian distinctive is now a blend of international cultures, religions, and ideals.  The planters had great stories of success, however, they also has stories of the reality and hardships of planting churches in a country in which Christianity is in its rearview mirror by a least 2-3 decades. The soil is hard in reaching Canadians with the Gospel.

 

OKAY! What does all of that mean?  For months it has been written and said that a report will be given to the whole church as to whether or not the Vision Team and Missions Committee perceives the potential of this church partnering with a church planter in Canada.  As of Wednesday evening’s Mission Committee meeting I can officially say that it is a joint recommendation that this church partner with a church planter in Vancouver, BC. Whoop, Whoop! Hip, hip, hurray! Praise the Lord! In case you didn’t know, it makes my heart happy that we are at this point because I truly believe it is God’s will for this church.

 

However, this is only a recommendation to the church. The church needs to continue to be in prayer and at an upcoming business meeting will vote yes or no as an act of seeking the lordship of Jesus in this matter. Here are some specifics to our recommendation:

 

The church plant is Zendeh (Living) Church, which is a Farsi-English church that seeks to reach out to the Farsi-speaking population of 50-60 thousand people throughout the Greater Vancouver Region.

The church planter is Amin and his wife Sepideh. They came to faith in Christ in Iran, after which they had to flee to Turkey as refugees. They came to Vancouver in 2006, filled with a passion to reach out to other Farsi speakers with the good news of Jesus Christ. They became church planters with the West Coast Baptist Association and are key leaders in the Zendeh (Living) Church and the Kanoone Zendegi (Life Community Centre).

See http://www.vancouverchurchplanting.com/zendeh-living-church/ for more biographical information.

The commitment is 3-5 years which includes a monthly contribution and the potential of sending mission teams of approximately 6 people up to 4 times a year.

 

This is the bare essential information.  The Vision Team and Mission Committee has much more information to share in the weeks to come. Let me close this article by sharing with you my thoughts about this partnership. First, if this is God’s will, our church will be on the front lines of assisting Iranian Christians to reach Iranian Muslims (and others) with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Second, the longevity of this partnership excites me because in the Book of Acts churches plant churches.  This partnership will be a concentrated ministry to assist Zendeh Church in evangelism, ministry, and to support its church planter and his wife. If this comes to fruition, many of you will be on Canadian soil meeting and serving with Amin and Sepideh. You will get to know them and the members of their church.  They will get to come here and meet us, too. In fact, I cannot wait until this church can meet and hear Amin and Sepideh’s testimony and passion for the ministry of Zendeh Church. Third, this church will be a part of God’s work in evangelizing Canada so that Christianity is no longer in its rear view mirror but impacting the culture and people for the glory of God.