Blog

Each week Fellowship President, Steve Jones, encourages and challenges those within The Fellowship through his weekly emails.

We are pleased to be able to make these available online.

We trust you, too, will be encouraged and challenged by what Steve shares.


Archived Posts

Freedom from slavery is possible worldwide!
posted June 18, 2018

On September 23, 2018, I would encourage you to make a special focus on slavery in your church.

Sunday, September 23, 2018 is “Freedom Sunday”, developed and promoted by the Fellowship’s justice partner, International Justice Mission (IJM).

What if slavery no longer existed in the world and the church was the reason? IJM believes God has a plan to end slavery and it begins with God’s people. Join with other Canadian churches in a global movement to end slavery. Bring your influence, prayers, and resources to help rescue and free every child, woman, and man trapped in violence.

It is estimated that 40 million people are caught in slavery today. On Sunday, September 23, 2018, help your church family learn what slavery looks like in the 21st century. Help your church learn what it looks like to “seek justice and defend the oppressed” in our world.

 

Take a look at the poster below, visit the IJM website (click here) and watch a brief video (in English only). Join this worldwide movement as a freedom partner in the fight to end slavery!

Have a blessed week,

Steve

Drugs, burn out and clergy
posted June 11, 2018

October is “Pastor Appreciation Month.” I would encourage members of churches to find ways to encourage their pastoral team all year round. However, let me encourage your church to be intentional this October in blessing your pastor(s) and their family.

Why? Pastors are struggling in Canada.

Recent studies and surveys are indicating this. In an EFC article, based on current research, the following was stated:

  • Most common threats to pastoral well-being is too many time demands, criticism, conflict, and loneliness.
  • Full time pastors average 51.7 hour work weeks.
  • Burn out is more common among younger and unmarried pastors.
  • 50% of surveyed pastors rated their stress level at 7 out of 10.
  • French language pastors ranked themselves lower in overall satisfaction.

 CLERGY CARE HOTLINE

1-800-5CLERGY

Our Fellowship is in partnership with several other Canadian evangelical denominations with Focus on the Family. We pay an annual fee that enables Fellowship pastors, pastors’ spouses, and children along with Fellowship International missionaries, Fellowship Chaplains and their families to phone the CLERGY CARE HOTLINE (1-800-5CLERGY) and get a qualified Christian counselor on the phone. You’re allowed two to three phone calls before being referred to a Christian counselor in your area. And our Fellowship Health Plan does have some coverage for counselor fees.

Your call is completely confidential. National or Regional leaders have no idea who calls. However, I did recently ask the service what the top reasons were for the enquiries. They were as follows:

  • Marriage crisis
  • Rebelling/prodigal children
  • Struggles with pornography
  • Church/leadership conflict
  • Identity crisis through loss of ministry or retirement
  • Spiritual crisis.

The # 1 ranked medical condition needing medication in our very own Fellowship Health Plan are medications for high blood pressure. Depression medication is ranked #3.

Thom Rainer on Burn-Out Prevention

Thom spoke at our FNC 2015 in Gatineau, QC. He is a prolific writer on the church and clergy. In an article “From Burn Out to Vision,” he shares 12 ways pastors went from burnout to vision. He spoke to 17 pastors who had experienced burn out who later re-engaged into exciting ministries after getting healthy. Thom asked them what they did to reverse their dark spiral of burnout. Thom tabulated 12 answers which were most common to all pastors. Things such as:

  • Spent more time in prayer and God’s Word.
  • Stopped comparing.
  • Developed relationships with non-Christians.
  • ...among other things.

One stood out for me – expressed gratitude regularly.

One pastor wrote: “I dealt with impending burnout by committing to handwrite five letters of gratitude a week. It was amazing to see how my vision began to restore when I took the focus off me and expressed gratitude to others.”

That is good medicine.

Let’s reach out to our pastors and their families, especially in October. Start planning how to make October a special month for your pastor(s) and their family. And remember pastor, it is your responsibility to take care of yourself. You can do it better than anyone else.

Have a blessed week,

Steve

The difference between a movement and a monument
posted June 04, 2018

A “movement” happens when core values are owned and become transformative. A “monument” happens when we continue to record what used to happen here.

Since 1953, our churches have freely associated behind an affirmation of faith (click HERE) that answered the question, “What do we believe?” This document has served us well.

But four years ago our Fellowship of churches adopted a directional document called, “We Are the Fellowship”, that answered the questions, “Who are we?” and, “What do we do?”

We are the Fellowship 

Over a three year period and with the involvement of over 700 Fellowship leaders via surveys, gatherings and a task force, we agreed on our Mission, Vision, Values, and Strategy. All compiled in the Fellowship Directional Document (click HERE). This document is not an exclusive “National” document. This document serves the entire Fellowship just as our Affirmation of Faith seeks to do. “We Are the Fellowship” is an identity document for local churches, Regions, and National.

We state that our Mission is “A movement of churches making passionate disciples of Jesus Christ”.

Ed Stetzer on “Movement”

 

I heard Ed Stetzer talk on “movement” a few years back. He declared ten elements needed to start and fuel a “movement”:

  1. Prayer – ask God to change us.
  2. Intentionality – be intentional about being movemental.
  3. Sacrifice – No change happens without giving something up.
  4. Reproducibility – movements occur when small things grow rapidly because they are reproducible.
  5. Theological integrity – hold firm and be passionate.
  6. Incarnational – be on mission in your community.
  7. Empowerment – movements occur when the “clergification” of the church occurs… laity is empowered, we are all missionaries.
  8. Charity – speak well and act generously toward other Christian groups.
  9. Scalability – will your structure serve or hinder the movement? Structures must change and resize easily.
  10. Holism – seek proclamational as well as societal (holistic ministry) transformation.

— Ed Stetzer at EFC Presidents’ Day (Oct. 28, 2015)

Fellowship VALUES

Our movement makes disciples. We want to be a disciple-making movement in Canada. We have hitched ourselves to seven values that will support and drive us to effectively pursue this mission. I encourage you to become familiar with our values:

We unite together in:

  1. Radical submission to God’s Word resulting in Biblical proclamation and personal transformation.
  2. Fervent prayer resulting in growing dependence on God.
  3. Committed interdependence resulting in collaborative participation.
  4. Strategic leadership multiplication resulting in equipped and empowered leaders.
  5. Bold innovation resulting in culturally-relevant ministry.
  6. Mutual accountability resulting in measurable Kingdom growth.
  7. Active compassion resulting in mercy, relief, and justice.

Take a peek at the following four minute video (click HERE) called “We Are the Fellowship” that explains our mission and values

Have a blessed week,

Steve

Leaving a legacy
posted May 28, 2018

Gord Baptist loves what he does. His job as the Fellowship Advancement Director is to help facilitate generosity. His first day on the job was January 1, 2016 and the official launch of our Fellowship Foundation was in March 2015. Gord has been busy!

Baptist, Gord

Our Fellowship Foundation’s MISSION is, “Helping God’s people be generous”, and the VISION is, “Connecting faith with finances”.

In three years the Fellowship Foundation has grown to $4.7 million in gifts, estate legacies and investments. Believers who love the Fellowship have designated their legacies toward the following:

How Can You Get Involved?

Visit www.fellowship.ca/Foundation for more information about the Fellowship Foundation and contact Gord Baptist here to discover more about:

  1. Giving a legacy to the Fellowship ministry of your choice.
  • The month of May is “Legacy Month”. We can help you in the preparation of your Will or help update your existing Will.
  1. Make an investment in the Foundation.
  • Fellowship churches and ministries have already invested $1.9 million in our Foundation. The administration fee is only 1% per annum.
  1. Give a gift of cash or a gift in-kind to the Foundation.
  • There are many innovative ways to do this. Contact Gord for more information.
  1. Host an estate or debt-retirement seminar.
  • Gord can host a seminar at your church or speak in a service to help train your people on Biblical stewardship.

If you have not updated your Will or are like the 50% of Canadians who have no Will, please consider contacting Gord. He is here to serve the Fellowship family.

Have a blessed week,

Steve

Church Planting among Arabic-speaking Canadians
posted May 21, 2018

This past Autumn I attended Momentum, Canada’s premier church planting Conference. It was a joy to see over 50 Fellowship church planters attend and gain insight and training for the task. These are exciting days when it comes to church planting in our Fellowship. Our five Regions are currently supporting our churches in the planting of close to 40 church plants. Future projections for future Fellowship church plants is very encouraging.

Momentum Gathering 2

Our Spring/Summer edition of Thrive magazine, “Vitality: Sowing Life in Parched Ground”, is all about these church plants and “turn around” churches. You can read these stories online at www.fellowship.ca/Thrive.

Two new Arabic-speaking Church Plants

By 2031, Statistics Canada reports that 30% of the Canadian population will be made up of visible minorities. Statistics Canada also reports that 63% of the population of large metropolitan areas like the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and Vancouver will be made up of visible minorities. To read the whole report, click HERE.

The 2011 Census found that there are 1.1 million Muslim people living in Canada, with projections to triple in the next 20 years. God is sending the world into our neighbourhoods.

Faith Baptist Church (Oakville, ON) is located in a city that has an Arabic-speaking population of 4,635, or 2.4% of its population according to the 2016 census.

City Centre Baptist Church (Mississauga, ON) is located in a city that has an Arabic-speaking population of 29,900, or 4.1% of its population (2016 census).

Both churches already have congregations made up of people from diverse ethnic groups. This has inspired them to reach out to the growing population of Arabic-speaking immigrants in their cities.

Both City Centre Baptist (Pastor Deric Bartlett) and Faith Baptist (Pastor Les Clemens) want to meet this growing diversity by planting new churches to reach predominantly Muslim people.

Faith Baptist and City Centre Baptist Need Our Support

As a Fellowship family, we have an opportunity to partner with our two sister churches in starting these church plants in the near future.

Flash header with the project title

Between May and August 2018, Fellowship National will be receiving donations for the Establishing New Roots appeal. We are seeking to raise $60,000 ($30,000 for each church plant) to help spread the Gospel to Arabic-speaking peoples in Oakville and Mississauga.

Please consider your part in making these church plants happen. You can learn more HERE, or prayerfully consider making a gift towards Establishing New Roots HERE.

Have a blessed week,

Steve