Frequently Asked Questions
About the Fellowship
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about the various Fellowship National ministries:
1. FAIR has a new name. Why the change?
FAIR is the humanitarian relief arm of The Fellowship. FAIR’s new name (as of January 2015) is Fellowship Aid and International Relief. This aligns with the new structure of the Fellowship which has eliminated the use of the identifier “agency” in favour of “department.” The change also reflects the expansion of our humanitarian ministry.
2. How does FAIR decide which projects to support?
Projects are primarily initiated where FAIR can provide humanitarian aid that adds value, is sustainable, and does not create dependency. FAIR works, in Christ’s name, through the Fellowship International department and its personnel.
Obviously FAIR cannot respond to all emergencies and needs as they happen around the world. Before committing itself to a project, FAIR asks such questions as:
· Can FAIR guarantee that the aid will reach those in greatest need?
· Can we be assured that along with the aid delivered, we can tangibly express the love of Christ and even have an opportunity to share the Gospel?
· Is it possible to carry out the project without undue administrative costs?
3. With whom does FAIR partner?
FAIR channels funds through our own Fellowship International missionaries where possible, or establishes partnerships with other compatible relief-focused agencies.
4. Why would our donors not donate directly to our partner organization in a project instead of to FAIR?
Donors are free to donate as they choose, but they need to consider the added benefits of channeling the donation through FAIR.
· By choosing to donate through FAIR donors are recognizing that:
|a. FAIR drew to their attention the need,|
|b. When they donate through FAIR they will receive accountability/activity reports as to the results of their participation in the project,|
|c. They will be supporting the overall ministry of the Fellowship.|
· In a project partnership, FAIR addresses the issue of duplicate administrative assessment. A maximum of 15% of any donation remains in Canada to cover promotional, fundraising and administrative costs. Each partner receives a share in this percentage.
· Project partnerships are seriously investigated and executed to ensure that donations are used for their original purpose and are accurately accounted for through regular reporting.
· When donating to a project partner that is not a Canadian Registered Charity donors cannot expect a useable tax receipt.
5. How does FAIR evaluate the success of the projects?
Reaching the financial goal is one way to measure our success. Our personnel on the field manage and monitor success through assessing the positive impact the project has had physically, emotionally, and spiritually on those who have received help. We also measure success through the growing number of partnerships created between FAIR and our Fellowship Churches. Our vision is that FAIR be the key channel through which Fellowship churches provide humanitarian aid in Christ’s name.
6. What percentage of FAIR funds are used for administration?
In order to assist with the promotion of projects and sustain other FAIR functions, funds received are subject to an administration fee of between 10% and 15%.
7. What Benefit programs are provided through the Fellowship?
The National Fellowship administers both a Healthcare plan and a Registered Pension Plan. The desire of the Fellowship is for each of our churches to care for its pastors by providing them with healthcare coverage and a retirement plan. Churches and pastors benefit from lower costs and premiums due to the large number of members in these plans. Information can be found on the website (Healthcare and Pension).
8. Does our Benefit plan cover dependents?
Dependents are covered until the age of 21 unless they are working 30 hours per week or more, or they get married. After the age of 21, dependents continue to have coverage until the age of 25 as long as they are full-time (15 hours per week) students. Coverage terminates on their 25th birthday or six months after their graduation.
9. Why are not all prescription drugs obtained at a pharmacy covered by our Benefit plan?
We are on a two-tier system for prescription drugs. If the drug is not covered at the pharmacy it is most likely covered through a mail-in rebate. The only drugs that would not be covered under these two systems are optional drugs, such as those required when travelling. We have no coverage for optional drugs, nor do we have any vaccine coverage.
10. Does our Benefit plan have out-of-country coverage for Ministry Staff?
Under our basic plan, we have 100% emergency medical coverage while traveling outside of a staff member’s province of residence. This is EMERGENCY coverage only and has no maximum. When treatment for a pre-existing condition is required while travelling, that condition may not be covered. The global card issued to staff members has phone numbers that should be used as soon as medical attention while traveling is needed.
11. What happens in our Benefit plan upon retirement?
We have a retirement plan that is available to all employees over 55 who are currently on our plan, are working less than 20 hours per week, or are officially retired. This retirement plan is only for health and dental, and dental care can be waved. Please note that there is a lifetime limit of $15,000 of healthcare on our retirement plan. All coverage ends on at age 75.
12. What is Baptist Builders?
Baptist Builders (previously known as Minute Man) provides financial assistance to churches with building projects. Many of the churches in the Baptist Builders program are building or purchasing their first church building. There are four appeals each year and our Baptist Builders partners are invited to donate $30 or more (any amount is gratefully accepted). To become a Baptist Builder click here and complete the form
13. What are Affinity Programs?
The National office strives to form partnerships that can benefit our Fellowship churches and their members. The following affinity programs are currently in place:
· D.L. Deeks Insurance: An evangelical insurance program that covers personal home and auto insurance needs.
· Brokerforce Insurance: Provides great service and competitive rates for church insurance including Director and Officer Insurance.
· National/Enterprise Car Rentals: Provides discounted rates for anyone associated with the Fellowship.
· Plan-to-Protect: Discounted program that provides protection for churches engaged in children’s ministry.
Further information on these programs can be found on this website under Fellowship Services (click here).
14. What is the purpose of the Francophone ministry?
According to Statistics Canada and the 2006 census, francophones (those who reported French as their mother tongue) make up just over 22% of the population of the Canada. Even though there are today about 9,000 believers who worship every Sunday in our AÉBÉQ Region churches there are still another 6,000,000 francophones living in Quebec—as well as the 1,000,000 elsewhere in Canada—who are largely unreached with the Gospel. The stark reality is that almost no one from beyond our borders is seeking to reach the francophone population in Quebec or the rest of Canada, and so that vitally important mission falls to our Fellowship of churches. The Fellowship is seeking to reach francophones with the Gospel of Christ from coast to coast to coast.
15. How is the transition from the French Mission to Francophone Ministry working?
The transition is complete and we are now working fully within the new paradigm. We have over 100 partners supporting 13 plants, mother churches, or regional projects. Over $300,000 has been committed to francophone projects in 2015. A number of partner churches have sent teams to help their francophone brothers and sisters in their outreach initiatives this summer. The portfolios of the various projects are available on our Fellowship website.
16. How does the 7 partners X 7 years = 1 church plant work?
Ideally, we are aiming to raise up seven partners for a seven year commitment for each one of our francophone projects. Each partner commits human and financial resources to the project over a seven year period. We are trusting that the relationship that will develop will be mutual. Furthermore, we plant reproducing churches, so the surpluses that will accumulate over this period can then be designated towards the new church`s first daughter church.
17. why are we still sending money to Quebec?
The simple answer is we need funding to plant churches in all Regions of Canada including Quebec. However, our French Region is a unique case with only 0.8% of 7.3 million French Canadians self-identifying as evangelical Christian. The rest of Canada self identifies as evangelical Christian in much larger percentages. English-speaking Canadians (14.3 million) self-identified as evangelical Christian at 16.1%(from the 2011 Joshua Project study). This makes Quebec as needy as Pakistan (0.6%), Japan (0.6%) and Poland (0.4%) when it comes to outreach and church planting.
Very few nations are sending missionaries to Quebec (typically Canada is viewed as a "reached" nation at 7.7% evangelical), and so it remains a God-given responsibility for English Canadians to reach for Christ their fellow Canadians who happen to speak French.
All our Fellowship of Churches are committed to help church planting in French Canada until 2-3% of French Canadians self-identify as evangelical Christian. We ask that you and your church join in this solemn commitment. It has been exciting to see six Prairie Region Fellowship Churches join in partnerships with French church plants in Quebec in recent days.
18. How may I partner with a Francophone project?
There continues to be a tremendous need for individuals and churches to partner with our Francophone projects. Those interested are encouraged to contact: Laurie Kennedy (Western Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org) or Richard Flemming (Eastern Coordinator: email@example.com).
19. Why do we need a Fellowship Foundation?
The Fellowship has formed a separate legal entity, the Fellowship Foundation, to provide the following:
a. Investing opportunities for Fellowship churches and individuals.
b. Opportunities for individuals to donate and leave legacy gifts that can be directed to support National, Regional, and International ministries for years to come.
c. Financial support to Fellowship churches involved in building projects.
20. How does the Fellowship Foundation benefit Fellowship National ministries?
A portion of Fellowship Foundation funds will be invested in church building projects and Fellowship ministries that require significant capital funds. Investment income will create cash flow to assist in meeting the needs of international, national and regional ministries across Canada.
21. How many Chaplains do we have in the Fellowship across Canada?
We currently have 44 chaplains across Canada and this number is growing. Fellowship chaplains not only reach those who are institutionalized in hospitals, long-term care or correctional facilities, but they also minister in government and community-based services such as the police and fire departments, airports, educational facilities, the military, and outreach centres. Our chaplains are an extension of our Fellowship churches in these often hard-to-reach or hidden community settings.
22. Why should a Chaplain choose to associate himself with the Fellowship?
Chaplaincy can be a lonely calling. Fellowship Chaplains get connected regularly with their colleagues across the country for times of enrichment and encouragement. Other benefits include $10 million of liability coverage, and free admission to our annual national conference.
23. Why should I visit the Fellowship website?
The Fellowship’s website is the central hub where you will find a plethora of information, tools and resources related to the ministries of Fellowship National. It’s impossible to list all the materials available on our website so we encourage you to carve a few moments from your schedule to take a look at what is available. You will be surprised by all you can find on this site!
24. What is Thrive?
Thrive is the Fellowship National’s main communication tool, replacing The Evangelical Baptist magazine, and is published three times a year. Inside its pages you’ll find ministry news and updates from the various departments (Fellowship International, FAIR, Fellowship Chaplaincy and Francophone ministry) as well as Regional Updates, special articles and features. Thrive is available to all pastors and Fellowship churches and individual donors.
25. What if I want to read the magazine but don’t want to receive a print version of Thrive?
Glad you asked! Thrive online is available at www.thrive-magazine.ca. The online version contains all the articles that are in print PLUS additional content is available. On the site you will also find other tools and resources to keep you current on what God is doing in our Fellowship.
26. What methods of Social Media do we use to spread the good word of the Fellowship across Canada?
Our primary Social Media channels are Facebook (like us at facebook.com/FellowshipNatl) and Twitter (@FellowshipNatl). We have also added Instagram (@fellowshipnatl) to provide another great way to keep up on Fellowship happenings.
27. Why do we have our own International mission?
Working together as a body of churches linked by similar goals and doctrinal belief, we can do more than we could separately. In addition, the missionaries of the Fellowship and the mission itself are accountable to the churches of FEBCC. Fellowship International goes to areas where others do not work and often we are the only church-planting mission in that area.
28. How many full time missionaries do we have?
As of Fall 2015, we have 58 missionaries serving in 16 Countries.
29. How many part time missionaries do we have?
Of the 58, ten are serving either part time, or splitting their ministries between Canada and their overseas assignment.
30. What is your criteria for deciding where to send missionaries?
a. Need. We want to send people to places where the gospel is unknown or less known. Our rule of thumb is to enter countries where less than 2% are evangelical. This is why, for example, we are in Spain but not Kenya.
b. Opportunity. What open door is there for us?
c. Team. Is there a team available with which our missionaries could work so that they are not isolated and overwhelmed.
31. We have an individual in our church who wants to be a missionary in a country that Fellowship does not currently support. What do we do?
Have them contact us. Their interest could be the spark that ignites opening a new field, or a new place on an existing field. If, for example, they want to serve full time in a humanitarian relief or mercy ministry, but not in an under-reached or strategic population, we may suggest another partnering mission.
32. Isn't it better to send my money directly to the missionary rather than through a mission, thus saving administration fees?
The missionary relies on the support of an organization for promotion, member care, and financial administration. These services free him to do ministry without additional distractions and responsibilities.
33. Who needs missionaries?
The 10/40 window (the area between the 10th and 40th parallels north of the equator) is still an area of prime concern for the gospel. We serve in quite a few countries in this band: Indonesia, Cambodia, India, Pakistan, Spain, Japan, Lebanon. These countries are a stronghold of the major religions: Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism, as well as several of the large minor ones (Sikhism, Shintoism, for example). This band is also home to some of the greatest poverty and oppression on the planet.
34. What is happening in recruitment?
Two things influence recruitment.
One is diaspora. People from outside Canada are moving here. Some come as believers while others find Christ in Canada. They hear about mission, they train, and then they return to their countries of origin. This works well, as can be seen through a number of Fellowship International workers: Pechs (Cambodia), Karwurs (Indonesia), Anayssis (Lebanon), Basçunans (Chile), Jutras (Poland).
The second is a renewed interest in social gospel, or the whole gospel to the whole man using water, soil-sustained agriculture, social issues; sexual slavery, poverty, injustice, as a means of making opportunities for the Gospel. This can open opportunities for church planting movements in hard to reach areas.
35. What’s wrong with missions?
Let me rephrase the question: “Are we successful in missions? How will we know if we are harvesting? Can we identify indigenous churches with national-trained leaders who are effectively reaching their populations for Christ?” The answer is unsettling. There is a “yes” to part of these questions, but the whole answer is that in every field, Fellowship International’s efforts are not keeping pace with the population growth. We can point to churches planted, and to ministries launched. There is reason to give thanks to God and to our churches for their support. BUT compared to the need, we must find ways to do ministry better. The way forward is complex. Western Christian missions, and this is a generality, have become more focused on planting churches than creating a disciple-making movement from which churches arise. Fellowship International is now adapting to this need and going forward is focusing its work on disciple-making movements in populations with less than 2 % evangelical followers.
36. What is happening in world missions?
1. The average Christian family has changed. It used to be white, middle class, with two or three kids. Now its black or ethnic, poor, with five or more children. The largest church building in the world is in Nigeria. The largest congregations are in South Korea.
2. Within the last 15 years South Korea and India joined the USA and UK as the largest missionary-sending nations in the world.
3. Mission is being transformed from traditional to innovative; from missionaries planting a church one at a time to missionaries working with nationals to plant several churches at the same time. This multiplies churches rather than replicating them. It is essential that this happens because our old methods are not keeping pace with population growth.
37. How can LeadersFor help our church?
LeadersFor can help in at least two ways.
a. LeadersFor is raising the bar for developed leaders so that God’s global mission can be advanced. We typically enter an area where there is poor, or no opportunity for pastors to receive leadership training.
b. As a Canadian church gets involved with a project through praying, giving, going, or sending its pastor, several important things happen in the church. Concern for doing mission is ignited. Engagement in mission is fueled. New opportunities for ministry start to smolder and catch fire.
38. HOW DO Fellowship International missionaries DETERMINE WHAT CHURCHES THEY WILL VISIT?
Missionaries try to raise support close to their home base in order to keep deputation costs down. When on home assignment they obviously give priority to reporting back to those churches that have joined their support team. Out-of-region workers providing reporting and ministry to churches outside their region are available but some way must be found to cover the travel costs. If support were pledged from churches, workers based in other regions could be brought in to candidate and report.
39. Where do I call for more information?