The C&MA has formed New Ventures (NV) Teams in each province to facilitate a learning and growing environment for these emerging leaders and communities as they listen and respond to what Jesus has called them to be and become; the goal is to support and multiply new Christ communities across the country. New Ventures are exciting, experimental grounds, and no two look exactly alike! Here we’ve asked two New Venture leaders about how going deeper in Christ has directly affected their mission.
Risen – Hamilton, Ontario
Pastor John Doan, Lead Pastor of Risen
I realized one thing that Jesus was saying to me, is that He will never call us to give up our relationship with Him for the sake of ministry. I saw that playing out in our NV. Early on this year, I realized that I needed a deeper love for the Word of God. I realized that if I’m not in the Word, I can’t ask our community to do the same thing. Consequently, my wife, Kristen, and I committed to being in God’s word together more. We then challenged our community to do the same. And God seems to be sowing the seed of hunger for the Bible in our people. The person who was most diligent in keeping up with our group scripture reading plan was our newest believer, the most recent person we baptized!
I learned that God understands and knows our desires to move, but we need to wait for His Spirit to move in a mighty and powerful way. As we’ve been going through the book of Acts, I observed that when the Spirit moved, it was really clear and obvious that the work was not from man. I’ve been passionate about discipleship, but I can’t make it happen in our community by preaching and teaching alone. I felt God saying to me, “Wait for My Spirit to move. Don’t trust your own timing. I know your passions; wait and then jump on when I start to move…” Recently I’d been thinking, God, wouldn’t it be awesome if you drew us to fasting as a community. Meanwhile, our community is full of young professionals who have a universal passion for food. How could I, their new pastor, come into this tight group of passionate foodies and herald the idea of fasting? I didn’t see how it could happen. So I waited on it and prayed. That same week, one of the young women from our community voiced that she felt like God was telling her to fast and pray. Starting that very week, a group of us began taking Fridays to fast as we pray for intimacy with God and direction for our ministry!
I’ve learned that keeping a close walk with God has helped me do exactly what God is revealing I should do, regardless of external expectations. We’re a second generation church plant and I get a lot of pressure from our mother church to “get things going”. My personality is such that it’s really easy for me to yield to every expectation. I’ve come to realize that if I yielded to every pressure, I wouldn’t have been able to see all the other things God was doing in our midst that was different than what was expected or prescribed. So in an unconventional way, deepening my walk with Christ helped me keep my resolve as a pastor and leader, even amidst external pressures.
East Gate Ministère Francophone – Ottawa, Ontario
Pastor Jacques Lapointe, Lead Pastor of East Gate Ministère Francophone
I have desired a deeper life with Christ for some time now, and I’ve been expressing to God that I desire to experience more of Him. As if in response to that prayer, I got a call from someone from our community at East Gate, someone I’ve known for a long time. He said that he was looking for a prayer partner, someone to be accountable with, and asked if I would consider being his regular prayer partner. I said yes and we started a partnership. We meet once a week and openly share our areas of struggles, without judgmental critique. Do you know that God has used this to help bring my walk with Him to a whole new level? It has helped me claim victories and allowed me to pray more, because I have someone I can speak to and share my struggles with. This partnership has made it easier for me to keep a devotional life, to spend more time resting in a corner without any noise, with a tranquility in my spirit, praying.
And since we’ve been praying together, I’ve seen the Lord opening more doors, more opportunities to come alongside other people to share the gospel. There are new people visiting our church, making connections with French ministries. There is an opportunity to run Alpha in our neighboring Catholic parish. It’s less about my trying and working, and more about the Lord sending me people and me making the connection and ministering to who He has sent me. In the last two months we’ve connected with ten more families. Some are already starting to attend church, and recently one accepted Christ into his life. I recently officiated a wedding of a couple who have been living together unmarried for 12 years.
I’ve been in ministry for 37 years as a pastor, and do you know this is my first regular prayer partner? We feel like David and Jonathan.
This story is taken from the Fall 2018 Alliance Connection magazine. You can get a free copy of the Alliance Connection at Alliance churches across Canada or view the digital copy online. We hope you will be encouraged and inspired to go deeper in Jesus and as a result, further on mission.
Michelle Lorimer is a musician, a songwriter, and a worship leader at Rexdale Alliance Church in Toronto, Ontario. During her time at New Ventures Canada, she enjoyed exploring God’s work in new Alliance churches across the country and broadcasting it through writing and social media.