Greenhills Christian Fellowship Calgary Update

This article by Pastor Allan Santos can be found originally published in CBWC’s monthly enewsletter Making Connections. Subscribe here.

We are grateful to the Lord for how He is moving and working in the lives of His children here in GCF Calgary. One of the primary thanksgivings that we have is our ministry towards the young professionals or the millennials of today. We are so blessed to see them serving the Lord wholeheartedly. Our primary commitment to the leadership of our young professionals is to disciple each one of them so they will grow spiritually and be equipped with God’s word as they do God’s work.  Quarterly meetings are being held with the leaders to talk about Jesus’ strategy on how to make disciples who can make disciples.  Now, our young professionals have four groups who are meeting faithfully each week to study God’s word and fellowship.  IMG_2884.jpg

Another ministry that we are continually pursuing is our basketball outreach.  Early this year, we had our basketball tournament and we had six teams that participated in this event.  We praise God for the opportunity to meet and share God’s Word to the players.  Two players accepted the Lord Jesus Christ in their lives and followed water baptism.  Indeed, the Lord is making a move for people to know and follow Him.

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We also praise the Lord for the men and women’s fellowship that were held every month starting early this year. The leadership of the church prayed and aimed to strengthen these particular groups because we desire to see the men and women in our church to have their own support group as they face everyday challenges and opportunities unique to their varied life roles. By God’s grace, both of these fellowship activities are increasing in attendance and consequently, closer relationships are being built and established.

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The work of the Lord here in Calgary is both challenging and exciting. It is challenging because the church needs to think of ways on how to reach out to people who are busy with their own lives pursuing wealth and personal success. On the other hand, it is exciting because we are seeing the need for them to know Jesus because He is the only One who can give a life that is complete and fulfilling.

May our good Lord be glorified, as we desire to reach out people for Him. His name be forever praised!

We’re so glad to hear how God is at work at GCF, and we want to share your stories too! Email Cailey (cmorgan@cbwc.ca) with your story to encourage our family of churches across western Canada.

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God at Work in Calgary

This article is reprinted from CBWC’s monthly enewsletter, Making Connections. Subscribe to Making Connections here.

 

The Lord is moving in Greenhills Christian Fellowship (GCF) Calgary and we have a lot of reasons to praise Him!

As a Church, we are privileged to be His instrument in reaching out to others and sharing the Good News of salvation. He gave us success in this aspect and by His grace, one of the fruits that we are truly thankful for is the life of our brothers and sisters who have recently decided to publicly declare their faith in Jesus Christ through the waters of baptism.

GCF Calgary Leadership Training

GCF Calgary Leadership Training

We also praise the Lord on how He sent and moved people to willingly serve our brethren by being part of our Church’s leadership team. Twenty-one of these leaders have also shown their desire to be continually equipped by attending two of our Leaders Equipping and Discipleship (LEAD) Classes during the last quarter of 2014, which are “Discipleship thru Small Groups” and “Walk thru the Old Testament” seminars.

GCF Calgary pastors enjoying dinner with friends at 2014 Banff Pastors Conference

GCF Calgary pastors enjoying dinner with friends at 2014 Banff Pastors Conference

Various other activities were held with the objective of encouraging our members to serve and follow the Lord in their lives. Aside from our 10 care groups’ regular meetings, one noteworthy activity that we want to mention is our “Ministry Fair” celebration where our congregation was challenged to be part of our Evangelism, Equipping, Edifying, Enabling, Educating and Exalting ministries.

With all of these, we trust that the Lord will be faithful to finish what He had started doing in the ministry of GCF Calgary. We know that He is on the move and it is our prayer that we will keep on submitting to His call. Soli Deo Gloria!

By Pastor Allan Santos
Associate/Training Pastor
Greenhills Christian Fellowship Calgary

Pastor Allan Santos works alongside Pastor Cliff Gonzales at GCF Calgary, a CBWC Church Plant with a heart to plant more churches in Alberta and beyond. Pray for the continued development and growth of the leadership team and for God to continue to use GCF as they are faithful to His call.

Reconciliation

By Kelly Maurice

Première Église Évangélique d’Expression Française de Calgary has been ministering to the Haitian community of Calgary for several years. Although we would consider ourselves a healthy, growing church, since 2009 there have been two church splits, each time with a group leaving PEEEFC to form a new congregation. Those who remain at PEEFC have been holding on to that hurt and choosing to not connect at all with these other churches.CC Creativity103

However, in 2014 everything changed. Each year for our church anniversary, we invite a guest speaker (usually from out-of-town) and a guest performer preceded by local artists from different ethnic communities. This year, we invited a popular Haitian artist called Ti-Bob de Nazareth. His manager accepted under one condition: that we would invite all members of the Haitian community.

For obvious reasons, that was a hard one.

In the past, PEEEFC never invited the other churches to its events. But God had started to work in our hearts, especially in Dorcasse, Pastor Roger’s wife who was still grieving the splits.  We wrote letters of invitations and were about to send them to the other churches when Dorcasse proposed to go herself with two of PEEFC’s board members to visit those two churches during their service.

The members of those churches were really moved. On the day of the concert with Ti-Bob, the room was packed with members of the Haitian community that were pleased with Dorcasse visiting them. There was deliverance for Dorcasse from that day on: she was delivered from the bitterness in her heart.

After being reprimanded by God for his bitterness and lack of forgiveness toward the other churches, at the end of 2014, Pastor Roger invited the pastors of those two churches to join him in a common service on Sunday January 4, 2015 for all three churches. The event was a success. And at the end of January, we joined together for a 3-day revival conference with a guest speaker and artist.

Though the churches may or may not ever come together, the blessing was the reconciliation which seems to heal individuals on both sides. But also, it is the power of God to do great things through PEEEFC despite the fact that we are small.

Please pray with us that we remain humble and follow God as we learn how to collaborate with these other groups.

Pastor Roger Maurice leads Première Église Évangélique d’Expression Française de Calgary (PEEEFC) a French-speaking, mainly Haitian congregation in Calgary. PEEEFC operated as a CBWC Church Plant for a few years before becoming an affiliate church with the denomination in spring of 2013. 

Alberta Leadership Forums

Here are some great connect points if you are in Alberta:

Calgary Leadership Forum

With Tyler Graftaas, Associate Pastor of GoodTree Christian Fellowship.
Topic: The Necessity of the Wilderness: Taking the Road Less Travelled
January 26 @ 6:45pm – 9:00 pm at Bonavista Baptist Church

Calgary Leadership Forum, Spring 2014

Calgary Leadership Forum, Spring 2014

Edmonton Leadership Forum

With Lawrence Peck, Chaplain for the Edmonton Police Service.
Topic: Christian Response to Suicide
January 27 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm at First Baptist Church Edmonton

Contact Sharon, abarea@cbwc.ca, if you’d like more info or to sign up for either event.

Finding God’s Faithfulness

Cailey Morgan

Last week in our youth Bible study, Kyson and I asked the question, where have you seen God’s faithfulness in 2014? It was interesting to hear the variety of responses, many of which pointed to positive circumstances as evidence of God’s goodness to us.

We should definitely thank God for these circumstances, but while it is absolutely true that every good gift comes from God, we must also remember that His faithfulness remains constant in every situation and independent from whether we feel good or happy or safe.

As I reflected on this same question of where we’ve seen God’s faithfulness, many moments of CBWC Church Planting life in 2014 came to mind, and I wanted to share a few with you.

Pastor Albert and Christina of Canaan Life Springs Baptist Church.

Pastor Albert and Christina of Canaan Life Springs Baptist Church

At our online assembly in April, we welcomed Canaan Life Spring Baptist, a Mandarin-language church plant, into full affiliation with the CBWC. Their work to reach and reconcile Taiwanese and Chinese immigrants in Burnaby is fuelled by assurance of Christ’s promise that as He is lifted up He will draw all people to Himself.

In June, we mourned with Emmaus Community Fellowship as they dealt with the death of Gerry McBeth, husband of Pastor Janet McBeth. Gerry was a walking testimony of God’s love and faithfulness, which Gerry showed through hard work and thoughtful encouragement to many at Emmaus, the Union Gospel Mission and beyond.

Crossover church plant continues to reach Calgary’s Japanese population, with the call to develop leaders to send to Japan for sharing the Gospel in that nation. One of these young leaders, Carly, is not of Japanese descent but felt God’s burden on her heart for Japan nonetheless. Carly was baptised at Crossover this summer and says this:

I started attending Crossover Japanese church a few months after the Tsunami in 2011 because I was only 14 and I couldn’t go to Japan to help. I didn’t know what to expect and was nervous because I hadn’t met Japanese people before despite being so enthralled by the culture. God had put a burden on my heart for the people of Japan and given me the strength to have patience.

Pastor Yoichi of Crossover Japanese Church baptises Carly.

Pastor Yoichi of Crossover Japanese Church baptises Carly.

The fellowship and mentoring that I have received at Japanese church really has contributed to the person I am today.

Every summer our church has a BBQ/Service in Cascade Ponds, which presents the opportunity to be baptized. I had long put off that personal decision. I wanted to be baptized in Japan because I saw that as the start of my mission, but I had realized that me not considering the present as time that God could use me for his kingdom was leaving me weak to fight my temptations. Idolatry overtook me and I was putting people before God, but as I allowed for God to become number one in my life I have learned how to love people with the love of God, not my own imperfect love.

We’ve been praying for a long time for more church plants in Manitoba. In September the Board approved Shalom Christian Outreach in Winnipeg to enter the process of affiliation. This means that they are one of our church plants working towards becoming a full-fledged member church with the CBWC. Pastor Shadrack Mutabazi and his congregation have entered wholeheartedly into partnerships with other Baptist groups in Winnipeg, including Broadway-First Baptist Church. Broadway-First generously provides meeting space for Shalom, and we are excited to see this partnership grow in the coming year.

How about you? Where have you seen God’s faithfulness in the good time? Or in circumstances which to us may seem hard?

 

Intercultural Calgary

By Cailey Morgan

The multicultural makeup of Canadian cities makes for beautiful diversity and learning opportunities. It also creates its own set of challenges in the Church, as we work to worship and serve together despite differences in language and culture.

Canada’s multiethnic mosaic gives us room to explore what it means to be the church in many different ways. Here are thoughts from two of the many CBWC churches regarding intercultural ministry.Awlwyn Balnave

What does being international look like at your church?

Rev. Awlwyn Balnave, Bonavista Baptist, Calgary:  The Spanish speaking people in our congregation decided quite early on, after examining the situation in more detail, to simply join with Bonavista and thus in every way  become one with us.

Rev. Bill Dyck, First Baptist Calgary: Being international for FBC looks like a mosaic of people and congregations from over 30 national backgrounds. We prefer the term “inter-cultural.”  By this we mean that we want all of the people from different ethnic congregations and backgrounds to interact with each other through multiple connections. We want the Indonesians (who are renting), and the Latino congregation, and the Ethiopian congregation to be interacting with each other as well as with the Anglo congregation which is a mosaic in and of itself.  These multiple connections result in us being one body while still honoring our cultural diversity.

Who are the various groups within FBC, and how does it work? Policies, money, leadership, discipleship, shared mission?

Rev. Awlwyn Balnave, Bonavista Baptist, Calgary: Initially we had considered forming a separate congregation, one which would still come under the umbrella of Bonavista but which would worship on Sundays and lead small groups in Spanish. The final outcome of simply having one church body has worked well for us.

Rev. Bill Dyck, First Baptist Calgary:

The English language service is attended by people from 15-20 ethnic backgrounds. While the Anglo meet in the main sanctuary an Ethiopian congregation meets in the chapel. The Latino service in the afternoon, is also quite nationally diverse. After the Latino service, our church is used by an Indonesian congregation.  There is also a sizeable Filipino group that meets in homes on Saturdays but worships in the Anglo congregation on Sundays.

By way of policies we expect all groups to be in agreement with key Baptist beliefs. The Ethiopian and Hispanic congregations have a unified budget with the Anglo congregation. We try to have representation on the FBC Board from the Hispanics and at times with the Ethiopians as needed.

We have some joint services and potlucks. These are around Easter and Christmas but might also revolve around important events in the ethnic congregations.

Once a month we have Mosaic ministers meeting with representation from all of the pastors and pastoral staff–an international ministerial meeting.

What’s fun about international ministries working together? What’s hard?

Rev. Awlwyn Balnave, Bonavista Baptist, Calgary: One aspect we have lacked and which would have proved useful would have been to have been able to provide someone to teach and lead a small group in Spanish.  This did not prove to be a possibility for us unfortunately.

However, having various cultures worship as one body at Bonavista has added greatly to the richness of our fellowship times together as we have interacted one with the other.

Rev. Bill Dyck, First Baptist Calgary:

What’s fun is eating each other’s food, learning each other’s languages, being attentive to cultural differences. It’s also great to hear sermons and special music from the pastors and worship leaders from the various congregations.

What’s difficult is sharing kitchens where different foods are prepared in different ways.  It can also be difficult to get people to interact with meaningful level with the language and cultural barriers.
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It is neat how God keeps bringing new people and congregations to us. There are always new people at ESL and just recently we have been joined by an Indonesian congregation.  Sometimes we have some quite unusual opportunities.  On Sunday, a young professional couple from Beijing asked to be baptized before heading back to China. So on Tuesday we had an impromptu interview in which they shared their testimonies which included having seen a vision of Christ, in which Christ talked to the husband who had been an atheist.  They were baptized and returned with certificates and hearts fill with joy, and many tears at the parting.

What does it mean to be intercultural in your context? Share your thoughts at churchplantingatcbwc.wordpress.com.

This article originally published in CBWC’s monthly e-newsletter Making Connections.

Pray with Us: Crossover

Join us in prayer for Crossover Japanese Church in Calgary. Here is an update from Miyuki Taniguchi:

We need our youth leaders or teachers on Sundays.  As you know, our young people’s first language is English. We sing together at first, then separate into three groups: adults, youth and children. The young people’s leader needs to speak English. Right now, we do not have any youth leader who can lead their youth worship on Sunday.  Please pray that God will give them a good leader and teacher.
Also right now, we have a few non-Christian young men who often come to our church on Sundays. They are planning to go back to Japan in a couple of months. We really hope they will accept Jesus before they go back to Japan. Please pray with us.

God’s Blessings in Church Planting

We asked some of our CBWC Church Plants where they have seen God at work. This is what they said:

Kelly Maurice, Première Église Évangélique d’Expression Française de Calgary:

GospelFest was very hard this year in terms of organization but God was gracious enough to make it all work in the end. We had to relocate the event due to the flood and our new park was just beside the biggest mosque. To my surprise some Muslims came and even danced with us! God definitely had a plan for this year despite the terrible lack of organization. Moreover, people who were just hanging out at the park came and joined in to celebrate with us! God is good!

Norm Sowden, Mill Bay Baptist Fellowship:

We participated in a local fair, offering people a shady place to sit and chat. It was great! We made lots of connections. One couple who moved from Edmonton to retire here in the Cowichan Valley are now coming to MBBF.

Vicki Hazelwood, The Well, Lethbridge:

Our family at The Well continues to grow. We are so encouraged by what God has been doing. We just celebrated two baptisms, and on any given week we can have up to 20 kids ranging in age from 2 – 14.  We need God’s direction, creativity, and provision of helpers as we move into the fall.

Yoichi and Miyuki Taniguchi, Crossover Japanese, Calgary:

We finally got a landed immigrant visa after 9 years’ of struggling. We are very thankful to God! Thank you so much for your prayers and support for our family!

Hizon Cua, Greenhills Christian Fellowship, Vancouver:

The Sunday we had at Bethel Baptist, Sechelt, was a blessing for us. It was a wonderful time spent in fellowship in the spirit of Christ’s greater body of believers. Who will forget the dynamic Auntie Mary who provided water fun for the young kids. One of them said, “I wish I had a grandma like her, she is so much fun.” Our church was also truly blessed with Martin and Grace, who lovingly took the time and effort to drive back to the campsite later that day and brought to us firewood and branch sticks which we used for our memorable bonfire and marshmallow night.

If you would like to support one of these young churches or would like to know more about initiatives in your area, contact the Director of Church Planting, Tom Lavigne, at  tlavigne@cbwc or visit churchplantingatcbwc.wordpress.com.

This article originally appeared in October’s issue of Making Connections, the CBWC‘s monthly stories and events publication. Subscribe to Making Connections today.

Update from Family Camp

A few weeks ago, we shared the story of Greenhills Christian Fellowship in Calgary and their creative fundraisers for family camp. Here is an update from GCF, and a video that offers highlights from their time away together over the August long weekend.

What a way to spend the long weekend with your family in Christ!

This year’s family camp was another exciting experience! Held last August 2-5, 2013 at the Gull Lake Centre, Lacombe, it was attended by close to 95 people, including young children. The guest speaker, Pastor Jeremiah Abel of Abundant Life Ministries, spoke about the Holy Spirit and His work in the life of the believer.

The attendees were grouped into four : Red, Yellow, Orange and Blue Team. Each group was a mixture of adult and children members. This year, the members of each family  were put together in the same group.

The main competition was conceptualized  ”a la Amazing Race,” called Race to Grace, where a series of games, clues and tasks were assigned for each group to decipher and accomplish. Congratulations to the Orange Team for beating the other teams into finishing all tasks ahead of the others.

Family night on August 4th was another exciting event. Each team presented a skit with the objective of conveying the theme, “IGNITE!” into their presentations.

The children of Kids Camp learned about the different symbols of fire in the Scriptures : God’s Word, God’s Presence, God’s Power and the Holy Spirit. The kids were taught God’s Word according to the lesson planned, played games, did crafts, had storytelling and had a blast leading the congregation in worship on Sunday evening! They also presented a dance called, “Let Your Light Shine!” during the Family Night. All babies, toddlers and school-aged children were presented a certificate as a memory of the camp. It is the organizers’ desire for them to continue to be discipled in their homes.

Thank you to all who attended! Until the next camp.

 

 

Kudos to the organizers and praise God for this camp!

Church Planting Prayer

Don’t forget to pray for our Church Plants in process:

  • Trinity Ministries, Moose Jaw
  • The Well, Lethbridge
  • Greenhills Christian Fellowship, Calgary
  • Crossover Japanese Church of Calgary
  • Emmaus Community Fellowship, Burnaby
  • Canaan Life Spring Baptist Church in Burnaby
  • God’s House of Many Faces, Vancouver
  • Greenhills Christian Fellowship Vancouver