This entry is being sent out on January 2nd, the second day of a brand new year. I love New Year’s Day because it provides a new beginning in which I can start everything anew.
I’m like you. This past year has been filled with it’s share of failures and successes, tough times and blessings. There are things that I would love to forget and things that I will look back on with fond memories. All in all, it was an interesting year.
Yesterday I said goodbye to 2018 and hello to a brand new year filled with a variety of new challenges. I am excited about a new beginning in four different areas.
New Dundee Baptist Church
As I have already mentioned, I became the interim pastor at New Dundee Baptist Church on November 1st. It has been awhile since I filled this role and I am excited about being there.
For the past few years I have spoken with church leaders and pastors across Canada. I have heard about their problems and rejoiced with them over their successes. It has been a lot of fun and I hope that our chats have been encouraging for them. I love the small church and I thank God for the opportunity that he has given me to connect with as many leaders as I have.
Having said that though, there is nothing quite like actually serving as the pastor of a small church. I am entering the new year with a commitment to serving this church for as long as I’m there.
The small church study
Several months ago I began working with the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada on a new study on the small church in Canada. We are just in the beginning stages with a lot of work ahead but I am excited with this partnership.
To the best of my knowledge there has never been a study done specifically on small churches in Canada. If you know of one, please let me know, because we would certainly like to include it in our reference material.
Small churches have been ignored for far too long. Too often, they are viewed as failures because they aren’t larger but they contribute significantly to the church scene in this country. I look forward to exploring that contribution in much more detail.
Discovering the stories
Every story needs to be heard. Great things are happening through small churches across Canada and I want to hear those stories. Over the next couple of years I want to hear as many stories as I can and then I want to share those stories with as many churches as I can.
Small churches don’t usually have a large stock pile of stories but they do have one or two and it is those stories that I want to discover. It is my prayer that as you hear what God is doing through other small churches, you will be both encouraged by what has happened elsewhere and challenged to do something right in your own church and community. If God can work through other churches, he can certainly work through you.
A network of churches
For some time now I have had a dream of small churches all across Canada joined together in a network in which they are encouraging, supporting and challenging each other. Such a network is not designed to replace denominational offices but it is recognizing that only a small church can really understand what it is to be a small church.
When I have suggested this to some people, they have asked me the question that has become too common place in our whole evangelical world – “What would such a network do for my church?”
The question that needs to be asked is the opposite one – “How can my church benefit the other churches in the network?”
The Apostle Paul suggested to the Corinthians that in an ideal church, the whole church family should suffer with those who are suffering and rejoice with those who are rejoicing. That is how a family should work.
What would happen in a network of small churches if we were able to put that into practice? There are a lot of small churches out there that need the support of others.
I’m excited about 2019
I am excited about all of these challenges that God has placed before me in the year ahead. Yesterday was a brand new beginning as the calendar turned over the final page of 2018 and a new year began. It is my prayer that you too will have new challenges and that God will use each of you to touch people’s lives. May you enter the new year with a renewed commitment for your church to be all that God wants it to be.