Listening Lessons in Atlantic Canada
The percentage of Atlantic Canada's population that reports attending religious services is at one of the lowest points it has ever been. Jacob Birch and their family have moved into the neighbourhood to pursue planting a movement of churches in this area.
Listen in on what Jacob is learning and find out how you can support this important movement of the Christian & Missionary Alliance in Canada.
[A version of this article was originally published in the April edition of the Alliance Atlantic monthly newsletter - subscribe today!]
Rev. Dave Enns (ECD New Ventures Director) and I enjoyed some discernment days on Prince Edward Island in April. We were there primarily to meet with potential partners for New Ventures while listening to what God might be saying to the C&MA in Canada about the people who live in the C&MA founder's home province. Here are just 3 of the listening lessons I left the island with:
#1: RELATIONSHIPS, RELATIONSHIPS, RELATIONSHIPS
What is true elsewhere is only more true on PEI: in ministry lead with and through relationships. This lesson revealed itself in the type of questions people ask when you first meet: "Where are you from?" (PEI) versus "What do you do?" (Ontario). We learned it talking to people now planting churches with another denomination who want to also work with the C&MA because of prior relationships with Alliance leaders. We learned it by just spending too much time together driving around the island together, eating together, staying together, talking together and worshipping together. Our first question on PEI will not be "What do we want to do?" but "Who do we know?" PRAY that God will continue to raise up people of peace who will open doors of gospel partnership (Luke 10:6).
#2: GOD'S VISION > OUR IDEAS
I run into people with no shortage of ideas about what to do in Atlantic Canada: most notably myself. But as we connected with people, listened to the Holy Spirit and looked at the data, it's clear that God has something for the C&MA to do on PEI that neither I nor Dave nor any one else could have discerned without asking Him. And it's clearly His vision, for His glory and will require His power to be achieved. It's exciting to join Him in what He is doing already. PRAY for PEI and stay tuned for more details as other partners are able to go public.
#3: GO WITH THE GROWING
The fastest growing census unit in the Maritimes is Stratford, PEI. It grew 21.1% from 2006 to 2011. Stratford is the eastern suburb Charlottetown across the Hillsborough River Bridge. With new subdivisions, schools and lots of development. PRAY that God will raise up a team of Spirit-filled New Venture leaders to consider planting in this strategic location.
- Rev. Jacob Birch New Ventures Regional Developer