Why Newfoundland Is Home and Home is Where I Am…

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Newfoundland has always been home to me, and for most of my life, it’s where I’ve lived. If you’re not sure where Newfoundland is — it’s the most easterly province of Canada. If you follow the news, the economy has seen better days and the political landscape is often a bleak picture…BUT, the people are great, the food is great, and the sense community is like no other.  Dorthy said it best: ‘There’s no place like home!’

Why Newfoundland Is Home and Home is Where I Am

I’ve lived in Toronto, ON for a while. The people are different there. They don’t know each other. You’re just another face taking up space. No one stops to chat about life at the grocery store. No one randomly waves or greets one another when you pass them on the street. My time in Toronto was good, but it wasn’t home. I knew I was called somewhere else? Why is that?

The sense of community in Newfoundland is so beautifully strange that I find myself attracted to it. And there lies why I’m living in this province. It’s more than a feeling; I feel called to Newfoundland. Let me tell you why:

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A Letter To My Congregation: Continue to pray

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Part of our assembly’s governance includes pastoral terms. Our current term concludes in June which means we had to make the decision to either leave the assembly or allow the congregation to welcome us into another term through a membership vote.  It’s a unique process – one that assumes both the pastor and congregation are seeking the will of God and deciding and voting accordingly.  It’s a theocracy, not a democracy.  In a healthy context, the pastor and congregation will pray and arrive at the same godly conclusion, whether they personally agree or not.

A Letter To My Congregation

After prayerful consideration, we, as a family, realized that God wasn’t finished with our ministry in Bay Roberts and thus allowed the congregation to welcome us into another term.  This past week, the vote took place and, with 88% voting in favour of our ministry, we have been invited to enter into another term commencing in June. This is my letter to that wonderful congregation…

 

Dear Congregation:

Thank you for praying – it’s that simple.

The past three years have brought us in many new directions.  We have established a mission statement; we have discontinued, continued and created ministries which align with that mission; and have pushed us to grow together by thinking “outside of the box”.

We’ve taken on risk, and tried new things; however, without prayer and the desire to grow as disciples of Jesus, the tendency to vote democratically increases dramatically.  With 88% support, the opposite must be true.  Thank you for voting theocratically (that is, voting based on God’s will rather than your own). It’s not only a blessing to receive such a vote, it also acknowledges the growth and success of our labour thus far.  Let’s continue to pray as we help build God’s Kingdom.

For those of you who were looking for a change in leadership, I invite your feedback.  Please let us know what you’re missing, let us know how we can improve, and most importantly, please let us know if we have wronged you in any way.  We are about Kingdom growth and never wish to see believers fall behind in their journey of faith because no one was willing to listen.  We are more than willing to listen as we grow together!  Continue to pray for loving relationships.

We look forward to our next three years together!

With our mission statement leading the way, this year will be about shaping our values! And as we move forward, our vision of being an assembly known for truly living out our faith will be fueled and protected by our mission and values.  With God’s help and a desire to GROW as His disciples, I believe we will be amazed with how far we will go in three years!  Continue to pray for a desire to grow.

Our journey towards true WORSHIP, LOVE, and SERVANT-HOOD will take on new forms.  We will continue to explore and find new ways to draw nearer to God; love those around us, in our community and around the world; and, continue to discover selfless leadership and servanthood.  Continue to pray as we live out our mission.

RENO21 (our accessibility renovation project) will prove to be more than an expense. It will be a tool to carry out our mission, values and vision.  The expansion will launch us into a new era of growing ministry!  Continue to pray for its success.

Our ministries will need to take our mission to the next level by strategically planning ways to GROW, WORSHIP, LOVE and SERVE.  Continue to pray for our church ministries as they embrace our mission.

I’m humbled to be your leader and excited to see what God has in store!  Through prayer, discipleship based on scripture, and a focus on our mission, God will build and shape His Church!

So, thank you for paying – it’s that simple.

 

For the Kingdom,

p.AtH

The “Vision” of World Vision

Reading Time: 7 minutes

[UPDATES] While they share a name, there is a difference between World Vision U.S. and World Vision Canada.  This post is referring to World Vision U.S.  Also, further comments have been made to the “moving forward” section at the conclusion of this post.

There has been a lot of attention brought towards World Vision’s decisions regarding hiring or not hiring Christians who are practicing homosexuality.  On March 24th, 2014 the organization posted through Christianity Today stating they would now hire Christians practicing homosexuality.[i]  After much controversy[ii], however, World Vision reversed their decision on March 26th, 2014 due to “confusion” and “protest”.[iii]

While there are numerous strong opinions on this matter, I turn my attention towards World Vision’s mission statement.  Every organization has a mission statement which they attempt to champion. In order to be successful, the organization must hire people who will help “carry the vision” and bring the organization forward in their mission.

So, what is World Vision’s mission statement?

World Vision has posted their mission statement on their website[iv]:

WHO WE ARE: World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.

WHO WE SERVE: We work in nearly 100 countries, serving all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.

WHAT WE DO: We provide emergency assistance to children and families affected by natural disasters and civil conflict, work with communities to develop long-term solutions to alleviate poverty, and advocate for justice on behalf of the poor.

WHY WE SERVE: Motivated by our faith in Jesus Christ, we serve alongside the poor and oppressed as a demonstration of God’s unconditional love for all people.

So, how can we fairly discuss their recent decision & reversal of hiring Christians practicing homosexuality?  There are few things I’d like to point out that should help us understand who World Vision should engage in the recruiting process.

1. The Mission is a “We” Statement

The mission of an organization includes those connected with that organization.  The “we” does not only refer to the board of directors, CEO, or otherwise management team.  The “we” includes ALL employees, donors, supporters, or otherwise connected people.

As a definition, the organization calls themselves a “Christian Humanitarian Organization.”  As a “we” statement, those connected to it, support and promote this title and thus share in this mission.  As a result, all employees should represent and promote the mission statement and shouldn’t remain employees if they cannot do so

2. The Mission is to “serve all people”

I applaud their statement here. They provide no discrimination towards who they help. This is an interesting concept, however, as their recruiting process actually limits who can help.  While I see no proof of the organization limiting donations from homosexuals, the reversal of their short lived recruiting policy does limit employees to Christian heterosexuals.  That said, this does not necessarily go against their mission to “serve all people;” however, it may make it more confusing.

3. The Mission is to provide assistance to those in need

No matter what our faith background or belief system may be, social justice is one of the best common grounds we ALL share.  For World Vision to be successful in this area, their supporters, donors and employees must have a desire to sacrificially give and better the world as they meet the needs around them.  On face value, success here does not require a particular lifestyle or faith.

4. The Mission is to be motivated by Christian faith

While providing assistance to those in need does not require a Christian faith, World Vision has a mission of being motivated by their Christian faith.  The full understanding of this can be seen in their core values.[v]  Anyone can do good giving the organization and themselves credit; however, a Christian does good pointing to Jesus and giving God the credit.

I’m left thinking this through, and have come up with some comments…

It would be very difficult for anybody but a Christian to be a part of the “we” in World Vision’s mission statement. While anybody can engage in aspects of their mission, their mission as a whole, is highly Christian-centric.

From a Christian practice perspective, World Vision’s definition of “faith in Jesus Christ” is fairly vague.  While I personally disagree, their website defines “Christian” in terms of orthodox doctrinal beliefs such as the Trinity and Christian practices such as serving the marginalized with very little mention of biblical authority.  As a result, for World Vision, a God believing, grace receiving, compassionate and committed individual in a same-sex marriage, meets the definition of “Christian”.

Pressure from Christian organizations with more detailed definitions of what it means to be “Christian”, caused World Vision to retract their new recruiting policy.  By supporting World Vision, there is a partnership of mission.  Their new policy didn’t change the mission, it simply helped bring their mission forward.

To be clear – I personally feel as though World Vision is missing something in their mission statement.  However, their new policy did not go against their mission and pressures from organizations and supporters who did not approve, probably should not have started supporting in the first place given their mission differences.  I would encourage World Vision to ensure they make decisions based on their mission statement and not their supporters who have seemed to have misunderstood their mission.  Not to mention, who they hire is trivial compared to their overall mission to provide global help to those in need.

Moving forward

It’s important to know who you support and work through.  Make sure to read about the companies you sign up with, ask questions and know their mission.  In addition, hold them accountable when they fall out of line with that mission.  If things fall apart, don’t stop helping those in need; however, your resources may be better used by another organization.

If you are looking for a Bible-believing, Christian organization who is clear about what they believe and their focus on spiritual and physical development of those in need, please check out either Compassion International or Compassion Canada.[vi]  My wife and I sponsor a child with them and they are very focused and centered on providing exactly what they set out to do by directly working through the local church.

 


[i] Celeste Gracey and Jeremy Weber, “World Vision: Why We’re Hiring Gay Christians in Same-Sex Marriages,” ChristianityToday.com, http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2014/march-web-only/world-vision-why-hiring-gay-christians-same-sex-marriage.html (accessed March 27, 2014).

[ii] Ben Johnson, “Boycott: Evangelicals react to World Vision decision to hire people in gay ‘marriages,'” LifeSiteNews.com, http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/boycott-evangelicals-react-to-world-vision-decision-to-hire-gay-married-cou (accessed March 27, 2014).

[iii] Celeste Gracey and Jeremy Weber, “World Vision Reverses Decision To Hire Christians in Same-Sex Marriages,” ChristianityToday.com, http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2014/march-web-only/world-vision-reverses-decision-gay-same-sex-marriage.html (accessed March 27, 2014).

Rachel Zoll, “Prominent Christian charity World Vision reverses decision to hire Christians in gay marriages,” globalnews.ca, http://globalnews.ca/news/1233649/prominent-christian-charity-world-vision-reverses-decision-to-hire-christians-in-gay-marriages/ (accessed March 27, 2014).

[iv] World Vision Inc, “Who We Are,” worldvision.org, http://www.worldvision.org/about-us/who-we-are (accessed March 27, 2014).

[v] Ibid.

[vi] Compassion International, “Mission Statement,” compassion.com, http://www.compassion.com/mission-statement.htm (accessed March 27th, 2014).

Compassion International, “Statement of Faith,” compassion.com, http://www.compassion.com/statement-of-faith.htm (accessed March 27th, 2014).

Compassion Canada, “About Compassion,” compassion.ca, https://www.compassion.ca/about-compassion/ (accessed March 27th, 2014).

Compassion Canada, “Statement of Faith,” compassion.ca, https://www.compassion.ca/statement-of-faith/ (accessed March 27th, 2014).