Prayer is a Challenge

The Renewal Fellowship Board two-day meeting in October was held in my home in Simcoe. As I was organizing the continental breakfast on the morning of the second day, the alarm on The Rev. Nan St. Louis' watch went off. I asked, "What's that all about?" Nan said, "It's 7:14 and that's my reminder to pray for The Presbyterian Church." I was amazed and somewhat embarrassed because … Read More

Korean Pastors Of English-Speaking Presbyterian Churches In Canada

After almost eight years at Bridlewood in Scarborough, Ontario, I accepted a call to St. Andrew's, Calgary, in beautiful Alberta. In September of 2014, I decided to drive across the country to begin my new journey. Along the way, I dropped in on friends that I had met on a retreat to Florida in 2013 for Korean pastors ministering in the Presbyterian Church in Canada. Here is a brief account of their ministry. My first stop was in Kapuskasing, Ontario, where the Rev. … Read More

Paris Presbyterian Church Sports Camp

Sports Camp is a mission on the move. Through sports, the leaders strive to emulate the work of Jesus by focusing on building relationships and leading by example. This is the model of ministry that Sports Camp has been built upon. Every time there is interaction with someone, that person is being influenced. Our influence is dominated by our actions. Certainly, a week at camp allows for a lot of interaction. The goal at Sports Camp is to make all of our actions intentional, actions that reflect Jesus. So how do we use that opportunity? … Read More

Glenbrook Upward Soccer Camp

This past summer, the eyes of the world were watching the World Cup of soccer in Brazil. The names of Maynard, Messi, and Rooney, if they were not already known, became even more well known as they played in soccer stadiums across Brazil. With each day’s coverage, the CBC usually had a panoramic view of the city of Rio de Janeiro, including the famous statue of Jesus Christ with His arms outstretched over the great city. What does soccer (or football to most of the world) and Jesus Christ have in common? … Read More

Am I Thankful?

The more I pray for, study, and seek renewal for the church, the more I realize that personal renewal is a necessary part of what happens corporately. I am not completely sure if it is a precedent condition, a coincident condition, or a result of the other. I am pretty sure there is reason to ask a “Chicken and Egg; which came first?” type of question about many of the past times of renewal. In thinking about Thanksgiving holiday observances, I was drawn along a path that is relevant to personal renewal. It started with wondering why we needed a holiday to remind us… Read More

Intentional Community

As I write this, the March issue of the Record has been available for only a couple of weeks. In that time I have had more feedback about my article, Minding the Minister, than I have received for all the things I have ever written for public consumption combined. I hit on something significant: many ministers in our denomination are burning out. This is a problem worthy of our attention. What is needed is focus and strategy. After consultation with our national board over the past year … Read More

Best Practices

Over the past six years, as the congregational development consultant for my synod, I have been in literally hundreds of churches. Many – maybe even most – of these congregations are in gradual decline and are searching for solutions to reverse direction and increase vitality and growth. Sadly, almost all are going about it in exactly the wrong way. While there is no simple answer to how to turn churches around, there are some markers that point us in the right direction; there are practices that can lead … Read More

Maturing Your Faith

Is it possible that faith and doubt can exist together? It seems we have faith and then challenges arise and we are filled with doubts. A few years ago on an adventure holiday, I tried zip-lining. I am not very comfortable with heights. I love to fly in airplanes, but to look over the ledge of a high building is another story. God told childless Abram that his offspring would be as numerous as the stars in the night sky. Years passed yet there was no child. At age 99, God visited Abram and told him he would be … Read More

Clean Hearts, Loyal Spirits

Renewal, like commitment, is not something that happens once and is done with. Sometimes we forget that. We think that having had the experience once, we are good. We think that we have checked it off the list. One more thing accomplished. One more experience off the bucket list. But renewal isn’t like that. Renewal is like the commitment one makes on their wedding day. A commitment that must be reaffirmed the next day, the day after … Read More

Trusting and Trying – Weighing What Works at Westminster

Westminster is in Barrie, Ont. – a growing city. We’ve had people pass away and move. There is some changeaphobia. We don’t have any money in the bank. And lo and behold, there are a few people who don’t always get along. Sound familiar? Six years ago a question wafted in the air: Will we survive? If you’re reading this it’s because hope is arising. In the past five years we’ve been faithful. The number of worshippers has gone from … Read More