So this happened last week. But it’s been so busy this week at church/day camps that I only have the chance to post about it now. I am staying with The Fellowship.
Many of my friends know that most of my training as a pastor happened at Morningstar Christian Fellowship, which is part of the Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches of Canada, or simply “The Fellowship” (though interestingly enough, my formal education was with the Roman Catholic Church -for my BA, and the Anglican Church – for my Master’s). Anyway, though I had a brief stint with an AGC church in Toronto, as soon as I moved to Fort McMurray, there really was no other choice for me but to seek out another Fellowship church to attend. That church is of course what is now known as NorthLife Fellowship Baptist Church, which of course is the church I served for the past 3 years.
I mention all of this background because it’s important to understand the why I took the steps that I did in these past few weeks before I head back to Toronto and, ultimately, for Japan. And that is, get myself appointed as a missionary with Fellowship International.
Obviously I stuck around the Fellowship because they shared my theological convictions. But so do many denominations. So what really set the Fellowship apart is the aftermath of our evacuation from Fort McMurray last year. The care and concern that Fellowship churches all across Canada, and especially the top leadership of the Fellowship and its departments (Fellowship International, FAIR, and Fellowship Prairies) was incredible for me to see in action. That really deepened my desire to stay with the Fellowship. Which obviously was going to be difficult, moving to Japan and all.
But thankfully, just as the national and regional staff of the Fellowship were gathered in Edmonton in 2016 after the evacuation, they were also gathered this past May when I was making those major decisions about leaving NorthLife and moving to Japan. In fact, the same people who were involved in setting up the Fellowship’s support for the Wildfire, were also there to talk to about coming joining as a Missionary. And so, long story short, last week, I was appointed as a LAUNCH Missionary (mid-term/2 years).
It doesn’t change the main work that I will be doing in Japan, that is teaching English at Grace English School. But it is a layer of accountability that I was seeking out, which of course allows me to still be a part of The Fellowship.