Join the Journey


To What End?

Posted by admin on August 1, 2018

Over the next several months, I’d like to talk about the ENDS. Not the END, but our AGC ENDS – the strategic ministry initiatives by which we accomplish our stated purpose as an Association. With the recent change in our AGC structure, we are focusing on four primary areas of ministry activity that give substance to our vision of being … A Movement of Healthy Reproducing Churches.

Kaemingk book.jpgNATIONAL COMPASSION & JUSTICE:  This is a new END for us. It was birthed from a deep compassion to address the heart-wrenching plight of Syrian refugees. Our Syrian Refugee Initiative has been the framework enabling several AGC churches to sponsor Syrian refugee families as they arrive in Canada to begin a new life, free from the sufferings of war, persecution and destitution that many have experienced.

As Christians, and as an Association of churches, compassion must be a part of our ethos. Throughout Scripture we see the compassionate heart of God.  God’s compassion is extended through His Son, who took the world’s punishment on the cross that made it possible for us to be reconciled to the Father.

Special mention is given in God’s Word as to what our own attitude should be toward “others” among us. Leviticus 19:34 says in part; “You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” In Matthew 25:35 Jesus says; “For I was hungry, and you gave Me food, I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed Me.”  

Having lived in another country for nearly fifteen years, I know firsthand what it feels like to not belong, to be an outsider, to feel a sense of being displaced. Yet, within a Christian community all of that melted away, I did belong, the people I served and served alongside were my brothers and sisters, my family … I was welcomed.

Unfortunately, that sense of welcoming strangers is in danger of being pushed back because of fear and perhaps some latent prejudice as we struggle with our own attitudes towards others who are different.  In his book Christian Hospitality and Muslim Immigration in an Age of Fear Matthew Kaemingk makes this statement which speaks of the perception felt by many Muslim immigrants: “Although the vast majority of Muslims do not live in economically depressed physical ghettos, many live in a psychological ghetto caused by the lack of acceptance they feel from their neighbours and colleagues.”

So how will we reach out to these new Canadians? How will we welcome the stranger, feed the hungry, stand up for the oppressed and demonstrate both compassion and justice? These are not easy questions to answer, but they are questions that we as the AGC need to wrestle with if we are to genuinely reflect the love and compassion of Jesus. National Compassion & Justice is an END we want to continue to develop and expand to help us become …  A movement of healthy reproducing churches.

May the Lord guide each of us in our part to make strangers friends and friends family!

Bill Allan first name.PNG 

Bill Allan 
President                                                                                                                                                      


Hello AGC Family

Posted by donna on June 14, 2018

Bill and Michele June 2018.jpgThe word “hello” has a welcoming ring to it. It opens doors, builds relationships and offers encouragement. It’s an expression of joy and gladness.  It has the power to overcome suspicion and make the stranger feel accepted and valued. We use it when meeting someone for the first time. It’s a friendly greeting, which allows an opportunity to engage on a personal level. We also use it when reconnecting with old friends, those we haven’t seen in a while. Michele and I wish to say “Hello AGC Family! We always love to make new friends and reconnect with old, some of whom we spent many years serving alongside in Peru and in mission leadership in Canada.

Our National Conference was a great time for us to reconnect with one another and rejoice together in what God is doing through our various church ministries and new church plants. It was an opportunity to make new friends and rejoice with old ones. It was also a time to look back at God’s faithfulness.  We gave thanks for the leadership of Willem & Lois, their many years of faithful service and the example they have left for us as we continue the journey.


ABIDE

Posted by donna on May 3, 2018

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Growing up in a missionary family, our children learned the full meaning of the word “goodbye.” We lived in remote areas of central Thailand and twice a year our kids had to fly off to attend boarding schools in Malaysia. They knew that goodbyes were part of the often-unwanted aspects of missionary life.  Fortunately, for the most part, it was a positive experience. Often, it was Lois and I who had the meltdowns as we watched the plane take off. Yet, goodbyes are part of saying hello.

This historic AGC National Conference May 31st -  June 2nd, will be both “goodbye” and “hello.”

Having had the privilege of serving the AGC these past fifteen years, it is time to say our goodbyes, and hello to Presidential Candidate Bill and Michele Allan. The Allan’s have served as missionaries and mission leaders and have also served in one of our AGC churches these past years.  I am delighted to see the way God has led the Allan’s to accept this great challenge and opportunity.


"The Cup of God's Wrath"

Posted by donna on April 5, 2018

Capture.PNG(Revelation 14:9-10)

Not Enough Options

While attending Engineering College, I was growing in my awareness of biblical truth and theology. I remember as if it was yesterday having informal debates with my classmates and professors about the nature of life, death, heaven and hell. On one occasion I declared that there is only one true way to God and heaven, through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We were all close friends by this time and there was free and open communication. Yet, the response from one of my friends was a simple, “there aren’t enough options.”  In other words, there must be other choices.


Discipleship - Love ... The Foundational Principle

Posted by donna on March 6, 2018

love.jpg“Beloved let us love one another for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7) ESV.

The early church father, John Chrysostom (345-407 AD) in his sermon, “Dying to Sin” writes, “For God is not so well pleased with being our Master as He is with being our Father….  God’s exceeding desire to be loved comes from loving exceedingly.”

God loves us extravagantly! He wants us to learn and grow to love Him with extravagance. He desires that we love others as the Golden Rule stipulates.


grapes.jpgOK, … let’s do a quick review.  When we study the life of Jesus, we observe four challenges that outline His discipleship process.

  1. Come and see
  2. Follow me
  3. Fish for men
  4. Go and bear much fruit.

Although there are many nuances in the discipleship process, (and certainly the process is rarely completely linear), the discipleship journey can be seen in these four steps, or, for the sake of our illustration, these four chairs.

As leaders, our role is to create an environment conducive to making disciples. We do that by using relationships and programs to help people move through the discipling process. These four chairs correspond to the kind of people who may be in our ministries.


Are we there yet.PNG

Are we there yet? – by AGC Quebec Director, Del Gibbons

Writing about disciple-making makes me stop and think.  It reminds me of family car trips.  You know what I’m talking about … the voice from the back of the car …  “Are we there yet?”  I can imagine that very question being asked as we look at Dann Spader’s “third chair” illustration of disciple-making.  Are we there yet?  How are we doing, and are we truly disciple-makers? 


"For Unto us a Child is Born..."

Posted by donna on December 6, 2017

Christmas 2017.jpgRecently, I received an email from a family in our AGC Association.  With great fanfare and accompanying photos, they were announcing the birth of their new child. “It’s a BOY!” read the caption. I can totally relate to the wonderful feeling and excitement of welcoming a newborn son or daughter. The sheer relief, especially when the new life has safely arrived, brings such joy. There is also that sense of future and destiny for this new life and for the family itself. The family is growing, and the future looks brighter.  It is a mystery wrapped up in a reality.


4 Chair Discipling - Chair Two, Guest blogger Russ Wilson

Posted by donna on November 1, 2017

they left their nets.jpgOne of the reasons I have grown to love the book 4 Chair Discipling is because of the mental picture it portrays.  I am a visual learner, and so, when I have a picture it just speeds up the learning process and helps me to work better with the people in my sphere of influence.

As a pastor, I desire to see people in the church grow spiritually.   4 Chair Discipling is a tool that can help with that process.  First, we bring people in through the first chair invitation of “Come and See” (John 1:39.) This is such an exciting part of the process and our churches should always have individuals who are seeking the purpose or meaning of life. 


4 chairs.pngOne of the occupational hazards faced by many pastors and ministry leaders is the few unbelievers with whom we spend time or have a personal relationship.  If we expect to convince those we lead of their need to invest in “Chair 1” people, which are those who do not yet know Jesus as their Saviour and Lord, then we need to lead them by modeling such relationships.  Working primarily with already churched people does not excuse us from evangelistic relationships with those who are not yet Christ followers.