Rev. Darren Herbold:
Hey, Alliance Canada. December is nearly upon us, and I know many of you are looking at booked out calendars as you prepare for this busy season for fun get togethers, family events and Christmas services. And while it can feel paradoxical to our modern and busy Christmas season, the gift of Advent is that it’s a season of waiting. So with this in mind, let’s pause for a moment and gently embrace the essence of Advent, which beautifully captures the art of anticipation and the joy of awaiting something truly special as we immerse ourselves in this upcoming Christmas season.
I invite you to take a step back from the busyness and reflect on the Prince of Peace, a baby coming to a manger. And so, my prayer is that this advent, perhaps different than past Advent seasons, would be a precious time of reflection for you. I trust that Jesus will enrich your spirit and deepen your connection with His hope, his love, and the power of his life in you.
As a quick update or annual missions focus, the Jaffray offering wrapped up last month and we’re still waiting on any last-minute donations through the mail from the offerings. But I want to say thank you for your generous gifts and support. In the past two years, we’ve already helped equip and send 217 church planners. And this year, Lord willing, should we achieve our shared goal because of your generosity, we’ll be able to equip 167 more church planters.
That means, based on previous trends, at least 10,000 new believers will be reached, resulting in 835 new churches that will be planted in South Asia over the next five years. And just remember, that’s in addition to the pastors already trained and churches already planted. And of course, it’s not just overseas that churches are being planted. New churches and new expressions are popping up across Canada.
And to be clear, this is what the Global Advance Fund helps us more. For us to be together in our shared mission to multiply disciples everywhere. So with this in mind, let’s watch this video of a new venture in Dundas, Ontario.
I’ve served at some large churches and some small churches. I’ve discovered that I’m a shepherding pastor and a small church kind of person. And my heart for people who are sort of disenfranchised with the church. Is this where some of this started from? I just wanted to come alongside people and build a community with them and have conversations about Jesus, and they are just not interested in going to church in the traditional sense.
And so creating space and being here for them, whether it’s in a coffee shop, whether it’s in one of the local bars or a living room like this, they just want it to be available to them, to have conversations and to work through their journey with Jesus. My name is Darin Martin. I’m a church planter and a pastor with the Christian Missionary Alliance, and I’m planting a new venture in Dundas, Ontario.
So my brother’s name is Jeremy and he lives here in Dundas, has lived here for five years. He actually moved here because we have a band together called My Brother’s Collective. And while we were sitting here having coffee one day on a rainy day, he encouraged me to consider stepping out to become a pastor here in Dundas.
Well, my wife and my kids and I have always been very interested in just community and getting to know our neighbors and trying to, you know, really act on the things that we learn as a as Christians. And we we had this vision just for our neighbors. And just when Darren was kind of thinking and praying about what he should do, we just encouraged him, Well, why don’t you come to Dundas and let’s see if God, you know, wants to wrap this up a little bit as far as opportunities to to grow and just be in community with the neighborhood here.
As we as a group started to think about what that could look like to start something here. We were encouraged by the new ventures to just pray about it. So we formed a little group of six of us that spent six or eight months just praying and listening. And at the end of that time, we just we were asking these questions, Jesus, what are you doing in Dundas and do you want us to partner with you in this?
And at the end of that time, we felt very sure that, that he was very actively involved Dundas and was inviting us into that.
So the next step was just to, you know, create a space where people could come and feel that they could let their hair down and something as an alternative to a Sunday morning in this case. And so it manifested itself through obviously a small group gathering.
We’ve decided to intentionally meet mid-week rather than on Sundays. And part of the reason for that is it just works better for people’s life schedules and soccer schedules and all of those things. But it also allows us to be able to go into other churches and to serve on Sundays. And that has been this amazing crossover of being able to use the music that we’re passionate about, that we love to do, to go and encourage other people.
And when they hear a little bit of our story, they’re inspired as well, about what God is doing here in Dundas.
The Tuesday night is a small group gathering where we study different things. We pray together, which is just fantastic. We love to pray together and just have great conversation just about where people are really at. And then the Wednesday night is, you know, that is just a way that God used Darren and Sarah and their willingness to be able to reach this community.
Our kids had been part of this youth group that had been going along well, and then that was changing over and there wasn’t any vision for youth in Dundas. And so we really saw that that was a need and thought, and there’s an opportunity where they can step up. Darren and Sarah and just do something really impactful.
New Ventures has given us a lot of space to step outside the box a little bit as far as what church could look like here in Dundas. I remember throughout the process just asking, do we need to look like this or do we need to gather on Sundays? And there’s been so much grace and space to be able to to look different and to not have to check boxes.
And so for anybody that is thinking about what does new ventures mean and how could we partner together, I feel like there’s lots of space to come up with some creative ways to become the church with arms open to the neighborhood.
I tell my kids all the time, like, God wants us to obey him and he wants us to love others. And, you know, so it starts with us. And if we can do that, people who are intrigued by that, they want to they want to be around people that, you know, they might tested a bit. They you may not believe it at first, but they want to be near people that love them and care for them.
So we’ve seen that. We want to see more of that. And that’s what we’re hoping that we can figure out more ways we can do that here.
As Darin is faithfully trying to follow Jesus and exploring different expressions of church in Dundas, Ontario. I love it when he asks Jesus, What are you doing in Dundas? And do you want us to partner with you in this? Where? This is exactly the kind of question that I that we should be asking ourselves often, isn’t it? I know it’s a common prayer already for many of you because you’ve shared that with me as I know it is for our elders and churches as it is with our district superintendents, the district executive committees, and for me and the board of directors that serve us specifically Jesus, how are you asking us to partner with you in the ways that you have uniquely gifted us for.
As an item of prayer, the Board of Directors meets very shortly to consider our next year’s budget and an initial draft of a strategic roadmap coming out of our circles of dialogue. Please be praying for our shared leadership across the country as we discern his call for us together.
And so for this Advent season, might you find moments to pause, to reflect, to listen as you humbly ask Jesus, Jesus, where are you working in my town? My circle of influence? Jesus, Do you want me to be part of this in any specific way? If so, how Lord? Would you show us? So, Lord, I pray that your hand would rest powerfully upon us as the Alliance in Canada.
That your church, your people would be beacons of light, hope and love. Lord, would you increase our faith to match your creative imagination of what you would have for us into the days ahead? And Lord, we are so excited to go where you would guide us, and we are thankful to be able to do this with you. Lord, would your name be glorified in all you say and do?
Have a great month, everyone. And with the retelling of the true story of the King in a manger, refresh your soul. In the days ahead.
Support the mission
The Global Advance Fund (GAF) is a pooled fund that supports our workers in Canada and around the world to share the Gospel with people who haven't yet heard the name of Jesus. Your continued generosity equips and sustains our workers and their ministry.
Jaffray Offering Thank YouThe Alliance Canada
President Herbold | December 2023 UpdateThe Alliance Canada
CCACA Executive Director ResignsThe Alliance Canada
A Journey Toward Understanding Suffering: Marion DickeThe Alliance Canada
Identity in Christ: The Cross-Cultural Worker’s Firm FoundationThe Alliance Canada
President Herbold | November 2023 UpdateThe Alliance Canada