LEAP OF FAITH
There are so many reasons to love Bethel Church. Jessica and I remember coming here almost ten years ago and immediately feeling the warm embrace of belonging. Over the years here I have been very honored to be trusted with the opportunity to provide leadership in youth and young adult ministries, world missions, Bannerman ministries, preaching & teaching, pastoral duties, and discipleship ministries. After years working away at a Master’s of Divinity on the side, it felt incredible to be extended a call to ministry here last June. In the midst of all these transitions, changes and seasons in my work here over the years, I have appreciated the honesty of the council and the congregation. I want to extend that same kind of transparency in this Pastor’s Corner.
Last year the first whispers of a church plant started to emerge. I went out for lunch with one of our Management Elders who surprised me by suggesting that I might be a good fit as a church planter. My mentor Pastor Victor Ko had been suggesting the same thing for a few years already. Jessica foresaw us planting a church together many years ago when we first started dating. When Fort Saskatchewan, a place that the Spirit had consistently been putting in front of us for years, became the front runner, we knew we needed to start praying seriously about this all. Over the last year we have sought the Lord together and asked Him what He wants. I was asked at the last congregational meeting, in an indirect way, whether we would plant the Fort church. Not having made any sort of concrete decision, I gave an answer, to the best of my ability, which kept the door open but did not prematurely commit us.
As part of “testing the waters,” I took a denominational exam that determines whether they think you would be ideal as a church planter. Part of my thinking was that if I failed then it might settle the issue in my heart. However, I did not fail and in fact I was given a very positive endorsement from the CRCNA. Next, I started to interview half a dozen church planters and other missional leaders. I was asking myself the question “Could I see my family and myself doing what they do?” We began to hear the Spirit’s voice with greater clarity.
This all has created both a great deal of excitement, but also a wrestling within us. We love Bethel with all our hearts, and yet now feel a call from God. Do you transition from a church that you love with all your heart, where you feel very at home, at a time when you feel like you might just be hitting your stride? Do you take a step of faith into the unknown and unseen, when what is right in front of you is really awesome? It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, unless all of a sudden it does. Slowly but surely, a picture of the future, which was once very fuzzy, has been coming into view. If our congregation, our classis, and the CRC decide that a church is to be planted in Fort Saskatchewan, I want you all to know that Jessica and I feel called to be a part of it.
Brothers and sisters, please keep this potential church plant and our family in your prayers. We love you deeply and ask for your tender support and blessing. - Pastor Ryan
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