January 26, 2020
Early Friday morning I’ll be flying out of Hamilton International (John C Munro) Airport. Even though some of these locations have their appeal, I’m not headed to Portugal, or Florida, or Arizona or Mexico. Instead, I booked tickets for Winnipeg Manitoba. They are presently experiencing a warming trend of – 11.
A while ago I received an email from a young church planter in Fergus named John Vanderstoep. He invited me to consider attending a Renewal Conference in Steinbach, Manitoba along with twelve other people from Classis Huron. I looked through the names and could not put a face to any of them. I first heard about this Church Renewal Conference coming out of Steinbach one year ago, from a close colleague friend of mine in B.C. The Canadian Director of Willow Creek Canada told this pastor back in 2011 that their congregation had something very special going on and challenged him to share his vision with Pastor’s and Church Leaders across Canada. Ray and Fran Duerksen have 30 years of ministry experience and have been serving Southland Church in Steinbach for 22 years. They have grown a renewal ministry through prayer and gather each Sunday with over 4000 worshipers. Three times a year they hold a weekend renewal conference, inviting pastors and church leaders to practice the same basic principles they have adopted around Prayer, Repentance and Renewal. Their vision is to serve as a catalyst for churches all across Canada. They have been offering renewal weekends at the end of January, the end of May and the end of October. For some reason they have more international interest in May and October.
I was delighted to receive a call from a new young pastor in Classis Huron. It was not that long ago when I too was examined in Kitchener and ordained in Guelph when I first entered the ministry, and I remember the senior pastors of our Classis at that time. Oddly enough, even at this stage in my ministry, and perhaps more truthfully, especially at this stage in my ministry, I would do well to pay heed to calls for Prayer, Repentance and Renewal. Even though I may be going alone, I will certainly not be alone, and it will not be a journey I take by myself, as I hope to invite each of you on this journey as well in the weeks and months and years to come. I covet your prayers and partnership in the gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord. Even though the weather may be a little colder in Steinbach Manitoba this time of the year, I have a hunch the conference will be warmer than Portugal, Florida, Arizona and Mexico.