How is God Moving in the Maritime Provinces?
ChristianWeek is looking for your stories of how God is using these unprecedented times to encourage/change/grow ministries. If you have a story to share, please email us! This story was sent to us from Eric Malloy with Eastern Gate Discipleship Ministries.
In early 2018, while seeking the Lord for future direction in ministry, the general framework for Eastern Gate Discipleship Ministries https://easterngate.ca came into focus. At the time I was serving as the National Director for Jerusalem-based Bridges for Peace (Canada) in Winnipeg (2011-2019) but had given the ministry notice that I would be stepping down as Director in 2019 for medical reasons. In June 2019 we transitioned the leadership to Rev. Peter Fast and my wife, Rebecca, and I moved back “home” to the Maritimes (Halifax) after eight wonderful years in Winnipeg.
During the fall of 2019 and into early 2020, preparation and development of Eastern Gate took shape with the goal to inspire and motivate local churches in Atlantic Canada to experience sustained kingdom growth through growing in Biblical understanding and application and giving greater attention to core discipleship principles – principles that give a strong foundation on which to build effective kingdom ministry, strategies, growth, and discipleship. And then COVID-19 descended, and like everyone else, life changed dramatically.
I began participating in dozens of Zoom webinars with church leaders in the Maritimes, across Canada, and the US. It became increasingly obvious that the local church and its pastor-shepherds, leaders, and members were now forced into uncharted waters with new areas of thinking, planning, and decision-making. Uncertainty and stress took on new reality and over the months personal stories kept emerging – some encouraging, some not so much. As I listened to leaders and to the voice of the Holy Spirit, I felt (and still feel) a growing urgency that these months of shaking have great potential for effective and permanent change in how we “do church”. Evidence of creativity and new thinking is showing up in local churches and ministries everywhere.
All through this time I felt a growing passion to come alongside pastors, church leaders, and ministry workers in local churches in Atlantic Canada to work together for the health and effectiveness of the local church and the building of God’s kingdom to its fullest potential. This became the Eastern Gate vision with the mission:
- To grow Biblical discipleship and strengthen ministry relationships, effectiveness, and calling;
- To identify, develop, and disciple young men and women into ministry and leadership roles;
- To inspire, equip, and motivate the local church to experience sustained kingdom growth;
- To identify potential attitudinal or relational obstacles to successful ministry;
- To display the fruit of the Spirit and model Biblical priorities.
During these months, two Maritime ministries stood out to me. First, Aaron Ministries Network https://aaronministries.com with their vision to see throughout all of Canada healthy leaders, leading healthy churches that transform communities with the Gospel of Jesus Christ; and mission to see church leaders across all denominations Encouraged, Focused, and Equipped for Harvest. They responded by initiating Pray Nova Scotia https://praynovascotia.faithlifesites.com. Zoom prayer calls with 60-100 pastors and leaders from across the province and beyond met weekly to share together and pray. Many found this a source of encouragement in very difficult times – COVID times, plus the mass shootings crisis in NS and the tragic loss of NS military personnel.
Second, the Buckingham Leadership Institute https://www.ldbuckingham.com developed its BLI online presence to help their goal to inspire and equip leaders in the local church to maximize the fullest potential for themselves and the organizations they lead, all for the glory of God. They offered a free five-session online course, Five Fundamentals for Change; and a 7-week leadership series is being offered in the fall of 2020 to encourage and equip church leaders during these challenging times.
God’s desire to strengthen His local church is clearer than ever and now is the time to respond to His call. I take hope in the fact that God has called you and I to this specific generation even in these turbulent times – to proclaim His kingdom and make disciples of all nations, starting at home. Nothing and nobody should stand in the way of this holy mission.
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