The FEBRUARY 2013
On Purpose Families Donnie Scearce, Lead Pastor
In Ontario, February 18 is set aside for Family Day. What a great idea. We need extra, intentional time set aside for our families. I remember seeing a Far Side comic a few years ago of a conference with the banner hanging over the front of the auditorium that read, “Conference for Functional Families.” There were only three people sitting in the audience. Gary Larson, the Far Side creator, had made his point with that one picture: there is no perfect family. Perhaps it was his humorous way of helping us relax about our dysfunction and put our energy into making our family the most loving one ours can be. How can we do this? Fortunately the Bible does not leave us to figure this out on our own. Quoting from The Message, Eugene Peterson’s unique paraphrase of Colossians 3:15-21: Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let theWord of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way. Wives, understand and support your husbands by submitting to them in ways that honor the Master. Husbands, go all out in love for your wives. Don’t take advantage of them. Children, do what your parents tell you.This delights the Master no end. Parents, don’t come down too hard on your children or you’ll crush their spirits. Whoa! No doubt there are some high ideals here. Let Christ’s peace rule and keep each one listening to the other. Let thankfulness be the regular habit of each person in the family. Let the Scripture be a regular part of our family life (perhaps reading something like E100 or a brief devotional book together at meal time is a way to do this). Let everything be run through the grid of “does this align with Jesus being the leader in our home?” If it doesn’t, then it needs to go: words, actions, whatever. And all the instructions for wives, husbands, children, and parents seem to come down to thinking first of the other person. Does it sound almost too good to be true? Maybe. But think about it. Who wouldn’t want to choose this way over a selfish, demanding, complaining, and argumentative way of living with one another? These are the options: Live with love serving one another or live with a self-serving attitude. One creates harmony in the home; the other chaos. One saves marriages; the other destroys them. One builds children up; the other tears them down. The choice is for each member of the family to make many times each day. Let’s go for it together this February. Our families are worth the investment!
“The family should be a closely knit group. The home should be a self-contained shelter of security; a kind of school where life’s basic lessons are taught; and a kind of church where God is honored; a place where wholesome recreation and simple pleasures are enjoyed.” ~ Billy Graham
thank you Donnie Scearce, Lead Pastor
Thank you God! Thank You North Park! “A twinkle in the eye means joy in the heart, and good news makes you feel fit as a fiddle.” Proverbs 15:30 (The Message) Though I was physically sick with the flu and bronchitis over the holidays, the good news I received was amazing and made me “feel fit as a fiddle” in my heart. Here’s why…. Core values are sometimes written on a website as words of aspiration alone. But with some groups you can just tell the values are written on their hearts…..and there’s a big difference. They live them. Day by day, month by month, year in and year out, just like a heart beating inside the church’s culture, the value seems to leak out almost without thought. North Parker’s once again proved that our value of gratitude and generosity is heartfelt. Before I explain, let me remind us all of what the value says and its Biblical underpinning: We commit to seeing people released from the bonds of consumerism as they respond extravagantly with generosity and deep gratitude for all God provides. (Deut. 15:7-11; 2 Cor. 8:6-11; 1 Thess. 5:18; Luke 17:11-18) During the month of December and post-Christmas, once again the faithfulness of God shone through the generosity of his people at North Park Community Church. As we entered the month of December, we were facing a deficit. That’s not entirely unusual as December, like for most churches and charities, is a big giving month at North Park. But what is unusual is that mid-way through the month, our projections weren’t holding and we were facing the potential of an end of year deficit. Additionally, we had embarked on a “Dare to Give” campaign for local and global impact that included giving to three projects that had nothing to do with our general fund, and some internally wondered if we had drained our giving capacity with these projects. We quietly prayed and some of us honestly grew concerned. But God was faithful and it was no less than amazing to see his faithfulness and the value deeply ingrained in the fabric of the DNA of this body come bursting through in the last weekend of the year. The result? All general fund expenses were covered. All mission projects exceeded expectations. Indeed, for all of us who are in leadership, when you see us at the beginning of this year, you will see a twinkle in our eye as we begin this fiscal year. You have helped us start clean and fresh, allowing us to envision with you the great things God has in store through this ministry at North Park, in the city of London, and even around the world! Thank you.
Guys Night Out Matthew Eckert, Pastor of Adult Discipleship
How do friendships begin? What is the genesis of them? The friends that you have, were they planned? Did you set out to find a friend, go through an interview process and make a selection from various candidates? As your life has ebbed and flowed, have your friendships changed – when you got married, had children, moved cities, changed careers? Do you have any close friends, those that you can count on no matter what life may throw at you? On what basis do you maintain a friendship? Do you only stay with those who will tell you what you want to hear or are you okay with a friend looking you straight in the face and telling you that they think you are wrong, that you need to change, that your lifestyle is off track? At Guys Night Out, on Wednesday, February 20, we want to explore the idea of guys and friendship. What should they look like? If you are a follower of Christ, should your friendships look different than if you are not? Does the Bible give us any ideas or guidelines for our friendships? Guys Night Out is a unique opportunity to explore topics such as this. We gather for a great meal and have an opportunity to connect with friends or make new ones. In addition to this, we always engage in some interactive teaching – a time to not only hear some great teaching, but to hear from each other as well. Guys Night Out is a place of beginnings, a place where you will be challenged to start something new or to renew something that you had begun at one time in your life but perhaps have put it aside for whatever reason. We are excited that our new teaching pastor, Paul McIlwraith will join us. Paul will be part of the teaching component as well as be available to simply engage with us and begin his journey of getting to know the men at North Park. Paul brings a great wealth of understanding in being a pastor. He is highly personable, and I’m sure that you will find him to be a man of great relational understanding, with a huge desire to see all of us connect in a deeper way to each other and to Christ. Join us at 6:00pm at the Youth for Christ Centre on Adelaide St. on Wednesday, February 20. Sign up at the Welcome Centre in the Gym.
Justice and Dignity
Ron Burdock, Director of Global Outreach & David Cottrill, Director of Community Outreach
There is no doubt that the With Justice and Dignity Conference we hosted on Saturday January 19 was an inspiring event. Dr Bob Lupton is a Christian community developer, an entrepreneur who brings together communities of resource with communities of need. He and his wife moved into inner city Atlanta forty years ago, making the choice to give up their dream home in the suburbs in order to respond to God’s call to restore the broken places of the city. Through FCS Urban Ministries – a non-profit organization which he founded – he has developed three mixed-income subdivisions, organized two multi-racial congregations, started a number of businesses, created housing for hundreds of families, and initiated a wide range of human services in his community. He is a humble and gracious man who believes that when we maintain the dignity of people, we enter the community differently than when we see them as victims. Bob called the attendees out to moving away from indiscriminate and dependency building giving...to exchanging gifts between the poor and the rich. Everyone has something to exchange and everyone loves a bargain in exchanging what they have for what someone else has. Bob shared statistics that would indicate that with all of the giving that has occurred in the last 40 years, there has been little effective change among the poor. He challenged people to take the long hard road of entering the community and doing the work of building relationships. True community change does not occur unless one understands one’s neighbour enough to know what will truly accentuate their dignity and inspire them to move forward out of poverty. Bob and his wife decided that if the community was truly changing, that a number of specific outcomes would be visible. Reduced crime, increased home ownership, increased numbers of leaders being trained and increased numbers of students graduating from high school are just some of the outcomes that he set his heart on. It has taken forty years, but the community in which Bob and his wife live have experienced these specific changes.....and the result is that poverty has been reduced. Take a moment and pick up Bob’s book, Compassion, Justice and the Christian Life. It will provide you with the specifics on just how Bob and his wife did it. With Justice and Dignity the Church Local and Global was designed to inspire and equip people who have a passion to reach into under-resourced neighbourhoods both locally and globally. With 250 people in attendance and workshops with missional leaders from across Ontario, it was a great day for learning. Members of over twenty five different churches in the London and surrounding area were present in this breakthrough day for us at North Park. We are committed to learning how to engage effectively, locally and globally, as the Church. We are committed as well to helping other congregations discover greater learning as well. Feedback from this conference suggests that there is a great hunger among Christians and as well that we are in a paradigm shift in this kind of work. Few people are focused on this kind of work and so we have a great responsibility to share that learning with the wider church in our area. This is our second annual January conference and we are already planning for next year. Set aside January 18, 2014 as we continue our journey of inspiring justice and dignity in our work around the world. If you are 18 to 30, take a moment and look into the Justice Journey as a great alternative for your University Reading Week February 17 to 24. Pray for these and other important learning moments at North Park...that we might together, “seek justice, do mercy, and walk humbly with our God” (Micah 6:8).
Financial Management at North Park Rob Klassen, Finance Committee Chair
With 2013 well underway, it is helpful to briefly reflect on both what is changing at North Park, and what we expect to remain the same. As a congregation, our worship of God encompasses many ministry, outreach and missions activities. We are also called to give back to God, and then steward these resources wisely. Financial management plays an important supporting role in much of this. North Park’s finances are closely monitored and controlled by our staff, trusted members (volunteers), and our new Finance Committee. This committee represents somewhat of a change, as the Management Deacon Board has taken the central role over the past decade in overseeing and reviewing a broad range of operating, property, risk, personnel and capital issues. This Board’s broad mandate proved to be very challenging as ministries have grown and staff roles have evolved. As a result, the leadership at North Park has decided to put in place a more focused committee that concentrates only on financial matters and risk management, with the remaining areas of responsibility distributed across staff and volunteers. First, I would like to wholeheartedly thank the most recent members of the Management Deacon Board, including Brian Martin, Ruth Oosterhuis, Matt Pranger, Kyle Smith, and Doug Stanlake. I would also like to thank the many others who have served in the past. Their years of service have been much appreciated, and their individual expertise has been instrumental in helping everyone get the most out of our facilities and operations for the Lord’s service. Second, two other members from that board, namely Martin Postma and Durk Vanderwerff, have agreed to serve on the new Finance Committee, alongside Doug Greenhow, Donnie Scearce, Wanda Silvester and myself. Many staff and church members contribute to the timely monitoring and control of financial matters at North Park. Collectively, we have developed systems to: • Assure that the controls are in place for confidential and accurate receiving, recording and receipting of offerings. • Assure that disbursements receive proper approval and are accurately recorded in the accounting system. • Monitor financial activity by way of a monthly review of transactions and financial reports that enable tracking of actual to budgeted expenses. • Prepare our yearend financial statements, which are subsequently audited by an independent, external firm of Chartered Accountants. Our financial data is now in the annual process of being audited by our external auditors, Wilkinson and Rogers, Chartered Accountants. Their work is imperative from two perspectives: 1. To review our systems of internal control and make any recommendations for improvement. 2. To prepare financial statements which, in their opinion, accurately present the financial position and activities of North Park. Based on these activities and controls, we feel confident that the leadership at North Park has taken the necessary steps to ensure effective risk management, as well as the stewardship and distribution of the funds with which we have been entrusted. In a few weeks, we will be presenting our annual report, which includes both audited financial statements for 2012 and budgeted expenses for 2013. This report is an invaluable document which reveals how God has once again provided for us, not only financially through generous offerings from our congregation, but also through how many have been blessed by the various programs and activities in which North Park is involved. Please mark Sunday March 3, 6:30pm on your calendars to attend our annual meeting.
Join us for our Annual Meeting March 3, 6:30pm Donnie Scearce, Lead Pastor
A possibility is a hint from God. One must follow it. - Soren Kierkegaard
We have so much to be grateful for as we look back over 2012. Yet the possibilities for effective ministry lie before us in 2013…and they are many. Mark your calendar now and please join us for our Annual General Meeting on March 3 at 6:30pm. We are looking forward to an exciting evening of worship, reflecting on 2012, and sharing our vision of where we believe God is leading us for 2013.
This Bible Study is for mothers, from those who are expecting a baby, to those with teenagers. You are invited to join us on Wednesday mornings as we learn how God can help us to honour him in our everyday lives. Winter Study: “What Happens When Women say ‘Yes’ to God” by Lisa Terkeurt, author, speaker, blogger, teacher and mom. Lysa’s down-to-earth approach is both challenging and encouraging. Dates: Every Wednesday, February 6-April 10 in room 142 Time: 9:15-11:15am Childcare is provided ($3/child, $6/family). To register, email Lisa Monck at firstname.lastname@example.org
James Bekkers, Pastor of Community Life
Several times a year baptisms take place in our weekend services. They are always special moments. When a person is baptized, they are telling their church family that they are committed to following Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Recently, Jennifer Rovillos was part of a group of people that were baptized. Here is the story she shared with those present:
My parents divorced when I was very young, and I grew up dividing my time between my dad and my mom. I attended a Catholic church when I was with my dad, but God and faith were not things that we talked about outside of church. Jesus was not talked about at all. Despite this, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t pray to God and have a sense that he was in control of my life. I moved to London to go to university and began attending North Park and Intervarsity Christian Fellowship at Western. It was at this time that I began to understand what it really meant to be a Christian, and I made a conscious choice to accept Jesus as my Saviour.
I met my husband, Magnus.We got married here at North Park and now have two amazing boys, Caleb and Evan. I realized a number of years ago that I should be baptized; but my fear of the process led me to make up excuses for not following through. I let my fears speaking publicly about myself and being submerged in water paralyze me from doing what I knew God wanted me to do. I want my life to be an example to my boys of someone who is obedient to Christ. With the encouragement and support of my husband and lifegroup, I have finally come to the point where my desire to be obedient to God is stronger than my fear. - Jennifer
The Bible makes it clear that every time that there is a story of faith, it is completely original. God’s creative genius is endless. (Eugene Peterson) Our next baptism class is Thursday, February 7 from 7:00-9:00pm. To register, email email@example.com.
Newcomers Lunch Ann Wiebe, Director of Small Groups
In a church the size of North Park, it is hard to know who is new to our community. This is one of the reasons we hosted a newcomer’s lunch on Sunday, January 27th. The goal was to provide us with an opportunity to personally welcome those newer to North Park and give them an opportunity to learn and ask questions about the church. It was exciting to see the wide range of people who attended! We were a crowd of mixed ages & stages in life. Amongst the almost 40 people who attended, some people have been coming to North Park for 2 years while another person was a first time visitor. There were a lot of good conversations during lunch, followed by a short presentation outlining the history of North Park, some interesting facts about the church and introductions of the Pastoral Staff. There were good questions asked during the Q & A time, and a tour of the building was offered at the end of the lunch. Our hope is that all those who attended, were encouraged and feel better equipped to engage with us as a community. If you missed this lunch, don’t worry…we plan to offer more newcomers’ lunches in the future! The following is a comment from an attendee: “I like the newcomer’s lunch. It allows people to understand the different ministries and gives people an opportunity to know how to get connected and meet others who are new.”
Before They say Goodbye Kevin Norcross, Pastor of Sr High Ministry
Connecting youth with the rest of the church is a big challenge. Here at North Park there are many youth who are plugged in, which is very exciting. There are also those who are completely disconnected. David Sawler is well known as a speaker at youth events, conferences and on radio & TV. We would like to give you the opportunity to come and hear David Sawler in order to receive insight on the trends of youth leaving the church. As a church, we desire to be a place where youth will feel embraced and welcome by the church family. Please join us on Saturday, February 16th from 1:00-3:00pm, so we can grow together in helping this generation remain strong in their faith. The focus of David’s content will come from 2 books he wrote which are: The Goodbye Generation is made up of youth, young adults, and adults who once were regular church attendees. Many of them have given up on going to church services, while others have walked away from their faith completely. This book is a journey into the stories, thoughts, hurts, struggles, and lives of such people.
In a day when many denominations are struggling because they have lost almost all of their young people, we need to address what is stealing them away. David Sawler invites you to look at Scriptural reasons that many people are giving for leaving. This is a book that gives hope and honest insight into one of the biggest challenges of the church today.
We asked ministers, authors, teachers, youth and children’s pastors all over the world one important question. The question is, “If you could tell a parent, minister, children’s or youth worker one piece of advice to help keep their children and youth strong in their faith, what would it be?” It is common knowledge that the majority of the children, youth, and young adults who have grown up in the church do not remain. This has left many people wondering, ‘What? If anything can we do?’ Before They Say Goodbye is a proactive attempt to answer that question. David Sawler has put the ideas, advice, and stories from Christian leaders around the world in a book that will be a benefit to every reader.
How alpha impacted my life Becky Regier
Alpha has been a positive experience in my life. I learned so much from being a student and learned so much more assisting this past Fall. Alpha helped me understand the difference between religion, spirituality and having a personal relationship with God through his Son, Jesus Christ. Before Alpha, I struggled with what my purpose was here on earth and was seeking something to fulfill me. I didn’t know exactly what I was looking for but I always felt like there was something missing in my life. My career, marriage, family and finally divorce just didn’t seem like the answer. My life wasn’t working and I needed to “fix” it.
I started listening to the little voice in my head that told me I wasn’t good enough, no one loved me and I had to do everything on my own. My life quickly became very lonely and unfulfilling because I was seeking things in this world to satisfy that need for something greater. After my divorce, I decided I would become more “spiritual” and started practicing yoga because I heard that yoga makes you spiritual…silly, I know! I was turned off of religion and believed in the “universe”. I started reading books about new age spirituality. I called myself a “spiritual person”. I was quickly sucked into this false hope of fulfillment and it left me feeling even more hopeless than before. Along my journey God used many people to speak to me. The most influential people of all were two different employers I had at different times in my life. I finally surrendered when I was working for a chiropractor and attended a conference in Atlanta, Georgia. There I witnessed someone speaking in tongues. I can’t even describe the peace that filled me at that moment. There was nothing left for me to do but surrender to Jesus, and I did. After that my co-worker invited me to a Saturday night service at North Park. It was completely different than any other church I went to and I knew this is where I belonged. I have been attending North Park on a regular basis and was baptized in 2011. I learned through Alpha that God’s grace is enough and he loves us unconditionally. God has a plan for each one of us, he wants the best for us, and he gives us new mercies every day. Alpha answered many questions that I had about Jesus and has deepened my relationship with God. It has also helped me understand just exactly how much we are loved and God is with us through it all. I’ve learned to praise God in the best of times and to turn to him in troubling times. His blessings are never ending! Alpha took me from calling myself a “spiritual person” to becoming a Christian. Praise God for that! And as for my purpose in life, I find comfort in knowing that I am here to serve God when he calls…now that’s fulfilling! Alpha is an 8-session course offered for anyone interested in finding out more about the Christian faith. Meetings take place on Monday evenings, February 4-March 25 (in various homes) or Saturday mornings February 9-March 30 (in the Fellowship Hall). For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
justice journey: see, learn, awaken
Peter Maddocks, Pastor of Young Adults Ministry
North Park is committed to deepening our understanding of justice and calling our people to awaken to God’s heart for the world. With this vision in mind, EnRoute and Globalnext have created an opportunity to learn about Justice in a deep and personal way with a new initiative called “Justice Journey”. In 2012 a team of North Park leaders attended The Justice Conference in Portland, where we heard from world class leaders and thinkers on the topic of justice. We were provided with a strong theological foundation for justice as we heard from those on the front lines of justice work around the world. It was truly an inspiring time, and we returned with the vision to call others to join. Hence, Justice Journey was born. In 2013 The Justice Conference is being held in Philadelphia, and we are planning for an even deeper experience this time around. We have designed a unique opportunity for a large group of young leaders to travel with us to “The City of Brotherly Love” to be immersed in the issues of urban poverty, healthcare, community development, and economic injustice. We will be spending time with Circle of Hope Church, which is a unique expression of the Church in downtown Philadelphia; learning from Shane Claiborne’s ministry at The Simple Way; spending a morning at Eastern College with David Bronkema discussing global economic injustice; and visiting Esperenza Inner City Health Clinic where nurses and doctors are working to transform the health of people falling through the cracks in the city. On Thursday we will drive to Washington to be at the International Headquarters for International Justice Mission (IJM), where we will learn about the challenges facing Thailand as well as the broader work of injustice that IJM confronts. These experiences will prime us into two days at The Justice Conference, which includes the Pre Seminar. We hope that this week long experience will allow us to: See injustice in the streets of Philadelphia; Learn about justice from IJM and at the Justice Conference; and Awaken to our place in the world. Breakdown of the Week: Sun 17th Mon 18th Travel to Circle of Philley; Hope Worship with Circle of Hope
Tues 19th The Simple Way
Kevin Norcross, Pastor of Sr High Ministry
Wed 20th Eastern College; Esperenza Health Clinic
Thurs 21st IJM Washington
Fri 22nd Pre-seminar; Justice Conference
Sat 23rd Justice Conference
Sun 24th Travel Home
This year we are trying something new and exciting! We will be taking some high school students to a winter retreat at Muskoka Woods and teaming up with some other youth groups. This will be a great opportunity to get away from regular surroundings and have a weekend focused on God. There will be times of worship and preaching, and many chances to have fun. The youth will also get to meet and connect with other church youth groups; to be reminded that there are youth from other cities who are serving Christ. Please pray that this retreat will have a huge impact on those who attend. Date: February 22-24 Cost: $140 Forms are available at the youth kiosk.
BIRTHS Bennett Daniel Cake (December 7, 2012) - Parents Adam & Nicole, sisters Peyton & Mackenzie DEATHS Yvonne Plantinga (December 15) – Wife of Dick Plantinga Ben Kopp (January 8) – Husband of Delma Kopp Dr. Alan Groom (January 9) – Husband of the late Elizabeth Groom Lloyd Conliffe (January 10) – Husband of Beth Conliffe
Charitable Receipts for donations received in 2012 will be mailed out during the month of February.
God calls each of us to be a disciple before he asks us to make a disciple. It takes more than head-knowledge to be a disciple following Jesus with the result that others follow him too: it requires all that I am and giving him access to all of me! This conference explores the important ways that our heart, hands, emotions and mind create a holistic and healthy living-out of our walk with God. By being mindful of our inner life, we positively impact those who we care about - even when those relationships are messy. Come and discover life-giving ways of relating to God, ourselves and others. Saturday February 9, 9:00am-4:00pm North Park Community Church Call 1-800-839-4769 to register For more info: www.navigators.ca/disciple or email email@example.com
Please contact the church office at 519-457-1400 or firstname.lastname@example.org if your mailing address has changed since last year.