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Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:10-11 Involvement. This is what the North Park Asian Fellowship is encouraging our next generation of leaders to do today – get involved in ministry. Involvement turns a consumer into a contributor; spectating into experiencing. We used to think that we had to entertain our youth and college/ university students to have a successful program. Wrong! We now recognize that our younger generation must experience the work of Christ if they are to grow in their faith. For example, we can never just talk about outreach and expect new Christians to understand. We are now having our new Christians experience outreach first hand by inviting their classmates and neighbors to North Park. This may be considered an easy task for a local-born student, but for a foreign student new to Canada, new to the way of life here and often new to God’s family, it can be a daunting experience.Yet, through God’s providence, we see it happen virtually every week with new students joining us. We teach and practice a sense of community with our younger generation, believing they will stay in the Fellowship because they are drawn into the community by faith. They are socialized into our Fellowship which affects their actions, beliefs, attitudes and values – which are vastly different for a foreign student from China. As our youth integrate into our community, we strive to help them develop a stronger sense of involvement. We are always looking for ways to train and equip our brothers and sisters in Christ as we enable and empower them to do the actual work of the ministry. To date, the results have been evident in their enthusiasm for their faith. Asian Fellowship recently had three of our own Fanshawe College students rise up to the challenge and get involved in our community. These students, Xiaojin, Danyu and Jinxu have used their skills to lead a student club at their school. The objective of this club (called Community Bridging Club) is to help new Asian students settle into Canada. They do this by educating and teaching new students where to shop for groceries, how to find a good student house rental or how to write a proper resume – all simple tasks we often take for granted. With the opportunity to connect with new students in this club, they develop relationships which enable them to invite students to attend North Park’s Sunday service and our Asian Fellowship. It is a blessing to see such an initiative by these students which is a true sign that God is very relevant in their hearts. Another university student named Yongtao has stepped up to become one of our Mandarin translators.Yongtao was born in China and moved to London three years ago. As a Christian with an improving command of the English language, she gives her best to God by providing realtime quality and accurate translation of the pastor’s sermon on Sunday morning to our Mandarin speaking attendees (those wearing the translation headsets). To prepare for this, Yongtao attends the Saturday evening service, listens carefully and takes diligent notes, then reviews her notes (and the speaker’s notes/slides provided) on Saturday night before she takes her position in the translation booth on Sunday morning. We are blessed with Yongtao who has stepped out to serve so that those who come to North Park are able to hear God’s Word in their native Chinese language. As we provide the framework for the next generation to get involved in a safe environment, they are highly encouraged to exercise their gifts. Giving everyone a sense of purpose, identity and community in our Fellowship, we target opportunities for the next generation to meet Jesus through his Word, his people and his Spirit so that they will grow closer to him and become even more of a blessing to their neighbour, their community and the world.

THE FIRST SEVEN MINUTES Ann Wiebe, Director of Welcome Ministries

Next Sunday the Spirit of God will prompt millions of people around the world to visit a church for the first time.The Sunday after that, he will do it again. God is consistently blessing his church with regular guests. Are we doing all we can to accept and honour his blessing? (Nelson Searcy, author of FUSION, turning first-time guests into fully-engaged members of your church) I don’t think a week goes by when I don’t hear of a first-time visitor or ‘guest’ who visited one of our services. I often wonder what their first-impression was and whether or not they will choose to come again. According to Searcy, seven minutes is all we get to make a positive first impression on guests. This means that even before a weekend guest hears the worship or the message, they have already formed an impression of us as a community.

So what impacts this first-impression? What does a first-time weekend guest at North Park experience in their first seven minutes? From the moment a guest drives onto our property, there are all kinds of sensory cues that influence their first-impression. One of these is the condition of our gardens and lawn. Our facilities team does a fantastic job of cutting and trimming the lawn for each weekend. However, the gardens around the church and in the parking lot are maintained only by volunteers. Some volunteers have adopted a specific garden which they take care of at their own convenience. Other volunteers prefer to help a couple of times each season to do a blitz on the gardens with a group. If you want to help create an inviting first-impression for our guests, please consider joining us on Saturday, May 3 and 24 from 8:30am – noon to clean out and plant our gardens. Bring your family, your small group or your friends. The more the merrier and the more we get done in a short time. Let’s make the most of the first seven minutes! One can never underestimate the welcoming message that is sent by beautiful gardens.

May 2014