SEMBEQ MAGAZINE Spring 2016 - n째4
Our work culture RENEWED
SERVICE MOTIVATION IDENTITY LOVING OUR NEIGHBOUR COURTESY EXCELLENCE VOCATION CONTENTMENT
SEMBEQ MAGAZINE - SPRING 2016, n째 4
OUR WORK WITH CHURCHES
WORK AND IDENTITY
OUR COURSES, TEACHERS, AND STUDENTS
THE GOSPEL IN OUR WORKPLACE - TESTIMONIES
Our dream is to take part in building a province marked by solidarity through a Gospel movement that leads to personal conversions, missional communities, social justice, and A RENEWING OF CULTURE
OUR WORK CULTURE RENEWED Christians and their work
throughout Quebec and the French-speaking world.
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OUR WORK CULTURE RENEWED
NEW COHORT TRAINING FORMAT
HOLDING THE ROPES
A PAGE FROM OUR HISTORY
A WORD FROM OUR PRESIDENT
ur goal is to equip the saints for the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:12), building up models who will inspire others in the workplace. Most of our cohort members have been to college or university, and several have begun a career before joining the cohort. They all have jobs in the secular world or in the ministry, something which is encouraged by SEMBEQ. They must manage their lives in order to maintain a balance between family, church, theological studies, and work. The value of work comes from our Lord Jesus. Before beginning his ministry around the age of 30, Jesus most probably worked to provide for his needs. He was indeed known for being the son of a carpenter (Matthew 13:55). He was wellacquainted with the world of men, with its obligations and its constraints. He had to deal with all sorts of people, meet their requirements and bear their criticism. He underwent fatigue and disappointments. Jesus, our master, incarnated himself socially and gave us an example to follow. Paul also worked with his hands. He even mentioned to the elders of Ephesus that he had taught them how to work with their own hands through his example: “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak” (Acts 20:35). God invented work. Adam was thriving in the Garden of Eden and he felt the satisfaction of work well done: “The Lord God took the man and
put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). After being chased away from the garden, he had to work hard in order to eat – a legacy that he passed on to all his descendants: “By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread” (Genesis 3:19). The majority of our churches’ elders are pastors who have secular jobs. Our students as well learn to set an example for the believers, shining like lights in their communities and reflecting the Gospel: “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). The workplace is our mission field. We hope that as you read the following pages of this magazine, you would be led to think more about work. Both individuals and communities who are inspired by the Gospel in their work will have an impact on their social circles and the surrounding culture. In order to see God renew our social context, it is good to inspire one another and to remind ourselves of how the Gospel applies itself to our daily situations. SEMBEQ wishes to equip local churches in their training of the ambassadors of Christ that God sends into the harvest. Thus, everyone can contribute to the renewal of the community in which God has placed
them. When I became the pastor of a church in Granby, I willingly kept a secular job at the beginning in order to stay close to people and to remain sensitive to their needs. My colleagues knew I was a pastor and they would confide in me. I prayed for them and I saw God answer. I also led several of them to the Lord. I met a brother in Christ who loves to give to the Lord’s work. The Lord blessed the work of his hands in allowing his business to reach the international level. During his studies, he committed his life and career to the Lord, asking God to allow him to contribute to the advancement of the Gospel by his work. Similarly, another brother shared with me how God changed his heart so that his work would become a source of revenue for the ministry. Work should not be our life’s objective. Rather, our ultimate goal is to live the Gospel and to make our Lord known. May our work and our whole life serve to our God’s glory. May we, as good stewards, invest the talents and capabilities that he gave us, for his glory. One day we will hear his voice tell us: “good and faithful servant… enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25.21).
François Picard SEMBEQ’s President
SEMBEQ MAGAZINE - SPRING 2016, n° 4
NEWS A OUR EVEBOUT NTS CONFERENCE FOR YOUNG ADULTS SECTION HEADER TITLE IF NEEDED
On November 14th 2014, SEMBEQ and its partners organized a conference together for the first time. The conference was called Paradigme and sought to bring together a variety of plenary talks and workshops that would stimulate the worldview of a couple hundred young Quebecois. SEMBEQ will be repeating the experience this year with another Paradigme conference. The theme this year will be entitled, That your will be done, and will discuss subjects related to finding the will of God, including the question of: “What is the will of God for each believer?” These subjects are much easier to understand than we often present them. When theological misunderstanding holds us back, our ambition to find God’s is often diminished.
Other topics discussed will include: “The Ten misconceptions of the will of God,” “Sex, violence and cinema”, “Social action and our role in the will of SECTION HEADER TITLE IF NEEDED God”, and “Mobilizing against injustice”. These topics will be presented by several pastors and some other Christians who share their experiences as believers in the labor market.
P H I L O
SO C R ATI Q U E
On brasse des idées C
I T S P I R
In January, we began monthly meetings with the purpose of exchanging thoughts on philosophical, theological, sociological and spiritual issues. Our first guest was none other than Charles Taylor, a great thinker on issues of Quebec society and its secularization. The discussions were very interesting! In February, Benoit Côté spoke to us about the tension that exists between compatible and incompatible ideas of God and religion, as well as the ways we can interact with these concepts. In this month of March, David Haines will lead us to think about logic. Our critical thinking is sometimes tinted with illogical reasoning, which is important to discern if we want to benefit from well-founded exchanges.
SECTION HEADER TITLE IF NEEDED
VARIETIES OF SCONES
OUR WORK CULTURE RENEWED
32x AVERAGE GROWTH
47% CATS USING BIG DATA
RK O W R U O T U O B A S S E H W C NE R U H WITH C ANTIOCH CHURCH LEADERS We had our fourth meeting with the pastors of the Antioch churches* of our Association. These meetings are so encouraging since they allow the sharing of different experiences among these churches and to better understand how SEMBEQ, as a means to equip, can better adapt itself to the realities that different churches live in. Thus, by putting into action the reflections that would support churches that are growing and are in mission in Quebec, it is an opportunity for these leaders to share with others what experiences God has given them.
THE CHURCH AT SOREL Gilles Lapierre, President of the Association, and François Turcotte, executive director of SEMBEQ, met with the leadership of the church at Sorel to help them build a turnkey training plan for the progression of one of their leaders. These meetings are encouraging, for it just so happens that it is one of the ways to help churches multiply their laborer training amidst their community.
CANDIDATES FOR IMMERSION What a joy it is to have met with the council of Oasis church and the Saint-Jérôme church to explain to them the procedures and thought process necessary to train candidates in the Immersion program within their church. These two communities have great quality candidates and we want to offer them the opportunity to participate in this intensive training option. Pray for these two churches that must put into place the necessary structure, and pray that God would provide financially, so that SEMBEQ could offer bursaries to theses students who will become our future laborers. Would you accept the challenge to participate in the support of one of them for the next four years?
* Churches that are healthy, on mission, and are playing a key role in training, fully partnering with our church association and its seminary.
SEMBEQ MAGAZINE - SPRING 2016, n° 4
Work and identity crisis
hese days, the professional world has become for many people a real arena in which we will be required to fight in order to survive. But we would be naïve to think that the battle being fought is simply the way we express our search for professional and financial stability. In fact, the most aggressive and dangerous battle that defines today’s professional world is the one that takes place in everyone’s heart. It is a desperate quest to find the justification and the value of our life in the identity we can acquire through our job and our possessions. For many people, the professional world has become the perfect place where they can find their identity, defend it, and claim it. When that does not work, a person is then dragged into the dark whirlwinds of identity crisis. This crisis can be expressed through different means, ranging from a fighting spirit in which salvation is achieved by the process of self-improvement, to a tragic downfall into the painful depths of depression. Either way, it is always a desperate reaction based on the illusion
OUR WORK CULTURE RENEWED
of human autonomy. We often react to the clawing hands of the despotic potter of performance to whom we have offered our life, hoping that he will offer us back an identity that will justify the value of our human life. Christians are not kept from this tension. It is like the air they breathe. For the Christian, however, a second tension related to identity is added that makes our problem even more complicated. Indeed, we know that our Lord Jesus Christ has given us the mandate to make disciples of all nations, therefore demonstrating the reality of his reign which he has inaugurated through his death and resurrection. For that reason, it has often been hastily deducted that our professional involvement in this world, as Christians, should find its meaning only in its evangelistic sense (bringing about conversions in the workplace) or in its conquering sense (bringing about the advancement of God’s Kingdom on earth by occupying the most strategic positions amidst our society). Yet such approaches, even though they portray certain values, may in fact be a christianised version of a disastrous quest for identity, mediated by our performances.
We therefore need to stop and think about the relationship we hold between our identity and our professional involvement. Indeed, it is often the case that things do not turn out for us as we wish they would in our work. It is often the case that we do not see the great number of conversions we were hoping for. It is often the case that we find ourselves doing a job that we consider to be the smallest cog of our society’s great machinery. When we are faced with this reality (even if we try to avoid the trap of confusion between our identity and our performance), then we must ask ourselves: “How (and why) should I persevere?” We can easily become discouraged by daily going to work with a fatalist attitude.
The Reform’s contribution During the reform of the 16th century, Martin Luther was one of the reformers who warned about such a danger. He did this in a different context, though. Indeed, he refused to restrict the
Daniel Saglietto works through which God is honored and served to ecclesiastical works. According to him, work should be seen as a vocation in which we are called to glorify and worship our Creator. Furthermore, as he aptly underlines in his commentary of Psalm 147, Luther defines work as a means by which God demonstrates his providential kindness to the whole of humanity. For example, the baker is an instrument (in the Lord’s hands and in His providence) to produce bread for all His creatures. In this way, Luther rightly emphasizes that work, while being an echo of our creational mandate, is a providential tool by which God’s goodness can be appreciated and glorified. Thus, in order to gain a biblical view of work as it interacts with the fundamental issue of our identity, it will be important to first understand how our identity in Christ models and transforms the suicidal anthropocentric vision that our society enforces on us.
The threefold office of the second Adam To address this issue, I suggest we consider the threefold office that Jesus Christ has perfectly fulfilled and that also is the expression of his humanity as the second and last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45). Jesus Christ is the one who has perfectly fulfilled the mandate that Adam failed during his trial period in the Garden of Eden. Indeed, work was an essential part of the mandate which was given to him before he disobeyed (Genesis 2:15). Work is not a result of the Fall, since work preceded the Fall. Rather, the consequence of the Fall is the harshness of work in the world - a world now broken by sin (Genesis 3:17-24) and subject to vanity as the consequence of God’s just judgment on Adam’s disobedience (Romans 8:19-28). This disobedience is also our disobedience, for when Adam sinned, we all sinned in him (Romans 5:12-21). But God’s mandate amongst creation is not restricted to the commandments to cultivate the garden and have children. These two aspects were indeed part of his mandate, but Adam also had a specific role in Eden, and his role was threefold:
– Prophet (related to communication): Adam received a command from God (the Creational mandate and the restriction against eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) in the context of the alliance that united him to his Creator. Adam’s responsibility was to transmit that command to his wife and descendents. – Priest (related to culture): Adam was the one who was assigned to guard the primitive temple, which was Eden, and to be a true worshipper. – King (related to authority): Adam was assigned to be the vice-regent of Creation. God had given him authority over Creation and he had the responsibility to be, as a man created in his Creator’s image, the vice-regent who accomplishes his mandate with an attitude of complete submission to his Creator. Adam could have thus spread his Creator’s glory over future generations to the ends of the earth. But Adam and Eve disobeyed. Jesus Christ is the one who has won where Adam has failed, and where we have failed. He is the perfect prophet, for it is he, the incarnate logos, who has allowed us to
SEMBEQ MAGAZINE - SPRING 2016, n° 4
know the Father. It is he himself who is the completion and fulfilment of the words God gave to his people (Hebrews 1:2). He is the perfect priest after the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 7), for it is he who offered his blood and his life, and presented it to God the Father by entering a greater and more perfect temple that does not belong to this creation (Hebrews 9:11). He is the perfect king who began his reign when the Father raised him from the dead (Romans 1:4). At this moment, Jesus sits and reigns at God’s right hand (Ephesians 1:20–23). This is the messianic identity of his incarnation (demonstrated in this threefold office), a full-fledged expression of redemption’s plan - planned from all eternity by the Trinity, which is the essence of each of the works he accomplished during his ministry.
Working in Christ How is such a reality important in our understanding of our daily work? To answer this, we must ask ourselves another good question. I suggest that this fundamental question should not first be: “Am I doing it for Christ?” Even though there is some legitimacy in such a question, the priority should rather be given to this question: “Am I doing it in Christ?” The salvation we have received in Christ should not be seen as simply receiving a badge on which it is written “saved”. The salvation lived by faith through Christ is a grace we have received when the HolySpirit has bound us to the Lord Jesus Christ. This is how the Holy Spirit has given us all the benefits of the redemption that Jesus Christ accomplished through his death and resurrection (Romans 6). In this divine work of uniting us with Christ, God has clothed us with this threefold office which defined the messianic work of Christ. It stands to reason that the work accomplished by Christ is unique and not reproducible. But it is in him that 8
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we have become a kingdom of priests for God (Revelation 1:6, 1 Peter 2:9). The repercussions that such a transformation have on identity are therefore important to our understanding of the work that we practice in this world all while not being of this world: – As prophets, we are communication tools for the common and special grace of God. Indeed, God has called us to play an important role in the dynamics of what we communicate. It is indeed the word of the Gospel that has transformed us, and it is this same word that shapes our words, our actions, and our emotions. Our attitudes are therefore a tool through which the Gospel (the special revelation) will be reflected or not. Because we have found our identity in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we therefore have professional attitudes that are tinted by the Gospel’s grace, goodness and joy. This should not be seen as an attempt to adapt, but first and foremost as the demonstration of our identity through the work for which God has equipped us. God equips us in
order to also be a demonstration of his kindness and common grace (by means of a work done well with a good attitude) in a rebellious world. The nonbelievers should also see our attitudes not simply as a demonstration of the Gospel*, but also as a means by which they could glorify God’s providence (1 Peter 2:12). – As priests, we also have a mandate to be worshippers who present our bodies and our spirits as a sacrifice with a pleasing aroma to our God (Romans 12:1). We do not need new mediators in order to be reconciled with God our Father; through Christ we can draw near to his throne without fear (Hebrews 4:16) and bring the offering of our life. Therefore, our work is also the place where God sends us and calls us to demonstrate this truth. We will act this way so as to show a detachment towards the glory of men… for it is the glory of God that captivates us. Furthermore, this detachment towards the glory of men (which does not prohibit the desire for excellence) is also a testimony to the fact that we do not seek any kind of human mediation in the construction
* This nonverbal demonstration of the Gospel is obviously not enough to communicate the Gospel. If we want to see our coworkers’ lives be transformed by the Gospel, we will need to clearly proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:22-25).
AS PROPHETS we are communication tools for the common and special grace of God
of our identity… Jesus Christ, in whose face shines the glory of the Father, is the one who is our mediator, the foundation of our new identity. – As kings, we are indeed heirs of a kingdom and we are already seated with him in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6). It is a kingdom that is not of this world. It is a kingdom in which Jesus Christ is both the king and the inauguration (as the first fruits of the resurrection). We are simply vice-regents here on Earth, and our loyalty is first and foremost unto our King Jesus. Thus, there exists a way to express this loyalty by the way we work. Indeed, our ethic and our respect for authority are means by which we demonstrate above all our submission to our King. They are clear statements of our rejection of any form of relativism and anthropocentrism. They are also the demonstration of our recognition that Jesus Christ is King at the present time. Of course, I have not mentioned all the implications of the importance and legitimacy of a vocational vision of secular work. These implications consist
of various characteristics depending on the type of work and the degree of its responsibilities, but it is important to never forget that our “secular” work must not be seen as having less value or less importance than a job in the local church. Both are a demonstration of a vocation in which God calls us to express our identity found in our union to Christ in a way that the excellence that we demonstrate will not be our identity but, in addition to being a blessing to the world that surrounds us (common grace), will be the testimony of what man is as a creature in the midst of Creation. Furthermore, excellence is not simply defined by our productivity, but excellence is the harmonious combination between what the body produces and what the heart expresses in an exclusively doxological purpose (a purpose where God alone is glorified).
and women, who have this same identity centered on Christ, can connect especially when they have the same job. It is the perfect place to think - in light of the Scriptures - about ways to demonstrate this christocentric identity within our different professional classes. The local church will thus also develop a real downto-earth theology of work and will transmit to future generations a practical and articulated zeal for the Gospel in various socio-professional classes in which God places us.
To conclude, we can ask ourselves the following question: “How can I learn to do this and express it in my profession?” One of the answers that seem to be the most effectual is found of course in the dynamics of community. The local church is the perfect place where men
Emmanuel Church in Montreal’s
We rejoice that Daniel Saglietto’s is starting as a new worker in training in Quebec. Through his rich teaching experience in a theology faculty in Europe, West Island will collaborate with SEMBEQ and Daniel to integrate him as a future teacher of the course Foundation of Interpretation.
we also have a mandate to be worshippers who present our bodies and our spirits as a sacrifice with a pleasing aroma to our God
we are indeed heirs of a kingdom and we are already seated with him in the heavenly places
SEMBEQ MAGAZINE - SPRING 2016, n° 4
SECTION HEADER TITLE IF NEEDED
NEWS ABOU TEACHERS, AT OUR COURSES, ND STUDENT S DOCTRINAL COURSE
We had a record number of registrations for a course Essential Doctrines III. At the Evangelical Baptist Church in Rosemont, 25 students participated in this course to deepen their knowledge of the central teachings of our faith.
TEACHER TRAINING At our annual meeting of SEMBEQ teachers, we recently had the privilege of hearing Mr. Tim Bahula, who works for Horizon International Schools in curriculum development. During the day, seminars and workshops have encouraged our teachers to reflect on their teaching approach regarding the way they share their content and the vision they adopt for their students’ learning. We believe that education is more than transmitting information to students. Rather, it is to teach so that students acquire the skills necessary for the practice of knowledge in their life’s context. That is why we equip our professors to become better teachers.
REVISED OVERVIEW OF COURSES In order to keep our courses relevant and accessible, we want to carefully revise their content and format. SEMBEQ is currently reviewing its series, “Overview of the Old Testament.” These courses will be presented in the form of directed readings with emphasis on biblical theology. The revised course on the Pentateuch should be available in Autumn 2016!
INTERVIEWS FOR STUDENT BURSARIES In order to help students accelerate their training, SEMBEQ raises support from planned giving to award bursaries to students who show exemplary academic performance, a strong desire to serve the church, and a sacrificial commitment to serve. On December 11, we had the privilege to meet with seven students looking to receive support. Each student shared their testimony and their ministry along with their coach. Francois Picard shared that he would “like to be able to award a bursary to each of them, but we have limited funds. This is is why we need more people to consider including the SEMBEQ foundation in their end of life planning.”
OUR WORK CULTURE RENEWED
THE GOSPEL IN OUR WORKPLACE Testimonies
EMBEQ’s mission is to equip local churches as they train their members and leaders. These people are mainly found in the workplace and are ambassadors for the Kingdom.
We have collected a few brief testimonies that share how the Gospel can influence the approach we take towards work. Even though everyone’s personal progress is different and variable, it is encouraging to be inspired by one another’s experiences in order to strengthen ourselves in our walk of obedience.
How has your understanding of the Gospel that Jesus had taken care of the person as touches them. Then, sometimes, after had an influence on the approach you take a whole rather than as a particular problem. having taken the time to listen to a patient, I may say something like “Sometimes I pray with your patients? A few years ago, I was struck by Jesus’ attitude and his approach with the paralytic man, who had come for his “walk-in” medical consultation with Jesus in a very particular way. Jesus did not immediately proceed to physically heal the poor unfortunate man. He was first of all concerned with his spiritual need, not seeing him as a sick person, but a precious person who needed his love and his grace. He proceeded to forgive his sins before healing him physically. The result was that people left the place glorifying God and saying, “... we have seen extraordinary things today!” (Luke 5:26). I am convinced that one of these “extraordinary things” was the way
The Gospel teaches me that every person is precious enough in God’s eyes for him to give his own Son. It teaches me to see people as a whole, to want to take care of them, to act towards them the way Jesus acts towards me, as J.D. Greear says.
How has this understanding impacted the approach you take at work and contributed to the renewal of the culture and environment in which you live?
for people like you who are going through difficult times. If you want, I would like to pray for you right now. But I do not want to force anything on you. If it would make you feel uncomfortable, that is fine. Is it something you would like?” Over all the years I have been doing that, I have received only two or three refusals. Sometimes, I just listen to them. It is important to allow the Holy Spirit to guide in each situation. Jesus did not have a “one size fits all” approach either!
In practice, I try to receive people who come to my office as Jesus would, by not only showing interest in their current problem. The simple fact that I listen to them really
I have to admit that I do not always remain in this mindset when my workload is really heavy and I fall in a “survival and self-protection” mode. Several weeks may
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sometimes pass by this way before I will notice it. That is when I have to remind myself of the self-sacrifice that Jesus demonstrated and the power that his Spirit can give me. I can then confess, “Lord, I am sorry. It has been a long time since I have taken the time to really listen to someone or pray for him.” Very often, that very day I will find myself listening to a person who is suffering and pray for him! The Gospel and the understanding of what Jesus has accomplished has an impact on my work in so many ways! I could also talk about integrity, of devoted service that goes beyond usual expectations, of excellence, of efficiency and of teamwork, because the Gospel changes EVERYTHING!
Brian Mathieu, ophtalmologist
He has followed SEMBEQ’s church-based training in his local church of St-Félicien and pastors there as well.
How has the the Gospel Gospel had had an an influence influence on on your yourwork workas an How has as an Event Coordinator? Event Coordinator? Christ is the perfect example of a servant! It is this way that my work as a coordinator began. I could see my friends trying to plan their dream wedding, caught in the whirlwinds of things to think about, to do, and to organize. That gave me the idea to offer my help to these couples who are committed to representing the relationship that Christ has with the Church through their wedding. This is how the notion of servanthood in the Gospel translates into my work.
Anne-Marie De Leeuw, event coordinator She studies at the Master’s level with SEMBEQ and works as an event coordinator while teaching her kids at home.
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At first, I offered my services as a gift to those close to me. Then God sent me more requests and it became a small income. In the process I often had to ask myself the question, “How does God want me to use this opportunity for his glory?” I first needed to take care of my family and thus charge an amount that would help us in our budget. Then, wishing to offer a service to young Christians and their parents, we decided to not charge the amount of a wedding planner. Jesus’ example of giving himself fully, of leaving all his glory and denying himself so that we may know perfect joy, that is an inspiration that leads me to also offer myself for others - for my family as well as for those I can serve. This decision is often questioned by my peers who see how I invest myself and who know the results. Jesus also was sometimes misunderstood by those around him, but he knew that he was doing his Father’s will. What was important to him was to have His approval, and to follow the Spirit’s voice, and this is how we want to live our lives. Since it is not the main income of our household, I have the opportunity to serve in this matter. Each time, I pray that I may be a light where God sends me. Understanding and acquiring more and more concepts from the Gospel helps me to apply them in my work and with the people I interact with.
The Gospel and the understanding of what Jesus has accomplished has an impact on my work in so many ways!
How has the Gospel, through your faith and your beliefs, had an influence on the way you manage your business? My understanding of the Gospel, my faith, and my beliefs have greatly influenced the way the firm has been managed over the years. The Gospel gives purpose to my work, whether in the principles I have attempted to put into practice in our organization or in the Gospel’s values that are the foundation to these principles:
What God has provided for us, in all things, is sufficient for our needs. Therefore, he does not want us to spend more than what he gives us. It is important to avoid debts in order to continue to be free to serve him. Each person in the organization is important. God has so loved us that he gave his Son. He takes care of us and looks after each one of us and of all of our needs. This is why, in the organization, we strive to always grant more importance to people and their well-being than to money and the growth of the business. The Gospel is the ultimate demonstration of the spirit of service. It teaches us to help people in their circumstances and difficulties, to be a blessing to them, and to contribute to the improvement of their condition (beginning with their lost condition apart from salvation in Jesus Christ). Our firm also wants to serve the clients and the organizations they represent by enabling them to better succeed in all levels. We want to acknowledge that everything we have (money, possessions, etc.) - all good things - come from the Lord. Furthermore, the eternal life he has granted us is the greatest demonstration of self-sacrifice. This generosity that God has shown for us encourages us to invest a significant amount of our profits and available assets to the work of God.
How has your faith and your management principles had an influence on the people around you? I am very encouraged to see how putting into practice these Gospel principles can have an influence on people’s values. In the business world, an unhealthy culture can easily develop. An overemphasis on profits and success often leads to a dishonest management of the things and people we should instead be taking care of. I’m grateful to God that operating the business according to biblical principles, with an integrated understanding of the Gospel, has led to the well-being and success of the organization - for both our personnel and our partners. We pray that God would continue to use this business to have a positive impact wherever he will lead us and allow us to work.
Jean-Marie Fahmy, entrepreneur
He teaches SEMBEQ’s Teamwork course, is member of SEMBEQ’s Governing Board and is Director of personnel at SEMBEQ. SEMBEQ MAGAZINE - SPRING 2016, n° 4
How has working for McDonald’s allowed you to impact or be a presence within your community?
As you know, there are often young people (around 15 to 17 years old) who are employed at McDonald’s restaurants. For most of them, this is their first job. Therefore, I think it is a privilege to teach them teamwork and respect among colleagues. Jesus took time to train his disciples, and it takes time to train each of us in his image. His patience and compassion inspire me to do the same to employees who are experiencing stressful situations, which can sometimes prompt them to become undisciplined or unreliable. In regards to customer service, I try to approach clients with a smile, showing attention and respect. The Gospel made a difference in my life, especially in my attitude and in the way I intervene in difficult situations. When incidents occur (such as verbal aggression or hostility on the part of customers), I need to be reminded of the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22). People often have personal problems at work or at home, and sometimes I have the opportunity to share the influence of Christ in my life, or at least to show them by my actions. It all starts with my perception of them. Our vision of others comes from our understanding of how God sees us in Jesus. I have often had occasions to speak with a restaurant manager about the Gospel, theology courses I was taking, and the priority of my involvement with God and my church. On several occasions, he’s
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told me that my behavior, my conduct, my approach to customers and employees was certainly related to my relationship with God, which provided me with opportunities to discuss that with him. For my part, I have chosen to take churchbased courses & lectures at SEMBEQ, which allows me to progress at my own pace. The courses are taught in church by a skilled facilitator who uses different teaching approaches and different tools such as books and DVDs. This allows me to go about my secular job, to serve in the local church, to take time with my family, and to take care of home maintenance. The lectures are given at SEMBEQ. These are intensive courses of one week or less that can be followed via webcast in some churches. In recent years, I’ve taken two weeks vacation per year for courses at SEMBEQ. This has allowed me to learn about our great God, to encourage me, and to equip me to serve the Lord in my local church.
Denis, shift manager at McDonald’s
He takes theology courses at SEMBEQ and in his church.
The Gospel made a difference in my life, especially in my attitude and in the way I intervene.
TEAMWORK TRAINING “Work is an integral part of the human existence.” 1 Indeed, since his creation in the Garden of Eden and up to this day, man is at work. Whether it is for a paid employment, volunteer work, in the local Church or in his home, man is constantly working. Even if he enjoys long periods of rest, most of his time is given to some kind of work. Furthermore, “work is a very particular thing because it binds us to others: we are dependent on other people’s work and the main part of what we produce in our work is used by people other than us”. 2 We are not workers isolated from one another. We are regularly called to work for others and with others. We constantly work as a team. Whether in our family, profession, or church, our work regularly prompts us to interact with others. SEMBEQ is sensitive to this reality and understands the importance of developing a biblical and effective approach to teamwork for every area of our lives. We have thus included a training on teamwork in the available courses that focus on leadership development. Team-building requires strategic oversight in order for everyone to use their strengths to serve the team. Those who attend this course learn to express their team’s goals and to provide structure to the team and to themselves. They also develop relational and decision-making skills. God often fulfills his work through teams today, which is why it is important to learn to work together by using simple biblical principles.
COURSE OBJECTIVES ·
To help the student to discern and understand well the biblical principles of teamwork.
· To teach the student to develop a plan so that a team would work well by outlining its goals, roles, and decision-making process.
· To acquire the foundations of knowing how to make team decisions, introduce a change, manage conflicts, communicate (with those inside the team and outside the team) , and mobilize the team members.
1 Dictionnaire de théologie biblique, p. 867 2
La foi chrétienne et le défis du monde contemporain, p. 311
SEMBEQ MAGAZINE - SPRING 2016, n° 4
OUR COHORTS FLEXIBLE TRAINING FORMATS The cohort is a group of students that, together, follow a four-year series of courses. One of the objectives is to encourage a group dynamic that develops along the whole process. It has now been 12 years that SEMBEQ has launched its first cohort. We have witnessed Godâ€™s work in the life of many ministry workers who have been trained through this format. The cohorts have played a key role in our churches, and a twelfth one has now been launched in February, which is very exciting. We are glad to see that the Lord keeps blessing and sending workers into his harvest. Time passes by and He keeps working amongst us, while we have the joy of seeing workers built up to serve His Church.
How has your theological training with SEMBEQ had an influence on the way you live the Gospel in your workplace on a daily basis?
Three aspects of my training with SEMBEQ have helped me embody the Gospel in a more practical way in my workplace. First of all, the character-building workplans as well as discussions with my coach, my teachers and the cohort students - have had a great impact in the molding of my character. Spending time with these people has greatly enriched my life. The advice they give and the life experiences they share have helped me go through day-to-day challenges and many tricky situations. Without their help, many of the choices I would have made and their outcomes would have been different. Different character-building plans have led me to resolve certain weaknesses that were hindering my personal and professional life every now and then. Secondly, the training with my coach has allowed me to learn to understand and interact with others on a deeper level. Since I am naturally an introvert, human relationships can sometimes appear nebulous to me. Over time, I have learned to listen to my coworkers (which is a real challenge!), to love them and to take care of them (to the greatest possible extent between men on a construction site!). Thirdly, certain SEMBEQ classes have led me to express my thoughts more clearly and with greater precision. I have been equipped to dialog and argue in a more intelligible and coherent manner. I can more easily present the Gospel as well as the reasons that motivate my faith in an interesting and relevant way to my coworkers.
OUR WORK CULTURE RENEWED
Matthieu Gauthier, Carpenter and construction worker Pastor-in-training with the Church of BĂŠcancour
A NEW COHORT FORMAT NOW AVAILABLE One of the objectives of SEMBEQ is to offer training adapted to the needs of local churches. We have noticed that many students, because of their different contexts, had a hard time keeping up with the cohort rhythm. We have therefore decided to offer a new format for this type of training program. While keeping the traditional track open, we are adding a lighter form of cohort for those who are less available to study, but that want to learn and progress nonetheless. We have chosen to incorporate more flexibility in the way this plays out. Also, four courses from the cohort program have been combined to create the Leadership Microprogram, as seen in the table below.
SEMBEQ works in partnership with the local Church for the training of their leaders. If one of these training formats is of interest to someone, they are invited to discuss with their church leaders so that together they may decide of the best path to take. May God make His Church grow!
L1* : THE CHURCH AND ITS MISSION
LIFE MANAGEMENT AND COACHING
L2 : THE LEADER AND HIS INFLUENCE
L3 : THE LEADER AND HIS TEAM
PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETATION
L4 : PASTORAL THEOLOGY
FOUNDATIONS OF INTERPRETATION DOCTRINES 2
BIBLICAL PREACHING DOCTRINES 4
* L : Leadership Course
x SEMBEQ MAGAZINE - SPRING 2016, n째 4
HOLDING THE ROPES Daniel Henderson
he advancement of the Church’s mission throughout the world is the work of God which he has entrusted to men and women who are obedient to the Great Commision. We all know stories of men and women who are involved in “Great Commission work” in different places throughout the world. But, we often forget, or do not talk much of those obedient saints who send rather than go.
stories of godly men and women who have held the ropes and sent others to advance the work of the Church.
In the history of the Christian Church there are hundreds of thousands of stories that have not been told -
The first French translation of the Bible is an example this type of support. The Waldensians had been declared heretics
OUR WORK CULTURE RENEWED
These are men and women who excel in creating businesses that honor God, and who use the profits to send out workers, families who sacrificially set aside money each month to support a missionary, or churches who send out people from within their congregation who called to do work in other places.
by the Catholic Church because of their rejection of key Catholic doctrines and practices. In 1532, they met with German and Swiss Protestants, notably, William Farel. Farel invited them to join the Reformation and to emerge from their lives’ secrecy. A Confession of Faith, with Reformed doctrines, was formulated and the Waldensians decided to worship openly in French. With their new-found faith also came a desire to see the Word of God translated into French so that their community and all of the compatriots could read the Word of God in their native language.
They were not rich as a people (the majority of them were farmers), yet together they raised 1500 gold crowns (which was a lot of money ;-) ) to cover the cost of the translation. They approached Pierre Olivétan to undertake the translation. With the help of John Calvin, he completed the work in 1535. It is difficult to imagine the impact that this work had throughout France and the rest of the French-speaking world. And it was made possible by a group of poor farmers who gave sacrificially. They understood the Gospel, and they were moved to action when they observed that there was no good French translation of the Bible. Believing in the importance of having the Bible available in the common language, they came together to make it happen. When we look at the Waldensians, we see men and women whose generosity is marked by focus. We see men and women who were gripped by the greatness of God. If we take them as our models, then all of our energy and work will go towards accomplishing the goal set before us.
They understood the Gospel, and they were moved to action.
There are only two groups of people when it comes to the Great Commision; there are obedient senders and go-ers, and then there are the disobedient. Earlier in the article I used the term rope-holder. William Carey first used the term in relation to support raising for his missionary voyage to India. He compared the work of missions to rescuing a man who has fallen into a deep pit. He has volunteered to go down and save him, but he needs someone to come alongside, to tie a rope around his waist, to lower him down into the pit, and to pull them up to safety. The one holding the ropes must do so faithfully and steadily to ensure the success of the rescue mission. This is our call as Christians. Obedience comes in either sending or going. Both are equal in their obedience. Is God calling you to go? Do you have people behind you holding the ropes through prayer and financial support? Is God calling and equipping you to send? Is your giving and prayer marked by focus? Are you developing a rope-holding friendship with those you support?
People who make a difference in the world are not people who have mastered a lot of things. They are people who have been mastered by a very few things that are very, very great. If you want your life to count, you don’t have to have high I.Q. and you don’t have to have a high E.Q.; you don’t have to be smart; you don’t have to have good looks; you don’t have to be from a good family or from a good school. You just have to know a few basic, simple, glorious, majestic, obvious, unchanging, eternal things and be gripped by them and be willing to lay down your life for them. Which is why anybody in this crowd can make a worldwide difference - because it isn’t you; it’s what you’re gripped with.” *
* John Piper, « Boasting Only in the Cross » (May 20th 2000), http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/conference-messages/boasting-only-in-the-cross
SEMBEQ MAGAZINE - SPRING 2016, n° 4
THE STORY ABOUT A FAMILY OF ROPEHOLDERS
few years ago, as Christmas was approaching, François Picard was reading through the Christmas cards which had been sent in by different ministry partners. Many of them contained year-end gifts. Filled with thankfulness towards God, he took time to pray for each person who had written and for each gift that was given. Then, a letter longer than the others caught his attention. The letter told the story of the cheque of which it contained. It told the story of a middle-class family living in the United States. They had heard about the great need for workers in Quebec, and of SEMBEQ’s ministry. Each member of this family was profoundly impacted, and moved to help in spite of the distance. During a family meeting, they decided to forego the exchanging and receiving of gifts that year and to send the amount they would have spent instead to train workers in Quebec. What an incredible act of generosity! As François finished reading the letter from the family, he found himself in tears and his heart filled with grace. Giving money towards a scholarship for a student is much more than a financial transaction between a donor, student, and SEMBEQ. Families give sacrificially to help workers-in-training and future ministry workers devote time to their theological studies and although it is possible that they may never meet the students they are helping, they will receive their reward in heaven. God makes available the means to everyone to contribute to the great commision, in leading souls to Christ and making disciples. What an encouragement to give sacrificially to God’s work!
OUR WORK CULTURE RENEWED
COLLABORATION OPPORTUNITIES GENERAL FUNDS &
SCHOLARSHIPS IMMERSION : We want to offer 1/3 of the support that allows a student to be active full-time, in his studies and working in his Church. COHORTS : We want to go from 10 to 15 scholarships for the students that study through the cohorts. This often contributes to engaging the local church in the process of support and training!
Please indicate any change of address! Address : City : State / Province : Zip / Postal Code :
__________________________________ __________________________________ __________________________________ __________________________________
SEMBEQ EXISTS TO EQUIP LOCAL CHURCHES FOR THE TRAINING OF THEIR LEADERS
SEMBEQ wishes to take part in the training of Christians who will become excellent & faithful workers in their own contexts, according to their calling. We know that God calls some people to send, and other people to be sent. In both cases, some of them will produce sixtyfold, others thirtyfold or a hundredfold what they have sown. SEMBEQ desires to see churches become fertile ground, fostering the growth of all these workers for the harvest. SEMBEQ MAGAZINE - SPRING 2016, n째 4
I support SEMBEQâ€™s leader training ministry. Single donation
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Please fill in and return this coupon with your donation in the enclosed envelope, and please indicate any change of address. Thank you. I may revoke my authorization at any time, subject to providing notice of 30 days. To obtain a sample cancellation form, or for more information on my right to cancel a PAD Agreement, I may contact my financial institution or visit www.cdnpay.ca. I have certain recourse rights if any debit does not comply with this agreement. For example, I have the right to receive reimbursement for any debit that is not authorized or is not consistent with this PAD Agreement. To obtain more information on my recourse rights, I may contact my financial institution or visit www.cdnpay.ca. Three times a year we will send you a tax receipt indicating the total amount of your donations, along with a thank you letter. As one of SEMBEQâ€™s partners, you will also receive our quarterly newsletter, to stay informed about new developments.
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THAT CHRISTIANS MAY BE EQUIPPED TO ACCOMPLISH THEIR WORK. NOT ONLY IN THE CHURCH, BUT OUTSIDE AS WELL.
OUR WORK CULTURE RENEWED
A PAGE FROM OUR HISTORY
he Lord used Jacques Alexanian to plant six churches in the province of Quebec and as one of the founding members of SEMBEQ. Before devoting himself to the development of SEMBEQ and thus moving to Montreal, Jacques wanted to see the family of churches in Outaouais firmly established. But, when the Alexanians moved to Montreal on June 28th, 1984: ... It was a turning point for Jacques’ personal ministry. Even though he had taken part in SEMBEQ’s founding, he would from then on devote himself entirely to preparing men for the ministry. (The Son of a Wandering Armenian Orphan, a biography of Jacques Alexanian by Douglas Porter, Editions SEMBEQ, Montreal, 2006) By 1982, Bill Phillips and Jacques had already revitalized and restructured the existing courses. Through these courses, SEMBEQ was used to unite our family of churches around the same vision and theological understanding, which allowed for different points of views on certain issues. Jacques encouraged those holding different eschatological views while keeping them focused on the Gospel. During this decade, Jacques completed the prototype for a mammoth 1000 page course on Eschatology. This course presented peacefully and respectfully different eschatological positions, and it would be put into use in 1998. We give God all the glory for the gift that Jacques Alexanian has been for SEMBEQ. God gave Jacques many gifts and talents so that His church in Quebec would grow into a greater unity of faith and a greater knowledge of His Son; that we would no longer be children but would grow to mature manhood, as Paul states in Ephesians 4:7-15:
But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift...And he gave gifts to men ...He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ. (ESV)
Quoted from the brochure celebrating SEMBEQ’s 40th anniversary.
SEMBEQ MAGAZINE - SPRING 2016, n° 4
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OUR WORK CULTURE RENEWED
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When we understand how the Gospel renews our culture, our relationship towards work is never the same.