How did church planting first get seeded in your heart?
I first started praying about a church plant when my lead pastor at the time asked me to join a small group he was starting. They asked the question: “What would a new church look like if church had never existed before?” The small group started meeting and God started birthing a vision in my heart for a new church.
What led you to pioneer a church in Bradford?
Bradford already has a great Pentecostal work in it, but Bradford is growing, and growing faster than the existing nine evangelical churches can keep up with. It is not just growth in numbers, but an entire demographic shift. In our launch team’s hearts and minds we see a need for a new type of church in Bradford. Bradford is the third fastest-growing town in all Ontario (2016 and 2017). Less than 1% of the population is in an evangelical church in Bradford on a Sunday morning.
What location have you secured for services? How did that process go?
Our location was always settled in our hearts, but it took God’s hand to make it happen. In our proposal, we chose a brand-new public school called Chris Hadfield Public School. The school is a new design, beautifully built, in the center of the new part of town, and accessible from major roads. We got rejected for our permit three times. Out of the blue, I got a phone call from the school – it was the head custodian, and he asked to speak to me. He said, “I’ve noticed you’ve been rejected numerous times for a permit at the school. Are you planting a church?” I told him we are planting a church and he told me that I needed to give him a day to figure out what to do. The next day he called back, gave me a contact person and told us our permit would be approved. God really intervened on our behalf.
What have been some blessings and/or complexities with the venue?
The venue is amazing; we have space to grow over 200 people, and our kids’ ministry space is spectacular. Everything is set for us to be able to thrive and grow well from a venue perspective. We could not be more blessed. Our church relies heavily on Wi-Fi to allow for the congregation to interact with the pastoral team on a Sunday with live polls, questions and comments. We still do not have that all sorted out, and because we are renting space, putting in our own Wi-Fi option is going to prove complex.
What most excites you about Promise Church’s launch season?
Engaging the community – we are not a social agency, but we invest in our community. We do this because we know that God has called the church to partner with Him in His mission. We know all our resources and all our efforts cannot fix the town of Bradford, but we know when we invest in our town we are showing the world the type of God that we serve. We serve a God who invests in us. We serve a God who will make everything better. Our core scripture verse is Revelation 21:3 “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people,and God Himself will be with them as their God.” The passage goes on to say how God will wipe every tear from our eyes. God’s vision for the redemption of humanity is powerful and full of hope. Therefore our message to the world is an invitation into this hope, a hope created through God’s good work.
Who are some of the partners you would like to thank for helping Promise Church get started?
I am so reliant on so much support.
The staff at Willowdale Pentecostal Church has been amazing! They are so supportive and helpful. The church has agreed to be our core sponsoring church and has provided covering for us while we get our ministry started. Without them we would be miles behind where we are today.
Brooklin Village Church with Pastor Dean Bursey has been a huge encouragement and financial partner with us. They have prayed with us and without the work of Dean, our proposal would have been far inferior and less effective. I really want to thank Dean for taking time to walk me through the proposal process and the questions that came up during that time.
Dave Slater has been a personal encouragement to me as well. His encouraging words and uplifting phone calls leave me with a real sense God is at work – it is very easy to get lost in the details and feel like God is just watching. Parkview Church has also agreed to financially partner with us.
Niagara Worship Centre and Pastor Tim Klassen have outdone themselves. They committed to partner with us, and then doubled their support on one Sunday through a special offering. More importantly, the whole congregation encouraged me when they asked me to share what God is doing at their church.
New Sudbury Pentecostal Church was our second partnering church. Jon Binder, our executive pastor, had been serving there for a time and felt God was calling him to join Promise Church, since he was in the small group that birthed the idea for the church. Pastor Bill Meade has been encouraging to us and prays for us that God will increase our effectiveness of evangelism, and the church made a financial contribution to our start-up costs.
We cannot plant a church alone, we require supports and God has provided. The support I have felt throughout the PAOC is wonderful. There are so many others who have taken time to talk to me, and even financially support us as a new church, that I cannot list all of them. As people support new churches in Canada, our witness strengthens. We truly are in a mission field. Every aspect of this work is missionary work, here at home.