VMC Stories

From Aleppo to Calgary: Part 4

By Elizabeth Millar, July 25, 2022

Lovingly Planted in a Church Family Meanwhile, in Calgary, Alberta, alongside his church family, an 11 year old boy was praying about the war in Syria. He asked his father if there was anything they could do to help. Amazingly, the boy’s father met a Syrian pastor who was looking for someone to sponsor a couple from Aleppo. Walid and…

From Aleppo to Calgary: Part 3

By Elizabeth Millar, July 23, 2022

Searching and Found In Aleppo, Syria, this Communist-raised, non-church going man who had lost his job and livelihood due to the war wanted a miracle. Walid wanted to believe but needed some assurance that all this talk about God was real. One day, while he was sitting at home, he heard a voice, saying “What miracle do you need to…

From Aleppo to Calgary: Part 2

By Elizabeth Millar, July 22, 2022

Intrigued But Not Convinced Then, Walid started reading the Bible. He didn’t think this was the life for him – after all, he had grown up in the Communist Party and didn’t believe in any religion. But when he read the Bible, something happened to him. He said it was hard to explain (and not because his English is poor!)…

From Aleppo to Calgary: Part 1

By Elizabeth Millar, July 21, 2022

Reluctant But Bored Walid was an auto mechanic in Aleppo, Syria. When the fighting started in 2012, he lost everything. His job, mechanic shop, tools, everything. A friend said, “You have to go to church.” Up til now, he only went to church for weddings and funerals! But there was no work and it was something to do, so he…

Contemplation – Hollydene Church

By Elizabeth Millar, July 18, 2022

As someone trained in spiritual direction, James Prette has helped Hollydene Church in Victoria, BC to corporately engage more in contemplative life. Some of the practices that are part of spiritual direction, like regular reflection on the Psalms, silence, and a broader experience of prayer, has shaped James’ approach to faith in a personally helpful way. So to transfer some…

Missional Families – Citizens Church

By Elizabeth Millar, July 14, 2022

Listen to one woman’s church experience during the pandemic …  “Our church [Citizens Church] launched in April 2020. We launched this church plant at the beginning of the pandemic and despite the difficulties of meeting online and various changes in regulations, we still have never felt more connected to a body of believers as we did our missional family. They…

Pastoral Care – Hollydene Church

By Elizabeth Millar, June 30, 2022

Almost every pastor will tell you that it’s been a little tricky trying to get an accurate read of congregational life in the past couple of years. It’s hard to know who’s still here, who’s moved on, and who is just waiting at home a bit longer before venturing out. Hollydene Church in Victoria, BC sent out a one-answer survey…

Refugee Sponsorship – Varsity Bible Church

By Elizabeth Millar, June 28, 2022

Want to know God better? Read your Bible – yes. Pray – yes. Go to church – yes. Sponsor a refugee – oh! Varsity Bible Church in Calgary would say that sponsoring a couple of Syrian refugee families over the years has enlarged their view of God. Getting to know Walid & Kafaya and Abdul & Laila has made their…

The Week That Was – Hollydene Church

By Elizabeth Millar, June 23, 2022

Every Sunday morning, as part of their call to worship, Hollydene Church in Victoria kicks off their service with “The Week That Was.” It’s a bit like a family catchup. They take a few minutes to talk about what’s happened that week – the school shooting in Texas, Bob’s retirement, an update of Sue’s chemo treatments, the recent house fire…

Escaped – Indy

By Elizabeth Millar, June 13, 2022

A miracle and answer to many prayers! For two years, our dear friend Indy has been unable to escape Myanmar/Burma, but just this past week saw his safe arrival to India. Although plans had been made in great detail, the days of travel and the anxiety of crossing the border were no small thing. Indy said he trembled like a…

Getting Ready! – Don Valley Bible Chapel

By Elizabeth Millar, June 9, 2022

A church in Toronto plans to take some of their church volunteers through some training aimed at helping them be more intentional in connecting with new people, cultivating redemptive relationships, and – as the Spirit opens up doors – being prepared to tell their own faith stories and point people to the hope we have in Jesus. Let’s pray alongside…

Baptisms – Woodside Bible Fellowship

By Elizabeth Millar, June 6, 2022

Woodside Bible Fellowship planned for a baptism service on Easter Sunday. They also planned for spontaneous baptisms!   At the beginning of the Easter service, they announced if anyone was interested in being baptized that morning to go to the back of the church and meet with someone. For many older teens, this was the chance they needed. Many of…

Food Security – Don Valley Bible Chapel

By Elizabeth Millar, June 2, 2022

In Toronto neighbourhood of Don Valley, food security is a big issue. Lots of immigrant families and high rent means a lot of working poor families and international students. Sue Craig from Don Valley Bible Chapel heads up the food program in partnership with some city organizations. They ran out of funding this spring. A bit of a big deal.…

Unexpected Connection – Curve Lake Christian Assembly

By Elizabeth Millar, May 30, 2022

When the war in Ukraine started to hit the headlines, the First Nation people at Curve Lake Christian Assembly took notice. Pastor Ben Peltz noticed that his congregation was carefully paying attention to the events in eastern Europe and were noticeably empathetic. The First Nation congregation seemed to be a special affection for the Ukrainians. Then Shoshanna, Ben’s wife, noticed…

Lots of ways to learn – Varsity Bible Church

By Elizabeth Millar, May 26, 2022

As a way to encourage further study and foster spiritual conversation, Varsity Bible Church in Calgary, Alberta provides additional resources to accompany their Sunday morning teaching. It’s called “Sermons +” on their website. For instance, they are currently doing a series called “Resurrection Stories.” To accompany the sermons, there were suggestions for movies to watch – The Chosen, Romero, Bible…

#1 most dangerous country to follow Jesus

By Elizabeth Millar, May 19, 2022

Obed Rod, pastor of the Afghan Church in Toronto, is one of our VMC partners. He was recently interviewed by 100 Huntley Street, a Canadian Christian daily television talk show and the flagship program of Crossroads Christian Communications. Take a few minutes to get to know Obed and learn more about Afghanistan. And like he says, remember to pray for…

eagles

By Elizabeth Millar, May 16, 2022

Knowing that the weeks ahead were going to be challenging, Bertus rode his bike and prayed. Moving to a new country, finding work, getting established again was alot. He prayed specifically that God would give him strength. Isaiah 40:31 became his heart’s cry: But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like…

By Elizabeth Millar, May 9, 2022

The opioid crisis in Canada continues to rage on. Almost 25,000 people have died from opioid poisoning in the last 5 years. However, a church in Barrie is responding to this crisis with the love and truth of Jesus.   Kevin Mast is the pastor at Hope City Church Barrie who operates Hope House. He believes that the opposite of…

more than a show

By Elizabeth Millar, May 5, 2022

Use whatever we have available!   That was the guiding principle for Steve and Charlotte Weenink at Elmvale Community Church during the pandemic. They used all sorts of technology and social media to connect with their church community – for teaching, for fellowship, for mission. Elmvale’s Sunday morning services were multi faceted – with a focus on connection and participation,…

God’s ways are not our ways

By Elizabeth Millar, May 2, 2022

During the pandemic, Wallenstein Bible Chapel in Ontario wanted to remember the mission that God had called them to. So they contacted Lifeline Ministries to set up a meal packing event at their church. Because they had missionary contacts in Ecuador, they wanted to send their meals there. However, that wasn’t going to work so Lifeline suggested Haiti instead. They…

20 years of waiting

By Elizabeth Millar, April 28, 2022

To go from meeting in various houses to purchasing your own building is exciting for a church. For Chin Baptist Church in Ottawa, owning their own building seemed like pie in the sky. Especially in the current housing market.   However, after 20 years of waiting and saving and looking, they found an abandoned church for sale. They opened the…

not a solo trip

By Elizabeth Millar, April 25, 2022

Like many of you can attest to, pastoring has been difficult these past couple of years. So many unprecedented issues, along with the old regular ones, to deal with and to navigate wisely and pastorally. Online church, outdoor church, new restrictions, limited capacity – and who knows what next Sunday might be. It’s been a challenge to say the least.…

love, grow, serve

By Elizabeth Millar, April 21, 2022

A couple from the Port Kells Church in Surrey, B.C. have family who work at a Christian retreat centre in Romania – just 100 km from the Ukraine border. These past few weeks, the centre has been busy taking in refugees and helping them with relocation. As a result, the Port Kells church members decided to start an Ukraine relief…

building relationships

By Elizabeth Millar, April 14, 2022

Just for a moment, think of our youth and all the things they’ve had to navigate in the last couple of years, on top of regular teenage angst. Then imagine a youth program that purposefully nurtures relationship between youth and older generations.   John de Los Santos at Don Valley Bible Chapel in Toronto has been doing just that. The…

the larger community

By Elizabeth Millar, April 11, 2022

Last Saturday, Montague Christian Church on Prince Edward Island hosted a take out baked potato bar to raise funds for the Ukraine. Not only did it bring the church community together, working side by side, but it invited the larger community to come together over a shared concern. Potatoes were generously donated by a potato farm (and if you’ve been…

unique boutique

By Elizabeth Millar, April 7, 2022

Second hand clothes and a friendly little “unique boutique” shop. Clothing and accessories for the whole family. Free to anyone who needs them. Share Wear is the popular clothing ministry operated by Elmvale Community Church in Ontario. Donations are received from the community and then offered back to the community. Anything that can’t be used is then sold by the…

Ora et labora

By Elizabeth Millar, March 29, 2022

When you’ve got an artist and a renovation guy together as a team, you can guess that something good is going to happen. Especially when their hearts are oriented towards the mission of God.   A few years ago, Lisa and Jack started dreaming about a dedicated space that would facilitate love for God and neighbour. So they drew up…

an eager response

By Elizabeth Millar, March 25, 2022

Mental health issues increased significantly during the pandemic. Anxiety. Depression. Eating disorders.   Elmvale Community Church had their ear to the ground and wanted to respond to this need. Trent Simons, a psychotherapist, follower of Jesus and part of Elmvale Community Church, offered very affordable Cognitive Behaviour Therapy sessions to the community. Together with the church, they ran 4 sessions…

God at work

By Elizabeth Millar, March 21, 2022

John de Los Santos became a Christian in his late teens and was mentored under Pastor Matt Craig at Don Valley Bible Chapel. As he grew in his faith, he realized he had a heart for youth and wanted to help disciple the teenagers at church. In recent years, he’s cobbled together a combination of part time ministry jobs to…

God is on the move

By Elizabeth Millar, March 18, 2022

When Craig and Fi both had a picture of a plant being uprooted from the ground, they knew what that meant. God was on the move and change was in the air. Though they were happily settled in a church and city they quite enjoyed, they reluctantly began to pray about about something new.   Meanwhile, folks at Saanichton Bible…

from curiosity to confidence

By Elizabeth Millar, March 15, 2022

A few years ago, a church in Halifax put out over 1000 flyers for a neighbourhood cleanup. It’s part of their parish approach – to help the neighbourhood be a great community and so they invite their neighbours to join them. A family new to Canada saw the flyer and came along to pick up trash with the church folks.…

By Elizabeth Millar, March 10, 2022

My 8. The 3 neighbours across from me. The 3 neighbours behind me. And the neighbours on either side of me. My 8. This is a phrase that the Neighbourhood Church in the Jackson hood understands and lives by. They’ve taken the Great Commandment and the Great Commission to heart as they have tried to figure out how to let…

Ukrainian neighbours

By Elizabeth Millar, March 7, 2022

VMC partners with Tearfund for such times as these. Prayers and financial aid for our Ukrainian neighbours are so needed right now. Tearfund will ensure that your gifts reach families and churches who are in need of things like emergency housing, blankets, and food.   For more info, visit https://tearfund.ca   Photo credit Jana Cavojska/Integra

tools for the ministry

By Elizabeth Millar, March 1, 2022

A hammer, a drill, drywall – these are the tools for ministry!   A small group of men from a church on the east coast were busy this past year or two serving the Lord in a significant way. A woman with a new wheelchair needed some renovations for her house so she could safely navigate her living space. A…

the ‘bigness’ of God’s love

By Elizabeth Millar, February 24, 2022

So imagine if Sunday morning church meant brainstorming about how to connect with families from your local school. Or maybe scraping plates at a local soup kitchen. Maybe church could be crawling out of bed Sunday mornings and slipping on your running shoes to walk and pray for your neighbourhood with people you usually share a pew with.   Because…

active love

By Elizabeth Millar, February 22, 2022

Joe and Heidi White live in the Jackson neighbourhood in Fresno, California. They have lots of hard working, migrant farm working neighbours. But adequate health care has been a concern for them this past while. Access to testing for the virus isn’t easy. And if they don’t show up to work, they don’t get paid.   So, what does it…

Peace Child

By Elizabeth Millar, February 15, 2022

It’s no surprise that we’re feeing a little unsettled and discouraged these days. Hear this story from Jay Gurnett from Edmonton, Alberta:   Daughter Ruth gave our new little church, Peace Christian Community, a smart talk on December 26. She made reference to “on earth peace” – but spent a good chunk of the time telling us the story of…

one step at a time

By Elizabeth Millar, February 10, 2022

Kevin, pastor at Aurora North End Parish Church in Halifax, and his leadership team started to wonder about their church hall. It was a big space.   How do we use this space well? For the flourishing of the neighbourhood?   So they wondered about the possibilities and asked God to bring whoever needed their church hall to their attention.…

the Holy Spirit at work

By Elizabeth Millar, February 7, 2022

Adrenalin, hard work, putting in extra hours. This is what we’ve been told about getting a job done. And often these things may open up new opportunities for leaders.   However, the Spirit can do this so easily.   When a church leader in southern Ontario prayed for opportunities to speak about church planting, the Spirit went ahead and prepared…

the ‘rest’

By Elizabeth Millar, February 3, 2022

Looking back over the last couple of years, one pastor wondered if the pandemic offered a gift to small churches. He had been a little worried about some of the key people who volunteered significant hours and energy each week – they seemed to be wearing a bit thin. So when restrictions hit and church went online, it felt like…

working together

By Elizabeth Millar, February 2, 2022

When a family crisis hit, he realized that he was never going to be able to get that sermon done for Sunday. Even with the ease and efficiency of pre-recording, too many things had already stolen his time and mental energy. Preparing a sermon was going to be the straw that broke the camel’s back.   So – what’s a…

Holy Discontent – Fall River Chapel

By Elizabeth Millar, January 27, 2022

When I asked a church leader from Nova Scotia about one of the unexpected gifts during the past couple of unsettling years, his answer was this: Holy discontent.   It wasn’t really the answer I was expecting. But as he explained, it began to make sense. He called the pandemic a “circuit breaker.” He said that COVID has been so disruptive…

Indy – Tender Prayer

By Elizabeth Millar, January 24, 2022

Our dear brother Indy has been in lockdown for almost two years. Right now he is very sick, unable to walk, and only able to whisper. He is so weak.   With great love and faithfulness, he has an armful of men who gather online weekly and pray for each other. This morning, as they came together again, the words…

Summer Discussions

By Elizabeth Millar, January 20, 2022

Mill Creek Church in Edmonton spent last summer intentionally connecting life and faith. Together, on zoom, they talked about everything – from social justice to climate justice to  vocation. With good ground rules in place, they were able to talk about things that are sometimes controversial, relevant, and always connected to faith.   Together, as the body of Christ, They…

Two churches working together

By Elizabeth Millar, January 17, 2022

Two churches – one space. Two signs – one front lawn. Colby Community Church and Lifebridge Community Church.   Instead of a story about a church splitting, this is a story of two churches working together. Two distinct churches who probably see some things differently and yet, are committed to good relationship with each other. You think of the verse…

Saanichton Bible Fellowship – Worship

By Elizabeth Millar, January 13, 2022

Meet Krista Chase, Director of Worship and Ministries, at Saanichton Bible Fellowship on Vancouver Island! During the pandemic, she purposefully sought out as much congregational involvement for the weekly online worship service as possible. People prayed and read Scripture and gave announcements – all from their own homes. The photographers and musicians contributed photos and songs.   This did a…

Marsh – Ecuador camp

By Elizabeth Millar, January 10, 2022

For 21 years in a row, Fall River Chapel has sent a team of people down to Ecuador to help with their camp ministry. Obviously, due to COVID, this hasn’t happened for the last few years. Sad news- for both sides.   But what has happened is good news!   The camp ministry has adapted and morphed. Instead of offering…

… messy

By Elizabeth Millar, January 7, 2022

  On Doug Loveday’s recent trip to Kenya, he found himself packed into a small tin sheet church with about 150 people. It was hot and crowded and time to celebrate Communion together. The man in charge mixed together some Ribena and water. Then with a coffee cup as a jug, he tried to carefully pour the red juice into…

an elbow in the ribs

By Elizabeth Millar, January 4, 2022

She wondered about a book club. Maybe this was a good way to connect with people? But the time! She really didn’t have the time.   A few mornings later, she opened the Bible and read: “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” She smiled at this divine elbow in the ribs!   So she invited a few…

connecting

By Elizabeth Millar, December 2, 2021

Join us on Spotify! Search for VMC Storytelling.  Or check out VMC’s YouTube channel!  As a resource to Vision Ministries Canada churches, welcome to this five episode storytelling podcast! Its purpose is to help pastors and worship leaders incorporate story as part of corporate worship. Storytelling can be an important and meaningful liturgy element – as worship to God which…

a gift from God

By Elizabeth Millar, November 30, 2021

When Justin was in grade 7 and just learning to play the guitar, his pastor came alongside him and took him under his wing. All through the teen years, he was there for him. Meeting him for coffee, encouraging him spiritually, just there.   Now, 14 years later, Justin realizes what a gift his pastor has been to him. He’s…

Telling Our Own Stories

By Elizabeth Millar, November 25, 2021

“Even though our age is certainly secular,  Taylor ‘names and identifies what some of our best novelists, poets and artists attest to:  that our age is haunted.’ Whether we notice or not, there are intimations of transcendence all around us and  throughout every day life, there are sacred moments.  Maybe God is telling us something.” https://youtu.be/VAhJkKcW94I

The Story

By Elizabeth Millar, November 23, 2021

A Guide to Storytelling: The Story, Our Story, My Story (20 min) by Elizabeth Millar, VMC Storyteller   “This is my encouragement to you. Listen to and tell The Story – God’s true story of the world. Then belong to a small group of people who are faithfully living their story in community and being formed by The Story.  This…

the bigger picture

By Elizabeth Millar, November 18, 2021

It was a beautiful thing to hear a story this past week of two congregations working together. We hear too often of church splits and fighting. So to hear the tale of two churches – two different denominations, actually – working together, gave me hope!   Hope for Life Christian Fellowship and Oak Park Church of Christ in Calgary share…

disrupting ‘normal’

By Elizabeth Millar, November 15, 2021

We love knowing what to expect each Sunday, don’t we? Especially with restrictions lifting, we just want to go back to “normal.” For a pastor and leadership team to make significant changes to Sunday morning church, it takes a strong sense of God’s leading and a bit of courage.   Now is perhaps a risky time to disrupt Sunday morning…

Be encouraged…

By Elizabeth Millar, November 11, 2021

When Doug Loveday was in Kenya last month, he met Eloi – a very well educated man from West Africa. He’s had offers to work in Europe and North America. I’m sure the affluence and comfort is tempting sometimes. But he has chosen stay in Africa – with a passion for the “least of these” – raising his own support…

RE/ACT

By Elizabeth Millar, November 8, 2021

Addictions counselling as a new form of evangelism. That’s the way Tim Fletcher does it.   A few years ago, as a pastor and counsellor, he realized that everyone has a loved one who struggled with addictions. He also discovered that 97% of addicts also struggle from Complex Trauma, often from childhood. These experiences which repeatedly cause a person to…

a perfect fit

By Elizabeth Millar, October 28, 2021

“When it opens, I’m here.”   For the past few months, that was Shane’s prayer as he drove by the Hillside Church building on the way to work. As Shane and Yvonne sensed the Spirit leading them into something new, they wondered about this church that was 4 min from their house.   During the second interview when one of…

‘I hear you’

By Elizabeth Millar, October 21, 2021

It was a heart attack that finally convinced him to stop and reflect. It was just a lot – running a business, raising four young children AND trying to pastor full time.   So he stepped outside late one night and pleaded with God as a son to His Father “to open up the floodgates of heaven and pour out…

Grace

By Elizabeth Millar, October 14, 2021

A pastor on holiday pulled his RV into a camping spot in Calgary. A quiet older man was on one side (Yeah! He looks like a good neighbour!) and a wild looking couple on the other (Yikes!).   The pastor told his son that they’d put the door facing the older gentleman. But the hookups didn’t work that way and…

God provides!

By Elizabeth Millar, October 8, 2021

When a wheel literally falls off, you know it’s time for a new truck. This was Ben this summer while he was on a building trip in Nemaska, Quebec. His Cree friends hauled it off to a junk yard. And Ben wondered how he would afford a new ministry vehicle. His friends encouraged him – start a fundraising campaign! We…

Water!

By Elizabeth Millar, October 4, 2021

  Water scarcity is a serious issue in East Kenya. The Masaii people were desperate.   Despite the droughts, the Vision Ministries Kenya leaders believed that God was telling them to drill a well. So, they obeyed.   No water. There were almost at 300 metres. Yes, metres! But no water. People started to quarrel. Ishmael, the head of VMK,…

Bach’s Lament

By Elizabeth Millar, September 30, 2021

When the news of the unmarked graves hit the headlines this spring, one church leader who lives near the Six Nations of the Grand River territory in Brantford, ON decided to lament. With her cello and Bach’s Lament for the Children (or Cello Suite in D Minor) and the technical expertise of her friend and worship pastor, Hilary grieved.  …

a difficult conversation

By Elizabeth Millar, September 27, 2021

Church leadership almost always involves difficult conversations. Something we can easily shy away from, especially during a pandemic.   For the elders and pastoral leaders of Lambrick Park Church, though, this has meant leading their church through an extended process of revisiting an issue that has caused division and hurt over the years.   This meant 2 years – TWO…

a boxfull of Bibles

By Elizabeth Millar, September 23, 2021

About 10 years ago, a Canadian Armed Forces soldier was deployed to Afghanistan. He wondered what the Lord might have in store for him.   While he was there, he connected with Afghan officers and discovered a deep spiritual hunger. He shared his faith in Jesus. They wanted more. They wanted Bibles in their own language.   So he called…

By Elizabeth Millar, September 21, 2021

Most of the stores I write here are about things that have already happened. But today – this is about something that could happen.   In the last few years, VMC has dreamed of making a way for meaningful and strategic connections between immigrant churches and Canadian congregations. In 2001, VMC connected with its first immigrant church and today we…

Change

By Elizabeth Millar, September 16, 2021

Sometimes we choose change. And sometimes change is thrust upon us.   These last couple of years have forced churches to rethink many things. Sunday morning services. Community as the body of Christ. Small groups. Community engagement.   Using Brian Sander’s talks (available through video) from VMC’s Thinking Shrewdly conference this past spring, a church in southern Ontario is sparking…

Peace amidst the storm

By Elizabeth Millar, September 13, 2021

A pastor caught by COVID restrictions and political turmoil remains trapped on the other side of the world. He asks his Canadian friends to pray. There is bombing and shooting every day and every night. People are terrified.   He risks using the internet for a few minutes to let us know that he is still alive. And he’s staying.…

Intentional Wondering

By Elizabeth Millar, September 9, 2021

As Grace Bible Chapel looks ahead to what church might look like in the near future they are not aimlessly wandering. Instead, they are intentionally entering a season of wondering.   Wondering how God’s kingdom can break through in new ways around them. Maybe a building expansion is no longer top of the list of priorities. Maybe expansion looks quite…

Love, as a verb

By Elizabeth Millar, August 27, 2021

A family from the local school was in trouble. There were doctors and medical appointments and anxiety – including uncertainty about the future of the life of a particular family member. Now over the years, the church had built relationships with the local schools. So it was natural that someone from church noticed this family. And not just noticed. But…

Cry out to God

By Elizabeth Millar, August 23, 2021

  You’ve seen the headlines this past week. You’ve watched the video footage.   Oh God, how long? How long?   As we cry out to God for justice and mercy, we can heed the advice of our VMC brother and friend, Obed. As an Afghani, former Taliban warrior, and then sought out by the Taliban for assassination, Obed can…

God’s Light

By Elizabeth Millar, August 19, 2021

Even in the darkest times. Or perhaps – especially in the darkest times – God’s light can shine bright.   Last month, when a young woman unexpectedly passed away in the night, God’s people from other churches were there. While her own church family were full of grief, brothers and sisters stepped in to help with funeral arrangements. Making phone…

Courage

By Elizabeth Millar, August 16, 2021

Maybe you’ve heard it said that limitations foster creativity. Well, during COVID, we’ve certainly had some limitations. For people like Madison, the extra time and space gave birth to something new. Madison purposefully reached out to the interesting and inspiring people around her: A new immigrant. A teacher. A mother to someone with special needs. These conversations gave birth to…

small things…

By Elizabeth Millar, August 12, 2021

Sometimes we can’t do big things. But we can usually do small things. Small things with great love. Which is exactly what the folks at North Park Community Church were thinking when they reached out to all the teachers at their local schools. 150 teachers. 150 hand written notes. 150 gift cards. A small but significant act of encouragement that…

a little act of mercy

By Elizabeth Millar, August 10, 2021

“It’s a Bob thing.”   That’s what she told me as we strolled the streets of downtown Windsor and stopped as Bob scooped up a homeless person’s scattered box of earthly possessions. Not exactly sure how or why this person’s belongings got thrown across the street, but it was with a certain respect and responsibility that Bob calmly and quickly…

God’s Sunshine

By Elizabeth Millar, July 15, 2021

It was seeing his wife become a Christian first. Then it was seeing the other people at her church – one incredible life after another – whose lives had been changed. For him, it seemed to shout the existence of a loving God – which seemed strange for someone growing up atheist to say!   But he spent time with…

This is our God

By Elizabeth Millar, July 12, 2021

  While her husband returned to China for work, Yan Wang remained in Toronto with their young daughter. Exhaustion, depression, and loneliness all contributed to a sad sort of heart ache pain. One day she walked into an English-speaking church and, long story short, she found the home of her soul there and met her heavenly Father.   Who would…

Benefits of belonging

By Elizabeth Millar, July 9, 2021

You know how people are connected in the Christian circles? If you meet someone who follows Jesus while you’re on holidays in Brazil or India or the UK, there’s a chance they might know someone you know. We have this connection with other believers – it’s one of the benefits of belonging to the big global family of God. For…

Part 2

By Elizabeth Millar, July 5, 2021

As far as administrative practices go, funding approval may seem pretty systematic and a checking off of all the right boxes.   But with VMC, the funding of new church plants includes some extras.   This Advisory Council meeting regarding the funding of a new church plant fulfilled all the necessary administrative requirements – but with so much more! This…

Canada Day

By Elizabeth Millar, July 1, 2021

In light of the discoveries of the unmarked graves of hundreds of indigenous children at the sites of residential schools across the country, some of the VMC leaders have been fasting and praying these last ten days leading up to Canada Day. We are encouraging churches to consider practical steps of reconciliation in our various contexts.   The VMC Indigenous…

By Elizabeth Millar, June 29, 2021

Funds + Blessing Story #1: I sat in on the National Advisory Council meeting this afternoon, wondering if there might be a story to tell. There is. There’s definitely a story about the new church plant that was being discussed – but that story will come later.   As I listened in on the discussion surrounding the possible funding of…

Eager for more…

By Elizabeth Millar, June 24, 2021

  Shannon and Lynne, leaders of women’s ministry at Wallenstein Bible Chapel, were eager for more. Specifically among the women at church, they wanted to encourage more connection with God and to foster deeper conversation with each other. Especially now – with the restrictions and not being able to meet in person in the usual ways. So these two women…

a Time to Reap

By Elizabeth Millar, June 21, 2021

Pastor Viji reminded me that as church leaders, we can learn something from the art of agriculture. Maybe it’s no coincidence that Jesus often used farming and gardening metaphors. So much patience is required. There is a time to plant. Sunshine. Water. Weeding. Pruning. Then finally there is a time to reap.   But none of it happens overnight. Though…

Betty

By Elizabeth Millar, June 15, 2021

Over 80 years ago, a sweet little baby girl was baptized in her church. She grew up and her faith also grew up and matured. As an adult, she wanted to be baptized again with a fresh understanding of the meaning of baptism. However, her childhood church was now closed.   So, with an obedient heart and a determined spirit,…

Virtual Bake-Off!

By Elizabeth Millar, June 10, 2021

How to connect with congregants when you’re in stay-at-home orders and lockdown?   Well, among all the characteristics needed in church leadership these days, creativity is certainly one of them. Sarah is one such leader who wanted to connect with kids and families in her congregation and yet zoom calls and phone calls just don’t always work so well with…

DIY BAPTISMS

By Elizabeth Millar, June 7, 2021

With restrictions and lockdown, lots of things have slowed down. First it was hard to access toilet paper and yeast. Then it was bike parts and lumber. Then, baptisms were added to that list!   Lots of churches had to postpone baptisms last spring due to COVID and so when this spring rolled around and it looked like a second…

On-line Care

By Elizabeth Millar, June 3, 2021

What a surprise to discover that online care groups work so well! When COVID hit last spring, the thought of moving from face-to-face to online  – especially for support groups – seemed second rate or maybe better than nothing. BUT … Grief Share, Divorce Care, and Cancer Care support groups at North Park Community Church have worked well during the…

Hope

By Elizabeth Millar, June 2, 2021

What gives Sarah, Pastor of Children’s Ministry at Forestview Church, hope in the midst of tough times is recognizing the thread of God’s care and leading throughout her life. Since high school days which were characterized by depression and anxiety and accompanying harmful ways of coping, to trying to get away from God during university, to a career switch from…

Restoration

By Elizabeth Millar, May 31, 2021

For one couple, divorce papers seemed like the only option. It felt hopeless – the bitterness, isolation, unwillingness to communicate, disinterest in God.   But their pastor faithfully, persistently called and texted. Every morning for 8 months. With no response.   And then miracle of miracles, there was a tiny light of hope. Which grew into the willingness to meet…

The Spirit…. gripped her heart!

By Elizabeth Millar, May 27, 2021

“I want to be baptized!” she said.   This coming from the woman who refused to speak about baptism. She would join zoom prayer groups and google meets with the church but would not talk about baptism.   When she got to talk to her pastor face to face for the first time last summer during one of the COVID…

The Prodigal Son

By Elizabeth Millar, May 25, 2021

We all know the story of the Prodigal Son. Perhaps one of Jesus’ most famous little stories. It grabbed Rembrandt’s attention 1500 years later. And almost 500 years after that, it inspired Henri Nouwen to write a book.   One particular congregation, though, actually saw, experienced, and participated in this sort of forgiveness and reconciliation right in their own context.…

pandemic music

By Elizabeth Millar, May 20, 2021

And this … a musical collective with a focus on pandemic music. Music that speaks to the harsh realities of our time and also intoxicatingly shaped by the gospel.   A small group of musicians on Vancouver Island have collaborated together on this project during COVID, with the desire to produce courageous and meaningful music in the midst of human…

AMAZING GRACE

By Elizabeth Millar, May 18, 2021

It’s easy for church leaders to get discouraged during COVID. There’s so many things to adjust to, while the future is unknown and unpredictable. Wouldn’t you like some reassurance that God is still working?   Then this story is for you.   There’s a few people in particular who just can’t wait to be face to face with other Christians.…

…relentless love.

By Elizabeth Millar, May 14, 2021

Lunches with Jared. What will Jared have for lunch today? Well, if you were a youth, you’d be logging into IG live every Tuesday to find out! Maybe you’d even get the chance to choose something from Jared’s fridge for his smoothie or help make his sandwich. If you were 13, doing online school in your bedroom during an Ontario…

The persistent love of Jesus

By Elizabeth Millar, May 14, 2021

Massoud was an angry, bitter, addicted man in prison. He met a friend – a fellow prisoner who was in jail for speaking about Jesus. Time passed and Massoud was released from jail.   Massoud remembered his prisoner friend and got connected with a church on social media. He joined biweekly zoom calls with other believers. He was totally changed…

8000!

By Elizabeth Millar, May 5, 2021

I was talking to Doug Loveday (Transitional Pastor for VMC) this past week and he told me a great little story from the Philippines. His brother-in-law and wife, who are missionaries there, help to disciple children through the Mailbox Bible Club. When COVID hit, schools all over Manila were closed and kids were sent home. Someone in the Ministry of…

The ‘Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting’ renewed!

By Elizabeth Millar, April 30, 2021

Even though some might say that Wednesday night prayer meetings have been generally on the decline in recent years, North Park Community Church in London, ON has seen a surge in attendance during COVID.   Consistently, a large group of people gather to pray together online.   Some fresh approaches to corporate prayer. The convenience of just opening a computer,…

With God Nothing is Impossible

By Elizabeth Millar, April 27, 2021

Over a year ago, our dear brother Indy went to Burma/Myanmar to advance ministry projects for the Chin people. To help them adopt some modern agricultural techniques that would move them beyond subsistence farming. But then the global pandemic. And the military coup. The political unrest, brutal violence, restrictions on personal freedom all make it virtually impossible for Indy to…

Shine a Little Light

By Elizabeth Millar, April 27, 2021

Laura had the idea to help the kids at church reach out to others. Jamie gathered up supplies and put card-making kits together. Mary helped put the plan into action.   They hosted a zoom call for the kids and showed them what to do. One card for a senior at church and one card for someone else.   And…

simply ask…

By Elizabeth Millar, April 14, 2021

  If you’re in the area and tune in to Rogers Community TV – Cable 65 – on Sunday mornings, you can catch the worship service from Pinewoods Chapel.   Who knew that cable TV would want to host a local church service free of charge?   But Pastor Chris took a chance and sent in a few of their…