What’s In A Name?

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Daryl & Molly have been considering a name for their fledgling church in Krivoy Rog, Ukraine. Pastor Zhenya has proposed “Moct” which means “The Bridge.” He pointed out that God made a bridge to mankind, Jesus Christ, and we are to be bridges to other people as we share His love and grace and Good News with them.

The Lord provided Daryl & Molly with a great apartment in Krivoy Rog! “As we walked in and saw the ‘big room’ (it was actually a child’s bedroom before) we knew it was the room for the church to meet in! It’s large, bright and has cheerful wallpaper. (OK, lots of flowers and cute little bugs like dragonflies, lady bugs and butterflies!) After a couple of weeks, we were walking through our neighbourhood and commented to each other on how comfortable we felt, how familiar it seemed already.”

Daryl & Molly live a 5 minute walk from Adam & Luba Nikkel, a 15 minute walk from Curtis, the team apartment, and one of the orphanages! It is a 30 minute walk from Pastor Zhenya’s and a mall with a store like WalMart in it. Daryl & Molly are also at the beginning/end of 3 or 4 marshrootka (minibus) routes and there is a “subway” stop within walking distance as well! They couldn’t be in a more central location for their ministries!

Why Church Planting is So Important

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Charlie, our Church Planting Catalyst, just forwarded this post on, and we’d like to recommend it to you.

“None of our churches should be a cul-de-sac on the Great Commission highway.” — Ed Stetzer

Click through to read the whole piece.

What Are the Driving Purposes of Church Planting?

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Are you depressed about the direction of culture? Maybe it’s time to change your perspective! There are great movements that are turning to God in remarkable ways. Perhaps we all need to spend more time examining what God is actually doing in our day, in our communities. The call to get involved has not changed.

In order for us to have a meaningful ministry though, we need to have a clear rationale for doing what we do. This blog post takes a good crack at that:

Five Reasons for Church Planting

When you’re finished reading, come on back and let us know what you think about it!

Core Values: Missional Camaraderie

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Bill Taylor is our EFCC Executive Director. This is his continuing series on the Core Values of the EFCC. If you would like to see the whole set so far, please click here.

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Greetings! Well, here we are on the other side of the “Theological Summit” and I am once again reminded of our EFCC Core Values! In this blog post I want to connect some reflections from the Theological Summit to another of our values: “.

I have been struck by how diverse the EFCC has become, just in Canada: 14 languages on a Sunday morning, 143 churches, 17 church plants, countless cultures, multiple generations, rural, urban, suburban and 5 districts that each contain multiple subcultures. This doesn’t begin to highlight the diversity we reflect around the world. Gone are the days when we were primarily a pre-millennial, pre-tribulation group of Scandinavians. This is not your parents’ Free Church anymore! This diversity was evident at our Theological Summit.

Our presenters provided us with vast amounts of systematic theology and exegesis, alternately defending complementarian and egalitarian viewpoints regarding gender roles. They clearly didn’t agree with each other, and it was equally evident that the 90 pastors and lay leaders attending also held at least two different opinions (probably many more than that) when it comes to belief and practice, on the issue. So the question is: “In the midst of such diversity (which we value!), what on earth unites us”?

This, I believe is where Missional Camaraderie comes in. We are united in Christ and the belief that the gospel compels us to witness and mission. We are only able to live out our motto, In essentials unity. In non-essentials charity. In all things Jesus Christ, as we are willing and able to move some issues of disagreement from our “essentials box” to our “non-essentials box”. And what motivates us to do that? In a word, mission (shared mission). Arnold Olson, talks about this in, “Significance of Silence”, which is really the key book that articulates historical Free Church values. Olson declares that early Free Church leaders believed that Jesus’ imminent return meant that lost people so needed to hear the saving news of the gospel that Free Church leaders would gladly set aside issues that Bible scholars could not easily agree on, for the sake of carrying out mission – together (see pages 16-17).

They did not see this as a sign of weakness or lack of commitment to the authority of the Word but as an intentional focus around a common calling to gospel mission. They would unite around their common Lord, gospel and mission and allow room for disagreement on other matters.

In my experience, where our commitment to common mission is strong, there is a willingness to embrace those who disagree with us on some theological matters. Where missional camaraderie is weak, theological battles ensue and fights on all sorts of lesser issues like personal taste etc. commence. Where we share a sense of common mission we assume the best about each other’s intentions, motives and fidelity to the Word and our Lord.

When our sense of “difference” is stronger than “missional family”, then we slip into subtle, or not so subtle, accusations that the other side is “throwing out the Bible” or “rejecting the gospel” or “elevating one text over another text which is more relevant” or “caving to culture” or “caving to tradition” or…well, you’ve heard some of these lines before.

I love the tendency of our Free Church Fathers to first ask “Do you know Jesus?” before asking “What do you believe about…?” They were thoroughly committed to the authority of the Word but they were not naïve enough to think that they did not take their own culture/prejudices into their interpretation of the text or that all Free Church folks would agree on every issue. What united them was their Lord and their common calling to a collaborative mission to reach people with good news from the Word, that they did all agree on!

May missional camaraderie always unite us to good works in Canada and around the globe!

How Large Should Our “Ethos” Tent Become?

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This blog post was contributed by Dave Acree, the EFCC’s Leadership Development Catalyst.

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The EFCC Theological Summit 2013 is history, yet I doubt there has been much settling of the theological dust in regards to women in ministry as a result. That wasn’t the summit’s purpose. Those at the Okotoks confab heard two reasoned and seasoned presentations of the biblical, theological and sociological cases for the complementarian and egalitarian viewpoints. I doubt that anyone “changed sides” as a result of what they heard but I hope that all saw that a valid case can be made for each without compromising the authority of Scripture. These two polar opposites set the discussion benchmarks in our deciding how we should credential men and women in Free Church ministry.

Ethos is the distinguishing character of a person, group or institution. The EFCC summarizes its ethos with the historic slogan: “In essentials unity; in non-essentials charity; in all things Jesus Christ.” We identify our unifying essentials in our Statement of Faith and we all embrace Jesus Christ as our all-encompassing mission. It’s love in the non-essentials that challenges us the most.

If someone were to ask me why the EFCC should enlarge its “ethos” tent to include a credentialing process that makes ordination available to both men and women, what would I say? Here’s my short blog answer.

1. A biblical case can be made for each guided by the same love for and commitment to the Bible. We may discuss the merits and weaknesses of both points of view but we can’t dismiss them.

2. This issue is not part of our Statement of Faith; what we use to identify our essentials. That’s not to say it isn’t important, just not important enough to require all to agree.

3. A credentialing process can be determined that will require no church or individual to change positions or cause any church to lose its ability to make decisions on who can minister in their church or where they can minister.

4. The “slippery slope” argument, while a concern, is unfairly attached to such a credentialing shift. It is suggested that the next step after ordaining women is to ordain homosexuals. Such thinking doesn’t take into account the reality of the definite prohibitions in scripture against homosexual practice while the one possible prohibition against ordaining women to authoritative teaching ministry (1 Timothy 2) is not so clearly interpreted and understood. I think we will be able to keep discerning the difference.

5. Paul’s concern to remove barriers to the Gospel in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 just might also find application to this issue.

How large should our “ethos” tent become?

Our ethos is already large enough to include both egalitarians and complementarians co-existing in love. I believe it’s time for our credentialing policies to reflect that reality and to be available to both men and women at every level, including ordination. What do you think?