Hello everyone, since November is “Missions Month” here at New Life, I thought we would start things off with an overview of our missions history. The subject of missions is important to our church and right from the beginning, New Life has had the goal of being a gathering church locally, and a sending church globally.
For the first years of New Life, there was no official missions committee, only passionate people from our congregation who loved to reach out to their community and the world. When individuals or couples from the church would launch out into ministry, our church would support them. One such family was the Barnhoorns. They became our first missionaries when they joined up with Wycliffe. There were special offerings given for many causes during those early years and relationships were developed with two key ministries – Joshua House and Esperanza. Even today, these ministries continue to rely on New Life for leadership and support.
By 2005, New Life was a well-established church in the community and a formal missions committee became necessary to manage the ever-growing list of missional relationships. Along with the formation of this team came the need for more organization and so a list of objectives (detailed at the end of this blog), and a comprehensive missions policy was written. A second need was for funding – a challenge that was addressed in a unique way.
Around the same time, New Life had launched a capital building fund campaign. The church was busting at the seams and meetings were being held in portables, so expansion was a necessity. However, the leadership of that era felt that it was somewhat selfish to raise money for our own “house” but leave those in need without anything. For this reason, it was decided that 10% of all funding brought in by the capital campaign would go to missions support. Over the next few years of fundraising, this total came to $320,000 and so for a period of several years, New Life missions was supported by our capital fund.
In 2007, the committee decided that they would support three missions partnerships – one local, one regional, and one global. We already had a local partner in Joshua House and our regional partner became formalized as Esperanza, but there was no global partner. In order to solve this dilemma, New Life consulted with CRC world missions, who directed us to World Renew. World Renew then suggested that we partner with Laure Honduras and so a new global partnership was established.
With three mission’s partners in place, New Life began sending out teams of people each year to work alongside their partners – supporting, learning, building, and discipling. In return, those who participated in the teams would be changed, discipled, and touched by the needs of our world.
One thing I would like to briefly clarify is the difference between a “missions partner” and a “missionary.” In simple terms, a partner is an organization, where as a missionary is an individual or a couple.
As the capital campaign began to wind down, a new funding model was needed to keep our missions department in a positive balance. It was decided that a dedicated missions fund would be established and maintained by regular giving. For this reason, offerings given on the last Sunday of each month now go to our New Life missionaries. There are also special offerings given during the year for our missions partners. As well, campaigns like the Honduras coffee sales and the Christmas gift catalogue help supplement and maintain a positive balance.
Over the years, missions at New Life has become a highly valued and well-loved part of our church community. Our partnerships have expanded to include the following ministries:
- Joshua House (Mens Recovery Homes)
- Esperanza (First Nations Ministry)
- Youth For Christ Colombia (at risk children and youth)
- Vida Nueva Laure, Honduras (CRC church plant)
- Hope for Korah Ethiopia (social justice for the impoverished)
Our New Life Missionaries have also expanded and currently, we support the following missionaries:
- The Barnhoorn Family in Jos, Nigeria (Wycliffe Bible Translation)
- Eve Pohl in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (Hope for Korah)
- The Trivino family in Bogota, Colombia (Youth For Christ)
- Fred F (Currently serving in the Middle East)
- Tyler Strating in Lynden, Washington (YWAM)
- Adam and Michelle VanEgmond in Chiang Mai (Freedom 418- sex trade ministry)
- Fred Sutherland and family in Abbotsford ( MB Mission- discipleship and reaching the unreached people of the world).
We also send teams out each year, and support individuals from our church going on short-term missions such as YWAM. Two years ago, we were involved in an effort to bring a refugee family to Canada, an endeavour that resulted in a special God-relationship that has without doubt, touched the heart of every person at New Life.
Our yearly missions budget has grown to more than $36,000 per annum and each month we endeavour to raise $2900 to support our missionaries.
Our missions team is engaged in the process of reaching out beyond the walls of our church and at this point in time is made up of the following individuals: Yvonne Onderwater, Janet Hitchcok, John Fictorie, Eric Hoogenraad, Kevin DeWolde, and Justin Dudney.
Their objectives are to:
- Celebrate the Goodness of God – Through God‘s great Providence that members commissioned for mission work are given financial support that match up with their desire to touch lives with the transforming love of Jesus Christ.
- Connect with the Family of God – Be in partnership with other agencies in the development of local, regional and global Mission Program with God’s given resources for the development of His Kingdom.
- Grow in the Likeness of God – Pray for God‘s guiding Hand in sending long-term and short-term missionaries to the Harvest field.
- Serve with the Kindness of God – Create opportunities for all church members to participate in missions according to the Gifts that God has given them, particularly to those in need.
- Share the Story of God – That the Love and Grace of our Father may be evident to all we contact through missions, whether by word or by deed.
We are blessed to be part of an amazing missions minded church. Together, our vision is to be a catalyst for a “radical impact” in our community, and in our world.