First News

Canadian Baptists of Western Canada (CBWC)

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Did you realize that for more than 100 years, First Baptist Church, Vancouver, has been a part of a wider family of churches known as the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada (CBWC)

The CBWC is made up of about 170 churches across the four Western Provinces, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories. It's a huge geographic region with plenty of uniqueness and diversity both in the landscape and our churches. Prior to becoming the Executive Minister of the CBWC in July of 2017, I served as the BCY Regional Minister for nine years. As I toured churches in my first year as the Regional Minister, in almost every congregation someone would come up to me and say, "you know, we're not a typical Baptist Church!" After a while I began to realize that there is no such thing as a "typical Baptist church," which is one of the reasons why we celebrate a diversity of ethnicities, ages, leadership and worship styles, all the while keeping Jesus at the centre of who we are and all we do. 

About a year ago, after a time of prayerful discernment with the churches and the CBWC Board, we put forward three key priorities for the next season of ministry for the CBWC. Let me give you a glimpse into these priorities. 

The first priority is Cultivating Leadership. The CBWC used to have a one-year leadership training program known as the Baptist Leadership Training School (BLTS). Until its closing in the late '90s, BLTS helped to train both pastors and congregational leaders for our churches for more than 50 years. We are in the process of creating a new "gap year" program to help raise up the next generation of leaders for both society and our churches. Please pray for wisdom for our team in creating this program and for financial resources to help us make it accessible to all. 

The second priority is Investing in Relationship. Ministry is all about relationship and we are spending our time building relational bridges with our churches and church leaders, as well as our ministry partners across Canada and around the world. Jesus has called us to love God and to love one another. That love can truly grow when we intentionally take the time to invest in one another. 

The third priority is Engaging in Mission. Our mission as the church into God's world is never-ending. For this next ministry season the CBWC will be emphasizing church planting, helping to settle more refugees in Canada, and continuing to learn how to best walk alongside the Indigenous community. 

Please pray for the leadership of the CBWC and I encourage you to look for ways to become involved in your broader church family. One way to stay in the loop about CBWC events and initiatives is by signing up at cbwc.ca for our monthly e-newsletter, Making Connections.

The peace of the Lord be with you all.

Serving with you, for Him!

Rob Ogilvie
Executive Minister, CBWC.

Posted by Rob Ogilvie

Getting to Know John Tsang

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 What is your role on staff at First Baptist Church?
My role is to give leadership to the development and implementation of a comprehensive plan for the caring ministry of FBC, so that we can provide good spiritual care to as many people as possible.  Apart from the above, I try to help out Team Tea > Team Coffee on the staff.       

What excites you about this work?
As I start to hear stories of FBC, I hear that the caring ministry was one that many people enjoy being a part of.  I'm thrilled to be able to develop, train, grow, and support a team of caregivers here at FBC.    

Tell us about your family
I have 3 other siblings, one older brother, one older sister, then there is me, and a younger sister.  I was blessed to be raised in a Christian home.  One of the enduring images I have is of my father and mother reading their well-worn Bible sitting on the edge of their bed.  My father passed away about three years ago and towards the end, he was starting to lose his memory, perhaps an early form of dementia.  My mother is here in Vancouver and she lives with my younger sister.  

I met Karmie at her Baptist church (also the church where I was baptized).  We were married in '91 in another Baptist church, the one where I served my first pastoral ministry as Youth Pastor.  Good things happen to me in Baptist churches! Josiah, my oldest was born in Toronto and unfortunately, he is a Leafs fan.  He works in the construction industry for a consulting firm.  My other two, Hannah and Noah were born in Richmond.  Hannah is a 3rd year nursing student at Trinity Western University.  Noah is in Grade 11 and he enjoys golfing and running. Noah is a member of the youth Mexico Missions Team.   

What three words best describe you?
When I asked Karmie, she said: fun-loving, adventurous, and couldn't come up with a 3rd.  When I asked my daughter, she said: humble, wise, and attentive.  Personally, I think I am: reflective, competitive and calm.      

What in your life brings you the most joy?
Time with family, enjoying a nice meal, a nice long ride on my road bike.  Sleep.  Seeing others deepen their experience of Christ.  Seeing others find their God-given calling in life.  Not having to worry about learning a new iOs would bring me a bit of joy.  And sleep, did I mention sleep (Ps 4:8)?  

What is your favourite movie?
Two recent movies that left an impression on me were Silence, a messy, untidy story of missionaries and the Christian faith in Japan during the 17th century.  The other movie is called The Innocents and it is a thought-provoking complex story of faith and goodness in the midst of unspeakable tragedy. I also really enjoyed The Shack. I love that scene at the end where the tears of the main character were used to water the vibrant garden of his life.  That was a powerful image.   

What sort of music do you enjoy listening to?
In my USB in the car, I have Hillsong, Bethel Music, Tomlin, Salt of the Sound, Lady Gaga/Bradley Cooper, Camila Cabello, Imagine Dragons, and Ariana Grande ... I know, very eclectic.  

How can we pray for you?
Well, first thing that I ask for is wisdom and discernment as I get to know people, listen to the stories of members, and to understand the story of FBC. 

Secondly, it appears that God is not finished with my training from St. Paul's.  I was there for 6 months as a spiritual caregiver but the Lord needs me to learn one final lesson, namely, what it means to be a patient and to receive care. I had a test done in mid-January and it revealed some blockages in my arteries.  I am still waiting for a follow up consult with a specialist for treatment options.  So I'm in that space of knowing something is not quite right but not knowing what the next step is.  

 But on that note, I am kind of serious in that I feel good about being in the position to offer help and care and I am not very good on the receiving end.  Giving implies that I am strong and able whereas, receiving care implies weakness.  I think God wants to show me that in my weakness is His strength.  And as we enter into the season of Lent, we focus on the part of Christ's life which truly demonstrated this.

Posted by John Tsang

Youth Mexico Mission Trip

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Our youth group is getting ready for our mission trip to Mexico. 14 youth and 5 leaders will be serving the Lord in Ensenada, Mexico, from March 16 to March 23. I would like to take this opportunity to, firstly, thank our church community for supporting us in prayers and financially. Secondly, we would like to introduce the family that we will be serving in Mexico, the Hernandez Granados. Please read their profile and take some time praying for them. Click HERE to read their profile.

I would like to also share a video that can give you a taste of the type of work that we will be doing there in Mexico. To watch the video please click HERE.  

Finally, as our intern, Joseph Leong, beautifully wrote: "The participation in this mission trip to Mexico allows the youth and leaders to participate in the mission of God who was first sent into the world through the incarnation of Christ. It allows them to understand that mission is an attribute of the triune God because of his character - love. It will be a great experience for the youth ministry to learn to be faithful to shalom sharing and faith-filled engagement with the community in different places, races, and nationalities. When the youth leave the worship gatherings at First Baptist Church, strengthened by the words and sacraments, they are to engage in mission, caring for the marginalized, upholding social justice in the broken society and inviting the broken ones into relationship with the triune loving God. We believe this mission trip will provide the youth with significant experience to participate in the mission of God."

Here is how you could support us in prayer during our mission trip: 

  • March 16 | Pray for a safe and smooth journey to Seattle
  • March 17 | Pray for a safe and smooth journey across the Mexico border
  • March 18 | Pray for the four-day work of the house building project
  • March 19 | Pray for YUGO Ministries
  • March 20 | Pray for Mexico and the Mexican families who are in need
  • March 21 | Pray for FBC Youth Ministry & parents
  • March 22 | Pray for a good rest and quality fellowship among the leaders and the youths
  • March 23 | Pray for a safe and smooth journey back to Vancouver
Posted by Filipe Balieiro

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