First News

Connection Groups

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If you have been participating regularly in our Mark sermon series, attending service on Sundays and referring to the weekly Study Guides, then you have noticed certain key questions repeatedly arising, and these centering around our church's priorities of discipleship and community, especially in the form of discipling relationships:  How are discipling relationships encouraging you to live out a right understanding of Christ?  How can we grow in Christ if we are not in any discipling relationships?  How can we begin to enter into discipling relationships? 

That these questions are so vital in our Markan series is because the gospel deals fundamentally with the nature of discipleship--with our lifelong movement towards Jesus Christ. As such, delve into any portion of the Markan text and the resonance of discipleship and discipling relationships is almost always felt: consider Mark 1 and Jesus' call to the first of his disciples to "Come, follow"; consider Mark 2 and Christ's dining with tax collectors and sinners; consider Mark 3 where Jesus redefines family as those who do His will; consider, throughout the gospel, the many miraculous healings of Christ performed before many eyes, before community--community genuinely following Him, community openly wondering about Him, and community firmly opposed to Him. Discipleship. Community. Discipling relationships.

If then, you have heard in the past few months the Spirit speaking the good word of discipling relationships to you, there is no better place in our church to turn than to Connection Groups. For Connection Groups are small groups of individuals who connect along the path of Christian discipleship. For the last two years, the Connection Group slogan has been: connecting to transform the individual, the church, and the city. In other words, as we gather together regularly--with hearts longing to move closer to Jesus on the pathway of discipleship--we are transformed: the individual is increasingly edified, the church is increasingly sanctified, and the city is increasingly glorified, in the sense that the gap between heaven and earth becomes increasingly thin.   

How does this transformation come about?  Well, only by the will of the Father, through the ministry of the Son, and in participation with the Spirit, of course! But, you ask in practical terms... Well, in longing to spur the transformation of discipleship--the transformation that is the natural fruit of discipleship--Connection Groups seek to be hubs within our church: hubs of congregational life, dwelling as a community of genuine love and caring for the congregation in the neighbourhood; hubs of missional participation, befriending the neighbourhood and cooperating with other churches and organizations; and hubs of transformational study, engaging Scripture with mind and heart and practising spiritual rhythms of worship, prayer, and confession.  

Sounds exciting, no?  

If you feel called to participate in this excitement, pray about joining a Connection Group, or about leading a group in your local neighbourhood. Consider contacting me at , or joining one of the regional potluck picnics being organized by some of your local Connection Groups. 

After all, as regards the matters of discipleship, community, and discipling relationships, Mark and his incisive gospel are not going anywhere...anytime soon...! 

Stuart Campbell
Connection Group Coordinator

Posted by Stuart Campbell

Fall Calendar (updated)

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What a wonderful summer it has been and we are so grateful to have everyone back again! As we look ahead to the fall, we do so with a sense of joy, expectation and gratitude for the ways we continue to practice the presence of God together in the life of the church community. Here is a calendar which highlights some key events and rhythms in the fall. Be sure to check the events page for more details and updates!

Sep 6 Preteens & Youth Family Kick-off BBQ
Sep 8 Induction of Anthony Brown as Senior Minister
Sep 8 School Age Pancake Breakfast & Parent Orientation
Sep 8 Young Adult Kick-off Lunch 
Sep 9, 11 & 13 Care Friends Training Group A
Sep 9 & 11 ESL Classes begin!
Sep 13 First Seniors "Welcome Back" Fall Gathering 
Sep 14 Fellowship Breakfast Kick-off  
Sep 14 Alzheimer Café
Sep 14 Children & Preteens Leaders Orientation
Sep 15 Book Club begins!
Sep 15 Starting Point
Sep 17 Overnight Shelter begins!
Sep 22 Volunteer Commissioning Service
Sep 22 Connection Groups Leaders Lunch
Sep 25, 26 & 27 Care Friends Training Group B
Sep 28 Church Leadership Team / Pastoral Team Retreat
Sep 29 Dedication of Children
Oct 4 First Seniors Lunch
Oct 5 Ride for Refuge
Oct 6 HFTC Capital Fundraiser Launch
Oct 6 & 20 Baptism & Membership Classes
Oct 11 Mission & Justice MAT | Anti-Child Sex-trafficking - Cathy Peters
Oct 12 Fellowship Breakfast
Oct 12 Alzheimer Café
Oct 12, 19, 26 Care Friends Training Group C
Oct 13 Starting Point
Oct 13 Thanksgiving Sunday (communion)
Oct 14 Homelessness Action Day @ First 
Oct 20 FBC Bookclub
Oct 21, 23, 25 Care Minister Training I
Oct 27 Baptism & Membership Welcome
Nov 1 First Seniors Lunch
Nov 9 Fellowship Breakfast
Nov 9 Alzheimer Café
Nov 14, 15, 16 Care Minister Training I 
Nov 22-23 Chapel Conference 2019
Nov 24 Soup, Share & Pray with Bill & Janice Dyck
Nov 27 Fall Business Meeting


Onion Lake Mission Trip

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A First Baptist Church Mission Team was recently privileged to participate in a mission trip to Onion Lake Cree Nation Territory. The team was made up of myself (Bob Swann), Thomas Nairne and Adrian Schmidt. 

The main purpose of this trip was to support Pastor Martin Naistus and the church that he is pastoring - Onion Lake Full Gospel Church (Log Church of Cree Nation). By the end of the trip, we were blown away by how much we have learned and received by just observing how Pastor Martin and the church serve the community. 

We started the day with a maintenance project of the log church building. We sealed the gaps in between logs using sealant to block out wind and rain. By noon, we headed out to different places with Pastor Martin, ministering to different groups of people. We visited a lady and her family in need of prayer at the hospital at Lloydminster, prayed for a couple who have just lost everything when their home burnt down and visited a senior lady at a care facility near the health center on Onion Lake. Later one evening, we were able to spend time with a men's discipleship group, 40km north of Onion Lake. We shared testimonies and stories over a campfire from 7pm till midnight!  

We are very blessed by the privilege to serve alongside Pastor Martin. He is a man who walks with the Holy Spirit daily. He serves everybody. The way he does ministry and hands out grace is overwhelming to watch. I don't know if I have ever seen such love and grace in action. He taught us to come back home and offer grace to anyone in need. I almost wanted to say that we know that we don't know the deep needs of Onion Lake Cree Nation and that is why we came alongside to serve with Pastor Martin.  

There are a few ways that we could pray for the Onion Lake Full Gospel Church:

  • Pray for the youth of Onion Lake.

  • Pray for people in the church to come around Pastor Martin to take up some of the ministry work.

  • Pray that builders will help take care of the log church building.

  • Praise God for the support Pastor Martin gets from his family. Together they are real servants of God! 

Bob Swann
Minister of Mission

Posted by Bob Swann

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