Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Every Place You Set Your Foot

There are dried out maple leaves on the mantle of my office fireplace. I collected them on a prayer walk at Queens Park in October of 2008.  Our ministry board and a few friends came to Ontario to launch Leading Influence Ontario.    After the launch celebration we went to Queens Park and did a prayer walk around the perimeter of the building.  We asked God to give us every place we set our foot believing that He would grant us favour and blessing in Ontario.  We had great faith, hopes and dreams.   The leaves were a memento of our time there.  

Things did not turn out as we had hoped and shortly after we started, we chose to withdraw.  Sometimes things don’t work out like you expect.  The leaves stayed on my mantle as a reminder of where we had been, what we had prayed and where we believed we would go again.  In the meantime, we strengthened BC and launched Alberta and Saskatchewan.

This fall our board formally approved a change in my role giving me the freedom to take on the challenge of launching Ontario.  I booked my first flight for late November, exactly 7 years and 1 month after I gathered those leaves.

I was more than a bit excited as I walked through the front door of Queens Park on Monday morning for my first set of meetings knowing that it was a new day and that rather than being outside praying for open doors, I was inside watching them open.  Over the course of the week , I walked many halls and through many doors and deep in my heart was the constant prayer that God would give me every place I set my foot!

We have great faith for what God has in His heart for Ontario’s leaders.  We are confident that as we reach leaders, we can shape Canada’s largest province one step at a time.  Thanks for praying for us and with us!

Across the Provinces....

We have some exciting changes happening within Leading Influence!  From West to East, here’s what’s happening.

Pastor Jason Goertzen has officially joined our team in BC and will be taking the lead role at the BC Legislature in the 2016.  Jason has been interested in our work for some time and has spent the last half of 2015 job shadowing Tim and building relationships with BC MLAs.  He is being well received and finding great favour.  We are excited about the possibilities as Jason takes on this new opportunity.

Jason is married to Christine and serves a campus pastor with LifeTree Church here in Victoria.

Pastor Murray Coughlan continues to serve as our chaplain in Alberta.  Murray continues to find open doors and a warm reception to his ministry at the Alberta Legislature.  Most of his success has come through cold-calling new MLAs after the election, introducing himself and building relationships.  Murray’s hard work has resulted in the development of a strong network in Alberta.  We are very grateful for Murray’s hard work and willingness to serve in this way. 

When Murray isn’t at work, he enjoys riding his Victory motorcycle in the summer.  In the winter, he thinks warm thoughts and wishes it was summer! 

We have bittersweet news coming out of Saskatchewan.  Barry Berglund has announced that he would like to retire after the upcoming election.  Barry has been a tremendous pioneer for us and has done an exceptional job of establishing the ministry in Regina.  We will miss him.

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Scott Francis will be joining our team in the New Year to take on the role of chaplain at the Saskatchewan Legislature.  Scott has recently completed his doctoral studies in leadership at Gonzaga University and will be a great fit in Regina.  Scott is married to Janelle and they have two children.  He is also an Executive Coach, podcaster (LeaderFM) and volunteer firefighter. 

He’s got a professional picture, but we really think the firefighter picture shows off his movie star good looks! 

Tim’s role in Leading Influence is changing from ministry delivery to ministry development. As part of that new role, he will be launching our work in Ontario at Queens Park, mentoring and coaching our chaplain team across the country and seeking new opportunities to both resource and grow Leading Influence into a strong presence within the leadership community of our nation.  It’s a huge challenge filled with opportunities and possibilities to impact our nation in significant ways. 

Be sure to read: Everywhere Your Place Your Foot Article for more info on Ontario.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Oops... He Showed Up Again!

I'm convinced that Jesus has no time for decorum and protocol.  His entire history underscores that He is the Master of the Unusual, Unconventional and Unexpected!  Don't count on Jesus to play by the rules other than the ones He decides on!  Here's a case in point.... 

A few weeks ago, I attended a Christmas 'Light Up' event.  For the most part, everything was as it always is.  A gracious host, several speakers bringing greetings, 2 choirs and then the big countdown to the moment the lights came on.  

I enjoyed the speeches, even the inclusive one that reminded the children and adults in attendance that 'there are many celebrations' during this time of year. (Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and others).  The message was that we should be respectful of other celebrations.  I don't disagree at all.  The same freedom that gives me the privilege of celebrating Christmas full on, is also freely extended to my Jewish friends who celebrate Hanukkah and those who celebrate Kwanzaa and the many other celebrations that coincide late in the year.  The reminder ended with 'Happy Holidays' and then things got interesting...

It was announced that the choir would sing 'Go Tell It On the Mountain' and that it would be a sing-along number.  My intended subtle smile at the irony of the moment turned into a full blown grin bordering on suppressed belly laugh as I listened to several hundred people led by an amplified choir joyfully singing 'Go Tell It On The Mountain That Jesus Christ is Born!' My favorite was the man several rows in front of me who was full on singing, head back, and arms waving as he sang the verses and chorus never missing a beat!  

I LOVE this stuff!!!

I'm tired of the church fussing about red coffee cups, the never ending stream of 'share' if you believe that 'Jesus is the Reason For the Season' or 'Keep Christ in Christmas' because I have come to the conclusion that Jesus doesn't need our help to take centre stage!  He takes it when He pleases and how He pleases!  He breaks the rules to suit His purposes! 

While we might share the timing with other faiths and groups, this is the season we remember that God became flesh, that God was born of a virgin and that God interrupted regularly scheduled programming for His own special event.  This is a season of miracles and surprises.  Expect Him to surprise you this season!

Have a great Christmas!