From the mainland of New Brunswick to the tip of Nova Scotia, God is doing spectacular things across Atlantic Canada, and THAT is something to celebrate. In a time that seems to be plagued by negative economic outlook, political troubles and war, it is easy to lose hope. In these times it is important to keep a firm grasp on the words of Jesus, as He said “In Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take courage; I have overcome the world!” In the face of a culture characterized by fear and pessimism, we do have hope; and as we see victories in churches all across Atlantic Canada, we have reason to celebrate!
In Moncton, New Brunswick, Hillside Baptist Church has been celebrating God’s work in their vibrant congregation. The church is thrilled to report 15% growth in attendance and a 5% increase in giving from last year, amidst the grand opening of their new three million dollar, 500 seat multipurpose auditorium. The team at Hillside Baptist has been excited to see not only greater financial generosity, but also people being added to their congregation weekly.
One of the faces behind the numbers is a woman who was diagnosed cancer and had no church connection. After experiencing the love of Christ in Hillside’s loving community, she went on to accept Jesus Christ. Just three months later, this same woman got to meet her Saviour face to face. Hillside continues to reach out into its community, having had 700 children and parents in their new building for a special Halloween event. The staff continue to strive for excellence, seeking outside church consultation and “asking God to reveal weaknesses so that we won’t hinder, create obstacles or slow God’s work moving forward”.
Further south in New Brunswick, God is blessing the ministry of RiverCross Church in Saint John, led by senior pastor Robert Nylen, as they seek to make disciples of all nations. Their Mandarin congregation continues to expand, as the church takes a step of faith in hiring an outreach pastor for the Mandarin-speaking community of Saint John. God is answering their prayers in spectacular ways! The testimony of one man in their church has him discovering the Bible in Hong Kong three months before moving to Saint John. He connected with RiverCross Church, where he gave his life to Christ after attending a camp meeting held by RiverCross Church at Kingswood University. He has now joined the growing number of Mandarin-speaking Christians at RiverCross Church. To God be the glory!
Roughly halfway between these two churches, in the small community of Apohaqui, God is up to some big things. God has been blessing the two campuses of Atlantic Community Church (ACC), led by Pastor Brent Foster. ACC has seen God do amazing work through their children and youth ministries, with a record VBS attendance of 130 students registered. With momentum building, the ministry is bursting at the seams! They are also seeking to reach out globally by adopting a Guatemalan village, where they have sent multiple teams to help alleviate poverty in a country struggling with political and economic instability.
Back at home, ACC is reaching out into their community. Their staff is excited about a new outreach called “Hope”, seeking to reach out to those struggling with mental health. As a congregation, they have adopted the mantra “we aren’t professionals, but we can be a place to listen”. With the continued success of their multisite campus in Hampton, they keep on asking: “How can we take a step of faith and give our church sacrificially to the community?” ACC is constantly seeking to better serve the community by asking tough questions, in search of honest answers.
God has been on the move in amazing ways in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, under the leadership of Rev. Kirby Spivey at New Beginnings Ministries. On September 11th, 2016, New Beginnings launched their second location and within the first month averaged 120 adults, with twenty people coming to know Christ for the first time. Breaking the stigma that launching a new location could stunt growth at the first campus, God has blessed New Beginning’s step of faith by sustaining attendance and growing both campuses. “God is adding to our numbers daily," says Rev. Kirby Spivey. Rev. Spivey is excited to celebrate that after round table mentoring and church consultations from The Leadership Institute, giving is up 30% this year, and the small group ministry grew by 122%. With lay leaders being strategically placed to make the most of every opportunity the Lord provides this church, God is continuing to bless New Beginnings with changed lives through their intentional prayer and evangelism strategies.
A.J. Plazier, lead pastor of Yarmouth Wesleyan Church, is thrilled to celebrate the big things God is doing in the small town of Yarmouth. As Plazier stepped into the role of Lead Pastor during this past year, the church maintained and grew in giving and attendance. He stated that “God is blessing through generosity- people are giving both their time and finances like crazy." Bridges are being built with the community through meetings and ministry opportunities with the RCMP, military and city politicians in Yarmouth. Yarmouth Wesleyan Church is truly reaching a multigenerational and diverse demographic with its healthy and growing seniors and young adult’s ministry. God is blessing and giving Yarmouth Wesleyan a heart to “do things in a way that reaches the unchurched," as they pray and dream for God to do spectacular things in the Yarmouth/South-Shore area.
These are just a few celebrations of many stories of how God is moving in Atlantic Canada. Amid a pessimistic outlook from culture, we can celebrate what God is doing to transform the culture! Across denominations and demographics, God is moving in powerful ways, and we pray and believe for even more victories to celebrate as churches seek to do everything for good and for God! Praise Him!