2019 AGM Pastor's Commentary

Monday, March 25, 2019

I achieved a milestone in service as lead pastor. It was February 1, 2019 that I began receiving congratulatory remarks from my LinkedIn network.

“Congratulations on your work anniversary! ‘Dave Long is celebrating seven years at Calvary North Bay (CPT).’”

January 15, 2012, is the date I signed the ministry agreement with CPT. I remember the day I came for the meet and greet and to preach the call. I also keenly remember the Sunday morning in July the marks the Induction Service chaired by the Western Ontario District.  You know how one thing leads to another.  I started to do the math: I have served as a Pastor with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada for over 24 years.

It has been a privilege to serve the Lord in full-time vocational ministry in a local church in a variety of pastoral roles.

I would like to take this opportunity to publicly to express my appreciation to the Lord and you the membership of CPT. There are too many volunteers to mention by name. So many of you have demonstrated your faithfulness to the Lord in both service and sacrifice through the ministry of CPT.  Many of you have genuinely endeavored to exemplify the vision, mission, and values we set out seven years ago.

I want to personally thank Brian Chute for six years of faithful service on the Leadership Board. You gave special attention to building maintenance and our renovation project. Brian, you are an exemplar of servant leadership (Together we serve).

I would also like to thank Aaron Kennedy for his service on the Leadership Board as board secretary. I want to thank you for your wisdom and willingness to serve in “unique” situations. Your people and management skills are well suited to the promotion you have achieved in your professional life.

I would also like to thank the others that have served on the CPT Leadership Board including Matthew Clarke (board treasurer), Sue Rogerson-Martin, Becky Hughes and Ade Olusanya.

I would also like to thank Pastor Lisa Long for her sacrificial service to the ministry of CPT. Her reports in the 2019 ABM reflect only a portion of the work she does throughout the year. Not only does she, in a pastoral way participate in the life of the church, but she also extends the influence of CPT into our community through the various outreach efforts she leads and the numerous boards and committees she serves on. Her ministry position reflects both discipleship and missional emphasis.

As the lead pastor of CPT, I intend for this exercise (this address) to be a function of group discernment. I hope to identify how CPT is aligning with our vision and highlight potential growth areas. Tonight, I focus on our Vision — a three-part Confessional Statement.

Confession 1: God is AT work in the world
I have been encouraged by the number of members (and adherents) who have embodied living out a faith persuaded by God’s relentless faithfulness; a discernment disposition, linked to what we describe as the Colossians 4:2 ethic, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”

It is too easy to be dragged down by worldly pessimism. One that downplays dilutes and deflects responsibility for faith in God’s faithfulness. Like Paul, we intend that CPT be given to post prayer watchfulness and gratitude. It is being on the lookout for what God IS doing.
It is easy to identify those on the look-out for what God IS doing. They are those that pray and BELIEVE TOGETHER. Invariably, those who pray and BELIEVE TOGETHER, DISCOVER God’s faithfulness. Still more of us (WE) must carry out the TOGETHERNESS I discern God has called of us.

But our VISION of things is not just discerning that God IS at work somewhere out there in the world; it includes an optimism that “God IS working IN us.”

Confession 2: God IS working IN us
This optimism must produce a similar prayerful watchfulness and gratitude. We confess that we are a people pliable to the sanctifying work of the Spirit. In other words, our discernment is also a “look-in” at what God is doing.

While maturity and perfection are synonyms in scripture, the signs of maturity I am on the look for is the process of God at work perfecting us. We have struggled with how to recognize (discern and affirm) maturation. We need to find ways to measure this kind of Spiritual growth.  This past Sunday, I intentionally shared the Five Vital Signs of Spiritual growth at CPT. We need to be able to answer: Are we giving “IN us TOGETHER” access to God, through the tried and true practices of the Christian faith? Have we given ourselves to the work of holiness that comes with the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in our lives?

An anointed life is one that embraces the “disciplines of the faith” in step with the Holy Spirit.

But it is not just a) God at work out there, or b) God at work in us, it also involves c) “God working THROUGH us.”

Confession 3: God IS working THROUGH us
God working through us is the acid test of community faithfulness! If we are convinced of God’s faithfulness to accomplish His good purposes in this world which includes the continual sanctifying and re-forming work of the Spirit in our lives (individually), will we not then give ourselves to the privilege of Christ at work through US (TOGETHER)? If the answer is yes, the key to BELIEVING this is the capacity to discern that God’s work IN us is with remainder. In other words, significant enough, large enough, abundant enough to transform both you and those around you through your witness (SERVE & TELL).

As it relates to these three levels of discernment, my role over the last seven years has been one of prophetically “calling forth” the HOPE (faith and love) required to inform this VISION…our confession as a church -- God is AT work in the world + God is working IN us + God is working THROUGH us.  

Now back to the LinkedIn congratulatory wishes at seven years of service. A colleague of mine, a church consultant, said to me something like this: “Congrats Dave! Seven years. You have just arrived at the place of maximum effectiveness.”

I didn’t know how to feel about her ‘words of encouragement.’ As I risked unpacking her words, I discerned the implications to be: a) we know the systems we have worked hard to put in place (i.e., best practices), and b) we have experience with the gifts and growth areas of CPT. This knowledge furnishes our potential forward.

What does my friend know about church life? In my estimation, enough to be a trustworthy voice for my life and ministry.[1] So, what do her words mean to me?
  “You have sight enough to work out the vision on mission according to our values.”
 
Since that day in class, I have been in prayer about what this means for CPT in 2019. I believe the Lord dropped a text of scripture into my heart in this regard; a metaphor for our journey towards increased faithfulness.
  Mark 8:22-26
  22They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man's eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, "Do you see anything?"
  24He looked up and said, "I see people; they look like trees walking around."
  25Once more Jesus put his hands on the man's eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. 26Jesus sent him home, saying, "Don't even go into the village."

  At a leadership level, we are going to unpack this “word-picture” (spiritual discernment and theological reflection).
  I BELIEVE a significant part of the first seven years is like Mark 8:22-24.
  The Vital Signs of Faithfulness at CPT:
  • Growth in my love for the body of Christ at Calvary. (TOGETHER)
  • Growth in my intimacy with God. (BELIEVE)
  • Growth in my faithfulness to His Call. (DISCOVER)
  • Growth in my service to God through others. (SERVE)
  • Growth in my concern for those who lack a living relationship with Christ. (TELL)
 
 In pursuit of verses Mark 8:25-26 (i.e., clarity) concerning our faithfulness:
  2019
 
  • AS I have mentioned from the pulpit, completing the new entrance is a spiritual hurdle we must overcome.  When we do, I believe we will have achieved a faithfulness benchmark moving forward.
  
  • Unlike some of my colleagues in search of staff, we have many candidates who have submitted their resume. Please pray that God’s grants me wisdom in choosing the next candidate for our Family Ministries Pastor: Children and Youth.
  
  • Bring in 5 Smooth Stones Consulting (Ltd) to the Muskoka Section Pastor’s meeting for ministry development.
  
  • Visit a couple of benchmark churches [3] (i.e., Jay Davis @ Mapleview Community Church).
  
  • I will be investigating different elders board models and implementing an appropriate structure to our context at CPT.
  
  • Invite a few key speakers to contribute to the life of CPT in line with our vision, mission, and values faithfulness goals as a church. The speakers will work in conjunction with our “in earnest efforts” to have regular catalyst meetings (3-4 per year).
    • Catalyst = Consecrate, Communicate, Collaborate, Create!
    • Catalyst: together eliciting (occasioning) Spirit directed action and change.

  I conclude with this: In my devotions today, I came across the following quote,

 "Joshua set his heart to obey God and the days were not long enough for his battles. God did not hasten his victory He lengthened his days." Charles Spurgeon

Heavenly Father, your will be done.
Rev. David Long
Lead Pastor
Calvary North Bay (CPT)
 
   [1] At present, Heather is analyzing data from a survey filled out by 512 churches across Canada from 14 denominations; sifting through the findings of 5 church case studies from five different traditions, in partial fulfilment of her DPT and life calling.

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