Making Connections April 2023

What’s Happening in April!

CBWC Assembly Registration Closes this Month: Early Bird Deadline April 14, Regular April 28. 

Discipleship Culture Masterclass with Daniel McPhillips April 18. Sign up free here.

SERVE Earlybird Registration Deadline: April 30. 

Theology for the Ordinary Book Club: Discussing Bryan Stevenson‘s Just Mercy, Wednesday, May 3rd at 6 pm PST. Email to RSVP.

Early Bird Registration for Assembly 2023 is April 14th!

We can’t wait to see you at CBWC Assembly this year! Step 1: Register online Step 2: Book Accommodations.

The schedule is now available! Check out all the info at

Dying to Self—An Easter Reflection

By Faye Reynolds

Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to Your love, remember me— for You, Lord, are good.  Psalm 25:7

We are entering the season of reflection as we head toward Good Friday; the day that we nail to the cross of Jesus any sense of privilege, entitlement, self-righteousness, judgmental thoughts, arrogance, pride…the list goes on…which is why we need forty days to reflect upon it. One theology that has always bothered me is the sense that Jesus died so that we would not have to die—when Jesus specifically said to take up His cross, His death, and His suffering, and follow Him all the way to Calvary.

Lynn Cole, Brownfield AB

This is what it costs us daily to be a true disciple of our Lord in the hopes of being “filled with all the fullness of God.” It is this dying to self that raises us to a new understanding of abundant life that will take us all the way into eternity. We are not very good at this, however, which is why we need a bucket-load of grace and forgiveness as also revealed most fully in the cross.

Jesus “gets us” way more than we really believe He does. He knows that it isn’t our inclination to embrace suffering or to put another’s needs before our own. It isn’t easy for us to live as a minimalist and give the rest away. It is more socially acceptable to hold a vengeful spirit, ensuring another would pay for their mistakes, rather than to embrace them with the costly gift of forgiveness. My fingers want to type that it would be more “natural”—though I have to believe that it was not God’s original design, but a result of separation from our Creator when we were made to be fully dependent upon His infinite love beyond our finite perspectives. And that is why He calls us to “repent”—to return to full dependence by putting independence to death and be reconciled into His heart of love and live out of that love and not our own cheap imitation.

That is why our witness to the incredible gift of Jesus Christ is not about being “good” people, for only our Father in heaven is truly good. If there is any goodness to be found, it will be in our “Christ-dying” imitation as those willing to enter into the pain and suffering of others and die to self, lest we “gain the world but lose our soul. This is a lot to ponder through the Easter Season, and it is baby steps for us all—but it is our calling, if we are to reflect the true Gospel and save our world from itself. Lord, grant us Your grace and mercy that we might have the courage to die to our definition of life and be born anew into Your glorious Presence.

By grace alone,

Faye Reynolds

 Partner Spotlight: Carey Theological College

Obedience is Not Enough

Rev. Dr. Colin Godwin, President, Carey Theological College

For many years, I felt the key to “successful” Christian ministry lay in the preparation and the passion for that ministry. I thought that if I studied, nurtured a worshipping heart, prayed, sought to be holy in all that I did, and obeyed my Lord in all He commanded, then God would bless. Obedience on every level (in my personal life, in my marriage and family) was the key to the enterprise.

It was during my first years as a missionary church planter in Belgium that the Lord began to change my perspective on Christian obedience, for it was at that time that I saw the stark contrast between my small acts of obedience and the unexpected spiritual harvest that sometimes resulted. By this I mean to say that I found it difficult to believe that my own obedience would bring about such wonderful results. In several cases, I was genuinely surprised by the conversion of an individual to the gospel, and even more surprised by that person’s spiritual fervour for Christ. I saw bodies healed, relationships restored, and lives transformed. Clearly there was more to it than my own obedience. After all, I had been obedient before and such things did not happen. What made the difference?

In Ezekiel 37:1-14, God asks the prophet to prophesy to the bones, which he does, and then, because of his obedience, an amazing thing happens.

“And as I was prophesying there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.”

Wow! What an astonishing moment for Ezekiel! God had knitted these dead bones together when Ezekiel prophesied to them. But his obedience was not enough. There was no life in the bones. Only God could put life in the bones. Only God could send His Spirit to give life to what is dead.

My obedience is not enough. It is not enough to preach the Gospel, teach a course, preach a sermon, comfort a friend, or lead our denominational seminary. God’s Spirit needs to be released by God Himself. It is one task to stand before the dead and proclaim the Word of Life. It is quite another to stand before the Author of Life and summon the Breath of Life in the dead. So, we must obey, and we must pray. We must preach, and we must beseech God to pour out His Spirit.

Where does that leave us? It leaves those of us who are sent with the words of Jesus in our hearts, “Apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15.5). I can obey God’s command to serve and to speak, but I cannot breathe life into dead hearts. It also leaves the senders with a wonderful task: to stand before the Author of life and ask Him to send His Spirit to bring life.

After more than a decade of planning and preparation, do you know that we are (finally) preparing to break ground this summer and begin the construction of our new building? We’re so excited—but, after all, it’s just a building. We need God to make it more than that. Please pray that God will breathe life into this project so that more students might hear the Good News and grow in their walk with Christ.

Do you know that Carey, like many seminaries, struggled to keep its doors open during COVID? We did our best and are thankful to God for His faithfulness. Please pray for God to breathe new life and health, both financial and otherwise, so that we may continue to serve Him in your midst.

Do you know that approximately half of all CBWC seminary students in North America are enrolled at Carey? Unfortunately, the grand total of all CBWC seminary students in North America is only about 30 students. Please pray for God to work through His Spirit to call more men and women into pastoral ministry from our church family.

We can obey, but only God can bring life and renewal. Let us pray for one another and for the churches and leaders of the CBWC, that God would send His Spirit and breathe life into our acts of obedience as we seek to honour Him.

Thanks to the generous support of faithful donors who share our vision, Carey has been able to extend the tuition-free start to include all 8 of our foundational courses in Bible, Theology, and Church History. These courses are completely transferable to a Diploma, Master of Arts, or Master of Divinity Degree. If you have always wanted to begin theological studies and hesitated due to the financial strain, now is the time to dive deeper into the word of God. For more information, visit or email We look forward to walking alongside you.

Mountain Standard Regional Newsletter

April 2023

Hope Farm Healing Centre—Bringing Hope to People & the Planet

By Jenna Hanger

In the beautiful Cowichan Valley in BC stands a beautiful 35-acre farm property. An ample orchard of 150 trees brings a harvest of fruit each year. Market gardens grow a variety of vegetables, and this year a crop of flowers is planned. Four hundred chickens keep a steady stream of eggs ready to be collected each day. Two large greenhouses, a variety of buildings including barns and a chapel, also grace the property. 15 acres are dedicated to hay crops. There’s a large garlic field that brought in 15 000 cloves last year, and ducks and geese flitter in groups around the pond’s edges. A flow of fresh spring water feeds the irrigation system, allowing the property to be self-contained and natural.

It is a place of peace. A place of production and work. The abundant produce and serene atmosphere are the product of many, many prayers prayed ever since the founders of The Mustard Seed Street Church in Victoria, BC purchased the farm in 2006. It is called Hope Farm Healing Centre.

Its initial purpose was for food security for the local community, and for an Addiction Recovery Program. Today, it has grown into an extraordinary community outreach and a place of restoration.

Brent and Lisa Cooper moved to Hope Farm in 2019, one year after losing their son to addiction. They initially were asked to spend three months helping tend to things while some programs were in transition. Now, four years later, Brent and Lisa are still there, enthusiastically dedicated to the work the Lord is doing—both in the land and in people.

Their leadership on the farm is very thoughtful and prayerful. Brent gets up early every morning and spends three to four hours praying for everything that comes upon the land and that is in the land. Their focus is on tending to the people who come to the farm needing recovery, to the community they live in, and to the land itself.

“Our hearts are that when people come to the property, they walk in to a place that feels different and has an impact upon their spirits. I pray it becomes a ‘pasture beside still waters’ for people,” Brent said.

For the first few years when the farm first began, they had eleven beds used for the Addiction Recovery Program. Folks who came could help with the farm’s operations as part of their recovery.

Just last year, Brent and Lisa had the opportunity to run a different sort of program for people who are on permanent disability, but wanted to be trained so they could potentially work part time. Through the program—which ran for a year starting in the fall of 2021—they had eight people come and learn how to garden, prune and take care of animals.

The change they saw in the people who took part was incredible. Science has long ago proven the benefits of working in soil, and Brent and Lisa can testify to the power of having one’s hands in the earth.

“I think God has made us [with the need] to contribute. And it does something to watch something grow and be a part of that whole process. You can watch these people—who were ages 20-63—you can see the transition, the change as they felt the touch of the Spirit and the touch of God’s creation,” Brent said.

“It’s been a phenomenal year of being able to serve people,” Lisa said, adding that during COVID, the farm was one of the few places people could drive to in order to get their produce, and it became a place where many lonely people came for interaction and comfort.

Lisa shared the farm has a major impact on the community. Not only do they have opportunities to supply people with food, but they can share about addictions recovery, relate to and comfort those who have lost family members to addictions, and support many local charity organizations. Not only that, but many people—farmers included—have remarked on the amazing produce the farm can grow. Another testimony of the amazing work God is doing at the farm.

Another exciting venture Hope Farm is undertaking is taking part in cutting-edge research that has the potential to dramatically impact Climate Change.

A few years ago, Brent and Lisa started experimenting with Biochar––a charcoal-like material that is produced from materials such as forest residues, grass, etc. This product has several benefits. The Biochar is first inoculated, and then it slowly releases its nutrients into the soil. This process is termed ‘regenerative agriculture’ as it increases the soil food web. Biochar doesn’t leech nutrients out of the soil during adverse rain effects, and it allows farmers to not have to fertilize their fields for several years.

Most exciting of all, though, it sequesters carbon from the atmosphere. Experts predict that if all the farms were to use it, it would drastically lower CO2 levels and positively alter the climate change emergency.

Brent and Lisa used a large amount in their fields last year and saw an incredible increase in the production of their plants. This year, they have partnered with a soil specialist to conduct studies. Their goal is to have Biochar available for local farmers and gardens to use, and to spread awareness of the incredible benefits of using it.

This initiative is very important to Brent and Lisa, who passionately believe that Christians should be at the forefront of caring for creation.

“It is vitally important and Christians should be leading the way. We are called to be stewards of the earth,” Lisa said.

“What God has called us to do here on the farm is to leave a legacy for generations when it comes to addictions and supporting people with addictions. But more than that, we were given stewardship of this land.”

For more information on the incredible things God is doing through Hope Farm Healing Centre, and The Mustard Seed Street Church, visit their website HERE.

April is a fantastic time to stop and reflect on the role the church can have when it comes to Creation Care. Earth Day is happening on April 22nd. We want to encourage all our churches to take time this month to thoughtful and prayerful consider what more we can do to take care of this amazing planet we get to call home.

For more information and resources, visit the Justice and Mercy web page HERE.

Welcoming the Stranger

How a small church in Calgary is having a huge impact

By Jenna Hanger

Five years ago, when the Syrian Refugee Crisis was unfolding, Prime Minister Trudeau announced he was going to bring 25 000 Syrian Refugees into Canada. Around that time, Pastor Greg Butt from Northmount Baptist Church, Calgary, and a few other pastors visited Lebanon to see for themselves what God was doing there.

This trip would prove to be a catalyst for the small congregation of Northmount Baptist Church, who historically had been a mostly Caucasian, elderly congregation. Now, 70% of the members are new to Canada. The heart for outreach for immigrants and supporting refugees has become a focus of the church, and things are picking up steam.

In Lebanon, Pastor Greg had a conversation with a church that was about the same size as his. He asked them what they were doing to help the refugee crisis, and was shocked to learn this church of 100 people was helping 2 000 families (about 25 000 people).

“I came back from that thinking we have got to do more than just ticking the box of refugees, and helping one family for a year and saying we are done. We need to make it a lifestyle. Especially since 1 out of every 100 people in the world are displaced from their place of origin,” Pastor Greg said.

“Canada is an immigrating country. We have 400 000 coming every year. The government wants to bump that up to 500 000. 10% of those are refugees. The need isn’t slowing down.”

They started by sponsoring one Syrian family jointly with two other churches from Calgary. A couple of years later, Pastor Greg received a random email from a missionary in Kazakstan who was desperately looking for help from Canadian churches to sponsor an Afghan family. Pastor Greg said if they could get help with the financials, they could get spots for them.

This was the beginning of a tidal wave of opportunities for Northmount Baptist Church. Through raising money and sponsoring this family, Pastor Greg met a man named Aziz, a seventy-one-year-old Afghan church planter living in California. Aziz knew the family being sponsored and contacted the church offering to help. A few months later, he asked for help for a family of eleven stuck in Delhi, India. Aziz offered to pay the financials for them, so Pastor Greg worked on getting them spots.

Aziz eventually moved to Calgary to be a part of Northmount Baptist Church, where he is now serving as an elder. The goal is to establish an Afghan church under Northmount’s leadership. Eventually, they hope to have an Afghan church in each quadrant of Calgary.

Soon, more and more connections and pleas for help were being made. Whenever there is an opportunity to help, and financials can be covered, Pastor Greg says sure and works to find them spots. They are now expecting another 50 Christian Afghan people to come to their church over the next two years.

“What is interesting is, as God is putting this situation on us, the government has said they are bringing 40 000 Afghans to Canada, and 7 000 of those are going to be dropped in Calgary. So, we have 7 000 Afghans coming to Calgary, no Afghan church—and at the same time, God brings up this church planter from California, to begin an Afghan church here,” Pastor Greg shared.

There are a few challenges the church faces as they look at the logistics of hosting so many new people. Housing is one of the main ones. With the influx of people coming to Calgary, and the house-building industry slowed, there aren’t enough houses to go around, and the price of rent is being driven up.

Pastor Greg asked if anyone in the Calgary area is willing and able to share their home (a senior citizen for example or a single person or couple), they would match them with a Christian family who would be more than willing to help share the responsibilities of living together.

Another way locals can help is by offering to drive folks around. For the first few weeks after a family lands, they need to be driven to several places to get all their paperwork in order. The church could also use a part-time intern to help with the refugee work and running the church.

Sponsoring refugees is something Pastor Greg feels strongly that every church should make into a lifestyle.

“Most churches have the capacity to do it, even if they don’t think they do. Many churches may not think they can do it, because they are busy doing other good things. But if it is offered, they may find there are people in their church who have a heart for people of other nationalities.”

Many folks think if they are from a rural community, it isn’t feasible to sponsor families. But Pastor Greg thinks there are many strengths a rural community can offer someone new to Canada.

“What I found with most immigrants is they are starved socially. Even in the big cities. For the first three months, they are overjoyed and feel like they have landed in heaven. After that, culture shock hits, and they feel very lonely. They miss home, they feel like they can’t get their own food… The costs are expensive, it’s very cold, there’s all those kinds of things. And if there is a strong community like there is in rural settings, that can help them through some of that. Many of them are very hard-working people, willing to do whatever.”

For more information on how you can be involved with sponsoring refugees, visit the Justice and Mercy web page HERE.

Jodi Spargur: Storyteller & Bridgebuilder

By Cailey Morgan

Throughout February and into March, CBWC’s Church Planting team made space on their blog to take us back in time and hear some early Baptist church planting stories that were new to most of us. Each week, a new episode of Re-membering: Indigenous Teachers of the Jesus Way podcast was released, asking questions like, do you think trauma and hardship are the only lessons to learn about early Indigenous Christian contact in Canada? What are we willing to learn from missed opportunities in the past? How can we respond differently today? What path of deeper wholeness are we being invited into as a result of having heard these stories?

Hosted by Jodi Spargur of Red Clover Initiatives, the podcast tells of the faithfulness, wisdom, generosity and ingenuity of Indigenous church planters, and grapples with missed opportunities that arose. All six 10-minute episodes are available on CBWC’s Church Planting Blog, or all in one player at

Jodi’s name may be familiar; she has spent many years as a support and resource for our churches hoping to engage in the work of healing, truth and reconciliation and as a facilitator of healthy partnerships between non-indigenous and Indigenous groups. Moving forward, we are excited to share that there have been increased opportunities for Red Clover Initiatives across Canada, and they will be coming alongside CBM as a ministry partner. This new connection will allow Jodi to work more freely with Canadian Baptists beyond our Western provinces and territories.

“My connections with Indigenous communities have broadened since I started,” says Jodi. “Interest in the work, fueled somewhat by initiatives we have undertaken here in Western Canada, has grown, and there are increased opportunities to work with our Canadian Baptist Partners across the country. I will continue to work with the CBWC as a part of that, and the CBWC will always be my home. I am always keen to engage in conversation about how we can facilitate learning and on-the-ground partnerships with any of our churches.”

To learn more about the work or to get in touch with Jodi, visit

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Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.