Lessons from Fatherhood
by Tim Kerber, Pastor at Leduc Community Baptist Church
Before my wife Rachelle and I ever had children, I would have happily told you that I wanted six kids. This coming weekend, we will get to watch the first of our two children graduate from high school. Yes, we only had two kids, and we do have friends who refer to me as “a quitter!”
Our first child, a son, was born in the summer of 2004. I remember the day Ty came into our world, and how overwhelming it was in all the right ways. There are few moments in my life that have been as profound. But it would be only 8 weeks later that, on a Tuesday morning at 10:30am, I was called and asked to come to the local hospital where I knew he and his mom had gone that morning for an ultrasound. I walked into radiology, instantly aware that something was wrong, and by supper time that day we were being ushered into a permanent room on Unit 4E2 at the Stollery Children’s Hospital—Pediatric Oncology. Ty was officially diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma a few days later.
For the next year and a half, we would learn a lot about chemotherapy drugs, nephrology, pediatric intensive care, CT scans, and how families walked this kind of journey. We would miss out on lots of “regular firsts” that new parents talk about and share on their Facebook stories.
But during that time, God was working. We were blessed by a church family at Leduc Community Baptist Church that loved us, prayed for us, and offered grace and practical help in an unending, variety of ways. We were also amazed by the broader Christian community—and sometimes complete strangers—who encouraged us, fasted for us, and interceded for us in this difficult season.
In the fall of 2005, we were told Ty was in remission. It was a wonderful day! We were told to “go live your life.” So, we sold our home, began building an acreage, and found out we were expecting our second child. In the spring of 2006 Ty relapsed, needing more treatment, we moved into the country, and Ashlyn was born. As I recall, that was a tiring year… I’m not sure my dear wife even remembers much of it. Ty would undergo one more cycle of chemo.
Things would however get better, and we would move into a long season of doing what regular families do; trying to raise our kids to the best of our ability. When they were small, it was about good sleep habits and potty training. This transitioned to teaching them to use their words, and to understand what was acceptable behavior and what was not. There were also lots of trying not to laugh, and “being the parent” moments too! We taught them to pray, read them Bible stories, and did our best to integrate faith and life together.
With Ty Samuel, the years have been full of adventure and lots of hockey. I once said I wanted to raise confident kids, and that he is! Sometimes I joke that what I meant was competent. Ty and I have shared a love for hockey that I believe began in a prayer I prayed long ago. “Dear Lord, please give me the chance to see this boy play hockey.” Just a few months ago, with my emotions close to the surface I watched him play his final game of U18 AA. I can no longer keep up to him, and he stick handles around me like I’m a pylon. As he graduates, Ty is looking for full-time work as an electrical apprentice.
With Ashlyn Sara, the years have been every bit as wonderful in their own unique ways. Ashlyn is maybe more like her dad in personality than her brother. I relate to her competitive nature, and passion for life. She might be the funniest kid I’ve ever met, quick and perceptive. She has a giggle that even now melts my heart. There is also justice in her that seems to be leading her in the direction of law enforcement. For many years, she was on a competitive cheer team, but now spends her time crushing girls on the rugby field, or “hittin’ dingers” on her softball team. She enjoys describing herself (with a silly grin) as a multisport athlete. Ashlyn is looking forward to her second summer as an LTD at Gull Lake. She, too, is growing up fast.
Yes, I am a proud dad.
Two things stand out to me as I reflect on Fatherhood.
First, the experience has led me to understand and appreciate in new ways, God as my Father. We sing songs these days that speak of this. It is rather overwhelming when I consider how deeply I want the best for my children, and realize that this is a reflection of how God feels deeply for me. At the end of The Blessing, the song repeats, “He is for you, He is for you, He is for you… Perhaps the writer understood that people like me need to sing it over and over again to actually get it. The Old Testament prophets speak to this with the kind of emotion I want to convey. Zephaniah 3:17 says: For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears.[b] He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
Second, more than most things, being a parent has changed me, sometimes by force. I have learned that these two are not mine, and that my call is to take care of them on His behalf. I have learned to be more patient, to lay down my own desires, to speak less and listen more. I have learned that quality time needs quantity time. I have learned my timing isn’t that important, and not to care so much about what other people think. I have learned I hate disciplining my kids, even when it’s what’s best. I have learned that just because I think I’m not yelling, doesn’t mean I’m not. I have learned to say I’m sorry, and to ask for forgiveness. I have learned to pray without ceasing. I have learned that the most important thing I can do is to show my kids that I continue to be changed by the work of Christ in me.
I realize that as I wrap up I haven’t said anything about being a dad who’s a pastor. There have been times I have felt bad that my kids have to listen to me on Sundays, seeing as they have to listen to me the other six days. I also know they don’t like explaining to new friends what their dad does… Is he a priest? Does he only wear black? Does he pray all day? But mostly, I believe being P.K.’s has been a privilege that I hope one day they come to see in full. This has little to do with me, but lots to do with a church who has loved them, and continues to—just as they are, with little expectation. They are fortunate to have many wise and genuine voices that speak truth into their lives. My father-in-law likes to joke with us, “You know pastor’s kids are the worst, eh?” While not true, I do believe that even if our kids were really difficult, our church would continue to love and walk with them.
We talk a lot about raising kids, but there are many days when it feels like they are raising me. I am not always sure who’s taught who more. And yet I wouldn’t change it for the world. There is nothing quite like parenting to tangibly reveal the grace and goodness of God. I came across a quote by Frank Pittman that sums this up well: “Fathering is not something perfect men do, but something that perfects the man.”
I am grateful for this amazing experience, and for my Father in heaven who continues to gently and faithfully lead me.
30 The Lord your God is going ahead of you. He will fight for you, just as you saw Him do in Egypt. 31 And you saw how the Lord your God cared for you all along the way as you traveled through the wilderness, just as a father cares for His child. Now He has brought you to this place.’ Deuteronomy 1:30-31
Assembly 2022 Moments
Partner Spotlight – CBWC Foundation
Who You Gonna Call?
You are a pastor, just doing your thing when a drunk driver totals your car. Ouch! You are OK, but it’s the last thing you needed. Your insurance covers the car, and after the dust settles, your car loan is paid off; but now you need a car. Insurance leaves you with a small down payment, but you need a car loan at a time when interest rates are rising and used cars are expensive and hard to find. You need a convenient, price-friendly way to buy the car if you find one. Who do you call?
This was the situation a few weeks ago for a CBWC pastor, and they called the Foundation. We were able to get a loan approved in a hurry, with a favorable interest rate and many generous payback features. The pastor found a car and the deal was put together. He is back serving in his pastoral role, and we are fulfilling our role in supporting CBWC ministry.
The CBWC Foundation exists to support ministry in the CBWC. We have a mandate to help pastors with grants for education and for appropriate loans when necessary. If you have a situation like this pastor did, give us a call. We will help if we can. It’s what we do.
Faye Reynolds – 21 Years of Service
Faye has served as an important part of the Executive Staff for many years. Her willingness to take on new roles and adapt has been an example to all. Faye will carry on with the CBWC in all the papers and Bible Studies she has written in the past, but her voice today will be incredibly missed by our team. Faye, we love you and wish God’s richest blessings upon you as you enter in this new season of life. Let the adventures begin!! – Rob Ogilvie, CBWC Executive Minister
After nearly 21 years serving on staff at CBWC, with many years serving various CBWC churches beforehand, Faye Reynolds is retiring from her official duties at the end of June.
Faye’s journey with CBWC started as a young child, having been born and reared in a CBWC church in Saskatoon. After becoming a teacher, Faye decided she wanted to pursue a Master’s in Christian Education. She enrolled in Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1982 and ended up in the three-year Master of Divinity program. It was during her time there when Faye met her future husband, Stephen.
After Faye was called to Bonavista Baptist Church in Calgary, AB, they became engaged. Faye ended up working part time for BLTS for 5 years while Stephen and she split duties at Bonavista. From there, they served at First Baptist Church, Calgary, then First Baptist in Pincher Creek, before eventually settling in Lethbridge.
During their time at Pincher Creek, Stephen was serving as the solo pastor, and Faye was volunteering. In 2000, Faye heard the CBWC was looking for a Director of Women’s Ministries. After attending a meeting, Faye realized she could do the job and accepted the half-time position in January 2001. Over the years, the position increased and by fall of 2005, Faye was invited to be on Executive Staff, her position changing to Director of Women’s and Intergenerational Ministries, and eventually morphing into Director of Ministries.
There have been many different aspects to Faye’s job. She has served on the CBM board for the past twenty years, been the liaison between CHAT Canada and CBWC for ten years, worked with the camps connecting the directors and troubleshooting, conducting exit interviews for pastors and coordinating the Ordination Preparation Workshop.
One aspect of Faye’s work, which has had a significant impact, is her role processing refugee applications, which she took over doing in 2018 and plans to continue to do after retirement.
Each year, the number of displaced persons continues to rise. UNHCR now estimates there are 100 million men, women and children displaced by violence, conflict and persecution world-wide. 26.4 million are considered refugees, 42% of which are children.
CBWC is a Sponsorship Agreement Holder and has been helping churches apply to sponsor refugees since the late 1970s. Faye’s job is to help churches submit the application to the government for private sponsorships or Government Assisted sponsorships. She is also required to ensure that churches are meeting all financial and settlement needs of the refugees. Each year, the government gives a certain number of refugees the CBWC can sponsor, and Faye does her best to fill each spot.
When it comes to the church’s role, Faye said not only is there a need to sponsor, but there is also a need to be hospitable and provide support systems for when people arrive.
“It’s part of our calling and a huge part of our witness to welcome the stranger. And in Canada, if there’s anything we got, it’s room. We are a vast country with a very small population. Plenty of room for people,” Faye said.
Not only does Canada have plenty of room, but Canada also benefits greatly from having refugees come and contribute to society. Statistics prove that the Canadian birth rate is in decline and immigration is key to our growth as a country. Within five years, refugees prosper and join Canada’s middle-class, with an unemployment rate close to that of Canadian-born citizens.
On top of keeping this important work going, in retirement Faye hopes to continue working on some personal writing, get involved with a few more social opportunities and continue leading worship at her church, as well as preaching on occasion.
When reflecting on her time with CBWC, Faye said there are many highlights, from traveling for mission trips and conferences to places like India, Nairobi, Jamaica, Washington and Oklahoma, to working with the various ministries with which she’s had the privilege of being involved.
In terms of the broader work of Executive Staff, Faye has enjoyed the writing aspect of her job and a particular joy has been working with pastors toward their ordination.
The biggest highlight, though, has always been the people. Faye has loved meeting people, not just people she works with, but all across Canada from all the opportunities CBWC brought her way. That part, she will greatly miss.
Jesus Gave His Church a Job…Part Two
By Shannon Youell
For about twenty-five years I have been exploring, reading, writing and talking about the non-discipleship crisis. Most everyone recognizes the crisis when we talk about it. Often, someone will offer a great new discipleship program that is sweeping through various locales around the globe, sending me the links to the person/groups that developed it. Good, thoughtful, laborious work has gone into most of them. There is much to glean, and I am so appreciative that others are tackling the crisis we find ourselves in. Continue reading on the Church Planting blog…
Changes to CBBenefits
Banff Pastors & Spouses Conference
Save the Date!
Theme: All Things New
Speakers: Dr. Anna Robbins, Dr. Joel Thiessen, Dr. Josh Coutts
Dates: November 7-10, 2022
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Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.