The Fear of Fear
By CBWC Mountain Standard Regional Minister, Dennis Stone
All of us are aware of what ‘fear’ is. We learn it as a child. At first it might have kept us close to our mothers. After experiencing pain in a few different ways, we learned to stay away from hot stoves, snarling dogs, dark spaces, or situations that would offend siblings. Overall, it might be safe to say that the emotion of fear has helped us, taught us, and protected us, so it is not in itself a bad emotion.
There is another level, however. In 2015 an article appeared in ‘Psychology Today’ by Gregg Henriques entitled, “Fear and the Fear of Fear.” The short article goes on to express how this can possibly be measured on an ‘anxiety sensitivity index’ (ASI). Further down in the article, it speaks of ‘affect phobia’, or the fear of negative feelings.
A question for church ministry coming out of this is, Does our preaching and teaching feed those who fall easily into the ‘fear of fear’? Do we cater more toward comfort and protectionism than toward faith in the face of adversity? It is much easier to cleave to what feels safe than to put ourselves into a place of the unknown, a place where fear might entangle us.
My grandparents came from Sweden in the early 1900s. This meant leaving family behind, knowing they would never return, crossing a country that spoke a foreign language, and setting up house in a culture largely unfamiliar to them. They knew no one and had to develop relationships from the ground up. It took courage and hope in a future that promised to be more exciting than their past.
The fear of fear can (and has) set back the ‘church’ quite severely. Where is the preaching on ‘go into all the world’? In our Western world church of today, we are far less likely as a whole to cross the street, to make friends in new places, to give out of resources that might pad our retirement, to leave our comfortable surroundings, or to welcome immigrants whose culture we do not understand. If we are waiting for society around us to welcome Christian truth openly, allowing us to feel safe in sharing… that time is not likely to come before Jesus does. The fear that holds us back from being or doing whatever the Lord wants us to be and do is paralyzing.
Scripture points out the ‘love casts out fear.’ We need to be more enveloped by Jesus’ love and have Him as our firm foundation. If fear is our foundation, or the fear of fear, we might be stuck for good…like in the concrete out of which many foundations are made. Let us break out of the mold that holds us back.
“God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” – 2 Timothy 1:7 NLT.
CBWC Mountain Standard Regional Minister
Hiring of pastors across the CBWC during COVID-19 restrictions has slowed down quite dramatically. Without face-to-face meetings by churches and their committees, it has been difficult to continue proper process of assessing candidates or helping a whole church come to consensus. Even with these challenges, a few churches in the Mountain Standard Region have been able to call new Senior Pastors.
Mark Duesling is the new pastor at Zion Baptist Church. He and his wife Doris and their two children have moved into their new home in NW Edmonton. Mark studied at Ontario Bible College and at Trinity Seminary in Indiana. He has some missionary and inter-cultural experience. He served as pastor in a few churches within the Canadian Baptists of Ontario Quebec, gaining his ordination with the CBOQ in 2011. We welcome Mark to his new calling in NW Edmonton and look forward to having this new colleague in our midst.
Troy Ellison is the new pastor at Evangelical Baptist Church. He comes from Ontario, having studied in Kitchener, Ontario at Emmanuel Bible College, associated closely with the Evangelical Missionary Church. Troy has musical gifts as well that he has used in previous ministries. To quote from his resume’: “As pastor, leaders and church council, we will work together to make the church relevant to today’s world without compromising the message of the cross. My focus is teamwork in ministry as I believe it is crucial to our success.” The Edmonton CBWC ministerial cluster are ready to warmly welcome this new pastor among his supportive co-workers.
George McGregor is the new pastor at Sonrise Baptist Church in Calgary. Originally from Montreal and a widower since 2016, he has been part of the Sonrise church before becoming its pastor. He has three children and two grandchildren. His experience as a computer programmer has been a great help to the church during COVID-19 restrictions. He has done some training at Alberta Bible College and has been involved in various ministries in the Calgary area for quite some time. He is currently the chair of NextStep Ministries, a ministry to help women exit from the sex trade. Welcome George to the CBWC and to ministry among your colleagues here in Western Canada!
Zoom Meetings Dominate
During these COVID-19 restrictions, so many have become familiar with Zoom, a program they may not have been exposed to before. For myself, as many others, I have attended board meetings, executive staff meetings, church business meetings, candidating interviews, conflict resolution discussions, a moral failure redemptive/restoration committee, ministerial, constitutional review committee meetings, processing future changes to the CBWC Protocol Manual with a team, and even time with my administrative associate, who is the only one in the regional office space at Taylor Seminary. Even the upcoming annual Mountain Standard Region Gull Lake Ministry Retreat will be on Zoom this year on February 9th. We can get screen fatigue, but at least we can connect in a meaningful way and help the Kingdom grow.
Screenshot of a CBWC Edmonton ministerial.
This regional newsletter is published quarterly within the CBWC’s monthly newsletter, Making Connections. Have a story idea? Want to tell us how great we’re doing? Or how terribly? Email our senior writer, Jenna Hanger: firstname.lastname@example.org