Devin came to us as the Heartland Regional Minister last summer from being Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church in Prince Albert, SK (Prime Minister John Diefenbaker’s church). Devin has a considerable variety of experiences which include, but are not limited to, stints at Law School, Bible School and at Carey Theological College. At the recent Carey Convocation, Devin received the Elizabeth and Roy Bell prize for Pastoral Care and was the student graduation speaker.
Devin has brought to his new vocation and calling a pastoral compassion, a willingness to speak the truth with clarity and love, and a deep longing to see Heartland churches grow in spirit, in character, in their caring for their respective communities, in love and to grow numerically as well. Devin completed visiting all the Heartland churches in May and has been an agent and balm for change. I deeply appreciate Devin’s support of so many; he is a great encouragement and gift from God to us all.
1. Many folk have different personal, vocational, and faith journeys …
could you share with us those journeys?
At the age of 15, in my hometown of Regina, SK, I discovered Christ’s love in a United Church. My spiritual journey became important and critical to me. Upon grade twelve graduation, I proceeded to study for my law degree at the University of Regina. God blessed faithfulness and I married my high school sweetheart, then entered Briercrest Bible College. My wife, Joan and I have been married for over 26 years, enjoying ministry with our son, Nathan, 21 years and Felicia, 19 years. We began our pastoral ministry in Assiniboia, SK and culminated our time at First in Prince Albert, SK prior to assuming this position. While there have been moments of turmoil and trial, through review, we praise God for His walk with us. I am thankful that God has gifted me for each situation and circumstance.
2. How long have you been in this position? Please let us know about
where you are living and maybe one eccentric detail of life?
After a thorough time of orientation, I began in this position following Labour Day in 2011. I live in Regina, which is centrally located for ease of travel throughout the Heartland. I enjoy historical accounts, but in particular, the study of the Titanic; not only do I visit Titanic museums but I have also collected some artifacts and several written accounts.
3. What is the basic makeup and description of what you do?
My role fosters relationships throughout Manitoba and Saskatchewan between pastors, church leaders, congregations, camp directors, as well as their staff. I seek to encourage and motivate, as well as provide support and care as they seek to advance the Kingdom, develop effective leaders and alleviate suffering and poverty within their local context.
4. Who are the people that you primarily serve and how do you connect
Currently, I primarily serve pastors, church leaders and camp directors within the Heartland. The face-to-face visit is my choice for connection; however phone and e-mail serve as good follow up sources. Fostering relationships is a key component; thus I pray for each ministry within the Heartland, and seek requests and/or provide a note reminding churches and pastors that they are prayed for as a solid form of serving and connecting.
5. What have been the challenging parts of this last twelve months?
As this journey began my daughter was preparing for her grade twelve graduation; ten days following, I performed by son’s wedding to Morgan Layton; ten days following the wedding, we moved from Prince Albert to Regina. My wife, Joan and I were faced with the newness of many things including adapting to being empty nesters as our children attended university away from us. Along with the ‘newness’ of this role, adapting to much change was at times overwhelming yet rewarding in noting how God shapes and draws us deeper to himself.
6. What have been some of the times of celebration over these last twelve months?
Seeking to make connection with each church in the Heartland in some form and building relationships with each one has been truly a celebrative moment. Through extensive travel I have noted the commitment of leaders within our region and the God moments shared in each setting. The depth and breadth of the Heartland as each God story unfolds in each context is both a reward and a reminder of God’s faithfulness; I have valued each moment. Ministries are now seeking to affirm and support one another ranging from prayer to financial assistance to personal visits even over long distances. I know God is doing a great work within the Heartland and I am honoured to be in the midst of such community.
7. What are some of the things you have felt were accomplishments this year and what are some of the on-going challenges that you will face as you go into the fall?
Prayer, presence and progression I felt were needed within the Heartland. Praying for pastors, leaders, churches, camps and directors was an important place to begin so each week the Heartland office prays for one church or camp for the entire week. This evolved into informing the ministry that the Heartland office was in prayer. We are looking further as to how we can best serve the churches in this area. Presence is critical for relationship. Traveling to each church and community was important in order to properly pray and relate to the varied aspects of each ministry. Completing this was a joy and yet also brought a yearning to return to each ministry. Progression is the ability to assist churches to move forward. Through vision, strategic planning and mentoring gatherings I am pleased to have assisted congregations in their journey. As the fall approaches, leadership gatherings begin further deepening of relationships within the Heartland. The challenge is maintaining a healthy balance through the vastness of the region as we minister together for the Kingdom.
8. Apart from Executive Staff, who are some of the people that you work most closely with month over month?
Clearly the Heartland Administrator, Gayle Meyer, is one person I associate with. She maintains my portfolio of scheduling to travel itineraries. She handles the necessary credential documentation and fields many e-mails and phone calls. She is a defining mark for the Heartland. The Heartland Area Resource Team (HART: Mary Stuber-Doerksen, Michael Cantlon and Joshua Goetz) provides collective wisdom. I am grateful for their support and servant hearts. I also closely associate with the clergy and/or leaders within the Heartland churches; attending ministerial meetings when possible and affirming and supporting congregations when I am able.
9. What kind of Sabbath and renewal and break are you going to experience over the summer….for how long?
I will experience three weeks of holiday mid-July to beginning of August. My family will travel to Rapid City, SD for our traditional gathering for a Contemporary Christian weekend entitled ‘Hills Alive’. The rest of the time will host family reunions and basic basking in the warmth of the sun with a good book (likely about the Titanic).
10. How might we pray for you?
I would appreciate prayer as I look forward to this next year of ministry; safety for my travel and wisdom in supporting the varied ministries I connect with. I echo the words of the Apostle Paul to the Philippians 3:12:’ Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ
11. Is there some kind of blessing or encouragement that you would like to share with us?
I have been blessed with my first year in this role and am grateful for the vision we hold to as Canadian Baptists of Western Canada. There are many stories of God’s faithfulness within the CBWC family and I am grateful to be part of a vision that affirms the Kingdom. God is blessing us as we minister together for the glory of God; may we not lose sight of our goal to serve Christ together.
12. Are there any questions that we have not covered that you would like to comment on?
I enjoy asking questions for I believe when one is on a ‘quest’ they will ask ‘quest’ions but I believe that all has been covered while I could continue to talk about the great ways God is blessing us as a denomination, but will leave that for personal discovery.