Friday, April 24, 2015

The Gospel Coalition - Ontario Chapter (Update)

It has been a real joy for me to lead the Ontario Chapter of The Gospel Coalition over the last year. In a meeting with a large group of interested pastors yesterday, I detailed what the Lord has done so far.

On April 25, 2014, John Mahaffey (West Highland Baptist Church), Dwayne Cline (Hughson St, Baptist Church)  and Tim Kerr (Sovereign Grace Toronto) invited a small group of us to meet together in order to talk about the history of TGC-ON and what purpose moving forward might serve. The best part of this meeting was getting to know some men I had only heard of before and sitting in a room with a bunch of brothers who all understood the significance of striving for Gospel-cooperation. From this meeting, we determined to call an even broader group together to continue the conversation.

On May 21 we met in Mississauga with 40 pastors and church leaders. Introductions were made and a lively discussion followed concerning the place of TGC and in particular, how it might fit into our Canadian context. All agreed that something was needed and from the 40 attendees an executive team was chosen.

That executive met on June 25th and decided, among other things, to maintain the name (TGC-ON) and to start the re-birth of this movement with a conference. We determined this conference ought to have a predominantly Canadian voice and the search for speakers and workshop leaders started.

By December 10 we had enough in place to call “the 40” together again to Young Nak Presbyterian Church since this would be our conference home. After announcing a speaker lineup that included Don Carson, John Neufeld, Robbie Symons and Mark Clark, we asked the representatives to consider underwriting the expense of the conference with financial gifts. The executive alone pledged to give over $20,000. We also announced our desire to start talking to other Canadian TGC chapters and Gospel-movements to discuss forming a TGC Canada.

Yesterday, we updated our group again with these tidbits:

Paul Carter (First Baptist, Orillia) announced more details of this conference for young church leaders being held at Muskoka Bible Conference May 14-15 with Dr. Andreas Kostenberger. There are only 20 spots left so if you are thinking about it, think no more. Register! Dan MacDonald and Paul have done a fantastic job getting this event together.

TGC Ontario Conference Update
John Mahaffey updated the group on the 12 workshop leaders and their topics. He also informed us that registration for the conference will go live on April 30. This is important as there are only 800 spots available. The conference will run over two days on October 16-17, 2015. Personally, I expect the event to sell out. At 

TGC Orlando Update 
Dwayne Cline explained to the men how an email had been sent to all the Canadian registrants at TGC Orlando inviting them to a brief meeting at the end of the conference. A very large contingent showed up between two meetings furthering our contacts and giving men like Yanick Ethier (Quebec) and Steve Bray (Newfoundland) an opportunity to connect with everyone as well. 

On the whole, it is exciting to see how much the Lord has done - especially when you consider this whole thing is run by a bunch of busy pastors who have many other things they could be doing. But men are investing in this movement because they know its great value in the work of God in our day.

The day ended for me with a live radio interview courtesy of Neil Boron on WDCX. We set up shop in the lobby of Harvest Bible Chapel, Oakville and Robbie Symons (HBC) and I did our best to describe something of what the Lord was doing. 

There are about 400 other things that fill in the blanks of this post, but I want you to be encouraged with what God is doing. Probably the best thing of all are all the new friendships springing up between pastors of at least a dozen different denominations. Men who love the supremacy of Christ and His glorious Gospel. May the Lord raise up a thousand more in this land!