A Long Journey
Where do we begin? First of all, I am writing this about myself. No third person bragging here – just some facts.
I focus my attention on smaller churches, I work mostly with churches less than an attendance of 100, and much smaller.
The thing I cherish most is the opportunity to help people start churches from scratch. That’s harder than many people think. I love to help leaders in churches reach beyond their pre-existing networks and find ways to start relationships with new people. Those new people over time will become interested in your church if you manage it properly. I’ve learned how.
But about my history. I was born and raised in a solid Christian home in the city of Toronto. I can’t remember a Sunday when I wasn’t in church, and I loved it all the way through. When I was a teenager in our youth group of about 50 teens, it dawned on me that our aging Pastor Emeritus was going to be with the Lord soon, and there didn’t appear to be anyone raising their hands saying, “I’ll take his place.” That was when I realized that God might use me in ministry.
After high school, I did the obligatory Bible college training, and I loved that too. Even though that was in the 1960s, I still have many friends I associate with who were there with me during those years. I wasn’t a very good student because I didn’t see much relevance in the things that I was being taught in class. But actually, I was learning much in class that helped form my life.
I met Wendy when we were in Bible College. And after I graduated in 1968, we were married. In the 1970s, I became the pastor of a small country church. I loved it too. Two of our children were born during those four years.
Then I moved on to find a thousand ways not to do it by consulting with churches through a major publishing house that published Sunday School curriculum. Following that, I became the Christian Education and Youth Director for a large church for three years. The pastor came to me unexpectedly and asked if I was willing to start a daughter church. We jumped at the opportunity.
We had a group of about 20 adults who left the mother church where I was serving and formed a church that did very well in the first few years. We built a church building when interest rates were nearing 20%. We didn’t know it couldn’t be done. So we just did it. We bought 3 acres of land and built the first phase of our church building. At the same time, we started a non-profit housing corporation, which has grown to over 250 family units today.
Then we moved to a church that was larger but fading fast. They said they wanted a new voice and were willing to change. I found out rather quickly once we started, they were willing to change if only we could go back to the decades before when they were in the good old days. During our three-year ministry there, we were able to start a daughter church, which today has gone on to start four daughter works.
Following that time, I had some hard years emotionally. In some respects, I lost my way. But our family hung together. With our four children, we moved on to the big city.
We jumped in full force to help with a contemporary church in the 1990s. While I served bi-vocationally, marrying ministry and consulting. I was involved in the financial industry. During those years, we were able to help start five churches in the greater Toronto area.
At the same time, we developed a methodology to help missionary candidates raise the funds they needed to get to the field. That was very successful for a time. But eventually, the amount of money we needed to invest for our contacting personnel and the materials in our own print shop outstripped the value that the missionaries saw in immediate funds raised. History shows that over the subsequent decades the loyal supporters we found donated millions. But because it took more than a dollar to raise the first dollar we decided not to seek more candidates to help.
Moving on from there, we have helped many ministries one at a time to get started and grow. All the while we supported ourselves with various endeavors. I found that while people wanted my help, they didn’t believe they had the resources to pay. So we made a decision that I could help them regardless of their capacity to pay. That has continued with many individuals and ministries down to this day.
In the course of those decades, I have written about 20 different books that all relate to elements of growing churches numerically and spiritually.
I am still able and willing to help. So if you think I can, get in touch with me and we’ll see what we can work out!
Well really it is our mission because Wendy has been by my side approaching six decades. Our mission is to take Jesus seriously in every way we can. He said “Go” and we continue to say “Where next?”
We develop and execute systems to maximize the Great Commission. We live by what has become known as Carter’s Law! “If you talk to more people more often in more ways you will get more results.”
Values are concepts and convictions we hold true that also show in our behaviour. We attempt to keep the main things the main things. 1. Follow the Great Commander. 2. Live out the Great Commandment. 3. Fulfil the Great Commission.