Our worker Ian Ho attended the Church Renewal Weekend in January. Since then, he has been participating to the mentoring provided online. Here is his testimony about his experience during that weekend and with the mentoring:
Hi everyone, I am pastor Ian Ho from Montreal Chinese Alliance Church. I would like to take this opportunity to give thanks to the Lord for guiding me to join the Church Renewal conference and retreat in January in Winnipeg.
Southland Church has a vision for church renewal. The church is focusing on equipping church leaders to renew their churches. The church has noted that there are large amounts of pastors and church leaders that become burnt out and /or involved with leadership failure, which prevent renewal. So the calling and vision of Church Renewal is to equip pastors, so they can renew Christ’s church.
The Church Renewal weekends begin on Friday afternoon and end on Monday at lunch. The weekend includes : the Set Free retreat, weekend Sunday service, introduction to Church Renewal seminar, Prayer Summit and Intro to Hearing God seminar.
Set-free retreat: the goals of the retreat are to encounter God and to be set free ! It reminded me about my freedom in Christ , knowing how to walk in spiritual victory and learning to help others receive victory. Throughout the retreat, I learned about, and reflected on, confession, inner-healing, quiet time, listening to God’s voice and prayer. This seems to be fundamental for our Christian faith, however, we often seem ignore or forget these matters. The Set Free retreat gave me an opportunity to review and put these things into practice. And most importantly, it reminded me to not just do these things at an annual retreat, but that I need to do these things daily.
Also, I had opportunity to learn about what God has done at Southland Church, how they overcame the tough times of three church splits in five years, and starting from 150 people how they have grown today to almost 5000 people. It must be God’s wonderful work. We need to have humble hearts to pray and seek for His will, to be patient and wait for his time and be obedient to follow Him and walk with Him day by day.
Throughout the weekend, I also joined the Sunday service and had a tour to observe and learn how they are serving in different ministry such as children ministry , youth ministry and prayer ministry. The leaders were there to share their experience with us about how they served in that ministry and to answer our questions.
At Southland, they have a prayer summit each month on Sunday evening. When I attended it, and it was a very cold night (-35 degree) . However, the cold weather did not become an obstacle / barrier to limit brothers’ and sisters’ hearts to join the church prayer meeting. Around 1500 people came to church on Sunday night. WOW….I enjoyed the moment greatly. I joined a group with around 15 teenagers ( High chool students ). Guess what? Those teenagers have caring hearts to listen to prayer requests and pray for you during the prayer summit. I learned and experienced the importance of prayer. The whole congregation of Southland has a focus on prayer. It is one of the crucial elements of church renewal. I am praying and longing that renewal and revival will happen in my church as well as in other Canadian churches.
After the conference and retreat, I registered for the online mentorship program for senior pastors. Guess what? It is free of charge but it requires you to commit to the whole mentorship. The whole mentorship program includes 3 hours of homework per week, and 1 hour online mentoring per week . Each week, I meet with one mentor and with about 11 pastors through video conferencing for an hour each week. I enjoy bonding with these leaders, and developing a close relationship with them. I find good spiritual support and advice through this group setting. I am so thankful that I can benefit from this online program.
Praise to the Lord, from the year 2012 to 2018, there were 3250 total number of participants who attended a Church Renewal weekend. And there are over 560 pastors involved in online mentoring. I give thanks to the Lord that I am part of this learning process. It provides me the wonderful opportunity to learn and grow together with different pastors within the group.
Thanks for taking the time to read my testimony. I strongly recommend that you consider joining the upcoming Church Renewal conference and retreat in Oct 2019 in Winnipeg. I pray that you will experience renewal and revival from the Lord.