In our post-Christendom culture, Jesus’ church in Canada is in the midst of challenging times.

The two denominations which DFC finds most drawn to our ministry–The Christian Reformed Church (CRC) and Presbyterian Church in Canada (PCC)–are both feeling the effects of younger folks leaving the church, articulated well in the 2012 study by the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, Hemorrhaging Faith.  The PCC is also in a year of study of human sexuality and how it relates to ordination of homosexuals.

In this context it seems more important than ever that congregational leaders learn about and experience the empowering work of the Holy Spirit, learning to listen to His voice and obey.

Barb Ferrier and Paul Stokes

Barb Ferrier and Paul Stokes

We’ve been privileged to have Paul Stokes come multiple times to teach Growing the Church in the Power of the Holy Spirit (GtC) and also mentor our DFC leaders. Our fifth GtC conference in Canada was held in Guelph in November, and we were pleased at how smoothly it went (and Paul tells us that we have teachers in Canada now who are well capable of teaching these events!).

Only God can fully measure the impact, but we get an encouraging glimpse in the comments which participants shared with us:

Growing the Church in the Power of the Holy Spirit is, to my way of thinking, a most necessary conference for anyone whose heart is for Christ’s church in this age. –Andy

This conference has been an eye opener for me. I’ve seen the Holy Spirit at work. The approach to this has been well planned. I’m pretty conservative so I’ve appreciated that the teachings were gentle and not in my face. The opportunities to share in the small groups were great. The first day, I couldn’t believe that two hours were assigned to a small group but by Wednesday, the time flew by. –Marnie

Prayer for empowered teaching

Prayer for empowered teaching

This conference should become mandatory for each person who is called to ministry, whether they be pastors, elders or any kind of leader in the church of Christ. I have been to many conferences, conventions, etc. and this has been the most challenging and inspiring. I KNOW I have met Christ here and that I will continue, by God’s grace, to depend on His Spirit. I am trusting that my life will be changed to really reflect His love and glory. –Jan

Our small group witnessed a wonderful transformation in the life of one participant who came beaten down by ‘religion’. Her countenance revealed her broken spirit. But, by the grace of God, and the prayers and love of the group, she was healed of those hurts, received ‘HOPE’ to go back with confidence in the power of the Holy Spirit to lead her. She began to smile…and laugh… and encourage others. Praise God!

Powerful worship

Powerful worship at Growing the Church in Guelph

The teaching has been excellent and there is still much to digest. But the highlight for me occurred yesterday in our small group. I learned the difference between going through the motions of prayer and praying in the power of the Holy Spirit! Praise be to God! The difference between the two was like the difference between day and night. –Susan

I am leaving here, knowing that I have been in touch with God, impacted by His great love for me and by His affirming that I am in His will, and serving Him in the areas He wants me to be in. I am more aware of how the enemy has been hammering away at me. I must be more vigilant and telling the enemy talk to my friend, Jesus. I have asked for forgiveness, and received it; I have submitted and surrendered to His will and His way. There was a great deal of affirmation throughout the conference and I am grateful. –C.S.

God met me here – he strengthened me, healed some deep spiritual and emotional wounds and restored my soul! Then the Holy Spirit showed me a place to need to walk into – something I couldn’t have done without that restoration. God is good all the time! –Barb

For more information on the Growing the Church conference, visit the Growing the Church information page.

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