Whoever thought that we would be writing 2020 on our checks so soon? Every new year, we launch out into the future with a measure of fear and trepidation. To mortal men with limited vision of future events, crossing over the threshold of a new year can be scary. But here we are, and we rightly acknowledge the goodness of God, for He has been our helper and has kept us by His grace. Our gracious God not only saves His people, He also keeps them.
There are good reasons to be encouraged as a denomination this year. As you will learn from reports and pictures in our magazine, some of our churches have recently been blessed with new office bearers. Churches also report additions to their Sunday School classes with new families attending. Financial constraints have been overcome and in many ways the reach of the FPCNA has been extended into new areas of North America by local church ministry and by radio. Take a look at the radio log on page 17 to note the additional cities and communities where people can now hear the weekly, and in some cases daily, preaching of the gospel through our Let the Bible Speak radio programs. The increase of stations carrying Let the Bible Speak programs on VCY America is no small thing that the Lord has done for us. Mr. Charles Koelsch, who edits and uploads programs for VCY radio, reports that he is finding it difficult to keep up with requests from across the country for radio offers. This is both a cause for praise and for much prayer that the Lord may use His word to awaken people to their need of Christ and bring forth abiding fruit in their lives — all for His glory. This is a time of opportunity when our nations are in greater need of the gospel message than ever before. Immigrants from around the world, who know little or nothing of the gospel of grace in Christ, are entering our countries. A generation is growing up around us that is Bible illiterate. The immoral social agenda of the ungodly must be countered, and there is no surer way to do that than to hold them up to the light of God’s Word.
After years of prayer for our seminary, God has been pleased to hear us and has sent a few young men for training for future service in our denomination. We also rejoice in the amazing improvement in Dr. Allison’s health and his ability to return to his work as president of Geneva Reformed Seminary. The gap in lecturers has been filled through able men from among our own ranks who have come alongside to teach. Through the installation of a digital classroom, students may interact in a virtual classroom from any part of the continent, or from anywhere in the world. Online courses are proving to be helpful to a number of students and pastors who seek to upgrade their education and equip themselves for gospel ministry.
The downside of this growth in certain areas is that our ministers are being taxed with duties that go beyond their pastoral work in their own congregations. One encouragement on that front is the prospect of seeing our vacant pulpits filled in the near future. This may be a statement of faith, but it is our earnest goal and a burden we take to the Lord in confidence knowing He has purposes of good toward His people. Thirty-eight years ago, when I first visited Canada and first ministered in Calgary FPC over a long weekend, a dear lady opened her Bible after their mid-week prayer meeting to show me the words of Jeremiah 3:15, which said, “And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.” Showing me that verse of Scripture was a simple act of faith in God’s Word, but it was also a seed planted in my heart that led me to these 36 years of service in Canada.
We know that, as the great Shepherd of His sheep, the Lord can and will provide pastors to care for His people. In the year to come, we look forward to see how He will provide ministers for our churches and missionaries for our mission fields.
A new editor for Current
I am pleased to announce that we have a new editor for our next issue of Current. The Publications Committee has appointed Dr. Stephen Pollock, our minister in Malvern, PA, as the new editor. After overseeing the publication of twenty-two issues, I am delighted to see Dr. Pollock become editor. Through his past work on Vision, the magazine of the Ulster Presbytery, he is well qualified for the job. But please pray for our new editor as it is a time-consuming task filled with many demands and decisions that require wisdom and patience. It has been a humbling experience for me and one that has caused me to cast myself upon the Lord for His help. Our burden is to see the magazine function to unify our congregations and guide both boys and girls and adults into a faithful walk with the Lord. I wish to thank all who have contributed articles and assisted me in so many ways in this work, and I sincerely thank all who expressed their appreciation for the content of the magazine. This announcement is another reason to look forward to 2020!