This weekend I had the privilege of speaking four times at a regional Village Missions Conference at Lakes Community Church in the community of Nukko Lake, just 25 km northwest of Prince George. I believe there were six churches represented from that many different rural communities in northern BC — Nukko Lake, Progress, Rose Prairie, Wistaria, Willow River, and Horsefly. For the past ten years this has been a fairly annual event planned for the purpose of encouragement for one another through net-working. The Conference included a full program of four worship and speaking services (with a separate ministry to children) from Friday evening to Sunday morning. It also included some special sessions for personal presentations and field reports. The hosting Lakes Community Church provided billets for out-of-town guests as well as fantastic daytime meals in the church basement. There was also some free time for recreation.
Village Missions churches exist to make the Gospel known in smaller communities all over Canada and the United States. At this conference I was impressed by the genuineness of faith and spiritual vitality among the fifty to sixty people who came. I noticed as well a high level of commitment to family and family values. Many of these families are larger than average and there is a strong emphasis among them on home-schooling. I am impressed that these churches serve a very special need for ministry where they exist. These people obviously enjoy living in their rural settings and have a quality of life that is very attractive to the Gospel.
Using a theme I had outlined last year consistent with the purpose of Second Wind Ministries I wanted to bring encouragement to those who lead and share in the fellowship of these ministries. I spoke of the reality of burn-out from Psalm 44, the need for continual grace from God as described by Jesus in John 15, the imperative of being committed to making the Gospel known (even in these post-modern times) from Mark 16, and the nature of servant leadership from Mark 9 and 10.
Wistaria, located in a very beautiful setting across Francois Lake near the community of Burns Lake on Highway 16 West is in need of a pastor for their Village Missions church. If I could be a means of helping this small community find an appropriate pastor it would be a blessing to me and to the church located there. Obviously God is not limited to merely working in the large population centres of our land. Village Missions churches demonstrate that God is mightily at work in these smaller communities too.