We just finished our trip to Wesley Acres for the Free Methodist Pastors conference. It was quite a trip and I’m really glad I got to go. The parts that impacted me the most were just being able to spend some time with other church planters and pastors from around Ontario a bit. I met a few new ones and spent some time with some I already knew, and I think that if you ever get a chance you definitely want to meet these guys and just spend some time with them. So in honor of the four days spent with them, I’d like to introduce you to them and why I think they are at the forefront of leaders in Canada today.
Jared Seibert | National Coordinator of Church Development for the Free Methodists
I’ve known Jared for a bit now, but the more time I spend with him the more I’m starting to realize how much God is doing through him. Jared is in one of the most crucial positions for church planters that anyone could be in. It is because of Jared that many new church plants have a place to call home. Although we all think Jared talks way too much, I think there is a reason why we all come to a hush when he is speaking. It’s because we all realize that he really is full of great ideas and valuable insight. He challenged me more than once this weekend and helped me see past my fears into church planting and into my calling. Jared is changing what it means to support church plants and church planters and hopefully others in similar positions in other denominations start to learn from him.
Gary Castle | Pastor of Next in Kingston
A few times this week, I heard Gary exclaim that he just “wants to live.” He is sick of the talking, the e-mail lists, the blogs and whining about what we are doing wrong and what we need to be doing right and he just wants to start living it. Gary is doing that. Gary is one of the most fun and exciting people to be around because of his sense of humour and his joy of simply living. I have no doubt in my mind that Gary is going to lead Next to where they need to go next in their journey and do it with smiles and actually following Jesus and not just talking about it. Gary lives across the street from Next and is completely immersed in his community with his wife and new daughter. I’m inspired at his willingness to be such a close part with the people around him and not just do the ‘pastor thing’ and stick it out in the office 9-5.
Al Doseger | Pastor of Rustle in Kingston
Rustle is a brand new church plant that is 8 blocks away from Next in Kingston. Al was one of the church planters of Next and is now taking about twenty or so from next to plant a church right down the road. Gary and Al are close friends and are in this together. Al is the type of guy that according to everyone else and his own admission just seems to be drawn to and draws the tough and rough looking. He spends hours spending time with the people in his community, listening to four hour stories about girlfriends leaving and moving person after person from house to house. He looks at the community around him and wants to redeem it and he knows that the only way he can do that is by immersing himself in it. He said that while he sleeps in his house in suburbia he lives in this community. I’m excited to see what Al does with Rustle in his community and I’m sure it won’t be long until all the drunks, abused and hurting people from the community look to Al, Rustle and the community there for comfort and refuge in which they will be fully prepared. When you look at Al, you see grace flowing from him. Everything he does whether it be going all-in in poker, signing up the drunk guy to paint the sanctuary or telling stories about how much he loves the people in the community that he’s reaching you see a beautiful picture of what Christ meant when he said love each other.
These three guys encouraged me so much as we start this new church plant. Their ministries are awesome examples of how God moves through big institutions or by sweeping your neighbors driveway. I’m excited to be friends with these guys and look forward to more stories in the years to come, and maybe this time we’ll have some stories of our own to share.