My Present, Personal, Pastoral Perspective on HPBC Possibilities.

In April 2008, I was called to Pastor High Park Baptist Church. My heart was and remains this: to create a local movement of evangelistic discipleship for Jesus. My conversion, calling plus experience in seminary and para-church evangelistic leadership were my credentials. The first few years of my efforts here were very difficult for a number of reasons. In 2010, we brought pragmatic consultants from the Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches of Canada to help us try to rediscover God’s original mission for this church, declare core values and set a strategic goals. This resulted in some renewed passion and ministry alignment at the leadership level and some of the core members of the congregation. Since then, challenges persist in operationalizing the plan. We struggle to activate adequate human, spiritual, financial, emotional resources for our mission. The faithful few are fatigued.  We fight failure in faithfulness. God give grace and has mercy and our lips remain above water. We can all become revived as a missional minded group.  In recent months, numerous (mostly external and practical) circumstances have emerged that have prompted opportunity to seek God for what he sees in the future of High Park Baptist Church.  We are currently asking God questions like this: “What does God want us to look like in ten or fifty years?”/ “What do we need for living the mission that will lead to God’s preferred future” / “How can we walk into all God’s plans and promises for our church”.  Thank you for your prayers as we work hard to discern God’s vision of our future. We believe that Jesus is leading us into his preferred picture of the future that will produces passion for service in us as we follow him “out of the boat” by faith.

What is important to us? Our church views this intersection and building to be central to our identity. We desire for God to fill this building through our personal evangelism and outreach to the area. We desire to disciple those whom God brings our way. We have ministry departments that reflect our sensitivity to our environment’s demographics. We are a loyal and kind people, like a family. The long term members and central staff (paid and unpaid) are highly esteemed and very involved in the decisions we make on important matters. We know these present decisions are to be made with great reverence for our past and future. We want continuity and comfort, yet are willing to step out in faith if it is the will of God. God is clear in Scripture that our greatest joy comes from stepping out in faith and trusting his promises.  We can experience great things, which he has planned to have happen if we work in the Spirit for the fame of his name.

At present, I believe the leaders and congregation may be leaning towards a merger with Westminster Chapel’s mission, staff, resources and congregation. Having said that, we have only begun to explore and there is much research to be done.  To use a hockey analogy: that is not a final score, but a report after the first period of play. Discernment experiences remain for us (board, staff, members, congregation) to be had before we can bring you a motion to formally and legal negotiate an action plan on an option. Please continue to uphold in prayer the long term, best interests of the Lord Jesus’ Kingdom, our precious congregation, the unique city of Toronto and these lovely local neighbours.  Change is a sign of health, but it will bring personal price to be paid. God’s dream for us will involve discomfort, like trying to cross your arms a different way. It will not be easy or automatic.  Faith adventures never are.  We need to count the costs and weigh the options then make a decision in faith for his fame. It will be very exciting to walk by faith together into the future God has in mind! As always, we need God’s wisdom for decision making. We need wisdom from God to know what he wants us to do so that we can walk by faith into his dreams for us, our church and our city so that the nations and generations to come may be blessed by the gospel ministry we are entrusted with.

Our Mission, Values and Goals are clear.  Together, we now seek God’s vision for how it will look and the resources to accomplish what he has already called us to do and be.  Will it be a developer or a partner or we just get a revival internally?  Only God knows, so we ask him to lead us in unity into his preferred future.

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