Another year has passed and we have so much to be thankful for: lives changed, encouraged and poured into. Thank you to all who have partnered with us and our teams. We especially want to thank our volunteers, prayer partners and financial contributors.
We are firmly convinced that the Lord is at work in Ottawa. Over and over again, we see signs of His handiwork. Our out-of-town guests frequently share that they see something unusual going on in our city. Friendships, co-operation, missional outreach and prayer are often mentioned.
We’re excited to share with you our Annual Report for 2017. So many exciting events and reports to read about. Click here for some of our highlights from our family of ministries (Love-Pray-Link-Yield-Lift Ottawa) that have taken place throughout the year.
We hope you will be inspired.
You can pray it in a breath, anywhere: “Lord, your kingdom come.” Those words were the theme of City on our Knees (COOK) 2018. The goal of the week of prayer was to inspire people to pray at the start of the year (January 14 – 20) – pray for the city, its people, their efforts and challenges.
The COOK leadership team created a daily devotional and prayer points. Churches and individuals caught the simple vision, picked up the theme, and united their hearts for our city.
Some churches and bible study groups prayed during the Sunday service and midweek cell groups. Two churches preached on “Your Kingdom come”; one church skipped having a sermon altogether and instead tried six styles of prayer together.
Some individuals prayer walked, especially asking, “Lord, your kingdom come” in the places they went, like on the bus or in the coffee shop (you can check out some of these on Facebook under #kingdomcomehere). Someone quietly prayer walked in City Hall.
CHRI opened their doors to their listeners for three hours of prayer for families in Ottawa. Nine churches in the west end collaborated on two city-focused nights of prayer and worship. On Lisgar Street, 16 pastors and prayer leaders met at the old Bible House for two hours, worshiping the Lord together and seeking him for what to pray. Burning Hearts House of Prayer celebrated over 1000 consecutive evenings of prayer, and prayed for the neediest in our city.
Mark Wollenberg of International Justice Mission travelled from Vancouver, B.C. Invited by Citizens for Public Justice and Restoring Hope. He led participants in the Lord’s prayer as seen through a justice lens. These local ministries also collaborated with others to host a conference on “working for God’s just kingdom” in tandem with the prayer.
The response to COOK 2018 is inspiring and exciting, because it seems that God is at work in the church of Ottawa, stirring many to pray with the same heart. Jesus said, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.” (John 3:8) City on our Knees was like many trees blowing in the same wind. May that wind continue to blow, and just as the theme said, Lord, may your kingdom come in our city.
Over the years One Way Ministries has walked closely with Arrow Leadership Ministries. We’ve encouraged and supported a number of leaders from the Ottawa area to attend either the Emerging or Executive Programs that Arrow offers.
As part of our partnership over the years, we have had different staff act as on-site mentors for the program – what Arrow calls Leadership Partners.
This is something that I have done in the past but had taken a break from it for the last two years. This year I agreed to join a new class, the Executive 46 cohort with 27 leaders. In order to support these leaders, Arrow has 10 leadership partners attached to the class – 2-3 leaders per partner. I have been assigned three.
This was the first of three one-week gatherings for the cohort, hosted in Pheonix AZ at the Franciscan Renewal Centre. As per usual, the leadership partners gathered a day ahead of the co-hort to review a very substantial assessment package for each leader. The program’s elements include assessment, training lectures, peer cluster learning and mentoring.
The feedback and reviews from the leaders were fantastic with a number of them indicating that something significant changed for them during the week, in a positive way.
For me personally, I love these weeks. I get to meet new people, listen in on some world class trainers, have the privilege of walking very closely with some of leaders and simply participate in a learning environment that continues to sharpen me. Also, it’s no hardship being in Arizona in January!!
If you’re curious about the Arrow Leadership Program, reach out to me, I’d love to share more about it.
We had a great evening on Thursday (Nov 30), at the Lift Ottawa Christmas Cafe.
Although the weather looked frightful, we had a full house of wonderful women. As a team, we each shared about our favourite Christmas fragrances and how we notice them over this season. Moreover, how these fragrances point us to time with Jesus. In all of this, we are encouraged to continue to “walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” The beautiful fragrance of Jesus.
Great conversation, laughter, thoughtful moments and beautiful women.
We shared a Christmas blessing that we are praying this season:
(based on Blessings from Susie Larson)
May you recapture the wonder and the awe of this season.
YOU are someone Jesus loves, profoundly so.
You are someone He sings over, delights in, and plans for.
May you marvel that He came to earth to save you, restore you, and use you in ways that are beyond what you’ve ever imagined. May you take time to notice Him in the small sacred spaces of life. He’s there. He invites you. May a heaven-breathed wonder fill your lungs today.
Look around and give thanks for the everyday provisions you’d miss if they went away tomorrow. May you be present and be still in the middle of activities and recognize His presence.
May you hear what God is speaking to you through what you see, hear and observe. May God give you the ability to be quiet inside when there is busyness all around. May He open your eyes to see those who need special touch, a kind word or a special prayer. May you slow down long enough to take in the sights, scents, and simple joys of this season.
You’re more loved than you can fathom and more blessed than you know.
Take a deep breath, exhale, and enjoy your holiday.
May you remember today – above all else – that the One who puts the stars in place greatly delights in you. He is strong and powerful and gentle and true. And may your Christmas season be filled with sacred moments that remind you just how precious you are to Him! You are so dear to His heart.
(you can sign up for daily blessings by Susie Larson on her website, www.susielarson.com)
The eighth annual Ottawa Civic Prayer Breakfast (OCPB) on October 27, 2017 was once again a huge success.
The Mayor and nine city councillors attended as well as many First Responders and almost 400 guests. We had a beautiful segment of the Program where two refugees, one present and one from 40 years ago, shared their heart-wrenching and very moving stories.
Our speaker this year, Gerry Organ, shared from the heart with regard to his journey of faith, family and football.
For those who may have missed the 2017 breakfast, here is the video of what our main speaker, Gerry Organ, shared:
The dates for the 9th Annual Ottawa Civic Prayer Breakfast have just been announced so mark it in your calendar:
Friday, October 26, 2018
7:15 – 9 am
Ottawa Conference and Event Centre
At the end of February 2017, my wife Susan and I sent out a note that we never thought we would send out to family and friends. For 20+ years we have sought to serve the Lord faithfully through thick and thin. Sure we had some nasty scars and were weary over the years but we had always come through. All that changed back in February when I landed in a Hamilton ER. At 45, I entered with all the signs of a heart attack and lay on a bed hooked up to machines with tears streaming down my face contemplating my own mortality. It is true that your life does flash before your eyes and what is truly important is brought into focus. Through months of testing and visits with cardiologists, it has been determined that my heart is incredibly healthy and that what I encountered that cold February morning was an extreme panic attack for the first time in my life.
In the moment, this came as an incredibly shock to my wife and I and yet, upon further reflection, it shouldn’t have. As we processed it all, we missed a number of signs over the past 24 months of ministry that we believe were there as warning signs. These warning signs included things such as not achieving a full nights sleep for over a year, growing stomach issues, inability to make decisions (and I’m a decision maker), emotional emptiness, growing discontentment with the church and the list could go on. Far too often my wife would find me staring into space and completely disconnected from my family and reality around me. But, per my personality, I tried to push through it and by God’s grace (yes we see it now as God’s grace) it landed me in the ER that fateful February morning. Although we didn’t have the financial resources to do so, my wife and I took a step of faith and made the decision to take a Sabbatical and step back from ministry to rest emotionally, physically and spiritually. If you’ve read this far, I would encourage you to take some time to read a bit further and celebrate with us some of what God did in these three areas through this season of rest and reflection. Rejoice with us and consider what God may be saying to you. We want our story to be a testimony and a help to others as we now believe that this pause was a grace filled transformative moment in the halftime season of our lives with the best years of ministry yet to come.
THE FAITHFULNESS OF GOD AND HIS PEOPLE!
We would be remiss to not begin with a word of praise! In complete transparency, we must confess that we were feeling quite discouraged with the Body of Christ as we entered 2017. But God also knew that. He never gives up on His children and used many brothers and sisters in Christ to remind us how beautiful the Body of Christ is when functioning and walking in love and obedience. There was a season where we would excitedly go to our mailbox to see how God was going to work on that particular day. From the many kind notes, cards and financial gifts, we experienced afresh the love of God through His people. It was a wonderful gift to be reminded that it is God who provides for all of our needs. We, as pastors, can lose sight of that as we become so fearful of losing our “job” within any given church that we end up pushing on in dysfunction. How sweet it has been to live by faith and experience our faithful God. How sweet to fall in love again with His church as we experienced His love through them.
WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED AND EXPERIENCED!
We have affectionately come to call this season in our lives “Halftime” (taken from the book/movement of the same name started by Bob Buford). In this forced pause that started in a Hamilton ER, we have considered in a very real way our own mortality and the days we have left. We are grateful God has revealed much to us on an emotional, physical and spiritual level.
Emotionally, I (Tim) did not realize how empty my tank was. The pressures of ministry, along with my own personality, left me carrying a weight that only God could carry. Through the help of a godly executive life coach, I’ve learned once again how God has gifted and wired me. I have been encouraged to celebrate the incredible strengths I have been entrusted with to impact His kingdom. But in this, I’ve also learned that strengths have balconies (a positive side to them) and basements (detrimental side) and how I must be careful to function on the balcony side of my strengths. This requires discipline and a careful alignment of all I do to my personal values. Here in the Halftime, I am grateful for the refilling of my emotional tank as I’ve taken Sabbath rest.
Physically, we learned first hand the dangers of living for far too long on adrenaline without proper diet, sleep, exercise and weekly Sabbath rest. The pressure to “perform” well in ministry (this includes both internal and external pressures) led me to not leading myself well. So when the crash came and doctor’s appointments followed, we were reminded how important sleep; diet, exercise and rest are to a well-balanced life especially in this “halftime” season. My ability to just go and go and feed the workaholic tendencies I have was not sustainable. We are thankful that after many tests and appointments, I am feeling healthier and stronger than I have in over a decade. I have some new eating; sleeping and exercising routines which I have worked slowly towards over months which has provided me with the needed physical refreshment my body and mind were craving so deeply. I have also learned the importance of saying “No” to many things in order to pursue the best God has for me.
Spiritually, we have been reminded of God’s grace and faithfulness towards His children. We are grateful that certain spiritual disciplines sustained us, but we believe the biggest thing God has restored unto us spiritually is “joy” in the journey. Ministry and life had become nothing more than duty to us and the value of walking in Christ’s joy as those who have been redeemed has been found once again. This was experienced as we found balance in some of the areas noted above. We are learning to daily celebrate His faithful activity in our lives and not miss the gifts of grace that come as the gospel of Jesus takes root in our hearts.
FINAL THOUGHTS – THE GIFT!
Although this season came unexpectedly, we will forever see it as a gift from God. It has been incredibly humbling at times and I’ve struggled with both the internal and external pressures pastors face to not show weakness. So please keep praying for us as we settle back into full time ministry trying to self lead well within the healthy boundaries established over the past number of months. We have embraced His process in our lives and give thanks for the journey ahead!
Finally, we want to speak to our fellow ministry leaders and church boards. For those pastoral couples that may be feeling all alone in their suffering, we want you to know that we are here for you as well! The beauty of this journey is that we get to do it together as brothers and sisters in Christ. If some of what we have learned in this season can be used to encourage you, reach out as we would consider ourselves blessed to journey with you. To church boards and those who sit in the pews who may be reading this, understand that there are unique pressures associated with being a pastor. The spiritual battle is very real and what your pastor needs is to know that they are loved and that their well-being is important to you. One way this can be shown is to build in times of regular Sabbath rest into your hiring practices in order to show you care and to encourage healthy pastors.
Tim and Susan Auld
2 Timothy 4:6-8, John 15:11, 17:3