Sunday, April 29, 2018

Buckle Up!

 I was sitting in a meeting in Toronto last fall when someone wondered if there was a plan to mobilize the church to pray during the upcoming Ontario provincial election.  I was equal parts excited and terrified because I knew what could happen if we were able to do it and I knew the scope of the task if we took it on.  Within a few days, I'd been invited to give leadership to what at this point is the largest ministry project I've ever led.

Ontario and the GTA, in particular, is unlike anywhere else in Canada.  1/4 of the entire population of our nation lives within 160km of downtown Toronto.  More people live within an hour of my suite in Toronto than live in BC and Alberta combined.  The opportunity to impact a nation while we impact a province is greater there than anywhere else in the country. With that in mind, we began to develop a strategy that took advantage of what we had learned in other provinces and added some pieces to increase the impact.  Here's what we've built:

A 40 Day prayer campaign starting April 29 through to June 8 with daily video prayers, prayed by people who represent a cross-section of Ontario's demographics.  Some are recognizable. Some you've never heard of.  They all matter!  Each day a proud Ontarian who loves Jesus will pray a prayer that will provide our theme/focus for the day.

Our partnership with Transformation Canada has provided us with access to the Adopt Your City prayer walking app.  Part of our strategy includes encouraging participants to prayer walk their streets praying the daily prayer theme.  The app has a GPS component to it that allows us to see what streets are being prayed for and gives us the ability to encourage others to walk streets that are yet to be walked!  We want to cover as much of Ontario as possible with little red lines showing that someone has prayer walked there.

Finally, we are recruiting Hub Churches across Ontario to help communicate the PrayOn vision.  These churches will also act as venues for a local/regional prayer gathering on Sunday night, June 3.  We envision at least 124 gatherings (one in each Electoral District) coming together on that night to pray with one heart, mind and purpose that God would give us leaders for Ontario through whom He can work to accomplish His plans and purposes.

This will be epic!  Not because it's our idea but because of what can happen when THE CHURCH comes together with unity, focus and purpose.  GOD CAN'T RESIST UNITY AMONG HIS PEOPLE!  He get's SO EXCITED that He does amazing and remarkable things!

This campaign isn't about electing Christians.  This campaign is about asking God to give us HIS CHOICE of leaders for Ontario.  Multiple good things happen that position a province to prosper, to care for its weakest and most vulnerable, to practice good financial stewardship, and create an environment that is conducive to growth, safety and security for everyone when God's choices are elected to office. 

Our experience tells us that in addition to those things happening, we also see an increase in the number of men and women who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ elected to office. Our observation is that these people aren't likely to be 'issue candidates' as much as they are proven servant leaders with a heart to do what is best to benefit an entire province rather than simply satisfying a particular interest group. These are the kind of people that make the organizations, cities, provinces and nations they serve better because of their ethos and their desire to serve.  Ontario and Canada both need an influx of this kind of leader.

Regardless of where you live in this great nation, let me encourage you to pray with us for Ontario in the PrayON campaign.  

Buckle up!  This is going to be quite a ride!

Monday, September 04, 2017

Game On!!

After a summer break in Ontario and perhaps the strangest summer ever in BC politics, a collective 'Game On' is just around the corner.  BC resumes this coming Friday with a Throne Speech and the first NDP government in 16 years.  Ontario resumes on Sept 11 and heads into the last 9 months before an election.  Saskatchewan follows in early October and is undergoing a search for a new premier.  (Who says politics is boring?)

In all of it, Leading Influence is present and well positioned for another season of ministry to our political leaders.  We believe that our nation is in desperate need of a spiritual awakening among our political leaders!  Our belief is rooted in a deep conviction that God loves leaders in every part of the political spectrum and yearns to reveal Himself to them in profound and meaningful ways.  We are thrilled to be called to fulfill that part of God's plan on the Canadian political scene.

Do You Know Someone Who Might Fit?

Like any non-profit, we have our challenges and opportunities.  We continue to seek full-time ministry associates in Edmonton and Toronto.  These are crucial opportunities to see the Kingdom of Heaven come in key places of influence in our nation.  Pray with us that God would send us workers who share our vision to reach and impact leaders with a message of hope, help, and strength.  

We Need Your Help!

We are also experiencing a financial challenge at this time.  Summers are always a bit of a challenge for us and we normally do a summer appeal to our friends and partners and see an excellent response, but this year's wildfire situation in the BC interior made reminding and encouraging our BC donors inappropriate because of the pressing need all around them.  We are so proud of the way some of our friends and donors stepped up to volunteer and provide assistance to the thousands who were displaced.  We fell well short of our anticipated goal of $15,000 through July and August.  While we have a need, we are confident in God's ability to provide and make a way for us!

Your gift of $25/50/75 or any amount you choose to help us with will make a huge difference for us right now.  You can click here to give by credit card or to find how to give through the mail.  Thanks for standing with us at this crucial time.  We are confident that with the support of many people just like you, we will see our budget needs met!

A New Season

September is a bit of an anomaly.  It marks the beginning of fall, harvest and the end of summer and yet it always feels like the beginning of a new year/season.  Our prayer for you is that this coming fall season would be marked with God's blessing, bounty and goodness in your life, home, family and business/work in every way!  Have a fantastic September!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Wild West

The rest of Canada refers to BC politics as “The Wild West” and certainly the last month has only cemented that moniker.  So much has happened since the election on May 9th but on that evening I stayed up until the very end.

I’ve been watching elections results since the late 70’s but this one was entirely different for me.  It wasn’t that the results were the closest in BC election history (which they were) that kept me up.  It also wasn’t that BC now has its first minority government in 65 years, with the BC Greens holding the balance power, that kept me tuning in until 1am. 

What was different this time was that I had come to know so many of the people involved.  Some I had just visited in their offices weeks before, with many I had shared a laugh or an encouraging word in the hallway.  Many were being re-elected that night, some were not, while a few ridings were so close that it went late into the night (and beyond) before winners were declared.  I knew I needed to stay up because people I knew were up.  In some small way, I needed to stand with them.    

I was reminded again how difficult the life of a politician can be for them and their families on election night.  How when the results come in you’re either celebrating victory or suddenly it’s over.  In previous elections, I have paid more attention to what party that was being elected, this time I cared much more for the people in those parties.

Fast forward to today as I attend the Throne Speech and connect with new and returning members, some for the first time. Each member is someone I can potentially serve, encourage and pray for through this next parliament.  My hope is to make my days and time count here in significant ways through what may be the most interesting parliament BC has seen in some time.

It's an honor to be here and serve this way. Pray with me for open doors and opportunities into the lives of those God has called to serve us as leaders in BC.

Help Us Win $10,000!!

What would you do with an extra $10,000??  I know what we would do with $10,000.  We'd pour it all into serving and reaching leaders across Canada.  We'd expand the boundaries of our tent and put every penny of it to good use!  

We are very thankful for CanadaHelps and the excellent donation processing service they provide to us.  This year, CanadaHelps is offering an incentive to support Canadian charities like Leading Influence.  Each dollar given to Leading Influence through CanadaHelps between June 1-30 qualifies us for an entry into a draw to win $10,000.  We are excited about our plans for the future and an extra $10,000 would be very helpful!!

Our Summer Appeal goal is $15,000.  We will use those funds to underwrite our in Ontario as we continue to establish our presence there.  If 100 of our friends and partners would sow $150 towards that budget in honor of Canada's 150th birthday, our need would be met.
We know it’s not always that simple.  Some can’t give $150.  Some can give much more.  Our hope is that in some way, you will hear God speak and sow into Leading Influence to help us meet this need. 

Thanks for standing with us!  Our partners are the most important people at Leading Influence!  We can't do this without you!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Ontario Update

We are so excited to be serving at Queens Park in Toronto.  The challenge is enormous but the strategic value of establishing a strong ministry presence here leaves us no option but to rise the opportunity and lay a strong foundation for the future.  The decisions made at Queens Park affect 13 million people.  That’s 1 out of every 3 Canadians! 

Apart from reaching out to members and building relationships there, much of our work in these early days is meeting people and introducing them to our work.   It was my privilege in April to host a group of intercessors who have adopted what we are doing at Queens Park into their prayer routine.  Our work can only be successful as it is built on a strong prayer foundation. 

Included in this group are Derk and Anita Maat who provide leadership to Transformation Canada and Transformation GTA.  Anita’s team of intercessors joined us for the day.  One came from as far away as NY State just to be with us for the morning.  This was a special time as the group was able to pray for the member before we left.  He commented on feeling renewed and refreshed as a result.

Part of what we do is connect Christians with politicians because transformation starts with relationships. The most common discovery for both sides is almost always positive and sets the stage for something good to happen!

Presence Matters!

Many years ago, I was the guest speaker at a small country church and was invited to a board member’s house for ‘dinner’ after church. The roast was perfect, the buns were fresh baked, the potatoes, veggies and salad were garden fresh.  Dessert was freshly baked rhubarb pie and ice cream with coffee.

Are you hungry yet? 

We all waited until everyone was served and our host took the first bite. Let’s just say that her reaction is etched in my memory because rhubarb pie without any sugar packs a punch when you aren’t expecting it.  We found a way to make it work with sugar and ice cream, but it was memorable.

Presence matters…

Jesus said it this way… ‘You are the salt of the earth’. ‘You are the light of the world’.  I find it interesting that Jesus chose to use the two elements that were most common and essential to their daily living as tools to make His point.  Without salt, your food rotted.  Without light, you stumbled in the darkness of the middle eastern night.  His hearers immediately understood His message, these elements have an impact.

Our sole purpose at Leading Influence is to be salt and light in the lives of those who serve us politically through the ministry of presence.  We don’t lobby or petition because we believe in the transformative power of being salt and light in the life of the leader.  Sooner or later the combination of prayer, presence and the prompting of the Spirit unlocks the door into someone’s world and we discover that God is already doing something amazing.  

We see that God is shaping core values, affecting decisions and confirming and affirming a vision for our nation in the lives of those He has called to lead.  It’s not something that happens quickly or suddenly but we see it happening.  We often can’t share what He’s doing because we are committed to protecting those we work with, but we can say that it’s exciting to watch!  By faith, we see the day where ‘He shall have dominion from sea to sea’ because of the work in and through the lives of leaders we see Him doing now!

2017 marks our 10th year of full time ministry to Canadian politicians this month.  We began with 83 members in BC in 2007.  As we close out the end of our 10th year, our ministry footprint extends from Victoria to Toronto and we are positioned to serve over 50% of the provincially elected members in Canada.  The harvest truly is plentiful!  The opportunities are endless and the doors are wide open!

Presence matters now more than ever!