Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Every Place You Set Your Foot

There are dried out maple leaves on the mantle of my office fireplace. I collected them on a prayer walk at Queens Park in October of 2008.  Our ministry board and a few friends came to Ontario to launch Leading Influence Ontario.    After the launch celebration we went to Queens Park and did a prayer walk around the perimeter of the building.  We asked God to give us every place we set our foot believing that He would grant us favour and blessing in Ontario.  We had great faith, hopes and dreams.   The leaves were a memento of our time there.  

Things did not turn out as we had hoped and shortly after we started, we chose to withdraw.  Sometimes things don’t work out like you expect.  The leaves stayed on my mantle as a reminder of where we had been, what we had prayed and where we believed we would go again.  In the meantime, we strengthened BC and launched Alberta and Saskatchewan.


This fall our board formally approved a change in my role giving me the freedom to take on the challenge of launching Ontario.  I booked my first flight for late November, exactly 7 years and 1 month after I gathered those leaves.

I was more than a bit excited as I walked through the front door of Queens Park on Monday morning for my first set of meetings knowing that it was a new day and that rather than being outside praying for open doors, I was inside watching them open.  Over the course of the week , I walked many halls and through many doors and deep in my heart was the constant prayer that God would give me every place I set my foot!

We have great faith for what God has in His heart for Ontario’s leaders.  We are confident that as we reach leaders, we can shape Canada’s largest province one step at a time.  Thanks for praying for us and with us!

Across the Provinces....

We have some exciting changes happening within Leading Influence!  From West to East, here’s what’s happening.

Pastor Jason Goertzen has officially joined our team in BC and will be taking the lead role at the BC Legislature in the 2016.  Jason has been interested in our work for some time and has spent the last half of 2015 job shadowing Tim and building relationships with BC MLAs.  He is being well received and finding great favour.  We are excited about the possibilities as Jason takes on this new opportunity.


Jason is married to Christine and serves a campus pastor with LifeTree Church here in Victoria.

Pastor Murray Coughlan continues to serve as our chaplain in Alberta.  Murray continues to find open doors and a warm reception to his ministry at the Alberta Legislature.  Most of his success has come through cold-calling new MLAs after the election, introducing himself and building relationships.  Murray’s hard work has resulted in the development of a strong network in Alberta.  We are very grateful for Murray’s hard work and willingness to serve in this way. 

When Murray isn’t at work, he enjoys riding his Victory motorcycle in the summer.  In the winter, he thinks warm thoughts and wishes it was summer! 

We have bittersweet news coming out of Saskatchewan.  Barry Berglund has announced that he would like to retire after the upcoming election.  Barry has been a tremendous pioneer for us and has done an exceptional job of establishing the ministry in Regina.  We will miss him.

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Scott Francis will be joining our team in the New Year to take on the role of chaplain at the Saskatchewan Legislature.  Scott has recently completed his doctoral studies in leadership at Gonzaga University and will be a great fit in Regina.  Scott is married to Janelle and they have two children.  He is also an Executive Coach, podcaster (LeaderFM) and volunteer firefighter. 

He’s got a professional picture, but we really think the firefighter picture shows off his movie star good looks! 


Tim’s role in Leading Influence is changing from ministry delivery to ministry development. As part of that new role, he will be launching our work in Ontario at Queens Park, mentoring and coaching our chaplain team across the country and seeking new opportunities to both resource and grow Leading Influence into a strong presence within the leadership community of our nation.  It’s a huge challenge filled with opportunities and possibilities to impact our nation in significant ways. 

Be sure to read: Everywhere Your Place Your Foot Article for more info on Ontario.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Oops... He Showed Up Again!

I'm convinced that Jesus has no time for decorum and protocol.  His entire history underscores that He is the Master of the Unusual, Unconventional and Unexpected!  Don't count on Jesus to play by the rules other than the ones He decides on!  Here's a case in point.... 

A few weeks ago, I attended a Christmas 'Light Up' event.  For the most part, everything was as it always is.  A gracious host, several speakers bringing greetings, 2 choirs and then the big countdown to the moment the lights came on.  

I enjoyed the speeches, even the inclusive one that reminded the children and adults in attendance that 'there are many celebrations' during this time of year. (Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and others).  The message was that we should be respectful of other celebrations.  I don't disagree at all.  The same freedom that gives me the privilege of celebrating Christmas full on, is also freely extended to my Jewish friends who celebrate Hanukkah and those who celebrate Kwanzaa and the many other celebrations that coincide late in the year.  The reminder ended with 'Happy Holidays' and then things got interesting...

It was announced that the choir would sing 'Go Tell It On the Mountain' and that it would be a sing-along number.  My intended subtle smile at the irony of the moment turned into a full blown grin bordering on suppressed belly laugh as I listened to several hundred people led by an amplified choir joyfully singing 'Go Tell It On The Mountain That Jesus Christ is Born!' My favorite was the man several rows in front of me who was full on singing, head back, and arms waving as he sang the verses and chorus never missing a beat!  

I LOVE this stuff!!!

I'm tired of the church fussing about red coffee cups, the never ending stream of 'share' if you believe that 'Jesus is the Reason For the Season' or 'Keep Christ in Christmas' because I have come to the conclusion that Jesus doesn't need our help to take centre stage!  He takes it when He pleases and how He pleases!  He breaks the rules to suit His purposes! 

While we might share the timing with other faiths and groups, this is the season we remember that God became flesh, that God was born of a virgin and that God interrupted regularly scheduled programming for His own special event.  This is a season of miracles and surprises.  Expect Him to surprise you this season!

Have a great Christmas!


Monday, November 30, 2015

Skin in the Game

I might be one of the few people in Canada who was able to watch the Cabinet Swearing In Ceremony and call it work!  The 'changing of the guard' brought with it new faces, fresh ideas and for many Canadians the sense of a a new day in Canadian politics.  My attention was captured when I heard the commentator make reference to the Hon. Jane Philpot's involvement in her local church as both a board member and 'song-leader' and I was reminded, AGAIN... that God always has 'skin in the game'.

Technically, to have 'skin in the game' means to have a money in an investment.  In this instance, I take the expression more literally, in that God always has people strategically placed within the our culture and society.  Consider that of all of the people who ran for office, that the Hon. Judy Philpott, a devout follower of Jesus would not only win her nomination, but also her seat and then be given the very significant and strategic position of Minister of Health for all of Canada.

In 8 years of serving leaders, I've come to the conclusion that despite what we may think, expect and inevitably conclude from an uninformed distance, God always has 'skin in the game'.

I recently spent 3 days at Queens Park in Toronto.  A few days before I arrived, I was encouraged to make contact with a particular member who I was told would be quite helpful to me as I sought to establish our work there.  When given the information, I made some quick and broad assumptions about how this person might receive me.  I was proven wrong in our initial phone call and even more wrong when we met face to face.  During our conversation, the member said, 'We need to make this a spiritual place!'  Once again, I discovered that God had 'skin in the game' in an important and significant spot and needed to repent and recalibrate my thinking and perspective.

At this time of year, we remember the most incredible 'skin in the game' event in history when according to John's gospel, 'the WORD became flesh and dwelled among us.'   Jesus took on humanity and in every way became God's most significant investment.  Nothing says 'I'm committed' more than God becoming flesh!  He came to model, to teach, to live, to die, rise again  and most importantly make a way for us to find forgiveness and eternal life.  You would think that would be then end of  God having 'skin in the game', but God always has 'skin in the game'.

The Bible is filled with the accounts of ordinary men and women who served as 'skin in the game' so that God's purposes and plans could be fulfilled through their lives.  From every walk of life, God called them, empowered them and used them in strategic ways to impact the lives of countless others. He still does!

Being 'skin in the game' isn't so much about knowing all the answers or even understanding all the questions.  It's more about saying yes to God and going with His plans and purposes.  The biggest part of being 'skin in the game' is just showing up, watching and listening and then letting God do the rest through you.  

Have a great Christmas!



Friday, November 27, 2015

A Prayer for Our Leaders

Here's a list to PRAY for Godly Leaders that would care about the things that you care about. I pray for all men and women having authority over us in any way.  Praying for thirteen Premiers of Canada, currently three are women. The longest-serving Premier is Brad Wall of Saskatchewan, who has held the position since November 21, 2007; the newest Premier is Rachel Notley of Alberta, who assumed office on May 24, 2015. The oldest Premier, Greg Selinger of Manitoba, was born in 1951; The youngest Premier, Brian Gallant of New Brunswick, was born in 1982. There are thirteen incumbent Premiers, of which six are from a Liberal Party, two are from a New Democratic Party, one is from a Progressive Conservative Party, one is from the Saskatchewan Party, one is from the Yukon Party, and two are non-partisan.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Transitions and the Power of Prayer

Courtesy of our friends at 'Nation At Prayer'

People woke up Tuesday morning to another new day - and a nation in transition.  A new Prime Minister had been elected; the Third Party has become the party in power; the Official Opposition has become the Third Party; the party in power has become the Official Opposition; the Green Party lost a member; the Bloc increased from 4 to 10; and the sitting Prime Minister resigned as Party Leader.  
  
1,792 candidates ran for office, 1,454 unsuccessfully, including 106 incumbent MPs; 338 were elected, of which 197 are new to Ottawa. 
  
Transition does not only impact the party standings; it impacts the life of every candidate and his/her family. Every candidate is in process of closing their campaign offices; in addition, defeated incumbents may be moving from accommodation in Ottawa while dealing with the sting of defeat and contemplating their life after politics; successful candidates are looking for new constituency offices and waiting to be assigned their Ottawa offices, while making living arrangements in their 'home away from home'.
  
Those returning to Ottawa are going through transition - to new roles in Parliament, new seating arrangements (in many cases on the opposite side of the House), and unfamiliar colleagues. Many of them are experiencing varying emotions as they adjust to the reality that some of their colleagues are not returning, even as they adjust to new personalities and changed balances of power.

Families are preparing for the long absences from home that accompany elected office; some are weighing the relative merits of moving to Ottawa where they can be together throughout the week while maintaining a presence in the constituency.

For those of us who know and trust the transforming power of prayer, this transition is much more than a time of change; it is the time to invite the unequaled and extraordinary power of the Holy Spirit to infuse the hearts and minds of those who now govern our nation, so that God's purposes for Canada will be served.  Whatever our thoughts and feelings about the outcome of the election, we have the great privilege and even greater responsibility, as the apostle Paul instructs, to give priority to praying for all who govern.  What confidence is ours that God can be fully trusted; that He is at work in ways beyond our knowing, for our good and the good of the nation; that He can use every elected representative for His purposes; and that there is nothing in all creation that He cannot transform or beyond which He is not more powerful!


WHAT TO PRAY FOR...

THE PRIME MINISTER-DESIGNATE:
  • Wisdom and discernment as he assumes the role and in appointing the Cabinet
  • Capacity to understand complex issues
  • Energy and endurance
  • Adaptability in responding to rapidly changing circumstances and events
  • Protection for him and his family

ALL MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT:
  • Wisdom as they assume their new responsibilities
  • God's grace to use their position wisely with integrity and strength of character
  • The power of the Holy Spirit to overcome any sense of entitlement 
  • Their families, as they make the adjustment to new realities
  • Guidance in finding suitable accommodation and office space
  • Courage to do what is right and grace in doing it

THOSE DEFEATED, PARTICULARLY INCUMBENTS: 

Pray that the Holy Spirit will:
  • Remove any residual bitterness, depression, or sense of personal rejection
  • Guide them into new occupations with a renewed sense of call and fulfillment
  • Guide their families in making any adjustments
All now need refreshment from the grueling schedule of a 78-day campaign, and God's grace to return to a more normalized life.

Above all and for all, may this time of transition be a time of transformation when the Holy Spirit awakens or deepens relationships with the living God, the source of transformation.

Because we pray, their lives - and our nation - will be impacted and transformed.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A Prayer For Our Nation

“I urge you first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them, intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way kings and all who are in authority…” 2 Tim 2:1-2
Father, I thank you for Canada and our new Prime Minister elect, Justin Trudeau. Lord, I pray that you would infuse him with humility, courage, honesty, and integrity. I lift up all our elected MP’s. I pray that they would call on you, seeking your grace and wisdom to fulfill their roles as our elected officials. I ask that you would protect the marriages and families of all 338 Members of Parliament.
I declare our prayers of blessing wield far more power than words of disappointment or complaint. We choose to respect and honour our leaders as your word clearly instructs us to do.
God keep our land glorious and free, from sea to sea to sea. AMEN.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Across the Country

We've got some great things happen across the country!  Here's the latest....

BC - A welcome to Jessica Pool who has assumed leadership for PrayBC.  This is an important ministry for us that really forms the foundation for what we are doing.  God has blessed us with a strong team of prayer writers but there is always room for more!  You can reach Jessica at jessica@leadinginfluence.com to tell her of your interest in writing prayers.

The Legislature resumed in BC at the end of September and we are off to a great start.  We host a weekly prayer gathering and this past week was our largest gathering ever.  It's so exciting to hear leaders pray on behalf of the people of the province!  

AB - The change of government in Alberta has opened a tremendous door of opportunity to us. Murray Coughlan is doing a phenomenal volunteer job for us in Edmonton and has met with a number of MLAs already.  One MLA said the following in his meeting:  'I don't think you'll do any harm here and you might even do some good!  Welcome aboard!'  Best welcoming line ever!!

Our ever faithful prayer coordinator in Alberta is Elaine Baillie.  We are blessed to have her on our team.  Thanks for your hard work Elaine!

SK - Barry Berglund is having great success in Saskatchewan.  God has given him real favour with a number of Saskatoon based MLAs especially.  The Saskatchewan Legislature resumes in late October.

Dr. Scott Francis is leading PraySK.

MB - Pastor Weldon Yeo (Morden) is coordinating PrayMB.  We have an opening for a chaplain in Winnipeg.

ON - PrayOntario continues to grow under the leadership of Pastor Garry Fess.  We are very thankful for his willingness to serve and his commitment to the vision and ministry.  We remain committed to launching a chaplaincy in Ontario as soon as possible and continue to actively seek a suitable candidate.  For more information on our plans for Ontario and how you can help us, please see our most recent update article.  

Maritimes - We are having conversations with a pastor in the Maritimes who is interested in partnering with us.  We are eager to see how God will lead us in this regard.


Pursuing Our Vision

Our vision for Leading Influence has always had a national focus.  We see chaplains in every province and territory providing ministry care to elected leaders.  It's an enormous challenge that continues to stretch us.

Several years ago, our board went through a visioning process.  We created a strategic plan that called for Tim's role to change within the ministry so that we could move forward in pursuing the vision that God has put in our hearts.  In light of the challenges and opportunities before us as we seek to establish Leading Influence in Ontario and Eastern Canada, it's become apparent that we have reached the point for Tim's role to shift from ministry DELIVERY to ministry DEVELOPMENT.

While Tim will remain connected to BC, he will do so in a diminished role as Jason Goertzen has joined our BC team.  Tim's new focus will be twofold.  His first responsibility will be to ensure that our team of chaplains are well supported, resourced and equipped to effectively and capably serve our elected leaders.  His second focus will be to ensure that we successfully launch Leading Influence in Ontario.

Ontario is a significant challenge for us.  It is crucial for us to plant a strong successful chaplaincy in Toronto.  While we are confident that God has prepared someone to serve MPPs in Ontario, we have yet to find him/her.  In the short term, Tim will commute to Toronto one week/month in order to establish the ministry at Queens Park and to create awareness within Ontario as a whole but particularly in the Greater Toronto Area.  

This is an enormous task that will require tremendous resources.  We need your help!  We would like to invite you to consider partnering with us in the great cause of reaching out to elected officials through relationally based ministry.  You can help us financially by clicking here!  

Thanks for your support!

Welcome Jason Goertzen!



Jason GoertzenWe are excited to announce that Jason Goertzen has joined our BC Team as co-chaplain at the BC Legislature.  He will serve in a volunteer capacity and will remain on the pastoral team at LifeTree Church, here in Victoria.  In addition to his strong pastoral skills, Jason also brings with him a keen interest in politics, excellent people skills and a warm and engaging nature. He is being well received by members and staff alike.  

Jason is married to Christine and is the proud father of three children. (Melia, Zach and Ben)