Surviving the Field

Surviving the Field

Just over a year ago, I returned home to BC after living and working in Jinja, Uganda for nearly seven years. What started as a 10-month volunteer stint at a non-profit called Ekisa Ministries (Ekisa runs several programs for children with disabilities) led to the role of Operations Director where I oversaw the accounting and administration for the organization. The environment and community where I worked came with its fair share of struggle and conflict, but this provided ample opportunity to reflect on the traits I witnessed in those who were successful and those who left Uganda even more broken than they arrived.

This list is not exhaustive, but these are a few of the more essential components that, I believe, are key to surviving life in missions (and ministry).

Identity – Having a True Understanding of Our Identity in Christ

There is something that can happen when someone makes the choice to enter missions, especially when the location is seen as extreme, primitive, or lacking in a range of modern conveniences: esteem.

Refusing to allow this misplaced regard affect your identity is most crucial during transition. Often the identity of “missionary” (or pastor) instead of Child of God causes a great deal of stress, confusion, and crisis as many are left questioning who they are outside of their role in ministry.

Responsibility – Understanding What Is and Isn’t Ours to Carry

If you’re a visual person, I suggest drawing two circles, one within the other. Within the larger circle, write “God” and in the smaller one, write your name. Then write down the things that take the most mental and emotional energy in their appropriate spaces and be as specific as you can. There is a temptation to try to control people and outcomes but often, especially in conflict, our load to bear is nothing more than our own thoughts and actions.

During my time in Uganda, I saw too many people utterly overwhelmed by things they had no business taking responsibility for in the first place.

A Teachable Spirit – Appreciating and Utilizing the Wisdom of Others Who Have Gone Before

Regardless of the situation or the circumstances, there are many who have gone before us. Curiosity and humility are absolutely imperative.

In the context of missions, the least healthy individuals (and ministries) were those who came with preconceived notions, who wanted to do their own thing, who believed their North American upbringing and education gave them all the answers, and who refused to humble themselves to any voice of opposition or counsel. Not only does this cause harm to the individual, but it also causes harm to the people they are meant to be serving.

My time and experiences in Uganda forced me to recognize the very real difference between surviving and thriving; the hard part is developing the awareness to identify seasons when we’re merely surviving and pursue a better way.

Know who you are, identify your scope of responsibility and be receptive to the wisdom of others.

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Carmen Kinniburgh

District Children’s Ministry Partner

Children’s ministry involves developing leaders, discipling children and families, exercising creativity, with an emphasis on fun and building relationships that help others to experience God’s love as they are loved by people who know God’s love. Carmen has served in children’s ministries as a volunteer, coordinator, curriculum writer, camp speaker, and pastor. Her desire in ministry and life is to help others (whether they be children, youth, or adults) to hear God’s voice and to experience the freedom and fullness of love found in knowing Jesus and living kingdom lives. Whether your children’s ministry is led by volunteers or a pastoral leader, Carmen would love to connect, build networks, support, resource, pray with, and provide care in whatever areas are needed.

Carmen lives in Vernon with her husband, Jeremy, and their two teenage kids. She loves playing soccer, hiking, camping, and theatre. She and Jeremy have founded two new ministries called Threshold Initiatives and Contributing Pastor.

Terry Ann Opperman

Official Worker

David has served at Lakewood Alliance Church since the fall of 2002, first as an associate, then as Lead Pastor starting in November 2005. David has been on various committees including DEXCOM, District Nominating Committee, a few General Assembly Committees, and the Rules Committee for District Conference. David has an interest in church governance and seeing healthy leaders serving on healthy boards in order to better equip and serve the church.

David and Tara are in the process of launching their three young adult sons and enjoy seeing the trajectories their lives are taking. David enjoys woodwork and getting out cross-country skiing in the winter.

Steve Schneider

Lay Person

Steve is a layperson and a member of Peace Portal Alliance Church in Surrey. He has been married to his wife Brenda since 1984. They have two adult daughters. He is an engineer by background and holds an MBA from Heriot-Watt University. He works in the paper industry and is also the President of SGS Consulting Ltd. He has recently become a licensed worker in the CPD.

Steve has served in varied ways over the years but has more recently been focussed on church board work. He served on his first church board 36 years ago. Since that time, he has served on four different church boards and the District Executive Committee of the CPD. Over the last 12 years Steve has actively been teaching and consulting with church and not-for-profit boards within and outside of The Alliance Canada to help them develop healthy governance practices.

Keith Cheung

English Lead Pastor at Burnaby Alliance Church

Keith was also an active member at Westside Calgary Chinese Alliance Church before moving to Vancouver to begin full-time pastoral ministry. After a brief stint pastoring in a church from another denomination, Keith began serving as the English Lead Pastor at Burnaby Alliance Church in 2017 where he continues to serve today.

Keith is married to Cecelia (20 years this year!) and they are raising 2 beautiful daughters (11 and 6) who they adopted from Taiwan and Korea respectively. He loves, in no particular order, cooking and eating and conversations, the Saskatchewan Roughriders, road cycling, family reunions, and good movies and music.

Carol Goh

District Chaplains Committee Chair

carol@mycac.ca

Carol Goh has chaired the District Chaplains Committee and served on the Association for Alliance Chaplains (AAC) National Committee since 2018. She completed her Masters degree in Chaplaincy in Spiritual Care from Trinity Western Seminary and is the Neighborhood Chaplain and Pastor for Seniors at Chilliwack Alliance. As a chaplain, Carol invests in the neighborhood (parish) around the church through connecting with those who live, work, and go to school there. She intentionally supports the local public elementary school and other local organizations so that together they can weave together the fabric of care for the inhabitants. The Goh household includes her husband Andrew, their three teenage sons, Andrew’s mother, and their golden doodle.

David Driedger

Board Leadership Training Partner

dave@lakewoodalliance.com

David has served at Lakewood Alliance Church since the fall of 2002, first as an associate, then as Lead Pastor starting in November 2005. David has been on various committees including DEXCOM, District Nominating Committee, a few General Assembly Committees, and the Rules Committee for District Conference. David has an interest in church governance and seeing healthy leaders serving on healthy boards in order to better equip and serve the church.

David and Tara are in the process of launching their three young adult sons and enjoy seeing the trajectories their lives are taking. David enjoys woodwork and getting out cross-country skiing in the winter.

Daren Wride

Transitional Pastors Network Coordinator

dwride@shaw.ca

Daren Wride has been serving in transitional roles since 2011. He has been on the ground as Transitional Pastor in multiple churches around the province and has engaged as a Transitional Coach with several other churches. Prior to his transitional work, Daren pastored three churches in Alberta and BC for a total of nearly 20 years. Daren has also spent time in the professional speaking and internet marketing worlds and usually has a related project on the go.

Geoff Stewart

District Youth Ministry Partner

geoffs@peaceportalalliance.com

Youth ministry is among the most demanding ministries in the church from a relational standpoint, serving young people who are defining the ever changing culture we live in. Leading in youth ministry is best not done alone, and Geoff desires to help our youth pastors serve and encourage one another through the sharing of resources, wisdom, experience, and perspective. In the ever-changing world of today’s high school student, it is vital for us as youth pastors to be changing with them to understand the world they are navigating and share with them the life changing truth of the Gospel.

Geoff has been a youth pastor for 6 years at Peace Portal Alliance Church and volunteered for 10 years before that in the same church. He is passionate about seeing young people transformed by Jesus and becoming leaders in their school and community. He and his wife Lavonne live in South Surrey with their cats Norman and Puff Daddy.

Andy Lambkin

Team Lead - Property Development & Nest Housing Society

andy.lambkin@gmail.com

Andy wears two hats in the Canadian Pacific District. He serves as our New Venture implementer, helping new communities of faith emerge across our province, and he also leads the Nest housing Society, a non-profit affordable housing society working with local churches to utilize their land for social good while fulfilling critical ministry priorities. If you have questions about either of these areas, please reach out.

Personally, Andy is married to Jolie and they have four kids. Residing in North Vancouver, they call simplechurches, a network of house churches, their church home.

Carmen Kinniburgh

District Children’s Ministry Partner

jckinnib@telus.net

Children’s ministry involves developing leaders, discipling children and families, exercising creativity, with an emphasis on fun and building relationships that help others to experience God’s love as they are loved by people who know God’s love. Carmen has served in children’s ministries as a volunteer, coordinator, curriculum writer, camp speaker, and pastor. Her desire in ministry and life is to help others (whether they be children, youth, or adults) to hear God’s voice and to experience the freedom and fullness of love found in knowing Jesus and living kingdom lives. Whether your children’s ministry is led by volunteers or a pastoral leader, Carmen would love to connect, build networks, support, resource, pray with, and provide care in whatever areas are needed.

Carmen lives in Vernon with her husband, Jeremy, and their two teenage kids. She loves playing soccer, hiking, camping, and theatre. She and Jeremy have founded two new ministries called Threshold Initiatives and Contributing Pastor.