A new outreach ministry in Nanaimo, British Columbia, is being funded in an unusual way. Rev. Andrew Turkstra will operate a fishing charter during the spring and summer months to help finance a personal discipleship and small group outreach program in the city.
Breakthrough Ministries will also receive funding from Christian Reformed Home Missions and Classis British Columbia North-West, a regional group of churches. The classis acknowledged that this type of ministry is a “new organizing paradigm for ‘church’ centered on discipleship rather than a worshiping community on Sunday mornings.”
“I’d say I’m encouraging a movement. . . . I simply feel called to help people connect with established Christian communities in their own area [rather than starting my own church],” explained Turkstra.
The ministry will consist primarily of small groups of two to three people with a focus on prayer, Scripture, personal encouragement, and outreach.
Nanaimo’s Christ Community CRC, where Turkstra previously served as pastor and where he and his family continue to worship, will serve as the calling church in a somewhat adapted role.
Chelsey Harmon, pastor of Christ Community, explained that the church will hold Turkstra’s ministerial credentials and continue to act as a source of local prayer and encouragement for Turkstra’s work. However, the church felt it did not have the resources to provide adequate oversight and accountability for such a new and experimental ministry. Instead, a supervisory board will be drawn from the entire classis.
The classis struggled with this lesser role for the calling church, trying to be faithful to the Church Order as well as God’s calling for both Turkstra and Christ Community. In the end, the classis decided that the Church Order also provides a role for classes to undertake evangelism when it is beyond the scope and resources of the local churches.
Turkstra’s first attempt to bring Christians and non-Christians together under the new ministry was a recent boat-unveiling celebration that served to launch Reel Time West Coast Fishing Charters.