As churches “cultivate practices of prayer and spiritual discipline,” one of four milestones in the Christian Reformed Church's ministry focus for the next five years (Our Journey 2025), Canadian congregations have been finding resources through Dunamis Fellowship Canada, an organization whose “programs aim to grow spiritual leadership for the movement of the Holy Spirit.”
“A group of people in the Winnipeg (Manitoba) and Thunder Bay (Ontario) area(s) have been praying for the last 30 years for the CRC in their area to be more Spirit-led, prayerful, and empowered,” said Marg Rekman, a pastor at Bethlehem CRC in Thunder Bay, Ont.
Rekman is one of three pastors leading an online “Dunamis Project” this November. Called Gateways to Empowered Ministry, it’s the first of a series of six events focused on different aspects of the Spirit’s work, to run until Spring 2023.
“By looking through the Old and New Testament—especially the life of Jesus—(the series) gives a biblical basis and understanding of who the Spirit is, how the Spirit is at work in our lives and the church, and how we can become more discerning of his leading,” Rekman said.
Rekman has been connected to Dunamis for the past 15 years, and this is her first time as part of a teaching team.
Trevor Payton, a CRC pastor who last served Rockpoint Community Church in North Haledon, N.J., became the executive director of Dunamis Fellowship Canada in 2018. “We want to see every church in Canada thriving and doing ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit,” Payton said.
Payton said the organization, which teaches from a biblical and Reformed perspective, provides resources in four different ways: conferences, meeting with churches to assess their ministry needs, an annual youth camp, and a video course.
Dale Melenberg connected with Dunamis in 2017 when he started pastoring at Hope Fellowship CRC in Courtice, Ont. He was looking for help with prayer, saying to Dunamis leaders, “I need you to teach the whole church how to pray with the congregation, then I need you to help teach us how to pray with our neighbors.” When Hope Fellowship CRC turned to the Alpha ministry program and did the nine-month program on prayer, Melenberg said, “Dunamis was helpful with all the materials and with all their history they came well prepared to help us.” Melenberg is now a pastor at The River Community CRC in Edmonton, Alta.
Beth Fellinger, regional mission leader for Eastern Canada with Resonate Global Mission, said organizers have invited Dunamis to provide workshops on prayer at Inspire 2021, the denomination’s biennial ministry conference. “Dunamis has enhanced prayer, given direction to discernment, and helped many benefit from accessing the whole Trinity,” Fellinger said.
Similar work is active in the United States through Presbyterian-Reformed Ministries International.