John was born and raised in Stettler, Alberta, a small town 80 km east of Red Deer, Alberta. Their average, middle-class family underwent a sudden upheaval when John’s dad had a stroke and died suddenly when John was only 11 years old. They were nominally attached to a local church and continued like that for several years, until they became acquainted, and eventually friends with neighbours across the street. The father of that family was pastor of the town’s Nazarene Church. God used this influence, and in time John, his brother, sister and mother became part of the congregation. When he was about 15, after an evening service at church where the gospel was presented, John made his decision to follow Jesus.
He recalls himself as a rather ‘obscure’ student during his high school years, tending to be on the periphery of class activities. His main social outlet was at Youth For Christ.
Drawn Toward Ministry
Following high school John felt drawn toward ministry but wasn’t really sure what it would look like. He decided to enroll at Mountain View Bible College to get a Bible Certificate. He didn’t really see himself becoming a pastor but he was becoming aware that he liked the admin side of ministry. “I didn’t enjoy the ‘upfront stuff’, but liked being close to it, supporting it”, says John.
During his first year at Mountain View John met Audrey, a second year student. In those days the College had lots of rules designed to discourage romances, but even so John and Audrey became a couple and married after John completed his third year and graduated. Students were not permitted to marry while still in school.
Bible Diploma in hand, in 1968 John volunteered the first summer after graduation at a YFC camp in Manitoba. That fall the young couple packed their belongings and moved to Brandon, Manitoba where John served as a Director of YFC. Sons Mel and Cory were born during the six years John and Audrey lived in Brandon.
Feeling it was time to move on, he accepted another Directorship for YFC, this time in Calgary. Here the job also required more ‘on the front lines’ work, and although John was able to do it, he comments “It was not what I wanted. I was just not cut out for it.” Baby number three, Candi, arrived while they lived here.
In 1978 a call came from YFC in Vancouver. Would he come and be their business head? John didn’t have the formal education for this, but what he lacked on paper, he made up for in aptitude. He began working towards a CGA, and so made time to take courses and do assignments while also working full time and caring for his young family.
He was still working on his CGA designation, 4 years in, when he received a call from Mountain View in 1982. They needed a Business Manager. Would he be interested? John accepted and again they packed up, and made the move from Vancouver to Didsbury. “I loved being a business manager”, says John and he spent 10 years in this position. He finished his CGA in 1988.
In 1992 Mountain View and Hillcrest Colleges closed and in their place, Rocky Mountain College opened in Calgary. John was invited to join the staff as Business Manager. He commuted for the first year until they once again found a new home and moved their family to Calgary. John took up the responsibilities of Business Manager and flourished in this position which he held for 23 years – right up to retirement in 2015.
More About John
John and Audrey’s kids are all married and they are the proud grandparents of six. Until she also retired, Audrey worked in Homecare for many years, assisting people with disabilities. To relax, John enjoys jigsaw puzzles and Hardanger, a form of embroidery of Norwegian origin worked over counted threads in a geometrical design.
Since retirement, John has maintained his love of, and interest in, all things financial – how things work, and how they can be made better, more efficient. A long time ago, 1903 to be exact, John’s grandfather immigrated to Canada to homestead. He worked as a farmhand in southern Manitoba and made a point of learning what was done, when, and why. In a letter home to England, his grandfather made a comment that impacted John so strongly he never forgot it and sought to apply it throughout his career.
His grandfather said, “It’s always best to work as if I owned the place.”
He has done contract work and gives of his expertise to several boards including that of his own church, Parkdale Grace Fellowship where he serves as Treasurer, and the EMCC National Board where he is now in his final year.
John is available as an Enrich Facilitator to provide coaching in Financial Administration
As an Enrich Facilitator John would enjoy helping churches get their financial information into a format that is useful to their boards. John has experience designing customized reporting systems.
Coming in as a listener, he would ask what a church is currently doing ministry-wise. Do they know what they should be tracking and how to do it? If something is wrong, do they know what it is and what kind of adjustment may be needed? In John’s position in Vancouver, a co-worker taught him to always ask: “What’s the net benefit to the kingdom?” It’s important to learn to ask the right questions in the financial realm to discern between what is good, and what is the best, for maximum kingdom impact.
To connect with John visit emccenrich.ca He is available by phone, online, or in-person and is willing to travel.