Pastor Jed Gorham and Pastor Jake Hron first met because they were the only two guys wearing a hat at an EMCC event. They were introduced to each other, immediately hit it off, and God took it from there. Only He knew the collaboration He would develop as other pieces dropped into place.
Jed is pastor at Eau Clair EMC, a small rural church three hours from Ottawa, and Jake ministers to an EMC congregation of about 200 in Vineland, ON, a suburban bedroom community between St. Catharines and Grimsby. The two churches are four and a half hours away from each other and the congregations are unknown to one another.
About a year into the pandemic Jed found himself researching YouTube videos for ideas to improve the videos he was making. He came across a suggestion to collaborate with another church. Right away he thought of Jake. They had been watching each other’s videos and Jed thought, “Hey, this would be a great opportunity for us and at the same time we can build each other’s churches.” Jed messaged Jake and learned that that very morning Jake had been thinking of, and praying for him and the Eau Claire Church. “I don’t think that was an accident,” says Jake.
As they talked they felt keenly that this was something God wanted them to do and that it was important to do it. It was an opportunity to build a bridge between the two congregations and for each pastor to build into the other church in an area of his complementary strength. “There are two things we are uniquely passionate about. Jed is passionate about evangelism, and I’m passionate about disciple-making,” says Jake. “An excellent partnership.”
Jake has been actively disciple-making for just over four years. “Jesus says, ‘all authority is mine –therefore make disciples.’ If you haven’t taught any or baptized any, this is a problem of disobedience. Once I understood that startling truth, it radically changed my ministry,” says Jake. He is currently discipling two men and in the church they are seeing discipleship happening to the sixth generation.
Jed shares that we tend to over-complicate evangelism instead of just asking, ‘What do I know and can I share it with somebody else?’ And, “Don’t try to do it like someone else, do it like you. Just be yourself.”
Commenting on each other’s strengths, Jake says, “I want to bring Jed’s evangelistic fervour to my church,” and Jed says, “I want my congregation to know that everyone can be a disciple-maker; Jesus gave the ability to everyone.”
After they chose these two topics for their videos another piece fell neatly into place. A third person, Matt, who is an elder at the Vineland church, went to EBC with Jed. Matt became the moderator for the videos. The format was simple and unscripted. Matt would pose a question about the video topic and the pastor whose strength it was responded and comments were invited from the other pastor. The first video is an introduction, the second and third cover evangelism and discipleship respectively. After the three videos were completed they did not feel done, and so created one more. Video four features a disciple from each congregation talking about their discipleship/evangelistic training and their experiences applying what they’re learning as they disciple others.
These engaging, practical, and insightful videos will be launched at the Eau Claire and Vineland churches during sermon times beginning in October. Jed and Jake do not know if there will be more videos to come but are praying that these four will create a bond between the churches and a sense of knowing they are not alone but a part of a massive global movement.
Jake reflects, “Sometimes we get into a silo-type feeling, my flock, my ministry. We have some awareness of what’s going on, but there are other pastors out there with great wisdom.”
“We are partners, fellow sojourners. Size of church doesn’t matter. There is so much strength to be found in connecting our churches.”
“Wouldn’t it be great if we could partner across the country,” says Jed. “We never know what resources various churches may have. We can help each other fill the gaps.”
“Partner with another church and you’ll be blessed,” says Jake.
“Many of us go to our Camps and to EMCC events and make a connection there,” says Jed. “Don’t let it fade. Carry it to the next level. For us, it just started with hats and look what God can do.”
This article is featured in the Fall 2021 edition of The EMCC Together newsletter.
Download a PDF copy of the newsletter and view previous EMCC Together publications here.