Dear friend of Taylor,

I am often struck by the power of art and by the influence of creative expression in our culture. Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias once asked:

“How do you reach a generation that listens with its eyes and thinks with its feelings?”[1]

It’s an odd comment don’t you think, listening with eyes, thinking with feelings?  It certainly pushes back against our rationalist tendencies that so often associate “reaching a generation” with logical arguments and facts. When our old arguments fail to do the work they used to do it is so good to know that God still has a witness that reaches into the deepest desire of this changing culture.

We who are steeped in fading cultural values are often blinded to the light that is waiting to break forth from God’s word when we learn to see with new eyes. When we learn to see we find God has provided us with beauty so compelling and so enthralling that its attraction is almost irresistible.

Taylor’s 7th annual onWORD Conference, which took place earlier this month in conjunction with McKernan Baptist Church, was our most recent attempt to help believers see with new eyes. This conference helped us approach the Bible with more than just an analytical approach. Using a variety of creative approaches, we soaked in the Scriptures in fresh ways (fresh for us, perhaps, but not really new to the people of God of previous centuries).

Of course, students at Taylor Seminary encounter these approaches throughout their courses – in chapel services, at retreats, and in the classroom. For example, Dr. Allan Effa is leading a pilgrimage in Spain next spring, helping students re-discover this ancient Christian practice. A setting like a pilgrimage or a retreat can often serve as a new context where faith is quickened, and the journey itself becomes a living parable of the Kingdom, a memorable experience of walking with God. (Literally!)

Our Creator gave us five senses and the gift of creativity to enliven and beautify all the relationships God has blessed us with. Good food, warm hugs, physical activity, laughter – all of these display important things to family and friends that words alone cannot. Our Thanksgiving feasts are such good examples of how a special meal with family can be reminders of God’s abundant blessings.

The question from Ravi Zacharias prompts us to be sensitive to our context. Just as the Apostle Paul used philosophy to speak to the philosophy-loving, Greek-influence audiences of his day, we need to communicate the Good News of the Kingdom in the language of our day; for many, that language is creativity: image, story, art, acts of service.

I hope you were able to join us at this year’s onWORD Conference, but if not you can share a little of that experience online (recordings will be posted at

The scriptures invite us to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” What an opportunity we have to offer those around us more than facts and arguments.  The Kingdom is at hand, abundant life is available for the living, and it is a joy to be part of training leaders who can help a new generation experience this fresh and anew. Your participation in this ministry is cherished by all of us at Taylor.  In this Thanksgiving season we are thankful to God who makes it all possible through faithful partners such as you.


David Williams, PhD

P.S. If you share our vision for training and equipping the next generation of leaders to serve our churches and communities in a Christ-like way, please continue to stand with us. Your prayers and financial support are critically important – Thank you!

[1] Ravi Zacharias, “Just Thinking,” Vol. 21.1 (2012): pg. 22. 

Coming Soon

Dr. Allan Effa

Allan EffaRay and Edith DeNeui Professor of Intercultural Studies


Upcoming Faculty Activity

April 9 – Sunday – teach Adult Formation class on Worship at First Baptist

May 2 – Presentation to Edmonton Area CBWC Ministerial on “How Corporate Worship Saves Us”

May 9-25 – Lead students in walk of the Camino de Santiago, Spain

June 3-4 -  Retreat Speaker for Good Tree Church, Calgary, at Banff Centre (Topic: Integral Mission)

June 15 – Present paper to American Society of Professors of Mission on Missiological Implications for Taylor Seminary Arising from Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Recommendations, Wheaton College

June 14-18 – Serve the American Society of Missiology as secretary at annual meetings in Wheaton

June 25 – 26 – Teach sessions at Parish Nursing Institute


Recent Speaking Engagements and Publications:

  • Peer Reviewed Article: “Celtic and Aboriginal Pathways toward a Contemporary Eco Spirituality” International Bulletin of Mission Research (October 2016)
  • Sept 22, 2016 – Presentation to Calgary CBWC Ministerial on Missional Church Conversation, Ecclesiology and the Kingdom
  • Book Review: “Joining God, Remaking Church, Changing the World: The New Shape of the Church in our Time,” by Alan J. Roxburgh in Missiology: An International Review, Vol 44, no. 3 July 2016, pp.351-352.
  • June 16 – 19 – Helped facilitate the annual American Society of Missiology conference in St. Paul, MN
  • June 1, 2016 – Moderated Interfaith Panel at Strathcona Baptist Church, Edmonton
  • May 31, 2016 – Presentation to Edmonton CBWC Ministerial on Missional Church Conversation, Ecclesiology and the Kingdom
  • May 15, 2016 – Preach and lead Healing/Pentecost Service at First Baptist Church, Edmonton
  • Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016 – Preach 11 AM FBC Edmonton – “How Liturgy Forms Us”
  • Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015 – Preach 11 AM FBC Edmonton – “Believing the Impossible”
  • Saturday, November 29, 2015 – co-led intergenerational Advent retreat, First Baptist Edmonton
  • Thursday/Friday, October 22 – 23 2015, Peace River Bible Institute in Sexsmith, Alberta - Four lectures on “Integral Mission” (Integral Mission, an introduction; Integral Mission as Proclamation; Integral Mission as Social Justice; Integral Mission as Creation Care)
  • October 15, 2015 – Chapel Devotional at Tegler Manor, Edmonton.
  • October 2015, “Pub congregations, coffee house communities, tall-steeple churches, and sacred space: The missional church movement and architecture.” in Missiology: An International Review. Vol 43(4) October 2015, pp.373-384.
  • September 22, 2015 – Theology and Culture Series, First Baptist Edmonton. “How culture has shaped Christian theology and attitudes toward environmental stewardship.”
  • June 20, 2015 to the American Society of Missiology in Wheaton, IL: “Pub congregations, coffee house communities, tall-steeple churches, and sacred space: The missional church movement and architecture.”
  • Sunday, March 22, 2015 10:30 AM – Preach, North Edmonton Alliance Church, Edmonton. Sermon for Mission Emphasis Sunday.
  • Sunday, March 15, 2015 – Adult Formation Class, First Baptist, Edmonton: “The Spiritual Practice of Fasting.”
  • March 3, 2015 “Sharing Good News in a Secular Age” – presentation in a Theology and Culture series, First Baptist Church, Edmonton
  • Feb. 21, 2015 – Lead Lenten Retreat, First Baptist Church, Edmonton.
  • Feb. 4, 2015 – Paper presented to the Evangelical Missiological Society Canada Regional meeting at Providence Seminary: Pub Congregations, Coffee House Communities, Tall-Steeple Churches and Sacred Space: The Missional Church and Architecture

First Baptist Church (Adult Formation class):

  • Co-taught Adult Formation class on Revelation (Sept. 18, 2016)
  • Hospitality in the Way of Jesus (Jan. 25, 2016)
  • A Contemplative Theological Exploration of Baptism (Jan. 10, 2016)
  • How we are Formed by the Liturgy (Nov. 23, 2015)
  • How we are formed by the Christian Calendar (Nov. 16, 2015)
  • The Spiritual Practice of Pilgrimage (Oct. 18 2015)

Greenfield Community Church (Sermon):

  • How Corporate Worship Forms Us (Jan. 4, 2016)

Theology and Culture series (First Baptist Church, Edmonton)

  • Tuesday, September 22, 2015, 7:00 PM - "How has culture shaped Christian theology and attitudes toward environmental stewardship?"  This Free Lecture/Discussion will explore Celtic and North American Aboriginal cultural themes as pathways toward a more biblical understanding and practice.

View Dr. Effa’s CURRICULUM VITAE here (PDF)