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The Online Bridge: Spring 2005
Issue 11, May 2005

Norbert & Tina Janke:
ministry couple, Arnprior, Ontario

I started attending "North American Baptist Divinity School” in January of 1989 and finished in December of 1991. I graduated in 1992 from "Edmonton Baptist Seminary" with a Master of Divinity (which was a surprise to many I'm sure!). From there I was called to Hawkwood Baptist in Calgary where I served as Associate Pastor for 5½ years. During that time I met and married Tina (from Cleveland, OH).

People always ask, “How did a guy from Calgary meet a girl from Cleveland?” I had taken a group of high school students to a Sonlife conference in Chicago and Tina was there as a leader with her youth ministry. We exchanged phone numbers and I called her for the first time on our way back to Calgary. We were engaged within 6 months and married September 3, 1994 – 13 months after first meeting! In June of 1997 we moved to First Baptist in Arnprior, ON where I have served as Senior Pastor for the past 7½ years. During our time here we have been blessed with two children: Lucas 6½ and Anna 5.

 

We enjoy working together as a couple in ministry. I encourage Tina to serve in the areas where she can best utilize her giftedness. She is highly administrative and has her fingers in many areas of church life. Because of her giftedness, she is able to support me in what I do; she will often come alongside me in the planning and implementation of a variety of ministry events.

Right now in our church there is a growing desire for authentic community. The challenge seems to be in getting people to readjust lifestyles in order to make room for relationships. At the same time, it is recognizing that with such a diversity of people and generations within our church there are also a wide variety of needs and perspectives. We need to find a way to move forward in a way that respects one another. This presents a huge need (and challenge) for our leadership.

As for reaching our community we feel called to live in relationship with people, both inside and outside the church, and it’s within the context of those relationships that we desire to point people to Christ. As we pour our lives into others (and they into us) we trust that Christ will be formed in all of us.

Pray for us that we “practice what we preach” with honesty and integrity…by that I mean that if we are going to “preach” healthy relationships then we would also model that in our own lives and friendships. Pray also that God would raise up leaders within the church that understand the changing culture in which me minister.

As I think back to my seminary years perhaps my fondest memory was the feeling of "community" that I experienced there. This was due in large part to the smaller class sizes which allowed for interaction. I remember really enjoying the school wide "coffee break" and the fact that the professors joined us. This provided an opportunity to just hang out together and talk about life and ministry. I felt cared for outside the academic setting. Unfortunately, the nature of ministry is that we end up scattered around the world and we lose contact. That is why I appreciate what the Alumni Department is doing because in some ways it helps us "reconnect."

Norbert Janke
njanke@fbc-online.ca
www.fbc-online.ca