Welcome to the ReachOut Blog. Maybe you’re wondering to yourself right now, What is ReachOut? Well, we’re here to answer that for you.
ReachOut is one of the ministries at Deep Water Church, with a mission to build God’s Kingdom outside of our walls by investing in local and international ministries that serve the poor, reach the lost, and plant new churches.
So far this year, ReachOut is supporting the following ministries:
Open Arms Centre
This blog is where we will be sharing stories from within these ministries. We hope to bring to light many of the great things happening both in Halifax and internationally, as well as show the needs that still exist and ways to get involved.
We’ll be posting every month so be sure to visit!
Since launching in 2009, luvHaiti has been a focal point of Deep Water’s international outreach. Through our partnerships with local missionaries, Carl & Maya Giles, as well as Pastor Jeannot, Deep Water continues to fund and support five initiatives; each with the intent of building local capacity and spreading the gospel.
Equip Haiti provides training to young leaders; empowering them to be effective in their area of ministry, communities and personal relationships.
Petion Ville Wesleyan Scholarship Program awards funding to post-secondary students who are active in their church community and require financial support to continue their technical training.
The luvHaiti MicroBank is a non-profit micro loan program, through which qualified individuals are able to access financial support and training. Earlier this year, our local partners approved the distribution of loans to four individuals. Ranging from $300 – $450, these funds will help these individuals to sustain and grow their businesses.
After hearing about the impact that Celebrate Recovery was having in our own congregation, Carl and Maya wanted to explore the possibility of launching the program in Port-au-Prince. After a successful fundraising campaign last Christmas, we were able to provide the start-up funding for CR.
Currently in the planning stages, training through Community Health Evangelism (CHE) is scheduled to take place later this year. CHE is a program that unifies ministry and discipleship with community health and development.
We look forward to sharing updates and progress regarding each of these initiatives over the coming months.
This post was written by AJ Thomas, lead pastor at Deep Water Church
One of the first projects we have backed as a part of our ReachOut initiative is a church plant here in Halifax called Nova. To some people this may seem like a rather strange thing for us to do. Why would we pour outreach funds into a church? And if a church why a church other than Deep Water? And if another church why Nova? Let’s take a couple minutes and look at the answers to those questions.
“Why pour outreach funds into a church?”
At Deep Water we believe that God has called us to help bring his kingdom here in Halifax. While this includes serving the poor, feeding the hungry, helping the sick, caring for those in prison, and a whole host of other social justice initiatives, we believe that the most essential thing in bringing the kingdom of God to Halifax in greater and greater ways is to see individual lives transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. The tool that God has ordained as the primary way for the gospel to be both lived out and proclaimed is the local church. We believe that the more churches there are in Halifax that are Spirit filled and on mission with Jesus the more we will see people come to Christ, our community transformed and the kingdom come. No organization in Halifax is as well positioned or as God-empowered to bring transformation as the local church so we think it makes great sense to invest in a project that raises up another great local church.
“If a church, why a church other than Deep Water?”
I understand this question. God is doing some amazing things in Deep Water right now. Why would we not just continue to fuel that fire as much as we can? The answer is simple: we can’t do it alone. It will take many different kinds of strong, effective churches to reach Halifax for Jesus and while we want to do our part we also want to be a part of helping other churches to do theirs. Deep Water exists because the good folks at Hillside Wesleyan Church knew that we needed more strong healthy churches in our city and so they released people and gave money so that Deep Water could get off the ground. We want to have that same heart that says we will work our corner of the field with everything we have but we will also support those God has called to other corners. Our mission is to help people become passionate followers of Jesus Christ not just to build Deep Water, and if investing in another church helps us to accomplish our mission we will. People invested in us and because of this THE CHURCH in Halifax is stronger. Now we our investing in another church and THE CHURCH will be stronger still.
“If another church why Nova?”
In Matthew 25 Jesus tells the parable of the talents. You can read it for yourself if you want all the details but the basic gist is this: the Master gives us resources and it’s our job to invest them where they will bring the greatest return. Pastors Mike and Nancy Miller have served faithfully in the city of Halifax for many years. They know the culture, they know the people, and they know the spiritual climate here. They have excellent gifts for this type of work and God has clearly shown his blessing on this project in many ways including the amazing team he has raised up around the Millers. When Deep Water started we had the launch team of 30. Nova still has almost 2 months until they launch and their team already has 100 members. The vision they have for Nova is certainly not a replica of the vision for Deep Water but there is absolutely a common heartbeat, a common passion, and a common focus on reaching people who are far from Jesus. Making Deep Water and Nova kindred spirits. Simply put we are giving funds to Nova Church because we believe that it is one of the best kingdom investment opportunities our city has ever seen and we want in on the rewards of seeing lives transformed and God glorified.
So that’s why we are not just investing in Nova Church but are thrilled to have the opportunity to do so. We are investing in Nova not just because we believe in their mission but because it helps us accomplish ours and helps bring the Kingdom in Halifax as it is in Heaven.
Nova Scotia, a province known for caring people and communities, is not immune from the recruitment and trafficking of sex workers. Sex trafficking is modern day slavery and it affects the youth of our neighbourhoods. Young women are targeted at school or at popular hangouts. They are groomed in Halifax by young men acting as boyfriends; then the girls are taken from their homes and moved throughout the country. We often think that trafficking is something that only happens overseas, but two years ago, a meeting was held by a group of concerned Christians who had learned that this practice had been occurring in Nova Scotia. At this meeting, volunteers signed up for three teams: research, proposal and prayer. The teams worked hard to explore a faith based response to sex trafficking in the Maritimes. As a result of these volunteer efforts, in 2016 Open Door Centre launched a new initiative called Helping Exploited Youth. (HEY)
HEY uses a three-prong strategy: Prevention, Protection and Partnership.
1. Prevention: this involves working in the community, visiting schools and churches and educating them on the early signs of trafficking.
2. Protection: victims of sex trafficking can come directly to the centre, have a safe place to meet and, if needed, access safe houses.
3. Partnership: HEY works with community groups and establishes relationships with churches and non-faith-based organizations.
Volunteers at HEY do many different tasks, from counselling, financial advising, social work, stuffing newsletters or stocking shelves at the client boutique. Currently HEY is in need of volunteer receptionists.
If you are interested in volunteering with HEY, step one is to visit Open Door Centre, located at 5991 Spring Garden Rd #630, and pick up an application! It is not necessary to commit to a specific amount of time, and people from all walks of life or beliefs are welcome!
Uniacke Square, located in Halifax’s North End, is a tight-knit community made up largely of women and young people. The neighbourhood is known as a low-income area, with unemployment hovering at 60%. The need for community outreach was seen by the Salvation Army and the Open Arms Centre was established to assist the women and children of the Uniacke community.
The Open Arms Centre currently facilitates women’s programs ranging from Bible studies to sewing classes, budgeting and other life skills programs. It also caters to children through summer and March break camps, and a drop-in after school program.
Deep Water Summer Student Shawna McKay has been working with the organization through the afterschool program. She describes it as a place that “allows kids to be kids even for a small portion of their day.” Kids in the program play games, act creatively, receive healthy snacks and have access to homework help.
Shawna also lends her support by helping out the Open Arms staff at the Gottingen Street Food bank. Also run by the Salvation Army, this food bank provides much-needed supplies to residents, including those in Uniacke Square.
The Open Arms Centre is currently seeking dedicated helpers. “The biggest rule,” Shawna says, “is that it’s about participation; it’s a hands-on organisation.” If you enjoy working with women or kids and are sensing a call to help, contact Shawna at Shawna@deepwaterchurch.com.