Opportunity: A 2010 80-question mail-in survey of 420 Canadians by Carleton University Survey Centre and the Montreal-based Association for Canadian Studies found 30% agreed with the statement “I know God really exists and I have no doubts”, 20% acknowledged they “have doubts” but “feel that I do believe in God”, 10% answered they believe in God “sometimes”, 20% said they don’t believe in a “personal God” but “do believe in a higher power”, 12% adopted the classic agnostic position and said they “don’t know whether there is a God and don’t believe there is a way to find out”, and 7% said no god exists. Slightly more than half believed in heaven, while less than a third believed in hell, with 53.5% saying they believed in life after death. About 27% said they believe in reincarnation, and 50% expressed belief in religious miracles. (Source: Wikipedia)
Opportunity is a double-edged sword. Insofar as there is the possibility for success, there is usually a corresponding possibility of failure. For Christians, the possibility is somewhat hedged, but not entirely. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul gives a brilliant metaphor for how all Christians are to go about building the church. After identifying Christ as the only foundation that has been and can be laid, he continues on to describe our role as builders, “Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw – each one’s work will become manifest, for the day will disclose it,” (I Corinthians 3:12-13). So long as we build on Christ, we cannot go totally wrong. But there is more.
There have been, and are those, who would throw up a structure made from cheaper, more malleable materials – such as wood, hay and straw. It’s true, such materials are easier to come by and easier to form, but in the end, they are highly susceptible to the fire that will come. Others take the opposite approach and use costlier, more durable materials. They build well, for, “The fire will test the sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward,” (v14).
The question is left to the reader: how will you build?
The Artizo Institute is seeking to build well by seeking men and women who are gifted, godly and called to ministry. It seeks to encourage and train the called to go out as skilled builders. In doing this, Artizo labors to ensure that the church of Christ in Canada will be well-built.
Between the Artizo trainee-ship program and the 222 young-adults program, Artizo is currently training 24 people for the work of the gospel. They come from a variety of backgrounds and denominations, and with a variety of gifts, but all of them are intent on one thing: seeing the gospel go forward. Within the Artizo program, each intern is given training and experience in a variety of facets of ministry, from working with the children’s Sunday school, leading small groups, and helping with pastoral care, to preaching and teaching and being trainers themselves. In addition, they are trained to disciple and mentor, as each one meets with a 222 participant to share life, ministry and discuss the Bible and grow as students in God’s word. Artizo builds on the foundation of Jesus Christ by training these young men and women, diligently preparing them to create a structure that will endure.
Already Artizo has graduated 41 interns with many of them proclaiming Christ in ministry leadership positions in Canada and around the world. The vision is that many more will be sent out, and that training bases will be setup across Canada. At a very basic level, Artizo is a mission organization to Canada.
This requires an investment. Good materials often do. Your support goes directly to supporting more young women and men. Thank-you for helping us build well.
-Jonathan Furst (12′)