Category Archives: evergreen community christian reformed church

Ecclesial Roundup. Week ending 08.28.11

MGA Church. Pastor Glen Forsberg.

Fellowship Baptist Church.  Pastor Brent Carter

Fm Alliance. Pastor Val Johnson

Family Christian Center

Emmanuel Baptist Church

Interview with Pastor George Holthof of ECCRC, Fort McMurray

This is the third interview I’ve done for this site. The first one was with Pastor Bruce Taylor of FBC and the second with Nick Kulhawy when he was the Youth Pastor at the Alliance Church. The purpose of these interviews are to help people understand what goes into the sermons that they hear every Sunday morning, as well as to give potential members who want to know what a Church believes and practices some information to help them make their decision. This is not to say that what a particular pastor believes and how he thinks will necessarily affect how the church functions and expresses herself as a whole, but more often than not it is a very close indication. Few things offer a better insight into a church than their philosophy of preaching, and that is why most of the questions are geared towards that.

As it were, I sent off Pastor George Holthof of the Evergreen Community Christian Reformed Church an email a couple of weeks ago requesting to meet with him, and he graciously agreed to do the interview. I apologize in advance for my own humble attempts at an interview. Listening to it back, I was acutely aware that I spoke too quickly and said “you know” and “like” about a hundred times more than I needed to. As well, I edited my own questions somewhat for the purpose of brevity and clarity. Still, I hope you all will be edified by this.

Part I

I’m missing a large chunk from the intro, due to bad recording on my part. The first few questions were about the background of the Pastor, the denomination and the history of this particular local church, as well as the Church mission and vision.

6. What bible passages have impacted your approach to preaching?

Part II

7. How long does it take to prepare a sermon, from start to finish?

8. When doing a sermon do you use any commentaries, and if so which ones?

9. What bible translation do you use, and why do you tend to use that one?

10. What do you think of the message bible being preached from the pulpit- do you think it is an accurate translation? Would you purposely use it?

11. What kinds of sermons are hardest for you to preach?

12. How have you grown as a preacher in the last 5-10 years?

Part III

13. What are three of your favorite bible verses/passages that you hold very dear.

14. What well know preachers do you hold in high regard? Preachers, commentators, bloggers, theologians- who do you hold in high regards in the public visible Christian world, in terms of preachers and speakers?

15. What is your approach to reading the Bible? Do you have a schedule?

16. How do you decide what to preach? Do you guys follow lexionaries? Do you have a calendar of some kind? How do you decide from this week to next month what to preach?

17. Do you preach expositorily or topically, and also do you have an elder board that shapes the plan for the church in terms of what we want to preach and what we want to have our congregation learn over the course of a year, 2 years?

Part IV

18. Is your worship style in your church comprised primarily of hymns or contemporary worship and what do you feel are the strengths and weaknesses of each one?

19. With the call and response…are you guys a liturgical church? Do you follow a liturgy at all? Or is it more contemporary liturgy in terms of…the Apostles Creed, Athaniasian Creed on the screen on the screen or do you have a call and response in a more contemporary way?

20. What grade level do you try to gear your sermons towards? Are you preaching to the unchurched vs the people who have been here 5-10 years who are deep in their faith. Do you teach simplistically and go into the deeper things, or even would you use terms like “saved” verses sanctified and justified. How do you..what’s the emphasis I guess?

21. Alright, kind of like an ancillary question to this, would you say that the church exists primarily as a place where believers go to be taught and edified, or is it more of an outreached to the unchurched. What is the purpose of the local Church, and how does that affect your preaching?

22. Where do you hope your Church is in 5 years?

Part V

23. You mentioned bible studies. Do you guys have catechist classes or bible studies? What do you have in the middle of the week for people who are [ looking for that]?

24. At this point, do you feel called to this Church for life, or do you think that God will call you away?

25. Does your Church practice biblical discipline and how does that play out in a practical way?

26. According to your general observations, what kind of doctrines would you say need special attention today? What things need to be talked about and emphasized and brought to the forefront?

27. What is your position on the inerrancy of scripture?

Part VI

28. Can you explain justification by faith and can you also give us the difference between the catholic view of justification verses the “quote unquote biblical view or the reformed view of justification?

29. Does your church hold to cessasionist beliefs? What are your thoughts on speaking in tongues…modern day prophets and apostles… how do you think that plays out?

30. You mentioned before in the justification question that…we get our sin from Adam and Eve. You mentioned also in the Genesis that you weren’t…the first three books are they literal? Do you think the world was created in 6 days. Do you think Adam and Eve were actual people? Do we get our original sin from Adam? Is he a real federal head? What is your view on that whole realm of Genesis 1-4?

31. What is your view on divorce and remarriage? Is divorce ever allowed, first of all, and second of all, if someone divorced for reasons not adultery and abandonment, would they be an adulterer if they remarried and would that be an issue of church discipline?

32. If you could impart one thing to your flock, one central message that they would just get and understand and put into practice and have that change their lives, what would it be?

Anyway, that’s a wrap. I have a few more interviews lined up, and I’ll hope to be a better interviewer in the future. In any case, I hope this offers a bit of information and idea of how preaching and teaching is formulated at this Church, as well as what they believe about a few different issues. If you want to check them out, they are located at 101 Tundra Drive. Fort McMurray, AB T9H 5A4. (780) 743-8989


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