Settling into the community of Erskine, Pastor Mark Broadway has been enjoying a new chapter in his ministry of getting to know the members of Evangelical Free Church of Erskine.
“I had been pastoring near Rocky for 16 years at Leslieville,” he explained. “In September, they called me from here and said they needed an interim pastor, so for six months I was interim. And then, in the middle of this past March, they called me to be the pastor.”
He officially started April 1st.
Broadway, who hails originally from Bentley, has been pastoring since 1984.
Prior to Leslieville, he served in Alix, Swan Hills, Edmonton and up in the Peace River country. He recalls first feeling a call to the ministry when he was a young guy, living with his family in Lac La Biche where his father was pastoring at the time.
“I was very young – probably Grade two. I think ultimately, I sensed God’s call quite young in life. Of course, the world calls quite loudly in other places,” he added with a smile.
“So it wasn’t until university (he was studying political science at the time) that it became very clear that this is the direction that I should go.”
He left his studies after one year and went onto seminary which included Prairie Bible Institute.
His first post was in a little country church up north with a congregation numbering about 40.
“It was something else – I had a party line and my closest neighbour was two miles away. These guys had homesteaded back in the 60s, so they had literally cut their life out of the bush,” he recalled of that experience. “They are still very close friends of mine.
“After seminary, I went out to Vancouver Island and started a little window washing company and bought a 32 foot boat for Maple Bay, by Duncan. I was living on the boat and I got a call from the lady up at a church up in Peace River. “
He soon realized it was indeed God’s call for him to head there. “That kind of changed my life.”
Currently, Broadway describes his vision as beginning with a love for the local church in general.
“I grew up in it, and I have dedicated my life to the local church,” he explains. “In the last number of years, I have felt quite a burden for people who have left the traditional church and aren’t going anywhere. I have also discovered that as many as 50 per cent of people who call themselves evangelical are disconnected from any local church.
“That’s the burden that I have,” he said.
“My wife and I have a ministry that we call the Nexus Ministry that the Evangelical Free Church of Canada is helping me to develop. And this church here is willing for me to keep working with that group of people that have left the traditional church while ministering here at the same time.
“So the heart that I have is for the local church, and for those who have left it.”
He noted that some have left for good reasons, while others have tended to wander away. “There is a whole spectrum of why people have left,” he pointed out.
“I feel as though the church has labeled them as being back-slidden or wayward or whatever word you want to use, and yet, I see the church as being somewhat wayward as well having pushed some people or at least not having met the need.
“Obviously, half of believers don’t think their needs are being significantly met in the local church, or they would be here. I mean, people aren’t unreasonable.
“So here in the Erskine church, we are going to focus some of our energy on trying to connect with the disconnected Christian. We will be trying to get them reconnected with a faith that is living and active in their own lives.”
For Broadway, the joys of ministry boil down to his love of people.
“The people that I get to work with and their families, they truly want to be holy people. They want to be good people – they want to honour God. And I get to help participate in that process.”
For more about the Evangelical Church of Erskine, visit www.erskinefree.com.