Mark_circleFor as long as I can remember, I’ve been a part of a team. As a child I played both hockey and baseball, both team sports, and as an adult, I’ve served on different teams as well, such as on ministry teams. And I’ve cheered on some pretty good sports teams from my couch.

A few years ago, I took up a new sport that is really all about individual effort: training and racing the marathon distance in running. You might think, “how can anyone enjoy running 42.2 km (26.2 mi.)?” One of the reasons I enjoy it is that it creates discipline in my life. I love to keep a schedule of waking up early to hit the trails for my training run, spend time in prayer, and dig into God’s Word. It really is a great way to start the day.

Over the past few years, I’ve completed nine marathons and even though I’m the one who runs, trains for, and completes the race, I do count on major support from family and friends. There are a ton of sacrifices that go into the race. For 32 Saturdays of the year, my family and I don’t set any morning plans in order to ensure the long training run is completed. I’m also away at numerous practice races.

No marathon runner can complete the race without the proper support. Race day is when the marathon moves from an individual sport to a team sport. My wife Jessica and our children are a huge part of the race, and in some cases other family members and friends partner with us.

In one race, I became ill after hitting the 26 km mark; it was hot and I wasn’t enjoying myself anymore. A friend ran about 3 km with me, encouraging me to finish the course. It was the perfect motivation I needed. At another race, my friend Richard and his family, along with Jessica and our children, were on the course to cheer me to the finish line. My friend rode his bike handing me water bottles and words of encouragement, while our families met me at different km markers to cheer me on. As the pain of racing began to play mental games with me, I kept my focus on the knowledge that at 36km I would see my “team” ready to give me that final needed encouragement to run the last 6km.

After nine marathons, I’ve realized how important it is to be running the race with the right support beside me. It really is a game changer. Once the race is over, the medal at the finish line is first placed around my neck, and when I see my family and both my kids, Ethan and Logan, get their picture with the finisher medal as well, I know we did it—we completed the race.

When I think about Precept Ministries I think about it like a marathon. It’s a grueling race in pursuit of bringing glory to God. We live in a HUGE country; the ministry is spreading all across the country. We’re in big cities like Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto and we’re in smaller communities like Valleyview, AB; Fort Frances, ON; and Armstrong, ON. Recently we sent Discover 4 Yourself children materials to a little place called Big Trout Lake in Northern Ontario, a fly-in community that would receive these materials almost a month after they left our office. 

I’ve had the opportunity to travel across this country for the last few years meeting thousands of people who have served as workshop hosts, Bible study leaders, and financial contributors through our E-Team. These wonderful team members are a valuable support to fulfilling the ministry we’ve been called to do. I’m so thankful for each one of them.

Among these there’s one smaller team that we wouldn’t be able to do without, and that is the E-Team. They’re a committed group of people who not only support the ministry through financial donations on a regular basis, but also are prayer warriors who continually lift up the ministry in prayer. They receive regular prayer requests and updates and inside information on some of the specific needs we are facing in the ministry.

In 2015, before heading out on the Called to Proclaim Tour, we called on the E-Team to fast and pray for the tour as our attendance numbers were not great. As Sharon Kaufman, one of our trainers, and I stepped out in faith and jumped onto an airplane to Halifax while only 56 people were registered for the tour across the country, we knew the E-Team would be praying for more people. By time the tour ended, we had trained almost 350 people across Canada. It’s so comforting to know your team is lifting you up in prayer as you head out to serve.

In 2013, we started a campaign to raise and match $100,000 in 2 months through our Matching Gift Campaign. In this God-sized task, we saw God not only match the $100,000, but actually raise $110,000! Many of our E-Team members rose to the call and gave above and beyond to match this gift and bless the ministry financially.

Seeing the people who love and have been blessed by the ministry step up in prayer and financial support is so encouraging to our team here in Brantford. We love to watch as God works through individuals. I’m confident those on our E-Team likewise find great joy in seeing how God works through this ministry.

Have you thought about joining the E-Team as a monthly donor and prayer warrior? Would you prayerfully consider partnering with us in this way? Here are 5 reasons why you should join the team and run the race with us:

Through monthly financial support, your committed partnership reduces the cares of running the financial end of the ministry through more predictable planning and budgeting, and ensures all of the focus is directed on establishing as many Canadians in God’s Word as the Lord will allow.

It is a great opportunity for you to bear fruit using your spiritual gift of giving (Romans 12:8).

In giving, you’re making an eternal investment—lives are being transformed through the power of God’s Word and through the tool of inductive study. Thousands of Canadians who have never studied God’s Word in this way are engaging in Bible study each year.

Increasing the number of E-Team members and monthly donations allows the ministry to continue to translate our Bible studies into French. In 2015 and 2016 we will have translated 5 new studies to be used not only in Quebec, but also now in Paris, France.

There are needs that we only share with our E-Team and this is an opportunity for you know about and pray over very specific needs in the ministry. Nothing can be accomplished without God and it’s our desire to walk in obedience to His calling. We pray daily for the needs of the ministry and ask our E-Team members to be lifting up our staff, Bible study leaders, and students in prayer.

My prayer for you is that you will prayerfully consider joining our E-Team as a monthly financial partner and prayer support. Like my family cheering me to the finish line in the marathon, so the E-Team encourages us to continue to press on in ministry. Our Lord is preparing the way for His return and according to His Word, life and service to the Lord will become more and more difficult. This is why we need you! We’re holding fast to the faithful word (Titus 1:9) in a time when many continue to contradict it.

To Join our E-Team, please fill out the enclosed form or visit our website for more information. If you would like to speak to me directly about joining the E-Team, don’t hesitate to call the office at 1.877.234.2030 or send me a personal note at msheldrake@preceptministries.ca.

Mark Sheldrake
National Director of Precept Ministries Canada

PS – Your support is vital to making a difference in our country. Join us today!    


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