Joy Fellowship
Fall 2003 Newsletter


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Joy Unspeakable:
The Vision and Mission of Joy Fellowship
Part Two

By Dave Choi and Matt Johnson


Those unfamiliar with the bright spirit and diverse skills found in the disabled community will be surprised at the breadth and depth of Joy Fellowship’s mission strategies. After examination, it is clear that the church’s mission flows easily from its central vision to do ministry together with people who are disabled in order to make mature disciples of Jesus Christ.

To begin with, the church’s location is strategic in the sense that transportation is a major issue within the disabled community. In fact, the difficulty of getting to church alone has made the disabled an unreached people group in North America. Since the church is located on a major bus route, people who are not able to get a ride to church from a relative or a friend can often come on the bus. Still, there are many who are stranded at home.

Those who are unable to attend Joy Fellowship can keep in touch with the church through the website: www.joyfellowship.bc.ca. The website is well designed and contains a wealth of information concerning the church’s history, weekly events, a quarterly newsletter, and a prayer calendar.

Lay leaders abound at Joy Fellowship. Opportunities for congregants include set up, worship team, ushering, greeting, guest book signing, scripture reading, praying, sign language choir, and ministry teams. Joy Gregory said the only responsibilities she has in setting up for Sunday service are opening the doors and turning on the heat. Everything that can be done by congregants is done by congregants.

The praise of God in song is joyful, beautiful, and honest, yet simple enough for most to sing along. A sense of freedom and acceptance floods the room. Preaching is always a difficult task, but especially so at Joy Fellowship. The audience ranges from those with graduate degrees (even an Honorary Doctorate) to those who don’t understand words. The philosophy taken to address such diverse needs is to preach one point. This one point is simple enough at its core for everyone to grasp the scripture’s emphasis, but complex enough on the periphery to feed those who desire deeper teaching. The strategies of teaching through songs, visuals, and drama are also used effectively to communicate the core message.

In addition to the Sunday service, over 100 people participate in teaching and fellowship provided at four weekly Bible studies that are held in various locations around the city. These studies provide another context for the body to gather, and the people are hungry for fellowship. The Bible is taught in a way specific to the audience at the Bible study, allowing for deeper interaction with the text than is possible on Sunday.

As a church committed to making mature disciples, Joy Fellowship also engages in a range of activities that reach out to others. Four ministry teams visit those in the community with more profound disabilities.

Through its vision and mission strategies, Joy Fellowship provides a much needed voice in the church at large. The fundamental place where the Church needs to listen to Joy Fellowship is in how they answer the following questions: Who is in the kingdom of God, and What are the kingdom’s values? The citizens of the kingdom include, and perhaps primarily include, those who the world rejects but whom Christ accepts. Following on the heels of this statement, the values of this kingdom are such that those who seem less honourable are actually indispensable. In living out its vision, Joy Fellowship has demonstrated the values of the kingdom that are often forgotten or pushed aside in contemporary churches.

Joy Fellowship reminds the Church why it exists today. The Church is not an organization that permits only a certain few to pass through its doors. The standards of the Church must not be that of a worldly corporation, for if we enter by merit, who will stand? The kingdom of God consists of all types of people, both the wealthy and the poor, both the strong and the weak, both the physically able and the disabled. In fact, the kingdom of God the Church yearns for is the full reign of God that will restore and redeem all creation.

Vancouver is truly blessed to have a community like Joy Fellowship in its presence. God is clearly doing a good work there that has endured for almost three decades. The sound of praise from those who can speak clearly and those who have difficulty speaking is a great blessing. A city of so much confusion needs churches like Joy Fellowship who demonstrate that the chaos of a fallen world can be transformed into opportunities for joy unspeakable by a God who esteems the lowly.


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Lori Ann and Janice

Crafts at our Sechelt Tent Camp:
Lori Ann with a bird house
and Janice with a wooden butterfly.


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Upcoming Events
1) Fall Camp at Camp Squamish - September 26-28

2) Joy Fellowship Craft Fair - Saturday November 22nd at Trinity Baptist, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.


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Bowen group

Keyo Hayward (3rd from left) and David Hayward (4th from left)
with a group at Keyo's organic garden on Bowen Island.

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