I have known Tim McCoy for quite a few years now. We first met when he was the Youth Director for the Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec, the denomination I belong to. I was struck by how approachable Tim was and his passion for equipping churches. I was very happy when he became our Executive Minister (a position I jokingly refer to as “the Baptist Pope”) and he has done an amazing job. I am so thankful that Tim McCoy has taken some time out of his schedule to share some of his story.
Could you tell us a bit about your background and how you came to faith?
Steve, I grew up in a home that was deeply committed to the Jesus Way. My parents were both followers of Jesus and lived a life of faith and Christ-like servant leadership. I came to faith at age 12 with my mother praying for me and helping me understand the need to ask Christ to be both my Saviour and Lord. We were involved in the life of our local church and worked together as a family in serving the Lord. I’ve always been so thankful for Christian parents who modeled Christlikeness and faithfulness.
Moving from the United States to Canada, what have you seen as being different about the Church in Canada?
There are a few differences I would identify. First, the churches in the US when I first began in ministry, were focused on gathering and caring for those inside the church. It wasn’t focused as much on mission and ministry in the community. I have noticed that many churches here in Canada have made the transition to thinking missionally in their communities.
Secondly, I would say that the church in Canada is already operating in a post, post-Christian context. I think the churches in the US are still operating within a post-Christian experience that is positioned to serve a Christian or moderately Christian, churched population. The church in Canada is more prepared, in my opinion, to minister among various people groups and understands a bit better how to move the Gospel forward from a more relational approach. I think that is an advantage Canadian churches enjoy. Lastly, I would say the church in Canada is alive and consistently re-establishing itself as a place of hope, love and care for all.
You are the Executive Minister of the Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec. What does an Executive Minister do?
First of all Steve, I feel privileged to serve the Canadian Baptist churches and leaders in Ontario and Quebec. This is a wonderful, historic and driven group of communities of faith. My role description is deep and wide (I love that old song). I would suggest that my primary responsibility, alongside the CBOQ Board of Directors, is to oversee the operations of the CBOQ, the staff and our interactions with the CBOQ churches and leaders.
My daily functions would include checking in with the Directors on the team to ensure they have the resources and opportunities required to serve our leaders throughout the CBOQ. I enjoy the opportunity to regularly speak in CBOQ churches and celebrate the partnership we feel with 350 churches. I also have the privilege of working with CBOQ’s eight Partners in Mission. We are historically connected to Canadian Baptist Ministries (our global missions partner,) McMaster Divinity College, Canadian Baptist Women of Ontario and Quebec, The CBOQ Housing Corporation and the CBOQ Foundation and the three other Canadian Baptist conventions/unions in Western, Atlantic and French Canada. It is thrilling to journey with these faithful groups who consistently provide gospel, mission, theological education, and resources to the movement of Christ in Canada.
What do you see as the biggest challenge for Christianity in Canada?
This is a great question. It’s hard to identify the biggest challenge as there are many and I believe that they are inter-connected. I would say an apathetic mentality has come over the church. We have to be actively engaged in mission and finding ways to make the Gospel relevant and available to all. An unwillingness to change has crippled the church and caused an exodus from the faith centred life we enjoyed just a generation or two ago. Linked to that is a general neglect in mentoring and training up next generation leaders who will give direction to the church in Canada. It is so critical for churches not just to have youth ministries and children’s ministries, but to actually share leadership with next generation Christians who will take ownership and leadership of the cause of Christ.
What makes you most excited about the future of the CBOQ?
I am very excited about our next three years. This year (2015) marks the beginning of our most recent 3-year strategic plan. We have identified as our strategic priorities Baptist Identity—what is unique about being Baptist Christians in Canada, Church Planting—healthy churches birthing new churches, Clergy Care—providing care and intentional development for our clergy, and Next Generation—how can we ensure there is a next generation of Baptist Christians in Canada who will continue the pursuit of faith-filled living, missional engagement and theological education. This really excites me. We have learned that this is what our churches are asking for and have identified ways to aggressively participate in these priorities with them. I believe we are seeing an openness in Canada to the Gospel and to the relevant community of believers. These are exciting times for our Canadian Baptist family.
Thank you Tim.