Spirit stirs second starts
It was the same Spirit working in men separated by thousands of miles that brought Thom and Elaine Braun’s first church plant into being. After growing up in another denomination, Thom joined an MB church that “sent out many pastors and missionaries.” There he met Nick Dick from Abbotsford, B.C., a man known for his missional heart and dynamic leadership.
“Nick came and helped us decide to plant a church in 1988, in Niagara, [Ont.]” he says, “and that visit started the most amazing 12 years of ministry.”
But circumstances change, and those good years were followed by two very painful ones. The church faced difficulties and Thom Braun left, wondering what road to take. “Low point” barely begins to describe that period of the Brauns’ ministry.
In December 2002, Thom decided to begin again, remembering that as a boy, “God put in me the heart of the Father to care that people needed Jesus.” It was a family decision.
That second church plant started in a rented barn; then it moved to a school. And now, in Jordan, Ont., a village of 800 (plus the surrounding farming area), they have baptized 135 people and gone multisite in just eight years. Planters leave and return, but God’s heart remains.
No wonder it was named New Hope Church!