Chris is pastor of Cornerstone Church in Richibucto, New Brunswick, Canada. Although he made a profession of faith at the age of twelve, it was not until later in life that he truly repented. After six years of evangelistic work, he was burdened to see a healthy local church planted in Richibucto. He and his wife Paula have two children: Zoe-Lyn and Nathaniel.
Christopher's Testimony of Conversion
My name is Christopher Sippley, and I was born and raised in New Brunswick, Canada. I grew up in a Roman Catholic family, went to mass, and was taught to believe in God and to believe that the Bible was a sacred book.
When I was about twelve years old, a friend of my mother’s invited her to attend a Pentecostal church. My mother and I both went, and that day I responded to an altar call and made a profession of faith in Christ. However, though I began to identify as a Christian and would regularly attend church, my life was not transformed; rather, in the years that followed, my life was characterized by worldliness and immorality, not by love for Christ and a desire to be like Him.
After several years passed, I started attending a Word of Faith church; and upon graduating from High School, I enrolled in a two-year Bible school program that was offered through the church.
During my second year of attending the Word of Faith school, Paula and I were married. After graduation, we were sent by our church to work overseas with another Word of Faith church in Ireland for nine weeks. By God’s grace, upon returning to our sending church, I began to dislike what they were teaching. I couldn’t explain it, because at the time I did not really know much about sound doctrine, but I felt that we had to leave that church. So that is what we did. We then began attending the Nazarene church where my wife had attended while growing up.
Later, I began working for a construction company, the owner of which was a bi-vocational Baptist pastor. We would talk about Christianity as we worked together, and I soon discovered how little I rightly understood about God and His Word. Some time later, he gave me a couple of episodes from “The Way of the Master” TV series by Ray Comfort. As I watched them, I was initially upset at what I was hearing; but as I continued to listen, I grew more interested.
One night, I was up late studying the gospel and reading about repentance. All of a sudden, a flood of thoughts went through my mind: “Why do I think that I’m a Christian? Because I believe in God? Even the demons believe that, and they tremble! To be saved, one must not only believe but also repent. Have I ever truly repented?” I was filled with sorrow for my wicked heart, and I mourned over my sins. I cried out to God for mercy and forgiveness and asked Him to truly save me.
From that day forward, I had a love for Christ and His Word. I was hungry for the truth and wanted to know as much as I possibly could. I was immediately burdened for the lost and desired to reach souls for Christ and teach others what I had learned.
Christopher's Call to Ministry
Immediately after my conversion, I felt a burden for the lost and began to share the gospel alongside a local evangelist. I had a strong desire to be in the ministry, and after two years God graciously allowed me to join an evangelism ministry. Over the next six years I traveled, preaching on the streets and helping to train believers in evangelism.
After meeting countless people who grew up in church but didn’t understand the gospel, and after having many wonderful witnessing encounters with the lost but not knowing where to send them, I began to see and to feel the need for sound local churches. Also, several people expressed how they had felt that God was shaping me into a pastor, including my own pastor at the time. As I sought the Lord about it, I began to desire it more and more.
In the spring of 2014, Pastor Dave Storey was visiting the church of which I was a member, and he talked to me about church planting. After a time of seeking the Lord’s will, I began to be mentored by Pastor Dave.
A few months later, a friend of mine, who had been hosting a Bible study with a small group of believers each week in his home, was going away for a month and asked if I would be willing to teach in his absence. I was reluctant at first, seeing it as a distraction from where I thought God was calling me, but eventually I agreed.
After the first night, I asked Pastor Dave to come to the next meeting. He came and then told me that he thought it was a church plant ready to happen. The following week at Bible study, as the believers were praying together, one woman was crying out to God in prayer because she had no church of her own to attend and hear God’s Word preached and to honor Him on the Lord’s Day. This group of believers would travel with my friend to churches that were one or two hours away. But now that he was gone, they had nowhere to go. After praying, the same woman said, “Jerry told us that we could make ourselves at home while he’s away. Since I have no place to go on Sunday, I’m going to come here to sing and then listen to a sermon.” Some of the other believers nodded in agreement and made plans to gather there on Sunday morning.
They wanted to hear the Word preached, but they had no place to go. It was like seeing sheep without a shepherd! My wife and I talked about it on the drive home. We both knew what we should do. How could we just drive by them on our way to church? Was I not training to be a pastor? Was I not praying for His direction and leading? And then, right in front of me, there was a need.
I called Pastor Dave, and he agreed, telling us to “go for it.” So on Sunday, April 19th, 2015, sixteen people met in a living room on Main Street in Richibucto for what would be the first worship service of Cornerstone Church.
Over the past year, we have seen God’s faithfulness in working in people’s hearts and lives, in adding to our number, and in providing for all of our needs. I believe that we are here by the will of God. It is a privilege to serve Him!
Paula's Testimony of Conversion
My name is Paula Sippley. I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home in New Brunswick.
I was six years old when God graciously saved me. I remember hearing the gospel every Friday in chapel at the Christian school I attended. Week after week, I sat there listening. But one Friday God convicted me of my sin, and I was broken before Him; I saw how He had shown me His great love for me by sending Jesus to take the punishment for my sin. He opened my eyes to see that John 3:16 (“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”) was not just a nice Sunday school verse, but a verse that showed His great love for me – that, even though my sin was so great, He sent His Son to die for me! I asked Jesus to forgive me, and I trusted Him as my Savior that day.
For nearly thirty years, God has kept me by His grace; He continues to give me a greater love for Jesus and His Word each day. I am so thankful to God for the work He did in my heart as a child, for keeping me by His grace through the years, and for so faithfully working in my heart to convict me of sin and draw me closer to Him.
God has given me a wonderful husband to serve and two wonderful children, Zoe-Lyn and Nathaniel, to teach and train for His glory. He has shown his faithfulness to us in so many ways over the last seven years that my husband has been in full-time ministry. I pray that by God’s grace I will joyfully serve my family and His church.
Greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ who has bought us with His blood and has given us the inestimable honour of serving Him and His church here on earth – against which the gates of Hell will not prevail! Your partnership with us in the work is an immense privilege, and we thank you for your prayer and support. May the Lord grant much fruit and increase to your credit (Philippians 4:17)!
Our family is doing well in the Lord. We enjoyed the warmer weather by spending more time outside and working in the new garden we planted in our backyard.
Last month, we were very blessed to have brothers Mack Tomlinson and Michael Durham come and minister to the churches here. I was both challenged and encouraged as brother Michael Durham spoke on the necessity of feeding on Christ, sharing from his own struggles and victories. Sadly, I have noticed in my own life that much studying can be done without meeting with Christ and that much ministry can be done without sensing His presence. The Lord used that word to refresh me and to renew my desire for His presence and His power in my life and ministry.
The work here is moving forward by the grace of God amidst both trial and blessing, as the past month brought the most difficult church discipline situation we have faced thus far in the church plant, but also clear signs of God’s hand at work in our midst. Over the past several weeks, we have had several new people attend Sunday morning worship, and three people have professed faith in Jesus Christ!
One man started attending about two years ago and professed faith in Christ, but after several months he fell away and returned to his former life of sin. He recently started coming again and came under conviction on Sunday morning as Brother Michael Durham preached on idolatry, unbelief, and repentance. He said that God truly saved him that afternoon and that the Bible has come alive to him! He has since asked to be baptized.
A woman who had attended a home Bible study for several months about a year ago really struggled at first to understand and accept the gospel of grace; however, as time passed, she started to understand and cherish it. It was several months before she started attending regular meetings, but once she did, it seemed apparent that God was dealing with her heart. Last Sunday, as I preached from Ephesians 2:1 (“And you were dead in trespasses and sins”), she was in tears and left the meeting visibly broken, saying that she needed to get alone with God. She returned to the next Bible study very hopeful. I asked her about Sunday afternoon, and she joyfully answered, “I am finding a living God!”
We praise God for His amazing grace and His unfailing love, and we rejoice in seeing His hand at work in our midst. Please pray that the presence and power of God would be mightily at work in bringing conviction of sin, the conversion of sinners, and the sanctification and Christlikeness of His people for His own glory.