Corey and his wife Amy live in Fredericton, New Brunswick, where he began pastoring a church plant in 2015. He grew up in a Christian home and was converted at the age of 16, feeling an immediate call to full-time ministry. He graduated from Bible college in 2011 and was ordained for ministry in 2015.
Corey's Testimony of Conversion
I grew up in a home where both of my parents were believers. We went to a typical, small-town Baptist church for most of my childhood. I actually started going with them to the Sunday morning service when I was five years old.
One Sunday our pastor gave a vivid sermon on the terror of hell. Like I said, I was only five or six at the time; but I remember thinking about how terrible a place it was and that I did not want to go there. When we came home, I stopped by the washer and dryer in the mudroom of our house and asked my mother how to not go to hell. I was crying in fear. She told me to pray after her, and so I did.
And on that day I received absolutely nothing. Though the Lord certainly was kind to me, I was still unconverted. He kept me from any kind of grievous sin, but as I grew, so did my desire for the sin that surrounded me. Oh, of course I didn’t get involved with any of the partying or the fornication or the drinking; but it was not because of any love for the Lord – it was only out of pride.
I wanted to be the good boy. I wanted my parents to think well of me. I didn’t want to be “bad.” So I behaved very morally, but inwardly I longed for sin and despised God. I wanted nothing to do with prayer or the Word.
However, I started going with a local youth group to a monthly retreat when I was sixteen. Month after month I was deeply convicted, but it did not have a lot to do with what was preached – I cannot remember any of it. But I remember the Lord drawing me. I knew I had to surrender my pride and my life and to follow Him, but I was unwilling. Not once, not twice, but six times I resisted.
At the seventh youth rally, however, I confessed my pride before God and asked for forgiveness. I remember feeling like a fish on the end of a hook, and I had finally given in and submitted to the Lord. I went up to the front to pray for forgiveness, not because going there would save me; rather, it was an expression of my repentance – as a young man who prided myself on my self-righteousness, nothing was more offensive to me than going forward, thereby admitting I was a sinner.
But I did. And I am so thankful the Lord drew me. Immediately after I arrived home, I began reading the Bible; I remember weeping over the pages in Matthew. I saw my sin for what it was, I saw God for who He is, and all of it brought me to tears. Life did not get easier after my conversion; but, thankfully, Matthew 10 prepared me for that.
Since then, the Lord has continued to teach, stretch, grow, and sanctify me.
Corey's Call to Ministry
From the time I was converted, there was a strong pull toward ministry – not like a bolt of lightning or a mental zap, but a steady, growing knowledge that the Lord was calling me into ministry. He used the affirmation of godly men, a desire within myself to learn and to teach, and the constant drawing of the Holy Spirit to show me this reality.
Unfortunately for me, I decided instead I would go to Acadia University and take pre-med, with the aim of becoming a doctor. I did this fully knowing it was not the Lord’s will for me, and I really felt like Jonah in the belly of the fish. The Lord confounded my thoughts and made me miserable. It was as if His thumb was pressing down upon me, and the pressure was great. So at the end of the year, I left medicine and went to Bible college.
Since then, the Lord has continually prepared me for whatever ministry He has had in store. After graduating from Washington Bible College in 2011, I worked as a carpenter during the winter and directed Bible camps for an organization called “One Hope Canada.” It was my job to oversee the entire camp ministry, and the Lord used the high-demand jobs to prepare my wife and me for church planting here in Fredericton.
Pastor Dave asked me in 2011 to pastor the church in Fredericton. I initially had no desire, but I told him I would pray about it. After four years of prayer, the Lord changed my entire disposition toward pastoral ministry. In 2015, I was joyfully ordained into the SBC as a minister, and we began the church plant here in Fredericton.
Amy's Testimony of Conversion
I did not grow up in a traditional Christian home. My Dad and Mom met in church, but as soon as they married, he stopped going. Growing up, my Mom was a guidepost for me to the Lord. She would read the Bible to my sister and me and would have us write down our prayers. She always brought us to church and taught us about God. Looking back, I can see that she demonstrated her faith in the Lord many times by trusting Him to provide for her and her daughters on those occasions when we needed to leave the house while she was looking for work or a place to stay. He always provided.
When I was about five or six years old, I saw a play at my church called “Heaven’s Gate and Hell’s Flame.” In that play, there is a scene where a mother and her daughter get separated – one goes to heaven and the other to hell. I knew where my Mother was going, and I knew I was not going there. I also wanted Jesus to be my father, since I didn’t have much of one in my Dad. I remember going down and talking to my Sunday school teacher, who led me to pray to ask Jesus into my heart. I did not quite understand. Later that night, my Mom talked to me about the play and why I went to the front. I told her I knew where she was going and that I did not want to be apart from her; but more importantly, I wanted Jesus as my father.
I went through a time of rebellion as a teenager – knowing what the Lord required but refusing to listen – for about a year. The Lord disciplined me during this time; though it was unpleasant and led to a lot of strife with my family, He was patient toward me. I began to realize I had been taught a lot of things about God that were wrong, and though I was sure He loved me, I realized I knew very little about Him. Over the last five or six years, He has begun to open my eyes to see Him truly: how He would have me serve Him, how He would have me be in a relationship with Him, and what He is like according to His word.
The month of May was full of encouragement mingled with trials for Christ Community Church. In my previous updates, I asked for prayer for an outreach we would be doing every Monday for each of the five weeks of May. We were going into the streets to share the gospel and hand out tracts with a full-time evangelist named Kirk Hubick. At the end of the five weeks, there were two things apparent that the Lord was doing.
First, He was putting a spirit of receptiveness and seriousness into the hearts of those with whom we had the opportunity to share. Many times the tracts were earnestly considered, where in the past they were simply thrown out. The people appeared to have a genuine concern for their spiritual condition and the God they had offended. Of course, neither of those things indicate conversion, but it seems the water of our prayers started softening the soil of their hearts. This was evident not only in the Monday outreach, but also in day-to-day opportunities and religious conversations. Pray that the Lord will continue to increase this here in Fredericton and that it would not come to nothing.
Secondly, the Lord increased our boldness collectively. Though our church is quite small, most of the members decided to come out into the streets and share the gospel. Kirk was encouraged and told us that, aside from his own church, it was the highest turnout he had ever seen.
As good as all of this is, I ask that you would pray that all the wonderful evangelistic work already done would not hinder a spirit of ongoing evangelism among our people. It is easy for us to think that, because we have done an “outreach,” we have now filled our “evangelism quota” or gotten it out of the way or that the only time it is appropriate is when we set a special time aside to go and do it. For most Christians, the gospel will come up in regular conversation, and I pray that the congregation here would not lose sight of that and that the Lord would continue to give a Spirit of boldness as people draw near to Him!
Also, please pray that obnoxious zeal would not be mistaken for boldness, but that love and compassion would color all of our words to the perishing. There have been a few times where I have had to speak to people about this. There is nothing honoring to God when we berate people, are yelled at in return, and call it persecution. When the Lord was reviled and did not revile in return, it was not because He had to bite his tongue. He loved the people, and because He loved them, He endured their insults patiently. Please pray that the Lord would further cultivate this kind of spirit among us – a spirit that would rather sacrifice for their enemies than beat them in a verbal tussle.
We were blessed mid-way through the month by having brothers Mack Tomlinson and Michael Durham come to stay with us in New Brunswick for a week. We were all so thankful that they could come, and Brother Tomlinson addressed the attitude that must influence our evangelism, how it is one of mercy and compassion. It was an answer to prayer and greatly appreciated.
One other thing the Lord has been doing is increasing a spirit of prayerfulness in His people. We have been led to start a monthly Saturday night prayer meeting (in addition to our weekly prayer and Bible study), and we had our first one in May. It was encouraging to see so many people come out to pray together. We prayed for the lost, for one another, and for the glory and reverence of God to be known in our city of Fredericton.
We thank God for you all, for your support, and for your prayers. There is a small flock here who is very grateful for all that the Lord is doing through your financial help, through the people who are coming to teach and exhort us, and through your prayerfulness. The effects of our combined prayers are tangible, and they are not going unheard or unanswered!