Chris is pastor of Cornerstone Church in Richibucto, New Brunswick, Canada. Although he made a profession of faith at 12, it wasn’t until later in life that he truly repented. After 6 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.
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, was taught to believe in God and taught to believe that the Bible was a sacred book.
When I was about 12 years of age, 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 went by, I started attending a Word of Faith church and upon graduating from High School, 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 9 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 didn’t really know much about sound doctrine, but I felt that we had to leave that church. So that is what we did. We left the Word of Faith and began attending the Nazarene church where my wife had grown 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. Sometime 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 flash 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 repent. Have I ever truly repented?” I was flooded with sorrow for my wicked heart and 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.
Call to Ministry
Immediately after my conversion, I felt a burden for the lost and began to share the Gospel with 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 6 years I travelled, 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 I belonged to, 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 thought that 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 go to and hear God’s Word preached and to honor Him on the Lord’s Day. When my friend was at home, these believers would travel with him 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 on Sunday morning.
They wanted to hear the Word preached, but 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? Wasn’t I training to be a pastor? Wasn’t I 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!