Bearing Fruit on the True Vine

An Interview with Pastor José M’Bala

Pastor José M’Bala has a clear passion for sharing the Gospel and discipling and equipping leaders. His ministry has focused on raising up new leaders from within the Congolese community to continue to lead and care for other Congolese believers. But how did the ministry start and where is it going? I asked Dr. M’Bala to share a little more about the fruit that his ministry is bearing as he works to equip leaders to share the Good News of Jesus.

Tell us a little about your ministry:

Born in 1995, Centre Evangelique Foi et Victoire (CEFV) was the first Congolese church in the Ottawa area, where I have been a pastor for about twenty years. Today, there are many of them scattered throughout the region and most of their leaders have spent some time in the CEFV church.

How did you begin your life in ministry?

My service as a disciple maker started back in DR Congo in 1979 with Scripture Union and Campus Crusade. Here in Ottawa, the ministry began among African immigrants, when I was serving as a lay pastor from 1995 until my ordination in 2002. Moving to a new country and a different environment can be a disorienting experience for most immigrants. We make sure to help those who cross our path to remain strengthened in their faith and to bring others to Christian faith.

How are you equipping leaders?

We’ve established with a focus group where we provide the basics of Christian doctrine. Once equipped and strengthened with these teachings, we encouraged them to invest themselves in giving back to others what they have received from us, just as Paul required of Timothy. Many of these leaders are African believers, mostly Congolese immigrants. Many of them were students in college (Cité collégiale) or University of Ottawa, where I used to teach. Pastor David Lela, who also pastors at CEFV, is the perfect illustration of this process.

How have you experienced the guidance and strength of Jesus?

The Lord used many people and tools to guide us in this service. The most impressive tool was the Bible study in the book Experiencing God Personally, by Henry Blackaby. When praying and studying the book with many other people, I ended up with a clear and compelling call from the Lord Jesus to ministry.

What are your hopes and dreams for this ministry?

I dream to see every Christian grow in their faith and walk with the Lord. I hope this ministry is contributing to the glorification of the Lord’s name and impacting lives around us.

What have been some of your challenges?

Being a full-time pastor and full-time employee can be exhausting and trainees’ changing schedules and loss of motivation require constant adaption and imagination.

Can you share a story of someone or share a moment that really stands out to you?

My Associate Pastor David Lela came to the church as a young man looking for answers in his life. The Lord used us to meet his spiritual needs. He then believed in the Lord; I baptized him soon after. We started a long walk in the faith through teachings and discipleship. He was very dedicated when the Lord called him to ministry. He was ordained (CBOQ) in February 2019. It is very rare that in the life of the very same person, to sow the seed, water it and see the Lord make it grow, then harvest its fruit. That’s what we experienced with Pastor David Lela.

What drives your ministry?

Proceeding from the High Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), my ministry has maintained a tight focus on teaching repentance of sins, trust in Jesus Christ for salvation, and obedience to his teachings. As a faithful student of Scripture, I am committed to impacting lives and help Christians come to maturity in their faith in Christ.

The Lord is coming soon and we feel compelled to take advantage of every single opportunity that is given to us to make disciples and fill the Lord’s kingdom with fully mature disciples. The world is dying from the deadly disease of sin, and we possess the only cure available, which is faith in Jesus Christ! That’s the only reason for this work since 1995.

If there is one thing you’d like to share with your Canadian Baptist family, what would that be?

Let’s stay focused and dedicated to the Lord and His work, no matter what. As the true vine, he is faithful to help us continue to bear more fruit for his glory.

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