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Terry Sparks Retires

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Terry Sparks Retires
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  Terry sparks grew up in a small town west of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. His family owned a small farm. And in true prairie fashion he learned about hard work, and balance. He learned the value of the simple truth. And he learned of the God who would later become the central driving force of his ministry and his life. At 16 Sparks traveled across the province to Lacombe, Alberta. Once there he began his attending Canadian Union College, known today as Burman University. He took two years of general arts, but he wasn’t sure where he was headed or what God had planned for his life. During this time he met the woman that would eventually become his wife, Lee-Ann. They were married in 1974 and soon after they left Lacombe for the more temperate climate of British Columbia. They settled in Victoria and began to work and earn. The Victoria SDA church invited them in and quickly started to use this young couple. They were creating a life for themselves in a beautiful city with wonderful friends, but still something seemed like it was missing. They started to question their motives and their purpose,“is that all that we are going to do in our lives, gather stuff?”

With each church family that the Sparks have been a part of over the years they have brought with them their own brand of ministry. Sparks summed it up in a single word: compassion. With close to four decades of experience he has learned that the work of a pastor is simply “to show the compassion of God through their day to day interactions with people.” Both people you love, and people you hate need this. Both the people that seem to have it all together, and the ones that are clearly falling apart. People need compassion. Terry confesses that this isn’t his idea, it was Jesus’ method as well. Jesus ministry is marked by two things: first, a deep compassion for the people around him. And second, a constant connection to God. Sparks believes that now, more than at any other time there is a great need for this kind of ministry within our church. Not only those values, but also, that connection.

When asked where God is leading his people today Sparks said simply, towards “a more Christ centered Church.” A church that looks to the values of Jesus as the guiding moral authority. A Church that looks to the bible for answers, rather than the will of the masses. A church that truly believes in the compassion of God, that really believes in the grace. Sparks calls for a balance in our thinking that can only come from reading the bible together, and seeking those “chore teaching.” We should be asking what the bible is really saying, and then “and stay connected with that.” Sparks believes that this method would alleviate much of the tension that we see today.

Working as a pastor is not a simple task by any means. It is a high stress field that requires much of the men and women that choose it. But Sparks simply wouldn’t have it any other way, “serving the lord and sharing his love for people is quite a way to spend your life.” And even as he is leaving full-time pastoral work to go and be with his family he says that he will never really leave the ministry. Allowing someone else to take over the worship service will be a welcome change but he still deeply desires to connect people to Christ. And surely we all should have that same drive and desire. Sparks advice to us is very simple; “[let] Christ be the center.” For he is the foundation on which we balance all our and our belief and actions. Jesus is the center of it all.

 Written by Jenessa Little