During the last quarter of 2013 Pastor Moses Jinwook Lee, pastor of the South Side S.D.A. Church In Calgary at that time envisioned a Christ-centered church filled with camaraderie and love for one another by understanding its multicultural diversity, transparency and problem-solving in a Christ-like way. He felt this vision could be reached by dividing the congregation into 10 small groups in which the members would grow spiritually and not only look after each other in their group but also reach out to other church members, visitors and their community, whether it be spiritual or practical needs. The small groups could also be a training ground for the youth to learn to work for Jesus.
By the 2nd quarter in 2014 one group grew slowly but certain by inviting non-Adventist visitors to the church to their group meetings, which were held 2 times a week. The group studied with one family and in their free time took them on trips to explore Calgary and surrounding areas. they were also invited to attend evangelistic meetings led by Pastor Bill Santos in Calgary and given rides to go there. in October 2014 two persons, convicted by the Holy Spirit, accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour and were baptized.
This same group initiated to lead out in the doctrinal class to learn and teach the foundation of the Seventh-day Adventist faith and beliefs. Another family in that class was later baptized as well.
The nurturing continued through the group's regular meetings and in 2016 a group from the South West joined them. The group had become much larger. 0n April 30th 2016 two more group members were baptized. The children also flourished and became close to each other. They started to participate in church activities and started to love Jesus even more. An out of town family joined the group as well to encourage their children to get acquainted with others and to get to know the Lord.
The group has experienced a deeper relationship with God and has become close-knit. The members find time to celebrate birthdays and other occasions to celebrate or just being together. Everyone feels he/she belongs to this family of God. Two other persons were baptized later after having been inspired while visiting and participating in the group's activities.
Since Calgary South Side S.D.A. Church was the only Seventh-day Adventist church in the South of Calgary Pastor Lee's mission was also to plant two or three more churches in the area.
In March 2017 the idea of church planting was shared with Pastor Norman Cid, the new minister of the South Side S.D.A. Church during a meeting of the group's midweek Prayer meeting. This resulted in an invitation to Pastor Corkum, who was the Church Planting Director in Calgary, to learn more about church planting. The group was orientated regarding procedures and was given the manual "Steps to Church Planting: From Inception to Launch" to study.
The group enthusiastically submitted to the process and started to study weekly under the guidance of Pastor Cid and Pastor Daquila. With much prayer and brainstorming, vision, mission statements, core values and objectives were created. The meetings were concluded on June 15, 2017, and its results were presented to the Church Board and Pastor Don Corkum on June 29, 2017. The Board voted for the Church to support church planting in Okotoks. This decision would be presented in a next business meeting.
The same group started a branch Sabbath school in Okotoks while looking for a suitable place to have Sabbath Worship Services. With God's guidance and help from Pastor Daquila, the Elk Lodge became available and welcomed the group.
The Okotoks Fellowship Group worshipped for the first time in the Elks Hall on October 7, 2017, and 75 people attended.
Our prayer is for God's mercy and that, through the Holy Spirit, we may become vessels of blessings to the people in the Okotoks Community.