As an eight-year-old boy, Jeremy Doorten found Christ at a small Christian camp and felt an immediate calling on his life. Little did he know just how big of a calling God had in mind for him.
“I distinctly felt the Lord set a calling on me right at that point, so I always knew I would be involved in the work of ministry somehow, but I absolutely never thought I would be doing what I am doing today,” Doorten, the Canadian national director of e3 Partners (e3), explained.
Currently working in over 65 countries, e3 is a national organization that equips, evangelizes and establishes churches where no church exists within walking distance. Through e3, 77,000 churches have been planted worldwide and the numbers continue to grow.
“I’ve got to say this has been the most humbling journey I could have ever imagined. I get emotional because I never dreamt the Lord would allow me to be a part of something this effective.”
Doorten, who stepped into his role as national director four years ago, is humbled that God has allowed him to be involved in pioneering a way for the founding of e3 and I am Second ministries in Canada.
“It’s one of the greatest honours I could have ever imagined. To be honest, I hold my role very loosely just because I want to position myself in such a way that God has full control and He can just guide me directly no matter how He wants,” the Briercrest alum explained.
Working on their methodology and training, the organization plans on establishing church planting movements that will see a million churches started in the next eight years.
“We want to go beyond just addition. We don’t just want to help a mother church plant a daughter church, but we want to be on the frontlines of seeing a daughter church which plants a third generation church, a fourth generation or even a 20th generation church. That’s the dream.”
The vision for the Canada’s e3 organization began after an Ontario business saw the success that e3 was having in the United States.
“There was an e3 Partners church planter that kept coming back to his church in Florida talking about the success they were having. This Ontario businessman lived down in Florida as a snowbird in the winter and kept hearing every year another report of significant numbers of people coming to faith in Christ, and significant responses to the gospel and numbers of churches being planted from this planter,” Doorten explained.
“At first, honestly, he was a little skeptical at how this could actually be true, so eventually he sat down and had a preliminary meeting with that fella and just found out about the strategy of the ministry. He caught the vision and said, ‘look, we need to pioneer this in Canada.’”
It was then that God lead Doorten to Ontario where he connected with the businessman.
“My wife had become very ill; she was actually ill when I was at Briercrest and had gotten better and then when I was pastoring a church in northern Saskatchewan she became very ill again, actually right close to the point of death. So, I had to take a leap of faith and I left my pastorate and moved back to Ontario,” he explained.
“I met this businessman who had been praying for somebody and we entered into a partnership together to start the ministry in Canada. I basically started out with nothing, just contacted the folks in the States and just started casting the vision for launching an office in Canada and mobilizing Canadians.”
Doorten explained what makes their ministry unique is their focus.
“The project isn’t building a building or building a school or any of those kinds of things. The whole intention of this short-term mission is to connect with people one-on-one strategically going through villages and actually meeting people and inviting them to Christ,” he explained.
“Discipling them and planting a church right within that village that week. That’s not typical shortterm missions at all. There’s nothing like it in Canada that we have seen.”
Another unique aspect of e3 is the I am Second initiative they launched.
“The model of I am Second is to go from, ‘everything is about me, I am number one,’ to ‘now I received Christ and I am second to God and I am second to others and I place myself in the position of being second,’” Doorten said.
The initiative, which launched about five years ago, came about as a way to reach North Americans and get them equipped to talk to others about Jesus through videos and downloadable study material.
“So, the I am Second movement, people think it is all about films, but really it just the conversation so you can gather people and start spiritual communities,” he explained.
“At the end of the day it is really meant to be a catalyst for planting house churches and spiritual groups in the North American context. We currently have 104 films ranging anywhere from four minutes to 10 minutes.”
Doorten, who attended Briercrest in 1998, said he is grateful for the time he spent studying at the school, a place that has been monumental in his life and to the ministry he is now doing.
“Briercrest was a good rock solid foundation. It helped me really put together and synthesize a lot of the changes happening in my life. At the time it really set the stage and base for the future of my Christian life and ministry,” the BA of intercultural studies graduate explained.
“And even though everyone jokes about the Briercrest bubble, there is real value to that bubble and being able to go and find that place of solitude and immersion. It is somewhere where you are not being distracted necessarily by family and culture and everything else around you. Where you could go and your sole focus is on your studies, your peers, your teachers and of course your assignments and tons of reading.”
Moving forward, Doorten has some ambitious goals for e3.
“One of the things that has really been on my heart lately, especially with e3 Partners and I am Second, is, we are wanting to identify, ‘what are the most unreached people groups on the planet and how can we reach them?’
“There are unreached in the sense of people who have never really heard of the gospel and then there is that other really challenging ministry field where the gospel once was and now they are completely devoid of faith.”
He pointed to the Czech Republic and French Canada as an example.
“Czech Republic has 0.3 per cent evangelical believers and the evangelized population has not exceeded one per cent in 400 years. So we are working with some new partners there and trying to say, ‘look, how can this church planting model that we have been a part of work in a place where 86 per cent of the society is atheist,’” he explained.
“French Canada has just less than 0.6 per cent evangelical believers. We are hoping to develop a strategy and network together to form a coalition amongst all the churches and denominations in Quebec and literally be a part of a strategy that will bring the gospel to every home in the province. That movement is going to be called, Je suis deuxieme (I am Second).”
Doorten would also like to see churches that are in city centres reaching out to the unreached immigrant populations, particularly unreached, unengaged people groups.
“So we want to start to mobilize our churches in Canada to start reaching in and planting churches among our immigration population that have not heard of the gospel in their respective countries and have now immigrated to our city centres here in Canada,” he explained.
The ultimate goal, though, is to be a part of inspiring a massive church planting movement.
“I would love to be the guy at the helm of inspiring a church planting movement where God would bring me to a specific village, with the right people and when we train and equip together that they take it and it spreads a movement of church planting well beyond myself. That’s the ultimate dream.”