Frank Ward took on pastoral leadership at Kikino Bible Church (NEFC) in 2016. His connection to this fellowship goes back further.
Frank attended Key-Way-Tin Bible Institute and afterwards joined NCEM. In 2005 he began teaching at KBI, and married Lori, who was also on staff.
Frank was raised in Loon Lake, northern Alberta. Four hundred kms to the south, about 20 years prior to Frank’s birth, Kikino Bible Church had its beginnings through the ministry of Baptist missionary, Frank Wilson, and a few others. Bill (& Shirley) Jackson took on pastoring at Kikino in the early 1970s, along with his Bible teaching at KBI, and later served as mentor to Frank.
While on staff at KBI, the Wards made Kikino their home church, a half-hour drive from their home near Lac La Biche. Frank took on pastoring a congregation that they already knew and loved, and have since expanded their connections in the Métis Settlement of about a thousand residents.
“Being a pastor is quite different from ministry at a Bible school,” says Frank. “Instead of everything being scheduled and students coming to you, now our schedule is looser, and in our visitation ministry we go to the people.”
There is Bible teaching every Sunday and Wednesday – Frank’s favorite part, he says. Every week there are visits in people’s homes, and Lori enjoys often meeting up with Kikino ladies who come “to town” (Lac La Biche) for shopping, work, or other reasons. And folks regularly stop in at their home.
In his previous years teaching at the Bible school Frank was already working to build up local churches. Students were becoming grounded in the Word so that they, in turn, could teach in their churches, he says. Students gained practical experience, too, involved in fellowships in the Lac La Biche area.
Church work is not easy, and the Wards encounter challenges common in most other Native communities. Long established mainline churches that have watered down and twisted the Gospel see evangelicals as a threat. Also, traditional Native religion is being promoted, says Frank, even though Kikino is a Métis community where unbiblical beliefs like this weren’t held until recent years when outsiders began bringing them in.
The Wards are encouraged by members contributing to church work. Two men, especially, give leadership in the meetings. Others serve in finances, and people take turns assisting with Sunday school and youth events.
The Wards are excited about opportunities to reach out. Along with informal connections in the area, they teach Bible classes in the Kikino public school. Students have options for religion classes, and many parents have chosen the “evangelical class” for their children – one more opportunity for Frank to do what he loves, to teach the Word.