Lord, I’m Going to Have to Depend on You

We remember the life and ministry of James Moses (from Issue #511)

James Moses

We remember the life and ministry of James Moses

As you read on our “Faces & Places” page, long serving NCEM Governing Board member James Moses passed away on March 14 at the age of 61.

His association with our Mission really began when he was a boy growing up in Moose Factory, Ontario. He was a buddy of David Taylor, son of NCEM missionaries Doug & Anne Taylor, who had moved to serve there in 1960.

A few years ago, at one of our annual NCEM staff conferences, James shared with us about his early Christian life and introduction to ministry. Here’s an excerpt from his talk:

I grew up with a religious background, and at first we thought that Douglas Taylor was a cult. But through Doug’s prayers, his witnessing, and his love, I came to know Christ in January of 1965. The Word of God had come through loud and clear as never before. God got a hold of my life and changed it.

I was the only teenager on my reserve living for Christ and I stuck out like a sore thumb. Out of the 15 young people that came to our youth group I was the only one that accepted Christ that year. What I remember most, though, is how Doug discipled me and how he gradually taught me about leadership.

He taught me how to be a song leader when I didn’t even know any of the songs. He taught me how to teach Sunday school and how to preach. I can remember standing up behind the pulpit and getting stuck half-way through my sermon. But Doug would tell me to keep going — he was preparing me to be a pastor.

I attended Mokahum Bible Institute (Christian & Missionary Alliance school, Cass lake, Minnesota) from 1968 to 1972, where I met my wife, Karen. Upon returning home I had a lump in my throat, knowing that Doug would soon be leaving.

I remember asking him, “Doug, why don’t you stay for one more year, so that I can depend on you?” He said, “James, the Lord is calling me out. I’m going to have to go.”
When he left, I got on my knees, a 24 year-old pastor, and said, “Lord, I’m going to have to depend on You.”

I didn’t know too much but I went on with the work. There were times when I walked down the road and cried to the Lord, asking Him, “When will my people wake up?” I saw that they were lost, and I saw their destruction without Christ.

Through the ministry at Moose Factory in the following years we saw many of our people come to know Christ. One of the things that Doug taught me before he left was to preach the Word of God, and to leave the results to the Holy Spirit. We set a goal that we would preach and teach the Word so that the people would be rooted and grounded. As a result, when other movements came in, the people were not swayed because the Word of God was our discerner of error.

During my 10 years as pastor there we organized our church, began governing our own affairs, and became self-supporting. What a marvelous blessing to see what God could do through His people!

After pastoring at Moose Factory, James went on to ministry with Native Evangelical Fellowship (NEFC) in Thunder Bay (ON) and Brandon (MB). He took further education at Briercrest College, and taught at Key-Way-Tin Bible Institute for two years.

The last nine years he pastored the Chippewa Bible Church at Cass Lake, Minnesota.

Besides NCEM’s board, he also served on the board of Native Evangelical Fellowship, and as chairman of the Mokahum Training Center advisory council.

James was also a board member of Without Reservation, a media ministry based in Minnesota. You can hear him tell his story firsthand by visiting their web site: www.withoutreservation.com

You will hear James tell of his decision to follow Christ as a young man, despite it costing him his friends, and how he enthusiastically shared his faith with classmates and staff in high school.

We’ve lost a dear Christian brother and a faithful ministry leader. He can’t be replaced, but his life and testimony can remind God’s people to pray that many more First Nations believers will take up the challenge of church and ministry leadership, as James did. Some may have feelings of inadequacy and fear of failure, as James initially experienced. Whatever role God has for each of us in His Kingdom, let’s follow James Moses’ example as we launch out and pray, “Lord, I’m going to have to depend on You.”

Adapted from our Northern Lights news magazine (issue #511). Note: some of the locations and involvements of our missionaries may have changed since the original publishing of this article.