Faith News Niagara presents another installment of "5 Questions", the continuing segment where readers can get to know the local ministers of the region a little better.
What is your name, the name of your church or ministry, and the length of time you’ve been at that ministry.
Erik Burdan of Tree of Life. I've been here since July of 2012. I'm the senior pastor.
What is your favourite pastime: reading, sports, outdoors, etc.
I would say, I love doing a lot of research. I love research on the one hand, but on the other hand, I also love coaching football. I played it, I’ve coached it, and I absolutely love it. I was blessed when I came here and was asked to coach, by (some Canadian coaches) who found out that I was a coach in the States.
I've been coaching minor and high school football, basically since I got here. It's kinda like a Canadian going to California, and finding out that there's this little ol’ hockey team needing a coach. Or if a U.S. team finds a guy from Ontario that's been coaching hockey for 10 or 15 years. But the field is 10 or 15 yards wider, and 20 yards longer, and there's all kinds of differences in how the scores are tallied, so all lot of the coaches will look at me and explain to me why we just gained a point, or why we’re kicking a ball out the back of the end zone. They know the stuff I won't know, so they fill me in so I can be excited with the rest of the team.
What is your favourite all-time or current Bible book, story, passage, scripture; or extra-Biblical book.
I'm going through Romans right now. That's what I've been feeding on for the past couple of months. Romans is a unique book because it's an outline of the Christian faith. But I would say that my favorite person in the Bible is Daniel. I'm really excited about his faith. From what we understand, he was a young man, and just had a unique faith in a unique situation, but he allowed God to use him, despite society pushing against him.
As far as books go, my favorite non-Biblical books would be a lot of the technical books I read coming out of university, and I've always been a big fan of history and geography. That's really my passion, outside of pastoring and scriptural study. I'm not a nonfiction guy, So I just stay with autobiographies, and a lot of stuff on Israel and the Middle East.
Briefly describe the series of events that brought you to your church, your current role, and ministry in general.
I was always doing ministry from lay perspective. I owned a construction company for 15 years. That was what I did for a living, but it afforded me the ability to get involved in ministry. At one point, God had been calling me to get into full-time ministry, but I kinda resisted it because it didn't pay well, and there’s the issue of dependence on a church, as opposed to yourself. But when I finally decided that I would do it, I phased out my company and did some consulting for a short period of time until I was sure where God was sending me. The first place I really connected with, the place where I felt that God was sending me, was here to Tree of Life Church.
Briefly describe how you met Jesus.
I grew up in a broken family, with no Christians other than my grandma and grandpa. So I was exposed to a little of the gospel on Sundays, when they would have me over, but most of the time I stayed out at the family ranch and wouldn't go to church. But back then, I could always feel the presence of Christ. Being from a broken family, you can feel the peace of Jesus, when his peace is around.
Long before I accepted Christ, back in my grade school days, I knew Jesus had to be real. I just didn't connect the dots completely at that time. Going into high school, I had a neighbour that was part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He was the quarterback on the high school team. He shared the gospel with me, and I can remember getting on my knees and accepting Christ. There was still four or five year run of rebellion and transformation but, once I accepted Christ, the ultimate goal for my life was always clear.