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Current Members of the C!C Pastoral Team

My name is Merlin Liu. I was born and raised in China, and moved to Canada when I was 18. I didn't know or believe in God when I grew up, in fact, I was very much against God.

In 2002, just before my 22nd birthday, I unexpectedly stumbled upon a church service for the first time in my life, and from there my life changed. Not only because I met a group of people who genuinely loved me, but more importantly, they introduced me to Jesus who showed me a love to which none can compare. Soon after, I gave my life to him, and became a follower of Christ.

I first came to Celebration! Church in 2004, and have been serving in this church ever since. I've had many great experiences here at Celebration!, one of which was meeting my lovely wife, Carla, here, and getting married in 2008 with our church family surrounding us.

I graduated with a Computer Science degree from University of Waterloo and have been working as a software engineer since 2006. I enjoy many sports (especially basketball), and worshiping God through music. And I love spending quality time with people and with God, and want to see our church to really grow in having genuine, intimate and fruit bearing relationships with Jesus.




Merlin and Carla

My name's Carl. I was raised in tiny Chesterville, Ontario an hour South of Ottawa. I received Christ as my Saviour at a child but struggled to commit to a church after moving to Ottawa for school in 2001. After a few years, I began attending Celebration! Church and rediscovered what it really meant to follow Christ: my Saviour. Since then, life has moved along quickly serving in several ministries over the last 10 years attending C!C. I slowly learned to trust in Christ alone, not myself, as His plan is what is best for me; I am His work in progress.

I completed a diploma in Police Foundations at Algonquin College and continued my education taking American Sign Language at Algonquin, as well. I share a full house with my amazing wife, two daughters, and two sons. She is a stay-at-home mother and home-school teacher to our children while I work as a law enforcement officer in downtown Ottawa.

I enjoy sports, movies, and socializing with others, but realistically am often busy with work. I have committed a significant amount of time and talent to pursuing social justice, passionately involved in the fight against human trafficking for more than half a decade; I am in awe at how God is blessing my efforts in my career and with my church family in this endeavour. I am excited to see what God has in store for Celebration! Church Ottawa in the coming years!

carl@celebrationchurch.ca



The Pastoral Team

At Celebration! Church, we recognize the head of the church to be Jesus Christ.  As a church family, we seek to reflect His priorities in all we do and in the way we do it. No decision is made that would knowingly contradict any Biblical teachings, and through the guidance of the in-dwelling Holy Spirit we endeavour to collectively discern God’s will for us as a church. Together, we will pursue God’s revealed will as we engage in meaningful discipleship—gaining a greater fellowship with Jesus and a greater witness for Jesus. Godly Ministry Leaders will come alongside the people to equip and serve with the encouragement and support and under the oversight of the Pastoral Team, which includes the Senior Pastor; The Pastoral Team carries the responsibility of leading the Church to function in utmost accordance with Scripture.

The English Bible uses the words pastor, shepherd, elder, presbyter, bishop, and overseer to represent the persons appointed to fulfill a specific office of leadership within the New Testament church. The Bible makes a point to say that with this position comes great responsibility, and the qualifications for one who would serve are stringent. One who would serve on the Pastoral Team of Celebration! Church must be willing, qualified, and called. The New Testament provides specific roles of the pastor/elder:


Protect the Flock: (Acts 20:17, 28-31a; Titus 1:5-6, 9)

Part of the responsibilities of a pastor is protecting the church from false teachers and false teaching.  This requires scriptural knowledge and dedication to biblical truth in order to be discerning in areas of doctrine.  Protecting the flock also includes dealing with disputes and church discipline according to biblical directives.

Feed the Flock: (1 Tim 3:2; Titus 1:9; 1 Peter 5:2)

Another major role of a pastor is to be “able to teach.”  Though some people’s spiritual gifts/talent makes this area stronger than in others, part of the job of shepherding is making sure the flock is fed the Word of God.

Lead the Flock: (Titus 1:7; Heb 13:7)

Many of the biblical references equate a pastor with shepherding the church, among other things, this means leading the church.  The Pastoral Team has decision making authority for the body to ensure that the church remains on a true course biblically, and is freed and equipped for Christian service. 
- This should be a servant leadership, a leadership by example. 
- This should be a shared leadership—the Bible always speaks of pastor/elders in the plural sense when not referring to the qualifications or an individual referring to himself. 
- This should be a male leadership.  The Bible outlines the qualifications for a pastor in keeping with its teaching on manhood.  This body of leaders is not any higher or better than any other position within the church and so the maleness of the group in no way equates to superiority, but instead it points to the importance of an intimate, accountable brotherhood that leads and initiates as a reflection of Christ’s headship of the church and the man’s headship in the marriage/home. At the same time, an important reality is that the wife of a pastor is “one flesh” with the pastor and therefore an incredibly important pastor in her own right, protecting, feeding, leading . . ..  [For more on the gender issue and the Pastoral Team, click here.]
- This is a leadership of great responsibility.  The Bible is clear that those in authority are held to a higher standard; they are seen as God’s stewards—or His household manager.  This is certainly something that should not be taken lightly and should not be sought after for means of status, for the stakes are high.  Along with all this must be the recognition that while the church body affirms the leadership of the pastors and submits to them, the people of the church also carry an enormous authority within the church and are the final court for church decisions.  The Pastoral Team is meant to lead, serve and equip, not to rule over, and thus they are accountable to the people.

Help Meet Physical Needs of the Flock: (James 5:16; Acts 20:35)

Jesus was quite clear in ministry that physical needs must be met as a part of our Christian service.  A pastor must be engaged in recognizing and moving to address felt needs in the church and in the community.  Whether visiting the sick, comforting the mourning, strengthening the weak, counseling, giving, guiding, etc., a pastor must work to see the flock’s needs met.

Live Out Hard Work and Sacrifice:

Understanding the role of pastor/elder to be merely a board, a status, a level of maturity or position of influence is a sad distortion of truth.  A pastor should be a servant of all and should display an inspiring level of initiative, both spiritually and physically in order to encourage the church and prepare them for their own works of service.

Possess Unique Giftings: (Eph 4:11-16)

A pastor should understand spiritual gifts and be familiar with his own and how to cultivate the gifts of others.  The Pastoral Team should have a wide range of gifts, primarily those mentioned in Ephesians 4 (apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher) so that they can lead the church into full maturity in Christ.


The Bible lists for us some qualifications of pastors/elders: (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9)

  • Above reproach (people cannot bring against him valid smears)
  • Blameless (shows evidence of sanctification and Spirit working righteousness)
  • Husband of one wife (literally, “a one-woman man” – showing devout faithfulness)
  • Temperate
  • Self-controlled
  • Respectable
  • Hospitable
  • Able to teach/hold firm to sound doctrine
  • Not given to drunkenness (free from addictions)
  • Not violent
  • Gentle
  • Not quarrelsome or quick-tempered
  • Not a lover of money
  • Not pursuing dishonest gain
  • Manages his own household well
  • His children obey him with proper respect
  • Not a recent convert
  • Of good reputation outside the church
  • Not overbearing
  • Loves what is good
  • Disciplined

Having here discussed much on the subject, but admittedly only partially covering the material, we encourage you to check out some more in depth material:

A Thorough Treatment of Eldership Leadership

Book Review on above Eldership

Another Perspective on Biblical Eldership

How another denomination goes about leading

Another brief description of leadership from another denomination/church

Another Perspective on Biblical Pastors/Elders