Introduction to CCMBC video

CCMBC 2014 from CCMBC on Vimeo.

How does the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches help local churches? This 3-minute video briefly outlines CCMBC’s mission and its four service areas. It debuted at Gathering 2014 in Vancouver.

Song List – Dean & Nelson Sets

We had a wonderful time at Gathering 2014 and the music was a huge part of that! We’ve had a lot of requests for the music we sang so here is a song list from when Dean Morris & Nelson Boschman were leading.

CCMBC GATHERING 2014

Worship Songs by Date & Author

THURSDAY AM

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty –– Traditional, arr. Nelson Boschman

Rising Sun –– Leslie Jordan, David Leonard, Kyle Mabury

Lord I Need You –– Christy Nockels, Daniel Carson, Jesse Carson, Jesse Reeves, Kristian Stanfill, Matt Maher

Nothing I Hold Onto –– Will Reagan

FRIDAY AM

Oh How I Need You –– Leslie Jordan, David Leonard, Kyle Mabury, Stuart Garrard

10,000 Reasons –– Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman

Open Up –– John Arndt, Rob Gungor, David Gungor

FRIDAY PM

Rising Sun         –– Leslie Jordan, David Leonard, Kyle Mabury

Oh How I Need You –– Leslie Jordan, David Leonard, Kyle Mabury, Stuart Garrard

I Am One –– Miriam Jones

The Lord is Gracious and Compassionate –– Graham Ord

This is My Father’s World –– Traditional, arr. Nelson Boschman

Great Are You Lord –– David Leonard, Jason Ingram, Leslie Jordan

Great is Thy Faithfulness –– Traditional, arr. Brian Doerksen & Nelson Boschman

 SATURDAY AM

Come Thou Fount –– Traditional, arr. Nelson Boschman

Hosanna (Praise is Rising) –– Brenton Brown, Paul Baloche

God With Us –– Jason Ingram, Leslie Jordan

Nothing I Hold Onto –– Will Reagan

10,000 Reasons –– Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman

Saturday Morning Decision Making Session

Gathering 2014 ended with a time of discussion, discerning and deciding together.

Board of Faith and Life (BFL)

  • BFL member Ingrid Reichard said there’s been good response to a survey about the Confession of Faith sent to pastors, with 140 responses currently received and more expected. Initial results indicate 85% of pastors affirm the Confession of Faith, and approximately 90% use it as a tool in ministry. Based on the results they’ve received, the BFL does not anticipate a need to entirely re-write the confession.
  • The BFL said a long-overdue French translation of the Confession of Faith is currently in the works.

Finance

  • The finance committee acknowledged its need to communicate more details about CCMBC Legacy Investments Inc. (a separate entity for managing investments and mortgages), but “we can’t say a lot more at this point because of the legal nature of this recommendation. The creation of this entity was driven by our desire to improve our compliance to the law, reduce risk and streamline governance.”
  • In response to a question raised during the earlier breakout session regarding CCMBC staffing costs, finance committee chair Harold Froese said that the number of conference staff has remained consistent at approximately 58 people for 2–3 years. “We don’t see it as staffing costs,” said Froese. “We say it’s a staffing investment in the kingdom.”
  • “We just heard some compelling stories from the International Community of Mennonite Brethren (ICOMB), and they’re working from a tight budget. I wonder about the wisdom of decreasing our support to ICOMB [from the 2015 budget]. That’s something we need to wrestle with.”

– J Janzen, Highland Community Church, Abbotsford

  • In response to J Janzen, Harold Froese commented: “[The budgeted amount for ICOMB] in no way signals a reduction in support. What we’re trying to do is allow other countries to step up to the plate. We don’t want to be seen to be directly or indirectly running ICOMB. But if there was a great need, we wouldn’t walk away.”
  • “I understand there are unknown/unexpected expenses [during a time of financial transition]. But if we’re in a deficit position [with our current budget], that concerns me.”

– Bruce Guenther, Bakerview MB, Abbotsford

  • In response to Bruce Guenther, Harold Froese said, “Sustainability is always in the background of our thinking. [Our new investment entity CCMBC Legacy Investments Inc.] may generate more or less revenue. We just don’t know about the level of profitability it will have. At this point, the investment side has grown faster than the demand for mortgages. But, as we heard, God is leading us to the heart of the city, which leads to higher costs – higher ‘investments.’ There are many unknowns.”
  • Delegates passed the motion to approve the 2015 budget by an overwhelming majority.
  • Parliamentarian Reg Toews thanked the board and conference presenters for their humble attitude. “And thank you delegates for your questions and your tone. It says a lot about what God is doing in us.”

Going Forward – Willy Reimer’s comments concluding Gathering 2014

A tribute and an exhortation concluded Gathering 2014 in Vancouver.

Executive Director Willy Reimer paid tribute to Ralph and Grace Gliege, citing 22 years of ministry in Saskatchewan marked by model “perseverance, passion for Christ, and hospitality” to local church leaders and others. “You are all about relationship.”

Reimer reminded delegates the conference began with questions.

“Will you be a sent people?”

“Can we get on our knees before God?”

“Will we be an authentic people?”

“Will we be a worshiping people?”

The answer to all was yes, he said. And people did get on their knees to pray together for God’s spirit among them, did show and hear authenticity in the testimonies delegates heard, and did worship.

“There are 1800 seats in this church and about 250 people here,” he said, “and we filled this place with worship.”

He said, “Oh Lord, would we host the manifest presence of God, and would your mission come out of that.” He asked delegates to remember the weight of God’s love for us, and to have a growing awareness of the “lostness of Canadian people.”

He said delegates heard from guests ministering beyond our borders about the spirit at work, even in places of persecution and poverty. “The Spirit at work in the world is the same Spirit that is working in Canada.” He echoed the comment of a Khmu brother who said, “Pursue what God has called you to.”

“You are a sent people,” said Reimer. “You understand that.”

Friday night celebration service plenary address

“Our ‘first team’ is the local church, says Bruce Enns, pastor of Forest Grove Community Church, Saskatoon, using Patrick Lencioni’s terminology.

Some time ago, God convicted him that he had “too low a view of the local church,” says Ens, who at one time wasn’t much interested in pastoring. “I realized I needed to see the church as it is and how God sees it, how God wants it to be.”

Speaking from 1 Corinthians, he drew several principles from the New Testament congregation almost guaranteed to be “more messed up than your church.”

Maturity in the local church leads to mission.

Unity reveals maturity and leads to mission.

There are different types of leaders and that’s okay.

Whether a person’s leadership style tends toward the more patient, long-view of gardeners who are at the mercy of the environment or builders who are interested in what they can do in the moment to create something tangible, there is a place for both gifts – and cautions for how they can be used poorly.

The one foundation we build on is Jesus Christ. Our work matters – but God provides the growth.

Friday night testimonies

Gladness, sadness touches CCMBC Gathering

The night was the last one for Gathering 2014, and the celebration program reflected Jesus in many aspects of life.

Rob Dyck, pastor of Abbotsford’s Arnold Community Church, told of a family who was materially comfortable, but felt “there must be more”.  He said they have “started to process it with MB Mission, looking to serve God in ways bigger and broader.” He said, simply, “We walk with them.

Dyck also spoke of celebration as several women in the congregation realized it was not Christ, not his ways, to be living in sexual sin. One couple came forward. Dyck said, “As they start to repent, the spirit of God continues to be at work” in their lives.

He said a new family started to come to church and congregation members embraced them. The man, who had not known Christ, made a decision. Dyck said the man “sold out and bought into who Jesus is and his life has totally changed.”

And all within a year. Dyck said, God is at work, and if we yield to him he will go about, making disciples.

Joe Haynes (Beacon Community, Victoria, B.C.)The story was different for the pastor of BC’s newest MB church, Beacon Communities Church in Victoria.  Joe Haynes said the James Bay area is known as hard ground, the graveyard of church planters. Yet, he and his family felt called to start a church there. And it hasn’t been easy. “We have a handful of Christians to form a core,” he said, but turnout to services is embarrassingly small, and “we have wondered – why do we persevere?” But, “As Jesus has helped our eyes to be opened, we have seen glimpses of his glory.”

The family’s day to day life is made harder by the ‘acting out’ of two boys they are fostering. “Pray for us.”

Howie Wall (Bethany College, Hepburn Saskatchewan) with Rob Toews (L2L)The president of Bethany College in Hepburn, Saskatchewan, answered a request  to share his personal story – at a time when he and the college face dramatic enrollment reductions, serious enough that it may be forced to close. Howie Wall said, “Often a new thing can come out of something not doing well.”

He was encouraged by a letter from a faculty member, travelling in the Holy Land, who took comfort in the story of Jesus’ loaves and fishes in John 21.  Randy Klassen had written, “My job, our job, is to keep feeding Christ’s sheep.  My duty is to follow Jesus….who provides mysteriously in his timing, not ours. This is going to be a hard road, but follow me, okay?”

Ron Toews prayed for Wall and two other Bethany staff, present at the Gathering. He ended, “You display your power in ways we could not imagine. Be present to display your power.”

VeroniqueA woman, now student advisor at ETEM in Montreal, spoke of learning God’s power over a period of time as she recovered from serious depression and suicidal thoughts. “My story is part of the story of God,” said Veronique Beaudin, a victim of child sexual abuse. She hit a crisis at age 32, “in the dark of life…with suicidal thoughts.”

“That night, I lay on the ground, and prayed and told God, if you really exist, put some people across my path because I cannot continue.” Two  weeks later, she found herself in L’Intersection church, and she was supported and mentored by Patrice Nagant and his wife.

She attended, first sporadically, then regularly, and joined a house group. She still recalls on an early occasion Nagant asked her, “Is this the first time you have come to an evangelical church?” and she replied, “Am I in a church??” Then she fell down and began to cry.

Beaudin now works as a student advisor at the ETEM seminary, and is two thirds of the way toward a bachelor of theology degree. “I am sure I want to serve him and give him all my life,” she said. “And I want to help victims, all kinds of victims.”

Friday Decision making session

The Friday afternoon business meeting whipped through 7 of the 8 motions, affirming new board members, bylaws, the Historical Commission MOU, and provision of MB Herald subscriptions for members, then encountered vibrant discussion on the motion to approve in principle a draft of the CCMBC sandbox document (mission statement, preferred culture, operating principles, and central ministry focus).

“What about regions where significant numerical growth is an improbability? What does multiplication for mission mean for them?”

– Kevin Koop, Blaine Lake Gospel Chapel, Saskatchewan

14416480431_a2cdc08af9_oWilly Reimer: “This is not a prescriptive target, it’s a description of mindset. What does it mean to be a faithful church in that mindset? We encourage churches to pray and seek the Lord how to live this out given your context. I truly believe God has given each church everything it needs to fulfill God’s call.”

“I’m concerned over the wording ‘to see Canada transformed. ’ It’s a substantial ideological claim, and it’s not biblical.”

– Greg Harris, Northview, Abbotsford, B.C.

Willy Reimer: “As we work through it with executive board, the idea is that we are working to stay away from individualism of our culture. In our understanding of the kingdom of God, he works to redeem individuals through whom there is expression of the kingdom of God through the people of God.”

The wording is still under construction.

The suggestion was made from the floor that the board provide a definition of what is meant by ‘multiplication’ and ‘to see Canada transformed.’

“We want to get in on this – rural or urban. Can you define it in a ways that we can all get in on this together?”

– Kevin Koop

14416484261_785df7a440_o “I echo Greg: ‘transform Canada’ isn’t biblical mandate. We should seek a mission statement that provides clarity. This further muddies the water.”

– Steve Wiens, Northview

“I’d like to speak to sandbox in principle. It worries me when we talk about a box, that we want to have clear boundaries. The church should be more of a centred community where people are moving toward Jesus. When we make non-negotiables, we start worrying about boundaries and who’s in and out.”

– Katrina Klauwe, Lendrum, Edmonton

“The question raised here points to idea we have two things going on. A mission statement – about who we are as a denomination. And a central ministry focus – about the executive board, measurements. Mission applies to everyone. Ministry focus is about staff.”

— John Unger, member of the executive board

“’Transform Canada’: are we called to do that as denomination? It seems that leads us astray from what we’re primarily called.”

– Steve Wiens

Willy Reimer: “Our focus is to multiply Christ in our churches, that what we’re all about.”

“I want to affirm this. It has means (multiply churches) and an end (to see Canada transformed. We believe that [transformation] happens through Christ-centred churches equipping people to be in their workplace, in their community, doing what God has called them to do. The sandbox thing can be understood as centred-type statements.”

– Tim McCarthy, North Langley

The motion was carried. Some opposing votes were registered.

L2L breakout

“Nobody goes to church to put in time,” says Ron Toews, L2L director. Through coaching, L2L helps churches and individuals grow on a journey with God.

“Good coaching helps you better understand where you’re at,” says life-long learning host Daniel Beutler – even if that place is scary.

Coach US helps determine where a church is on its life cycle – in the vision and relationship stage of growth or the maintenance and nostalgia of decline. This determines whether response is replanting, resourcing, refocusing or restoring.

When the vision of a church drifts, members aren’t on the same page anymore, and often personal agendas are pursued instead of a corporate trajectory.

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At the 9-year mark, Jericho Ridge was in vision drift, says Brad Sumner. They called on L2L, expecting “a stage from the stage,” but instead god “a guide from the side,” who helped them through self-discovery, allowing them to own their lessons and action steps. (Read more about Brad Sumner’s experience here)

But, “personal renewal precedes corporate renewal,” says Beutler. And so L2L also offers Coach ME.

“We are on a life-long journey of discovery with God.” At each turning point – whether a high or low – “God deposits key insights and entrustments that shape both our being and our doing,” says Beutler, giving the example of Joseph who challenges with his brothers and as a slave prepared him to rule Egypt. (Genesis 50:18–20).

The coach process, says Beutler, is not a dialogue, but a tri-alogue: a conversation between you, the coach, and God. It’s about listening, learning and living.

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