Let us go out of our way to be encouragers
Baptists have many wonderful qualities, but our independent streak can breed a cynical attitude. We may surmise the music could be different, the sermon could be more electrifying, the coffee much stronger and the attendance better. Without realizing it, our internal thoughts become judgments on others: on the coffee brewer, on the people who don’t attend, or on the people leading the service.
I know I can judge with the best of them. In fact, it’s not that I can, but that I do. Certainly there are times to judge, but the trails that lead to gossip or a non-cooperative spirit are easy to enter.
So last Sunday I sat through church and thought the music was excellent and the sermon was top notch—and I kept those thoughts to myself. Perhaps I perceive that these individuals are merely doing their job and they ought not to do less. Perhaps I quietly understand that they know they have done well with their gifts. But what, in fact, happens to me if I am quiet?
Hebrews 3:13 states, “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Wow, encouragement helps resist sin’s deceitfulness!
At our recent Gull Lake Ministers Retreat, we had Joel Thiessen share with us statistics about how evangelicals are perceived by others. I gathered from what he presented, that we are generally thought of as judgmental, difficult, and unpleasant people. It was pointed out that those who declare themselves of no religion have the least interest, among other main religious groups, in evangelicals. My conclusion is that we are seen as the most judgmental.
Jesus “grew in favour with God and men/mankind/people.” Why is his church seen as a people from whom you keep your distance? Even the story of the woman at the well started with a positive, “You are right when you say you have no husband.” Why is it that people would so often look at evangelicals as negative and unfriendly? Yes, we have to discern and judge certain things, but our tendency is to “speak the truth” rather than “speak the truth in love”.
How we deal with people outside the church will take work, but let us start within the church. Let us go out of our way to be encouragers. When people take responsibilities, when they step up and speak or sing publicly, when time has been taken to prepare a message—all of these actions are worthy of our thanks and encouragement.
Let us be swift to listen and slow to speak. Let us listen for the heart of God. I think if we take time to encourage, God doesn’t just do a ministry to those we speak to; He does a work in us. Let’s seek that work too!
Your co-worker in Christ,
Dennis Stone, CBWC Alberta Regional Minister and Settlement Coordinator
Follow Dennis on Twitter @Rockpileca or on his blog www.rockpileca.wordpress.com
Rare and special time of connection at the Gull Lake Ministers Retreat
The annual Gull Lake Ministers Retreat was held February 5-7, 2018. On the first afternoon, Paul Spate led a number of people through a time of spiritual reflection. Our guest speaker was Joel Thiessen, a Christian sociologist at Ambrose with a long relationship with the CBWC. It was also a privilege to have our new Executive Minister, Rob Ogilvie, join us for two sessions. Activities included floor hockey (of course), ice hockey, table games, snowshoeing, and a few of us went out to a movie one night.
The privilege of this collegial connection is rare and special. Although our numbers were normal, let me speak candidly to those who chose not to come: this annual event is an elective, to be sure, but your absence means that your colleagues miss gleaning who you are and what you offer. True, those in the city have greater access to training and retreat events, but this unique event grants you opportunity to give of yourself to others. Some wrestle in ministry and some do not, but this time together provides us with a bonding opportunity. This is a place you can come and give encouragement and prayer with others travelling a similar road. You and your ministry experience and gifts were missed. I warmly invite you to consider joining us next year.
New Church Joining CBWC
It is a privilege to be in dialogue with a church in Longview, Alberta that has expressed an intent to join the CBWC. It was once a Canadian Sunday School Mission church, and the CSSM churches later came under the canopy of One Hope Canada. With the blessing of One Hope, several of these churches are now affiliating elsewhere.
Longview is an hour south of Calgary in a beautiful spot near the mountains with plentiful fishing in Kananaskis country. Pastor Gilbert Kidd, formerly from the CBOQ, is semi-retired but 100% engaged in the Lord’s work. He and his wife Andrea are very gifted musically. Gil and his church family have already organized much of what the church needs for CRA recognition. Gil is looking ahead at whomever may be the next pastor of the church to take them to a new level of positive outreach in this region.
Occasionally churches look at affiliating with the CBWC because of our protocols, our practices, our resources, our beliefs and our history. Please pray for this church and others that enter this process.
Changes in the Alberta Region
We’re changing our name! Our office lease us up at the end of May, so we’re looking for a new space. Since this means we’ll have to get new stationary & signage, it’s also a good time to rename the Alberta and Northwest Territories Region to something shorter and that will be more inclusive of our east-of-the-Rockies B.C. churches.
Many of you submitted suggestions for this name change and you’ve been entered into a draw for a $50 Tim Horton’s card. Some of your more creative ideas were: “Western Canadian Middle of Western Canada for the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada Region” (WCMWCCBWCR for short), “The West of Us for the Rest of Us Region”, the “Too Big to be Named Region”, “God’s Country Region” (because Heaven is already taken), and the “Stoney Region” (named after Dennis Stone, though the timing is somewhat premature for a memorial designation!).
The CBWC board will choose the name shortly and we’ll let you know the results!
- Israel: On the edge of the cliff site in Nazareth where an attempt was made to throw Jesus off. Mt. Tabor, the site of the transfiguration, is the hill in the background. Jeff Logan (Southgate Community, Calgary), Jodi Spargur (Healing at the Wounding Place), and Jason Johnson (High River Baptist) were part of a group who travelled to Israel in February to study the Holy Land. Jason Johnson led the group on a tour ranging from northern Golan Heights to as far south as the Ein-Gedi desert, bordering the Negev. “Much of our time was spent surveying the region around Jerusalem and Mt. Zion. It was a joy to fellowship and see scripture come to life as we shared in this as a small community of pilgrims. The next trip is tentatively targeted for the winter of 2020. For any CBWC pastors or ministry workers who would like to be a part of the team, a limited number of discount clergy rates will likely be offered.”
- Cluster Calgary: Pastors near Calgary met in March for a regular ministerial meeting with Dennis Stone.
- Cluster south: Pastors in the southern area gather for a regular ministerial meeting with Dennis Stone.
Some extra news: Former CBWC Executive Minister Jeremy Bell was appointed the General Secretary of the North American Baptist Fellowship (a regional organization for the Baptist World Alliance) in January. Congratulations Jeremy!
Dean Eisner is the new Interim Minister at Braemar Baptist Church
Gord King is the new Interim Pastor of Community Outreach at Westview Baptist Church in Calgary
New Alberta Pastors:
- Dean Eisner, Interim Lead Minister, Braemar Baptist Church, Edmonton
- Sarah Wipf, Interim Worship Leader, Westview Baptist Church, Calgary
- Gordon King, Interim Pastor of Community Outreach, Westview Baptist Church, Calgary
- Natalie Wong, Children and Family Ministry Leader, Crescent Heights Baptist, Calgary
- Josh Goetz, Lead Pastor, Charlie Lake Community
Moving on in Alberta
- Amanda Strain, Children’s Minister, FBC Edmonton
- David Reed, Interim Pastor, Community Baptist, Cold Lake
- Cliff Gonzales, Lead Pastor, Greenhills Christian Fellowship, Calgary
Retiring in Alberta
- George Neily, Chaplain, High River Hospital
- Geri Redekop, Senior Pastor, Braemar Baptist, Edmonton
Available positions in Alberta
- Trinity Baptist, Sherwood Park, Youth Pastor
- Braemar Baptist, Edmonton, Senior Pastor
- Sonrise Community Baptist, Calgary, Senior Pastor
New Heartland Pastors
- Mat Lortie, Lead Pastor, Willowlake Baptist, Winnipeg
- Noel Dwarika, Pastor, Faith Community Baptist, Souris
Moving on in the Heartland
- Dwight Holditch, Interim Minister, FBC Brandon
- Dean Lentini, Pastor, Fairmont Baptist, Saskatoon
Available positions in the Heartland Region
- Asquith Baptist, Senior Pastor
- FBC Prince Albert, Lead Pastor
- FBC Brandon, Lead Pastor
- FBC Moose Jaw, Senior Pastor
- Strathclair Baptist, Pastor
- FBC Portage la Prairie, Pastor
New BCY Pastors:
- Gordon Patterson, Interim Associate, FBC Nanaimo
- Ted Veal, Interim Minister, Kitimat First Baptist
- Clark Taylor, Co-Pastor, FBC Penticton
- Les Clark, Co-Pastor, FBC Penticton
- Axel Schoeber, Lead Pastor, West Vancouver Baptist
- Doris Kung-Poon, Associate Pastor, Trinity Baptist, Vancouver
Moving on in BCY
- Jeremy Bell, Interim Minister, Kitsilano Christian Community
- Randy Baker, Associate Pastor, FBC Nanaimo
- Shane Wiebe, Lead Pastor, Southwest Community Baptist, Kamloops
- Keith Boschman, Outreach and Evangelism Pastor, FBC Vancouver
Available positions in the BCY Region (with active search committees)
- Southwest Community Baptist, Kamloops, Provisional Pastor
- FBC Vancouver, Senior Pastor
- Joy Fellowship, Vancouver, Pastor of Women’s Ministries
- Grace Community Baptist, Vancouver, Associate Pastor for English Ministry
- Kitsilano Christian Community, Vancouver, Senior Minister
- Kitimat First Baptist, Senior Pastor