from BCY Regional Minister Larry Schram
I love condiments. The burst of flavours added to my food makes my taste buds dance, my tongue tingle—and if spicy enough, I will even break out in a wonderful sweat. As a flavour junkie, condiments always add some delightful zest to my mealtimes. In my experience, condiments lack only one thing: they cannot stand alone as a meal. They are intended to add spice or complexity to a dish but can never be a meal in themselves.
I was listening to a sermon recently, and it struck me that too often in my life, I have approached Jesus like a condiment. I have asked Him to add something to my life, like zest to a meal, forgetting that He is much more than that. In fact, His clear call to me is not to add flavour or zest to my life, but to yield my life to Him in all things and follow Him.
In Mark we read; Then He called the crowd to Him along with His disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (8: 34) It is kind of hard to miss the point of Jesus’ words. If I want to walk with Him, I start by denying myself. This is more than the habits of self denial, like so many of the common practices of Lent. Instead, denying myself is to give up ownership of myself, to disregard myself, or as Eugene Peterson framed it, accepting that I am not in the driver’s seat. To deny myself is to trust Jesus enough that I yield to Him in all things. When I do so, my identity and purpose are found in Him, and not in anything else this world can offer me. In other words, I do not add Him to my life as a meaningful addition—I let Him rebuild, refocus, and redefine my life in every way as I follow Him.
I was convicted by what I heard in that sermon, and it made me think. I cannot truly follow Jesus and syncretize my faith into a personal brand, like some people try to do. Likewise, I cannot treat Jesus like a convenient value added addition to my life—a spiritual condiment, if you will. Neither can I hold back some part of my life as my personal identity that is somehow private and beyond the claims of Christ. Instead, His invitation is clear, and all I need to do is trust Him enough to yield everything to Him and follow Him in all things. All it will take is everything I have, but what I gain is worth the cost of this denial: I gain a life under the Lordship of Christ.
Therefore, I choose to yield and follow Jesus.
Changes in Leadership throughout BCY Regional Churches
Talita Nell began her ministry at Gateway Baptist as Youth Pastor May 6, 2019.
Shawna Nairn began her ministry at Gateway Baptist, Victoria as Associate Pastor of Children and Families on Sept. 25, 2019.
Gregg Cochrane began his ministry as Associate Pastor at Gateway Baptist, Victoria on Jan. 30, 2021.
Axel Schoeber is retiring as Pastor at West Vancouver Baptist on July 27, 2021.
Jocelyn Melder’s start date at Olivet Baptist, New Westminster was Feb. 1, 2021 and Induction Service was March 7, 2021.
Lee Young’s starts as Lead Pastor at Summerland Baptist on April 1, 2021.
FBC Vancouver has hired Dr. Ben Ewert as their Minister of Worship.
- Paul Leslie is the Transitional Lead Pastor at FBC Nanaimo and Garth Borthistle Interim Associate since Sept 2020.
- Ella Cho completes her ministry at West Vancouver Baptist on April 30th.
- Allen Jacques began his Youth and Young Adult Ministry at Elk Lake Baptist, Victoria Sept. 1, 2020.
- Matthew Fox with began his ministry at Comox Community Church on July 1, 2021.
Laura Nelson is retiring from Olivet Baptist, New Westminster on June 30, 2021. A note from Laura: It has indeed been a privilege to be the Senior Pastor at Olivet for the past 12 ½ years. The years have flown by, and it is amazing to look back at all the things that have transpired and the incredible people I have come to know and love. With being at the church for so many years, turning 66 this month, and coming out of this season of COVID-19, I felt it was time for me to retire/resign. I have written a book, which came out last March called, Avoiding the Potholes: Preventing Clergy Sexual Misconduct. My prayer is that I can do some coaching/mentoring for people who are struggling in this area, do some speaking, and fill-in preaching, periodically. I am not looking to retire, but rather to renew and refocus.
Ordination Examining Council dates: May 4-5, 2021
New Minister’s Orientation: Jan. 17-19, 2022
The BC Convention AGM is on Wed. June 9, 2021 (ZOOM)
BCY candidates for Ordination are: Jennifer Friesen of White Rock Baptist and Jake Tucker of Grandview Calvary, Vancouver
This regional newsletter is published quarterly within the CBWC’s monthly newsletter, Making Connections. Have a story idea? Want to tell us how great we’re doing? Or how terribly? Email our senior writer, Jenna Hanger: firstname.lastname@example.org