At the end of March, Sam Breakey completed his role as the Church Health Director for the CBWC. Over the last several years, Sam has walked with many churches through challenges, transitions, visioning and so much more. His ability to listen, discern and then speak the truth in love, even when difficult to hear, are things that people greatly appreciate about Sam. That, and the fact that if you ever need a realtor, a lawyer, a roofer… Sam always “has a guy!” Sam has played an important role as a key member of the Executive Staff team, a trusted soul who is appreciated by all.
Sam may be “retiring”, but even in that he will continue to use his gifts, talents and experience as he serves churches as an independent consultant. If your congregation is looking for a helpful outside perspective as to how to discern God’s leading for your ministry, I would highly recommend you contact Sam about a possible consultation. And perhaps with a little coaxing, we can also keep him engaged in the broader ministry of the CBWC!
It has been a real privilege to serve alongside Sam. He is a wise person from whom I’ve learned much. Sam, we are most grateful for the gift you have been as a teacher, leader, confidant, pastor and friend to so many throughout the CBWC over the years. We pray God’s blessing upon you, Nancy and your family, as you enter this next season. Oh yeah, and have fun being grandpa!!
Praying with our Churches
Victor Ku approached me a few weeks ago with a request to contact our CBWC churches individually, inviting them to share any prayer requests with our team at the Calgary office. We meet for a time of devotions and prayer on Tuesday morning of each week. If I must say so myself, I think we have a few great prayer warriors in our group, and we have seen many of our petitions to God being answered.
I am a closet introvert, and so it was with some personal discomfort, that I began phoning churches. I have spoken directly to one of the pastors at almost every church that I have reached so far, and my call has always been positively received. (Just in case anyone is feeling left out, I am beginning with the “A” churches, and making my way through the alphabet!)
I have been nothing but blessed, excited and sometimes burdened each time I call churches. Yes, some of them are facing challenging times. Our seniors are aging, becoming ill, and some of them are passing away. These dear stalwarts of the church have been both prayerfully and financially faithful, and the love and concern by their pastors was so evident in our discussions. Younger parishioners are also facing life threatening health concerns. Some of our pastors are facing illness or other stressful situations. We must hold them up in prayer.
I am the official “labeller” of most of the church mailouts from our office. I have seen many church names, but what do I really know about our CBWC churches? Well, I am beginning to have glimpses into each one, as conversations are shared over the phone. This is where the excitement comes into play. I have seen themes emerging – prayer for membership classes, baptisms, upcoming ordinations, Lent and Easter preparations and annual general meetings. Weekday programs that minister to small children and their parents or nannies, yearn to reach these people for Christ. Several churches are opening their doors to new Canadians, offering opportunities to learn English. Their prayer is to invite them into church life, giving them an opportunity to know the Saviour. Some churches are also offering their facilities for the purpose of planting new congregations in their own language. Our pastors are asking for God’s guidance for discernment, wisdom and resources – and to do what they do well. With changing demographics in our society, churches are praying for creative and successful ways to engage newcomers and build connections, eventually bringing more souls to Christ.
At the end of the day, as I drive home, the conversations that I had that day with the pastors of the churches I reached come to mind. My vehicle becomes a prayer room, as I hold up the requests to God. I feel so privileged to have the opportunity to speak with someone on the other end of the phone, and sometimes at that moment – to pray with them.
– Ruth Longhurst
Meet William Dmytrow, a Quest alumnus
If I can tell you one thing about my passion and faith in Jesus Christ, it is that it would not have been the same without camp ministry. I want to give back to how I have been blessed and poured into. For me, it gives me chills that God has allowed me to follow this calling. May this be an encouragement- that our work in ministry traces back to children, which we all have been at some point.
I didn’t grow up in a Christian home; my Mom and Dad are loving and kind parents and I’m grateful for how abundant their love has been in my life. But it wasn’t until I went to summer camp at Quest at Christopher Lake as a 10-year-old that I learned about Jesus. Four summers later, I accepted Christ as my Lord and Saviour. This was the most important event in my life. The camp director, Sean Cruickshank, helped influence me to learn what it means to follow Jesus, to be a child of God and to create disciples who create disciples. But unfortunately, when I went home after these summers, I slipped away from God.
But that fall, I found myself not living out my faith in any amount. A series of unfortunate events took a hard toll on my family. I felt like I had God to blame for this mess. But the real reason was that I was starting to lose hope. I became somebody I didn’t recognize. When I hit what felt like rock bottom, I decided I had to do something about it.
I prayed, and God clearly responded, saying “youth group.” I met my youth pastor Joel Povey, who has guided me in my walk with God and this community that has kept me close to Jesus—and hope itself. I became on fire for Jesus. I started attending Sunday services, inviting my camp friends and other individuals as well. I found myself leading a bible study with my camp friends who had the same struggles as me, and we made a community. Joel has been so influential and has helped lead me to be the person I am today.
When I went back to camp that summer, I really felt on fire for Jesus. I was privileged to serve there and lead people to Christ. I was becoming someone I thought people could look up to as I put God first in my life. This carried onto grade 12 when I became a youth leader, and a volunteer for an organization that helps youth with permanent disabilities learn how to be active. I worked for Quest as a fundraising coordinator. All my peers at my public high school saw this fire I had for Jesus, and they started coming to me with questions.
At the same time, this past summer was a little different than the others. Quest was having trouble raising money; the odds we were going to even have camp that summer were slim. We were $20,000 short. In a meeting with the camp director, I was told camp might not be happening. There seemed only one way to save the camp: raise $20,000 in eight days. At that moment I felt like I had the camp resting in my hands. I trusted God and put it into His hands. I was determined to go through with it. And, well- in short, we raised over $100,000 by God’s grace!
I give lots of gratitude and thanks to those who were deeply involved with this campaign. There was so much that went on with it. I worked as the head cabin leader and took on responsibilities by supervising the other cabin leaders. God kept me moving, and I’m so grateful for the experiences.
At that time, I was supposed to be going to Lethbridge College to study policing. But I felt such a call to camp ministry that I decided not to go. Mid-summer, God encountered me and led me to the point of where I knew I had to drop all my life plans. Everything I had in Lethbridge: student loans, deposits, signed forms and scholarships. I dropped this all to follow my call to camp ministry at Briercrest College.
God really has shown Himself to me at Briercrest so far in my theological training. I give many thank you’s to those not mentioned here today — so many individuals have helped shape me into who I am today. I am very fortunate to know them. I have learned that there’s a huge difference between what I want and what God wants. I have found many opportunities to volunteer and glorify God. I am very thankful for what God has done in me and I am truly blessed. I have to thank the CBWC in the work that they have done in helping me with many different resources, such as the camp. I am looking forward to my future in camp and church ministry. Camp is so much more than a job to me. When God spoke “youth group” to me, I believe this was much more than just attending youth group, but to lead youth a step closer to Christ. This translates to my life mission; “To create disciples of Jesus Christ who go on to create disciples of Jesus Christ.” I am beyond excited to see the plan God has in store for me, as God has greater plans to give a future and a hope. But what most sticks with me is John 15:5: “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
I am beyond grateful for Jesus Christ, and that he shed His blood for us. It fills me with joy to know it’s my responsibility to spread such a powerful message that saved me.
Congratulations Lydia Webber, our illustrious web manager, and her husband Brandon, on the birth of their newest son, Heath Lewis Webber, born March 15 at 8lb 1oz.
Welcome to the world, Heath!
Copyright © 2019 Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, All rights reserved.
Making Connections is the Monthly Newsletter of the CBWC. The senior editor is Zoë Ducklow, who works under the executive editorial direction of Rob Ogilvie and the Communications & Stewardship committee. Have a story idea? Want to tell us how great we’re doing? Or how terribly? Email Zoë at firstname.lastname@example.org.