SERVE 2021 Recap
SERVE, a traveling youth missions/camp experience, has been a vital ministry of our CBWC family for over 20 summers, demonstrating the love of Jesus through active service. As planning for the 2021 experience began, the challenge became maintaining the heart and core of SERVE, while adjusting how to go about it—and SERVE+ was born.
SERVE+ took place from July 8 – 11 as youth groups from across Western Canada discovered a mission field in their own backyards. For many of the groups, SERVE+ was their first opportunity to gather in-person in over a year. They ran day camps, offered free community car washes, painted lines on parking lots, pulled weeds, served at the food bank, fed farm animals, removed graffiti, and so much more. Each evening, groups gathered for a livestream worship celebration, hosted by White Rock Baptist Church, featuring powerful testimonies, a live band, special guests, crazy games, biblical teaching, and a challenge to join God on mission in our world. Then on Sunday morning, each youth group took part in leading their local church service, sharing about the impact of SERVE+ in their local communities and their lives.
The “plus” in SERVE+ was meant to convey the hope that this year’s SERVE influence could be even greater than usual, as multiple communities were impacted for Christ. Praise God, this proved to be true. Story after story from our youth and their leaders confirm that God has been actively at work through this 4-day experience. Please continue to pray for the communities and lives impacted through SERVE+ this year.
Click HERE to watch the highlights of this year’s SERVE+ event!
Making Connections is excited to announce that SERVE 2022 will be held in Nelson, BC from July 3-9.
Spotlight: Carey Theological College
Carey Theological College: Standing with CBWC Churches
As a ministry of the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, Carey Theological College has been committed to preparing men and women as pastors, missionaries and Christian leaders in CBWC churches for decades. We stand with you as you bring God’s Word to your respective communities. Central to our calling as an accredited institution offering diploma, Master and Doctoral degrees is our highly-qualified and friendly faculty.
Welcome Professor Jimmy Chan
You met two of our recently hired faculty, Dr. Amy Chase, Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies (Old Testament) and Dr. Wil Rogan, Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies (New Testament) back in the December 2020 issue of Making Connections. We are excited to welcome Professor Jimmy Chan as Assistant Professor of Theology who will be joining his faculty colleagues, Wil and Amy along with Dr. Colin Godwin, Dr. Joyce Chan and Dr. Ken Radant, beginning in August, 2021.
From an early age, Jimmy has known and felt the presence of God, having come to grow in his faith through various encounters and opportunities in Hong Kong as well as in Canada, including pastoring and ministering at several churches. Jimmy has served as a part-time pastoral staff member at Richmond Hill Christian Community Church in Ontario for the last five years. Serving as a Pastor of Fellowship Ministry in Intentional Discipleship Pathway, he has been responsible for a variety of ministries, including teaching, designing course curriculum and cultivating young and career adults.
We welcome you to connect with Jimmy come August!
Special Tuition-Free Offer to CBWC
Jimmy comes to Carey at an important time. We have recently redesigned our academic offerings to now offer five distinct graduate degrees and four diploma programs. Our starting diploma program can be completed in as little as two years of part-time studies without travelling onto campus. We’ve also streamlined our application and financial aid process and reduced our total tuition costs to make your theological education pursuits more accessible.
Thanks to the support of faithful donors who share our vision, Carey is offering a tuition-free start to your seminary journey to all new students who are current members of CBWC churches. It includes a full tuition waiver on the first three courses taken for credit in English and Chinese within your first 12 months at Carey. Following that, exclusive CBWC financial aid offerings are available to eligible students to cover up to 100% of your tuition for the rest of your program.
Returning from Exile Isn’t Easy
May 27, 2021 – Jonathan R. Wilson
As restrictions on church gatherings have eased in Canada, our initial euphoria may soon fade as we begin the hard work of rebuilding our congregations and our mission. Returning from exile wasn’t easy for Israel; it won’t be easy for us.
The life of many churches and Christians over the past year and more has felt something like “exile.” We must be careful with this narrative: it’s not clear that the pandemic was a direct judgment of God, nor is it only God’s people who suffered. Moreover, most of us were not displaced geographically, a factor that we must take very seriously. Otherwise, we risk diminishing the suffering of those who have been geographically displaced.
Nevertheless, with that caution in mind, the narrative of “exile” may help us place our disorientation and displacement. Certainly, there is a displacement in moving from gathering for worship in one physical place to gathering online. And many have suffered various losses.
So, the time of the pandemic has also been a kind of exilic time.
Now, we are gradually returning from the exilic-like time. As we do so, we may be prepared and guided by Judah’s return from exile. Among many I could choose, I will observe six dimensions of their return.
First, there will be opposition. One might think that the opportunity to return from exile—to reestablish life in the promised land, to gather once again for in person worship and mission—would be so wonderful that unity would prevail. It does not. The returnees and rebuilders of Jerusalem faced opposition within and without.
When that happens, we need to learn from Ezra and Nehemiah: set guards and keep rebuilding. That is, recognize the threats but keep focused on the main things.
Second, there will be nostalgia and regret. Returning from exile means things have changed and will continue to change. When the foundation of the new Temple was laid, Ezra tells us
“11With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord:
“He is good;
His love toward Israel endures forever.”
And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. 12 But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. 13 No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away. (Ezra 3: 11-13)
I imagine something like that happening among our people. Many will gather for worship and mission in person, but others will continue as they have—worshipping online in pyjamas and eating breakfast. Many will give thanks that we are together once again; others will give thanks that they don’t have to change the habits they’ve settled into during the pandemic.
Both groups may be right. It was right for a new generation to shout for joy at the laying of the Temple’s foundation. And it was right for the older generation to weep as they recalled the “former glory.”
But there is no going back after exile; yes, Judah needed to remember rightly the causes of their exile and their time in Babylon. But when we return from an exilic time, we must go forward.
Third, rebuilding takes a long time, and it won’t look like it did. The work of building the Second Temple took more than twenty years, and the people often lost motivation. We are in rebuilding from the pandemic for the long haul. We must not be discouraged by lack of progress, and we must patiently overcome any loss of motivation.
Fourth, the leaders of Judah, especially Nehemiah, had to watch for oppression and injustice as the people returned from exile. He was not so focused on “getting things back on track” that he failed to listen to and care for the people. (Nehemiah 5)
Fifth, we have cause to mark the return with special celebration and even a continuing practice of recalling the time when we “returned from our exilic-like time.” As the exiles returned to Jerusalem, they gathered to hear the reading of the Book of the Law. As the people began to weep, Nehemiah spoke these words, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10) It seems also that Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, was intensified after the return from exile.
What might be an appropriate celebration and annual practice that would remind us of God’s goodness to us?
Sixth, the mission of God’s people is in danger. For the people returning from the Babylonian exile, survival and precise faithfulness to their understanding of the law meant the gradual erosion of the mission of God’s people and the severe reduction of the identity of God’s people to the “politics” of the world. This manifested itself most clearly in the various violent rebellions that attempted to throw off the yoke of the Roman empire.
However, from this time we also get the promise of a faithful remnant and YHWH’s intervention to bring justice and free YHWH’s people (Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi). These promises are fulfilled in the coming of Israel’s Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, who is also the Saviour of all who believe and the One under whom all things are being brought into unity. The mission of God’s people who return from “exile” is to be faithful followers of this Lord and bear witness to His reconciliation and peace in word and deed.
In this brief reflection, I have noted a few things that we might learn from Judah’s return from exile. There is much more to learn from Ezra, Nehemiah, and the prophets of this time (Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi). May God grant us faithfulness in our continuing journey as God’s people.
Jonathan R. Wilson is Senior Consultant for Theological Integration with Canadian Baptist Ministries and Teaching Fellow at Regent College.
Rethink; Reimagine; Remission Cohort & Coaching Opportunities
It is likely no secret to any Christian pastors, lay-leaders and many churches that our world and our culture has and continues to shift rapidly. For us, the question is not, “How do we get back to the place where the church and Christian faith were central to society in general?” but rather, “In the midst of a changed world, how then do we, the church, re-engage our neighbourhoods, towns and cities as local missionaries called to be faithfully present to the people who live around us with the glorious story of God and His mission of shalom, salvation, reconciliation and restoration?”
Coming out of the success of the CBWC January Webinar, Allowing the Spirit to Reorient Us Around the Mission of God, staff at CBWC are excited to endorse three further opportunities for our churches and leadership teams to resource, strengthen and widen the ministry and mission of the local church in this rapidly changing world—both within the church and beyond into the neighbourhoods, towns, and cities in which we live, work, play and pray in.
Currently, there are three pathways to learning and coaching available and being offered to our CBWC churches. Each has been developed, facilitated, and taught by long-time CBWC pastors who love our denomination and family of churches. Joined by other gifted teachers and missional leaders, they bring their decades of experience to teach and coach church leaders, pastors, and lay folk, locally and far afield within cohorts. Their desire is to share with their family of churches from their wealth of knowledge and experience to equip our churches as we join God on His mission as local missionaries deeply rooted into our neighbourhoods.
If you are longing to learn and discover ways to re-engage your church with the community in which you are situated, but are not sure where to begin, there is a Pathway for you!
The Discovery Project is designed for those just putting their toes in the water and exploring what it means to join God on mission in their neighbourhood. Immersing ourselves in the text, we will explore what it means to bear witness to who God is through loving Him with all our hearts, minds, and strength, and by loving our neighbours as we love one another. Many leaders have gone through some missional training and are asking how they might help their people to “discover” some of the exciting opportunities presented to us as followers of Jesus in these difficult days. The Discovery Project is one response to this question. Facilitated by Cam Roxburgh, this Pathway will encourage a response and equip us for mission. There are 2 types of delivery systems:
1) Church Specific: a weekend seminar that covers all the same material as the online option, plus the advantage of church specific input and consulting. The fee for this option is $1500 plus travel expenses. (We are working on possibly offsetting some of the travel costs for qualifying churches.
2) Online offering of 6 sessions of 2 hours each. Cost is $59 per person or $300 per church. 6 weeks, bi-weekly from mid-September to end of November. This option is not church specific.
The Neighbourhood Project is designed for staff and lay leaders of churches who have been serious about exploring what it is that God is doing in the midst of the crisis the church is facing. Covid is but one of the issues that is causing the rate of change to accelerate and shining a spotlight onto the reality that much is amiss, and God is doing a new thing. This is good news. TNP is for a select number of leaders and churches that get the conversation and are wanting to not go back, but forward into what God is doing. This is a cohort of leaders journeying together with Allan Roxburgh, Cam Roxburgh, and facilitators from The Missional Network and Forge to:
- Learn to discern God’s activity in your neighbourhoods.
- Equip your people to join Jesus in your communities.
- Explore how to lead in disruptive times.
- Shape congregation life from Sunday-centric to neighbourhood-rooted.
This Pathway is an online offering which includes monthly sessions, one-on-one coaching with churches, and cluster cohorts. There are reading and experimentation expectations. Cost per church cohort is normally $3000, but with a generous grant we are offering it at $1500. An application process is required. Course begins September 2021 and runs through June 2022. This is filling fast, so register today!
Centre for Leadership Development – “Forming and Reforming Communities of Christ in a Secular Age: This three-year course in Missional Leadership is geared for congregational teams and individuals, offering both onsite or online accessibility and will resource, strengthen and widen the ministry of the local church. With Tim Dickau, Darrell Gruder & Ross Lockhart, plus many practitioner guests. Cost includes lunch for onsite and a private team consultation with Tim. Cost: $250 per person ($200 online). $500 for a group up to 5 ($450 online) per year. This course is geared for teams that have already determined the need to rethink church and are beginning their own internal culture change. Year 1 begins September 2021.
We believe this is the right time for churches to begin pursuing one of these Pathways, especially as we emerge with all we have learned during the COVID-19 pandemic. Talk to us about which Pathway is best for your church and leaders! Contact us to assess which Pathway is right for you and your church.
Director of Church Planting (and new initiatives)
Facilitator/Leader of The Discovery Project & The Neighbourhood Project
Facilitator/Leader CML course Forming & Reforming Communities of Christ in a Secular World
Facilitator & Lead Pastor New Life Church, Duncan BC
Theology for the Ordinary Bookclub
One of my favourite recent television commercials comes from Kruger products, and it’s called Unapologetically Human. It’s about how all human beings have the need for paper products, each day, and in circumstances ranging from heartbreak to celebration.
Stan Grenz wrote that every Christian is a theologian, and that our commitment to the God revealed in Christ calls forth theological reflection. If you’re like me, that can seem like an over-reach and a bit daunting, something perhaps reserved for the ivory tower. Yet I have this nagging feeling that Stan was right; as Christians, we think about God, and sometimes we’re pushed into thinking about God, even when we’re not ready for it. As a parent, when your young child asks, “Will our dog Bernie be in heaven with us?” you are quickly ushered into either distraction mode or theological reflection. When you hear another report on your newsfeed about climate change, do you stop and think about creation care, about the future of God’s creation, and what a Christian outlook of creation care might look like?
The CBWC has launched a platform called Theology for the Ordinary. We hope to cultivate a love of reading and reflection for pastors and congregants alike, ordinary people—if you will. Part of this initiative is a book club that will meet online, twice a year, to discuss a book that we’ve read together. We want to give enough notice so that you have time to acquire the book and read it, and then join in an hour-long discussion on the designated evening.
The first book we will read is by Tish Harrison Warren. Tish is an Anglican Priest who has written a book entitled Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life. The book is about spirituality for ordinary people, and she uses the template of an ordinary day for spiritual reflection. She starts with waking up, and ends with sleeping, noting spiritual observations along the way, reflecting historically and theologically. She will make you laugh, and she will make you stop and think. If you’re interested, please read the book, and we will meet online on Wednesday, October 6th at 8pm CST. To receive access to the zoom link in October, you can email Cindy at firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to sign up for Theology for the Ordinary newsletter.
We extend our deepest sympathy and prayer to Pastor Jon Emanuel (FBC Nanaimo) and his family in the passing of his beloved wife Sarah on July 8, 2021, after a courageous battle with cancer. Sarah brought so much love into her family and so much joy to all who knew her. Please pray for Jon, children Miles, Evangeline and Oliver, and the Emanuel and Snider families, that they may find comfort, hope and peace in the days ahead.
In May 2020, we were blessed to have Sarah write a story for our Making Connections newsletter sharing how she found peace in the promises of God, as she processed her journey with cancer.
Gladys (nee Davidson) Ogilvie
October 15, 1934 – July 13, 2021
Our deepest sympathies and prayers are with Rob and Bonnie Ogilvie and the family and friends of the late Mrs. Gladys Ogilvie who passed away peacefully on Tuesday, July 13, 2021, at the Parkwood Institute, enfolded in the love of her family. She is survived by her brother, David Davidson, and children David Ogilvie (Kim); Susan (Ralph) Weber; Bonnie (Joel) Vivian; Rob (Bonnie) Ogilvie; and Glenn (Ami) Ogilvie as well as many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her sister, Evelyn Connor, her sister-in-law, Jean Ogilvie, and her loving husband, David, whom she had been married to for 59 years. Gladys and her husband David pastored together for 30 years serving CBOQ churches in Jerseyville, Arkona, Burtch, and St. Lambert and leave a rich legacy of loving God and loving others. Gladys will be remembered for her deep Christian faith, her genuine and generous spirit, the twinkle in her eye, and her infectious zest for life. She will be deeply missed. A celebration of her life will be held in the Fall of 2021.
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Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.