Making Connections December 2019

Kurios – The New CBWC Gap-Year Experience

“… at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Kurios,
    to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil 2:10-11 NLT)

Kurios is the new CBWC Gap Year Experience, launching in September 2020.

 A “gap year” is an opportunity for young adults to explore their world, identity, and character before starting higher education or a career.  For more than 40 years, Harvard has recommended that all their first-year students postpone entrance to college for one year:

 Canadian Baptists of Western Canada are excited to offer a gap year experience that will enable our young adults to encounter, pursue, and learn to love Jesus as Lord (kurios) over all areas of life—heart, soul, mind, and strength—and to learn and be equipped to love others as Jesus has loved us. In this, students will find the joy, freedom and purpose of being a useful part of God’s incredible plan for all people.

 Kurios is twenty-eight weeks of focussed discipleship and leadership training, all about seeking Jesus together and pursuing Him as Lord of all. Fourteen of those twenty-eight weeks will be at our home base in central Alberta (Gull Lake), where we will learn, work, and play together around a daily rhythm of morning prayer and evening prayer. Our teaching times will be wholistic, interactive, and experiential—covering topics including scripture, prayer, identity, spiritual disciplines, ministry and giftedness, leadership, justice issues and creation care.  Seven of those twenty-eight weeks will be in Costa Rica with our Canadian Baptist Ministries partners, where we will serve in ministries, learn about the church from our Latin American siblings, and explore God’s beauty in creation. We will spend five weeks travelling Western Canada, engaging in ministries and learning from experts doing ministry in our culture. We also plan to spend two weeks in outdoor adventure, hiking or snow shoeing or kayaking (to be determined).  

 And it doesn’t end after the twenty-eight weeks. We are committed to regular alumni gatherings, on-going mentorship, and mutual support after the program ends. Because following Jesus is a life-long pursuit—a “long obedience in the same direction” as Eugene Petersen put it.

Please pray for Kurios (specifically please pray for twenty-four students next September!), invite young adults to consider Kurios, and support Kurios financially

 To really get a feel for the heart of our program, check out our introductory video here.

 Come find out more! We are coming to a city near you with an info/dessert night to present Kurios, answer questions, and hopefully meet interested students/parents.  Please email to RSVP (and include which location you plan to attend).

Save the date – BLTS/Ascent alumni reunion weekend. Come help launch Kurios with the strength of the BLTS/Ascent history!  May 22nd to 24th, 2020 (hosted by CBWC and Kurios; at Altadore Baptist Church).   Please email to RSVP.

Watch for our BRAND NEW website coming mid December!

Celebrating Time Together: Banff 2019

By Shannon Youell and Cailey Morgan, CBWC Church Planting

From November 4th to 7th, pastors, spouses and ministry representatives from across the CBWC gathered for the 44th annual Banff Pastors and Spouses Conference. We basked together in the goodness of God, enjoyed His creation, and responded through worship with Fraser Campbell Band and celebration around the table.

Monday night kicked off with a “Pastors vs Postors” game show, hosted by NextGen Director Peter Anderson. He helped many of our pastors, spouses and ministry contacts discover skills they never knew they had, or at least never knew they needed!

Keynote speaker Ken Shigematsu, author of Survival Guide for the Soul and God in My Everything, spoke about our personal journeys of devotion and rhythms of life. His vivid reminders of the love of our heavenly Father helped us consider how we will live out of the gratitude and peace that comes from knowing that we are God’s kids. We were invited to wear the yoke of the perfect love of the Father. Ken invited us to daily put this yoke on for, when worn, the way we breathe and live and move in this world will be changed.   

Bible study leader, Lissa Wray Beal, took us on a journey through the Waters of Power, the Waters of Sorrow and the Waters of Comfort through Psalms 144, 137 and 23. Psalm 144 reminds us that our God, the One God, is all powerful and at work all around us, inviting us to join Him. The lament of Psalm 137 invites us to recognize that sorrow and pain are a part of this world and how to find our offering of praise in the midst of our anguish, anger and angst. It also asks us to allow ourselves to be transparent and honest to selves and to one another as we minister and pastor.  Finally, after acknowledging our God is One and All, who walks with us in the midst of the sorrow, we find that oft elusive comfort of the Shepherd’s Psalm, which helps reorient us again in our faith, our hope and our joy as the people of peace who rest in our Creator’s great love for us. 

On Wednesday we were taken on a journey through the many facets of wellness; spiritual, physical, mental and emotional. Each of the 15-minute talks on these important topics are available on CBWC’s Vimeo page.

 We are thankful for the time Banff Pastors and Spouses Conference affords us to be gathered with our sisters and brothers from across CBWC, leading congregations large and small, rural and urban towards faithfulness to the ways of Christ.

Mountain Standard Regional Newsletter

Note from Dennis | Congolese Community |  Fishing Retreat | Brownfield Baptist Visit | & more

Life in the Light of Eternity – A JMN Blog


The Justice and Mercy Network (JMN) is made up of interested people from across our association of churches. Jodi Spargur, Faye Reynolds, Jeremy Keay, Bruce Martin, Chuck Harper and Mark Doerksen are on the network currently. They meet several times a year to discuss justice issues and attempt to equip our churches for similar discussions or Bible Studies. The Justice and Mercy Network (JMN) is part of the CBWC’s Ministry Priority known as Engaging in Mission, and two focus areas for the JMN include Sponsoring Refugees and working with Indigenous people. The JMN also has some further interests, one of which is Addressing Homelessness. That’s where Chuck Harper’s story comes in. Chuck is a chaplain working with North Okanagan Community Chaplaincy in Vernon, B.C., in conjunction with First Baptist Church Vernon. Chuck writes:

I have been in ministry either full-time, part-time or volunteering for over 40 years. There have been times in my Christian life where I have asked myself, “Am I being effective? Could I do more? How is my ministry changing people lives in light of eternity?”

Recently, two events happened that have not only confirmed that I am being effective for the Kingdom, but have also empowered and encouraged others in their walk with God and life.

The first event happened as I was preparing to lead a chapel service at our local soup kitchen. I had the question on my heart about being effective when a staff person came up to me and asked me a question that came out of left field. He said, “Do you remember when we first met?” I responded, “When we started working with each other.” He said, “No,” and then explained that it was when I worked at one of our shelters. The Reader’s Digest version of the story is that when we first met, I treated him with respect at a time in his life when he was very low. At the end of our conversation, he told me that it was this interaction that saved his life. Instead of ending it he went to recovery, treatment, became a man of faith and now works in a thrift store, helping others along the way. I got to share with him my own story and questions.

The second event happened not long after that. I came into the office to find a package that literally blew my mind and has encouraged me to continue the journey the Lord has led me on. But even more than that, it is a testimony of God’s faithfulness and His using the body as a whole.

The package was an award from the Social Planning and Research Council of B.C. It is the SPARC BC Deryck Thomson award. It came with a cash gift as well. The award is given annually, and NOCC was nominated because of the work we do in advocating, speaking, empowering and supporting our homeless and impoverished community.

The changed life and the award are not just me being faithful to what the Lord has put on my heart. It is about the volunteers, the prayer warriors, the financial supporters, the churches and organizations, the members of our community who walk alongside our homeless and poor. It is about those we are called to serve. They, too, deserve this award.

As I write this, I am at a conference where we are trying to help other agencies receive the funding they need to keep on helping our houseless become housed. To be able to support our poor and marginalized is a big deal. I also believe that as the body of Christ we need to do more to help others find Christ, and empower them to become the next generation of Christ followers who in turn help others find Him.

Sometimes, along the way we become discouraged, but when you do, remember to look around you, for you may see a life that has been changed—and God decided to use you to change it.

Chaplain Chuck Harper

What a joy it is for us to be engaged in ministry alongside Chuck. FBC Vernon has ordained Chuck to be a truthteller and motivator in the city. Not only are we pushed out of our comfort zones for the Kingdom, we’ve seen many of the local churches also respond with the love of Jesus for the marginalized. As homelessness and addiction become increasingly visible and in the news, it’s wonderful to see the church community engaging in a grassroots way. From administration, cooking, serving, eating with, singing alongside to cleaning up and prepping for next time, many are finding out how they can be Jesus to our neighbours. Thanks, Chuck, for all you do, for how you inspire many churches, and congrats on this award—for you and all those who serve alongside you.

Randy Hamm and Laurie MacKay | Pastors, First Baptist Church Vernon

For further information on the JMN and for further resources, please check out the following page:

Giving the Gift of Love & Generosity this Christmas Season

By Jenna Hanger

We are pleased to welcome Jenna Hanger as our new Senior Editor and Writer. After living for a time in Red Deer, AB working in the newspaper industry, she moved back to her hometown of Brownfield, AB. She lives there with her husband and two young daughters. When she isn’t busy chasing them, she can be found helping on the family ranch or writing. Jenna is ecstatic to be joining the CBWC team and can’t wait to see how God uses her in this position.

Anyone who knows me knows that Christmas is my favourite time of year. I love everything about it; the lights, the gift giving, carols and decorating cookies. Each year I get maybe a little too excited when November starts to wind down and I can start enjoying Christmas in full force. I own about five different Christmas sweaters, including one that jingles when I move. My husband lasts about five seconds before it ruins his meager Christmas spirit, but I can’t help myself.

And I can’t understand why everyone doesn’t get into the holiday spirit. What’s not to love? Yes, it is an expensive time of year. Yes, it has gotten commercialized and it can be stressful in the workplace with the holiday deadlines. But at the end of the day it is a season about family, about being generous with others and most importantly, at the heart of it all is Jesus. The ultimate gift from God; His son who was sent to earth to be sacrificed for us. It’s a gift I still, after years of being a Christian, have trouble wrapping my mind around. The amount of love that Jesus has for us is so incredible, so beyond our understanding it makes me want to wear my jingling sweater year-round.

What is more, I know that His love and generosity has spilt over into His churches here on earth. I have personally seen it in action. Two out of the last three Christmases have been a very emotional time for myself and my family. On November 26, 2016 my daughter Eden was born at twenty-five weeks gestation weighing 1.8 pounds. Suddenly all my glamourous Christmas plans were shattered. Instead of enjoying hot chocolate by a fire admiring our tree, we were staring at our little baby girl in an incubator as she struggled with the machines helping her to breathe.

It was an overwhelming time, but during it I saw God’s heart shine through His people. My hometown church, Brownfield Baptist, wrapped their arms around us and showered us in prayers and support. It was one of the most humbling times of our lives as gift after gift arrived for us, including a blanket signed and prayed over by the congregation.

Two Christmases later found me in a slightly different position. I was pregnant again and though I was farther along than I had made it last time, the doctors were not hopeful that I would make it to full-term. Once more, instead of being able to enjoy the holidays I was in a hospital far from home. My church never missed a beat and again lifted us up. I ended up making it to my due-date in March and I know it was because of the ceaseless prayer support.

That is what I choose to reflect on this Christmas season—the unrelenting generosity of Jesus Christ and the people who choose to follow Him. Mine is not the only testimony from this time of year. The Christmas Love Gifts that the churches voluntarily send out to retired pastors and their families is another powerful way God has displayed His love and generosity for His people. This simple gift of money is appreciated by so many, as evident by the hand-written notes sent to the CBWC.

So, as you gear up for this holiday season, I encourage you to really reflect on what an incredible gift God has given us, and then take the initiative to bless those around you. As the body of Christ, it is our responsibility to be the hands and feet of God. We must show His love and generosity and be His light here on earth. And so many people will need it this Christmas season, you don’t have to look hard to find someone who is hurting.

Your sister in Christ,


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Making Connections is the Monthly Newsletter of the CBWC.