Making Connections December 2023

Upcoming Events

      • TFTO Book Club- Jan 3 at 6 p.m. PST– We will be discussing How to Read the Bible in Changing Times: Understanding and Applying God’s Word Today by Mark L. Strauss. For more info visit
      • MasterClass January 16, 2024: Sharing Faith with Children and Youth
      • CBWC Board Meeting Jan 19 Online
      • Alberta Regional Retreat Feb 5-7
      • Ordination Prep Workshop for Feb 27-29
      • Heartland Regional Retreat Feb 5-7
      • CBWC Board Meeting in person April 18-20
      • Ordination Examining Council May 13-14
      • New Ministers Orientation May 14-16
      • Save the Date! Online Assembly May 16
      • Registration open for SERVE 2024! June 30-July 6 in Prince Albert

Christmas Reflection 

From Executive Minister, Rob Ogilvie

You know how sometimes you don’t realize how good something is until you lose it? It’s easy to take much of what we have for granted. There was much pain and hurt that came out of the pandemic, but one of the blessings is that we’ve come out with a greater understanding of our need to “connect” with one another. Our communications team produces this monthly newsletter called Making Connections, and it is awesome. It’s an important way for us to be able to communicate and tell stories about what is happening across the CBWC. But it is limited, in that it is one-way communication. You read the stories, but you can’t engage with the storyteller.

For six weeks this fall, we attempted to add another level to our communications by presenting Making Connections Live!! Ten churches hosted regional gatherings from Winnipeg to Victoria, allowing a chance for CBWC staff to “connect” with about 450 people from 75 different churches in a setting where we could express the hope we share in Jesus, tell stories of our shared ministries, and engage with one another in dialogue. It was a gift!

I want to thank each of the host churches for donating your time, your space, and your desserts. They were fantastic. I want to thank our staff team for all the work they did behind the scenes organizing and planning and allowing those of us leading each night to walk into a church forty-five minutes before we were to begin, confident all would work well. And I want to thank all of you who attended a gathering. Many of you met people you didn’t know before, heard about ministries we do together that you didn’t know existed, or visited a church building you had never been in before. It was a gift!

We are about to enter the Advent season where gifts will once again become a theme. We look ahead to Christmas Day when we celebrate the greatest and most profound gift that has ever been offered, the gift of Jesus, our Lord and our Saviour. As I give thanks for the gift of Jesus, I have also been reminded again this fall of the gift of being an association of churches, called to serve Jesus together.

Merry Christmas to all!!


 Partner Spotlight: Carey Theological College

Passing the Torch: Reflections on 2 Timothy 2:2 and Discipleship
Rev. Dr. Colin Godwin, President, Carey Theological College

Earlier this year, Carey Theological College began a reflection about how seminary education—the training of pastors and church leaders—can better support discipleship in the local church. While there have historically been many noble purposes for theological education, Christian discipleship as the goal of seminary education emerges clearly from Scripture.

“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.” –2 Timothy 2:2

To inform our reflection, Carey commissioned a series of interviews with Christian leaders, pastors, and lay people to discover what the state of discipleship was in our local churches. Several themes that emerged from the interviews were aligned with the goal of leadership development in the local church, as expressed in passages such as 2 Timothy 2:2.

The core of Paul’s message, “the things you have heard me say,” underscores the indispensable role of Scripture in discipleship. This aligns with the survey’s findings, where a lack of biblical knowledge and theological depth were identified as key challenges in many churches. Today, as we navigate a polarized post-pandemic world where many people get their viewpoints in an internet thought bubble, anchoring discipleship in the enduring truth of Scripture is more crucial than ever. It is through a solid foundation in God’s Word that believers are equipped to discern truth, embody Christ-like character, and engage effectively with the world.

Paul’s call to “entrust to reliable people” speaks to the importance of intentional selection in the discipleship process. This echoes the survey’s emphasis on the need for relational, mentorship-based approaches. Discipleship is not merely about disseminating information; it’s about investing in individuals who demonstrate a sincere commitment to following Christ. This intentional focus ensures that discipleship efforts are channeled towards those who are not only receptive but also demonstrate the potential to lead and nurture others in their faith journey.

The phrase “who will also be qualified to teach others” captures the essence of reproducibility in discipleship. Paul’s vision extends beyond the immediate circle to future generations, reflecting a strategic, long-term perspective. The survey results highlighted the need for innovative and adaptable discipleship methods that address the real questions that believers are asking today. By equipping faithful disciples who can teach others, we can create a sustainable model of spiritual growth and multiplication. 

At Carey, we have found the results of these interviews quite challenging. We are considering how to strengthen the biblical focus of our curriculum. And although we make considerable efforts to ensure that our admission process selects students that are committed disciples of Christ and servants of His church, we do not always succeed. Most difficult for Carey is the realization that much of what is commonly taught in seminaries is not immediately transferable to local church leadership development. 

Please pray for Carey as we seek to align our courses and programs to the needs of discipleship in our churches, including Biblical knowledge, mentorship, and reproducibility. I would also encourage you to consider these same themes as you labour to strengthen Christian formation in your church.

Do these interview results connect with your experience? As Carey continues to reflect, I welcome your feedback at

In integrating these insights with 2 Timothy 2:2, we are reminded that effective discipleship is a journey that requires depth in biblical knowledge, intentional focus on devoted followers, and a vision for reproducibility. As we reflect on this scripture and the insights from the Carey Theological College survey, let us recommit ourselves to these principles, adapting them to our current context. May we strive to be faithful stewards of God’s Word, investing in reliable individuals who will, in turn, teach others—thus ensuring the continuous spread of the Gospel and the strengthening of the Church in this generation and beyond.

Carey celebrated the start of construction towards a new 104-bed Christian student residence at UBC–a bedrock of discipleship for generations to come.

Heartland Regional Newsletter

December 2023

Covid Relief Grant Blesses Church

By Jenna Hanger

Northmount Baptist Church in Calgary was recently the recipient of an incredible gift. After being alerted by CBWC about the COVID-19 Recovery Federal Grant, they were able to put together a proposal. They were ecstatic to have received nearly $100 000 to go towards enhancing translation and worship for members of their church.

With 80% of their congregation being new Canadians, finding a way to properly communicate has been a challenge, but the grant money has allowed them to purchase the equipment, and hire the employees needed to better minister to newcomers.

Using A.I. technology, Northmount now has the ability to translate sermons in real time into Spanish and Farsi, which are displayed on newly-purchased screens in front of the church.

“One immediate benefit is that Spanish- and Farsi-speaking people can at least feel a little more part of the service. Even if the translation is not perfect, they can get the gist of what is going on,” Pastor Greg Butt shared, adding that they can feed the program Bible phrases and words, so the translations will get more and more accurate with time.

On top of being able to purchase the translation technology, new screens, and video cameras, they have also been able to hire a part-time IT person who revamped their website so it can switch flawlessly from English to Spanish and Farsi. They have also expanded their sound booth to accommodate the new equipment and were able to purchase a whole new set of instruments for their worship team.

Having these new instruments has been a huge blessing in itself. This year, Northmount sponsored six incredibly talented musicians from Nigeria, who have committed to helping them with their worship ministry for at least a year. With these leaders, they have not only enhanced their regular Sunday worship times, but have been able to host special worship nights geared towards different cultures. They have already had an African worship night, and plan to have an Afghan and Spanish praise night, as well as a jazz concert for non-churchgoers.

“It’s been a huge boost for us,” Pastor Greg shared about receiving the grant. “With so many of our congregations new to the country, it has been a challenge to sustain what we have, but we are hoping because of these technologies and exposure the church will draw people in and grow.”

CBWC Has Two Christmas Gifts for You!

It’s the season of giving, and we are so excited to give you two amazing free gifts!

For the first, we have partnered with RightNow Media to give all pastors and/or paid ministry staff within the CBWC FREE personal access to RightNow Media, and churches will qualify for a significant discount for a church-wide subscription!

The second gift, we are pleased to share a brand-new youth leader resource called Create and Cultivate—born out of The Youth Ministry Forum in 2022.

Keep reading to learn more about these awesome gifts!

RightNow Media Gift:

The Canadian Baptists of Western Canada have partnered with RightNow Media – the largest streaming library of Bible studies and discipleship content. It has over 400 Christian publishers, tens of thousands of Bible studies, conferences, training sessions, kid’s cartoons, and much more. All pastors and/or paid ministry staff person within the CBWC, are receiving FREE personal access to this resource!

This is a gift to you to use personally and with your family. Please know that your user account cannot be shared or given away to your church. However, in addition to the free personal membership, your church now also qualifies for a significant discount for a church-wide subscription to use RightNow Media to equip families, resource small groups, and develop leaders within your local church. Note: If your church is already currently subscribing to RightNow Media, you may be eligible for a lower monthly subscription fee. To enquire, contact Graham Smith via the info below.

GET FREE ACCESS to this amazing resource with the following link –

The RightNow Media app gives you instant access to the whole media library, as well as the ability to watch content offline. Access biblical video content anywhere, anytime, for you and your family! Click here to get the free app with your membership!

You may hear from RightNow Media as they’d love to introduce themselves and help with any questions you might have, but you can also reach out to CBWC’s rep, Graham Smith, if you need assistance with anything in the meantime. You can reach Graham with the information below:

Graham Smith – Director for National Accounts, RightNow Media

(972) 560 – 4381

Thank you again for all you do, pastors and ministry leaders!

Create and Cultivate Resource Gift:

To access the Create and Cultivate flipsnack CLICK HERE.

Read below testimonies from pastors who attended the 2022 Youth Ministry Forum:

Andrew Bird- Youth Pastor at Brightview Church

The Youth Ministry Forum was an incredible time of fellowship and connection with other youth pastors from across the country. I had not met most of them, and so for me, the forum was such a great opportunity to hear from youth workers and learn about youth ministry in a variety of contexts. Our time together was incredibly life-giving. We were able to share joys and struggles, challenges and celebrations from the common ground of pursuing God’s kingdom wherever we served. Over this past year, we have continued to be connected through a group chat, offering prayer requests and care for one another. I personally would like to experience and see more gatherings of youth ministers from across the nation.

Create and Cultivate is a call to Canadian churches to take seriously the ministry to youth and young people. The wording of the document is both challenging and encouraging, pointing to the continued need for ministry throughout all generations, as well as encouraging churches that such a ministry is possible. All churches are in the process of creating and cultivating. It is what the Christian church does to varying degrees of effectiveness and depth. Therefore, I suppose the value of this document is that it calls churches to turn some of that work and effort toward the young, toward the lost, toward the disenfranchised. 

Kyle Merkel- Youth Pastor at Lethbridge First Baptist Church

I am grateful for the opportunity I had to attend the Canadian Baptist youth ministry forum last fall. It was great to connect with youth pastors from across the country who all have a heart and passion to reach our youth for Jesus. It was incredibly valuable to have a safe space to discuss the opportunities, challenges, and obstacles we are facing in youth ministry, and to receive encouragement and prayer from one another.

I am excited about the ministry priorities that were distilled from the conversations that took place and the unified vision they provide as we minister in our unique contexts. There is a deep encouragement that comes from knowing you are part of a community of youth workers, all pulling together in the same direction.

I am looking forward with anticipation to seeing how God will work in our ministries and churches as the Create and Cultivate resource rolls out, and for the continued opportunity to inspire, support, and encourage each another.

Christmas Fun for the Family!

In keeping with the theme of gifts, we wanted to gift you some ideas for a special time for you and your family this Christmas season! Check out the booklet below for craft ideas, colouring pages, crossword puzzles and more!

Ruminating on Rest

An Update from Rev. Shannon Youell, Director of Church Planting

I spent half the summer recovering from a bad fall that resulted in broken bones. I suppose it is a type of forced rest that isn’t all that restful! But it has given me a lot of time—while laying across the couch with an elevated leg—to read, think, and pray, specifically about the work we do in our own church contexts and in our greater CBWC family.  

Executive Staff Retreat this September: crutches and all!

When I think of the difference between rest and restful, I think of Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:28:30, a very familiar verse where Jesus describes rest as something found in our souls: as His teaching (His yoke) being easy and the burden of it light. This kind of rest, Jesus infers, leads us to restfulness rather than to restlessness. And it appears to come to us when we respond to Jesus’ “Come to Me,” which reminds me of His “Come and see” we hear several times in the Gospel accounts.

“Come to me,” “come and see,” “taste and see that the Lord is good” all connote a rest that is otherworldly and unforced. The Message uses the phrase “unforced rhythms of grace” to describe the rest Jesus speaks of in Matthew 11:29. As we enter this new season before us, with all the activities familiar and new that our churches may engage in, may we discover anew the rest that is good for our souls and crucial for the mission God has entrusted to His Church. Taste and see that, indeed, the Lord has been and is good!

CLICK HERE to keep reading!

Notice of Voluntary Disaffiliation: The CBWC wishes to express its gratitude to First Baptist Church Calgary in honour of our shared history and ministry together for more than 100 years. The CBWC was notified of their voluntary disaffiliation effective September 24, 2023.

We pray God’s blessing upon First Baptist Church Calgary as they move forward in embracing a new beginning and alignment elsewhere.

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Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.