Making Connections February 2021

In this edition:

*Correction: The email that was sent out for this month’s Making Connections had incorrect dates. The OPW event will take place February 8-11, 2021.

Kurios – Month Long Fundraising Campaign

Kurios: A CBWC Gap Year Experience began in 2020 with a vision of young adults seeking Jesus together and pursuing Him as Lord (Kurios) of all. Last night we celebrated the goodness of God in the first class of Kurios participants! Thanks to all who joined us! 

The CBWC is committed to cultivating leadership. 

Our 8-month experience includes teaching that grounds us in living out Scripture, community to foster healthy relationships, service to explore our place in God’s Kingdom, spiritual rhythms of morning and evening prayer, and 6 weeks in Guatemala in partnership with Canadian Baptist Ministries.

We are excitedly planning for our full Kurios experience in September 2021!  And we need your support. 

We need your prayers.
We need help inviting students.
We need financial support.

Kurios is excited to launch a month-long fundraising campaign, “Pulling together to raise today’s leaders now”. We will be sending regular email updates, including testimonies and stories, throughout February as we progress towards our goal of $100,000. Great news – we already have $45,000 in matching funds committed! Please join our Kurios email list so we can continue to share what God is doing.

Join the Kurios community!

Spotlight: CBWC Foundation

On December 28, 2019, CNN published “20 things to look forward to in 2020” some of which included the Tokyo summer Olympics, release of the new James Bond movie, the world Expo in Dubai, historical anniversaries and a bustling Broadway scene in New York. As it turns out, 2020 headlines unfolded very differently than predicted, including instead Australian bushfires, Black Lives Matter protests, impeachment of the US President, the stock market crash, an invasion of murder hornets and last but not least, the global pandemic claiming two million lives worldwide. Woe is the grief of disrupted plans.

In 2021, numbers continue to be influenced by the rising stock prices of Zoom and Amazon, unemployment, infections rates and urban office vacancies, coupled with declines in GDP, concert attendance and recreational travel. The truth is, numbers reflect more than the number itself. Numbers represent people, and we’ve all been impacted in some way, positively or negatively by events outside our control.

At the Foundation, we too reflect numbers behind people. Math behind ministry. And although 2020 didn’t lend itself to a myriad of feel-good stories, we do know that amidst uncertainty, we assisted 14 pastors with funding for theological education, facilitated $100,000 in donations to CBWC churches, funded over $600,000 in grants to CBWC and managed a $13 million loan portfolio supporting Christian ministries. We walked alongside churches requesting payment flexibility, and continued to show up every day despite significant organizational change.

As we enter a new season, there is no easy antidote. The truth is, the global landscape is forever altered, as is the fabric of the CBWC Foundation. So how then do we nurture a posture of possibilities? Perhaps we choose to view 2021 through the eyes of British World War II veteran Capt. Tom Moore who raised more than $40 million for health care workers by walking 100 laps in his garden in the weeks leading up to his hundredth birthday. His resources? Determination, passion and service. And to each of you demonstrating courage in the midst of ambiguity, thank you. Let us not grow weary. It is a new day.

Isaiah 43:19

See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.

 Mountain Standard Regional Newsletter

The Fear of Fear | New Pastors | Zoom Meetings

Common Expression: An Updated Pastoral Resource

Over the past several years, staff from across our four Canadian Baptist families have met periodically, according to their ministry assignments, for the purpose of collaborating on common practices. The group that oversees clergy services such as ordination, settlement, ministerial credentials and clergy well-being felt that it might be time to update the Ministerial Manual that is shared across Canada. This resource has been used by Canadian Baptists for decades to assist in the planning of worship services, weddings and funerals, child dedications and other key events in the life of the local church. Much of its material continues to be invaluable for pastors today, but the last update was in 1998 and though the basic content continues to be solid clergy practice, there were a few sections of more dated practices that could be removed. The primary driver however, was the need for an electronic version, as more and more pastors move to tablets for officiating services. 

The team divided the manual into sections to review and offer suggestions for changes and edit. We then recruited the help of Paul Matheson, from Saskatoon, to be our primary editor to finalize the product. Once the team was happy with the content, CBM, the owners of the Ministerial Manual contracted out the formatting of our final electronic version: Common Expressions: A Canadian Baptist Manual for Worship and Service. We trust that this updated version and format will continue be an indispensable tool for Baptist clergy from sea to sea.

What are some of the new changes?

  1. Most Scripture references are now quoted in the New Living Translation, unless specifically noted. This translation continues to grow in usage as it more easily communicates the message to listeners of all ages.
  2. Updated language for some of the liturgies and worship guides
  3. Some additional new material for sample prayers, calls to worship and removal of less useful material
  4. Easy “cut and paste” format that allows you to extract pieces you want to put into your own documents, phones or tablets
  5. New low price of $10.00!

*Click here to purchase your copy. 

*Please note: You will be taken to the CBWC’s event registration portal to make this purchase. The event is listed as Common Expressions. Please fill out all necessary fields to proceed to payment section. Once payment is received, a confirmation email will be sent to you with the downloadable link.

God is Always at His Work

By: Shannon Youell, Director of Church Planting

Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I too am working.”- John 5:17

No one has been unaffected by the events of the past eleven months. No one. Individuals, families, businesses, governments, weddings, funerals and places of worship. All have experienced the affects that a pandemic can have in our world.

Our churches have shifted and responded from no-gathered meetings, to partially-gathered meetings and back to no-gathered meetings. Through all of this, we have been prayerfully asking God to reveal Himself at work around us so that we are encouraged to continue being missionally and faithfully present in our neighbourhoods and in encouraging and discipling our churches.

We are all hearing stories of churches both adapting to the challenges and struggling with the challenges and changes. And some of those stories are surprises–we can’t always assume which churches will be struggling and which will find new ways to thrive and flourish. Some of those stories are within our current new churches/plants. Here are some of their stories.

Greenhills Christian Fellowship-Winnipeg-East

GCFWE is our newest plant launched from GCFW. This faithful and passionate group of Filipino church planters began training and discipling their core group in 2019. When COVID-19 hit, they were just ready to officially launch and had begun to gain some traction in their target area.

If you have the pleasure of hanging out with Filipino people, you will know how they evangelize–they eat together, have parties, BBQ’s in the park. With the Code Red restrictions in Winnipeg, it became very challenging to build neighbourhood relationships and do evangelism.

Yet, this past summer they celebrated baptism of new believers and as Pastor Arnold Mercado notes, in terms of people studying the Bible and learning the deeper truths of God, they’ve had more opportunities and people are growing in their faith. He reports that the best way to describe their planting community right now is in how God is building them, noting that ten months ago they hardly knew one another and now are growing together deeper in their relationships with Christ and with one another. They feel better prepared to saturate their neighbourhood with the Gospel, once restrictions are eased.

This past fall, they had their official launch from their sending church. Where God is at work and His people join Him, even a pandemic cannot stop the work of the Spirit among the people!

Hope Church of Calgary

Pastor Mouner and this community of Arabic speaking believers are finding the challenges of COVID-19, well—challenging.  Like all of us, they are deeply missing the opportunities to gather and be together.  One thing I’ve learned about people from the Middle East countries is how excellent they are in hospitality. We may consider ourselves a nation of warm friendliness, but compared to our Middle Eastern friends we are really not that great in the area of hospitality!

Everything they do is around food and tea and visiting. Take those out of the equation and our brothers and sisters at Hope are discouraged and not adapting well to the online meeting applications. But even in the midst of these challenges, God is still at work.

Pastor Mouner faithfully delivers to each congregant’s home the elements of bread and cup for shared, online Communion. An important element of Communion for them is the actual shared loaf of bread. It gives him an opportunity to have a safely-distanced, non-virtual conversation with his congregants.

A new preacher among the congregation is being raised up—a blessing for the Pastor and congregation. Mouner has also begun an online connection with other Syrian ministers around the world and the testimonies from other places are exciting and encouraging. There are many testimonies of an amazing revival among Iranians and Kurdish peoples.

Even in the challenges and struggles, Mouner and Hope Church see God at work amid the chaos of COVID-19.

Makarios Evangelical Church

Pastor Jessica of MEC is an innovator. Like the rest of us, she has had to pivot and adapt multiple times in the past eleven months. This new plant, launched in 2018 has been very intentional in both the spiritual formation of the community of believers who gather at MEC and in their mission field of international students who are housed and schooled right across the street from their church building location.

Using social media, apps, zoom and other creative vehicles they are staying connected on a daily basis with one another and the students. This is vital for the students, already isolated from home, culture and family, and now isolated from activities and relationships they were beginning to build in this foreign land. Meeting with the students online can be challenging, as they are already online for all their classes, yet Makarios has found places that resonate with the students. One of the practices the church has been doing all along is to cook dinner together with the students and then eat, fellowship and talk about life, school, family and faith. Most of these students would be eating alone, and this has been a very popular event for them.

Now restricted to their dorms, they eat alone, so the church is now ‘eating’ with them via zoom. Now that’s looking at your context, at the needs of your neighbourhood and finding a way to engage in spite of Covid!

Emmanuel Iranian Church

With Pastor Arash and Pastor Ali leading this growing, thriving community of Iranian people, discipleship is a key focus. A large percentage of the congregation are new converts to Christ and with hundreds of baptisms since they launched in 2018, there is a LOT of discipleship happening every day (and night!).

With Pastor Arash and Pastor Ali leading this growing, thriving community of Iranian people, discipleship is a key focus. A large percentage of the congregation are new converts to Christ and with hundreds of baptisms since they launched in 2018, there is a LOT of discipleship happening every day (and night!).

We’ve been celebrating the stories of new believers and baptisms since then. One might wonder how this can continue during a time of gathering restrictions, yet Pastor Ali reports that lives are being transformed on a weekly basis. 

Many of us are experiencing congregants weary of zoom meetings (if they liked them at all) and disengaging with an online version of community. Certainly, EIC has struggled with that as well, yet Pastor Arash said that, lately, more people are getting used to this new way of meeting and it’s now become ‘real’ to people. In a recent evening prayer time, people reported, for the first time, experiencing the presence of the Spirit virtually connecting the participants spiritually and emotionally together! There are even people coming to Christ on their zoom meetings, so new people are engaging with the community, sense the presence of the one true God and raise their hands to commit to Christ. 

EIC is currently praying and discerning another plant in the Surrey area of the lower mainland. Many new immigrants settle there and their desire is to serve in that community in a multi-cultural context with both Farsi and English-speaking services to serve and train 2nd and 3rd generation young people. 

Pray for and Celebrate Together

These are incredible testimonies and a reminder that God is certainly at work amongst His churches despite any restrictions placed upon public gatherings. We can choose to riff on all the barriers to ministry we are trying to navigate through, or we can allow our thinking and creativity to forge us into finding new rhythms and ways of being the people of God, called to be both salt to one another and light to those struggling in dark places. Yes, there are challenges and some of us are really struggling to find our way. Let our stories of God-at-work among us shed some light into our own darkness and grant us encouragement to persevere through our trials.

Pray for each other. Pray for these new churches and for the churches in your area. Pray for light to break through in the least expected of places. God has promised to never leave us nor forsake us, and though it may seem like it some days, He has not done either but rather is stirring us up to join Him in HHs work of bringing his kingdom come here on earth, as it is (already) in heaven.

Joyce & Dave Insley: A CBWC Love Story

Joyce and Dave Insley have been married for nearly 66 years—a beautiful, impressive milestone that they (with a bit of a laugh) call a miracle. From their love for each other, came four children, eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

It all started in Coquitlam, B.C, when Dave was nineteen and Joyce was twenty-one. They worked at a neighbourhood department store together. Joyce was a cashier, and Dave worked in the warehouse.

They had a foundation of friendship already as they shared many of the same social circles. Dave said one of the things that drew him to Joyce was how smart she was. (She was in school to become a teacher at the time). One Saturday when they were both working, Dave asked Joyce to accompany him to the movies. It became a bit of a habit after that, and soon they were a couple.

They got along well with each other’s families, despite some major differences. Dave had six brothers and sisters, Joyce was an only child. She greatly enjoyed joining in with a larger family though. Dave appreciated her family as well, her parents often had them over for Sunday supper and encouraged the two of them when it was time to get married.

They wed in 1955 and rented a house for the first five years or so until they paid-off their $2,500 building lot. They then applied for a special federal mortgage-build loan for $12,800 and with family labour help, they built a modest, three-bedroom home. While married, they started attending the local United Church, but later joined Olivet Baptist Church in New Westminster.

Exactly one mile away from their house was the school where Joyce worked as a teacher. She took a ten-year break to raise her young kids, then went back to teaching from 1970 to 1995. Dave held various roles in sales and product support for a multi-national equipment firm for 33 years. He then held various other jobs over the next 12 years, including being a realtor and helping run a DQ franchise for two years. He also had a very busy volunteer life.

After living in the same place for 50 years, they decided to sell their home and move to Kelowna, B.C. to be closer to family. They now live there and have been members of the Kelowna First Baptist Church for the past nine years.

When asked what advice they would give to young, married couples today, they both agreed that being patient with each other was vital for a healthy marriage. Life is long with many difficulties. In order to have a partnership last you must have grace and patience for one another. Their marriage allowed each to maintain some sense of independence and growth, while staying committed to each other and the family.

SERVE+ | July 8-11, 2021

SERVE+ (SERVE “Plus”) is a brand-new experience coming to your local community from July 8-11, 2021.  SERVE+ will feature the core of the familiar SERVE experience while adding in a few new elements, allowing the event to proceed safely as the pandemic recovery continues.  Each day (Thursday-Saturday) during SERVE+, youth from across Western Canada will bless their hometowns through active service in the name of Jesus.  Each night, hundreds of youth from BC, YT, AB, NWT, SK, and MB will gather online for an interactive livestream worship celebration.  Then on Sunday, each youth group will have the opportunity to bring their SERVE+ experience back to their local church family.  Register on the SERVE page.

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Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.