Making Connections January 2021

Kurios Gratitude Gala

KURIOS is completing its first year and there is much to be grateful for. On Sunday January 31, 2021, you are invited to a special, “ONE NIGHT ONLY” online event. This celebration will include:

– KURIOS Participant Testimonies
-Reflections from Baptist Leadership Training School and Ascent alumni
-“KURIOS Crew… Who Knew?” Gameshow
-Special Live Musical Performance
-KURIOS Reimagined Highlight Video
-Month-Long Giving Campaign Launch
-Prize Draw for KURIOS Merch

And more…

Everyone is welcome. You do not need a paid ticket to attend the KURIOS GRATITUDE GALA, but registration is required. Only one registration per household is necessary. Once registered, you will be sent a web link, giving you direct access to the event.

To register, click here

Curious what Kurios is all about? Below is a firsthand student account about Kurios 2020!

Kurios Experience

Hello, my name is Abigail Arthur, and I had the immense privilege to be a part of the first group of Kurios Students. I wanted to take this time to share my experience of how God brought me to Kurios and the incredible journey that I went on with Him. I graduated in 2019 and my plan was to take a singular gap year and do a Capernwray Bible School Program in Costa Rica, but as it often happens when we make our own plans, God turns them upside down with a greater-than-expected outcome. I have been very blessed to have grown up in the church, but as I reached adulthood, I had this longing to take all the head knowledge that I had accumulated about God and transfer it to my heart and then into my hands, making my faith my own and really living into it. On February 3, 2020, I arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica and spent an incredible 7 weeks immersed in Christian living and Bible study. March 22nd marks the day I had to fly home to Canada, 10 weeks earlier than expected. I was fairly devastated, but I knew the God that went with me to Costa Rica came home with me. Fast-forward to summer 2020, where I spent 8 weeks at Gull Lake Centre (a camp affiliated with CBWC), working on the maintenance team. At that point, I was planning on heading back to Costa Rica on September 26th, 2020. The Director, Steve Roadhouse, mentioned that there was a Bible Gap Year Experience happening at the camp in September. I can’t explain it other than the Holy Spirit, but I had a feeling that I should have a Plan B for the fall. So, I got some contact information but didn’t think about it much more than that. On September 5th, I got a phone call saying that the school in Costa Rica was cancelling their Fall semester and, once again, I was very upset. That afternoon, I recalled the email address that I had gotten and sent an email off to the Director of Kurios Reimagined, Steve Simala Grant. Eight days later, not entirely sure of what I was getting into, I stepped through the doors of Kurios’ home base, excited for what God had in store. 

The first evening I met the group of people that I would spend the next 6 weeks with and, already, I knew that the 5 students and 2 staff were handpicked by God for a very specific reason. We asked the standard get-to-know-you questions, trying to find common ground, and it wasn’t long until we felt like we had known each other for years. During the first evening prayer we participated in, we were gathered around the fire and Steve spoke about his heart for our group’s experience based on Deuteronomy 6:4-5. We followed this with a time of personal prayer and listening to the Holy Spirit. I got an incredibly clear picture that I was standing on the edge of a cliff face, that I had been in this spot for a while, too scared to step out. Growth is incredibly daunting. There is always the unknown of whether you’ll be flying or falling. That night, I knew in faith that I could step out to experience the fullness of life that God had planned. There would be times where I fell, but God would be there through it all. 

One of my favourite portions of the in-person experience was our time in the mountains of Kananaskis, AB. It was one of the first things that we did as a team, and it moved us from 7 strangers with different backgrounds to a family unit growing together in faith. Setting up tents in the dark requires a lot of teamwork and communication. We shared our testimonies, which is incredibly vulnerable but also an incredible, bonding experience. It is so beautiful to see how God works in others’ lives and to hear how, through highs and lows, He meets each one of us where we are. We can learn so much about the character of God from others’ stories.

I found myself in awe of God every single day of that trip, exploring His incredibly intricate and beautiful creation. We went on some breathtaking hikes where the mountains reminded me of God’s strength; the wind called attention to His steadfast love, and the waterfalls put in mind of His everflowing mercy. Standing on top of a mountain with my good friend Blaise Evans, a fellow Kurios participant, after climbing the steepest incline I have ever experienced and with the rain absolutely pouring down, the world unfolded before us, and the only thing I could do was praise God for how good He is. Even now, writing this, I am tearing up, thinking about that experience and how close God felt to me. God has given us such a gift with His creation, and in it we get to know His character and love for us. 

We were blessed throughout our experience to have multiple, fantastic teachers come and share with us. I could go on forever talking about each one of them and the lessons that stuck with me, but I do not have the word count for that. Pamela Reichenback’s conversation on Prayer was one that I desperately needed. She highlighted prayer as being a conversation with God, building our relationship with Him, but also as an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to be present, interceding for us. I’ve struggled with prayer. It has often felt like a one-sided, poorly-scripted conversation. Prayer is a vulnerable thing that brings healing and is our most powerful tool against the enemy.  There is so much emotion around prayer, and God wants all of it. This session was one of our first, and it was beautifully coordinated because built into the Kurios schedule is morning and evening prayer, so we got a lot of practice at it. It was incredible to see the space our scheduled prayer time created and how evident it was that God was moving. We were able to worship God in glory together and reflect on where we had seen Him during the day. God is so present during our daily lives, and getting into the practice of reflection is so beautiful, and it gets us into an attitude of thankfulness. His hands are evident everywhere, but when we focus too much on our busy lives, we lose sight of the blessings that God has given each one of us daily. Some of our evening prayers were hard. There were tears shed and hearts left vulnerable. Living in fellowship with one another means we walk alongside each other and are supported with prayer, pointing back to Christ. There was a lot of growth in these times, and the Holy Spirit brought healing to situations.  

It would be easy to write an entire book on my Kurios experience because I’ve barely scratched the surface. I didn’t have a chance to mention the ways that God provided when our van broke down on our way to BC, or share the numerous inside jokes that were centered around awful puns, and the beautiful way we were able to walk with each other and know each other’s stories. We each grew a little more into the people that God has created us to be, to share His light and love into His Kingdom. The gratitude in my heart for this experience is more than I could ever put into words. On the last night we had together, we discussed what we had learned and how we were feeling about transitioning back home. We prayed over each other and, once again, I had a very clear image of one of those inflatable carnival structures where you’re tethered in and try to run as far as you can and place a beanbag before you get bungeed back. This represented my life up to this point. I’ve had routine and safety and I knew my boundaries. Now, I can cut my tether and run freely. The question, of course, is what direction I will be running, but with God I am figuring it out. Kurios has equipped me to be a confident leader in Christ’s Kingdom. I know the depth of Christ’s love and my identity in Him. I’m continuing on my journey to know God fully in my heart and have that translate into my hands, living each day for Him, but the support from Kurios was immense. Thank you for supporting our team in prayer and encouragement.

 BCY Regional Newsletter

The Call to Serve | WRBC Trunk or Treat Event | Loving Thy Neighbour

Spotlight on Beulah Garden Homes

Submitted by Jamey S. McDonald
Chief Executive Officer

Beulah, on one hand, is a seniors’ residence in Vancouver. It has been part of the CBWC since its inception in 1950. It’s home for 400 residents. We care about aging adults. But on the other hand, it’s more. The Beulah Board has lately been encouraging me/us to be more than just residences—we need to be a purveyor of knowledge, experience and expertise. 

If we have been around for 70 years, surely we have learned something about working with aging adults? And surely we need to share that learning?

So, fired by that thought, I was privileged in early December to spend two hours with the Kurios cohort. Kurios is a group of young adults from CBWC churches who have chosen to invest time during their gap year to listen to God, figure some things out, and grow in their personal lives. Steve Simala-Grant (Edmonton) leads it, and students from Vancouver Island, Alberta, Saskatchewan are all part of the team. It was my pleasure to spend time with them in a Zoom webinar early one Monday morning.

The first hour was devoted to answering one request—”Tell me about a warm, learning life experience you had with an aging person?” Students told stories of grandparents who received them with unconditional love (even when their parents did not), of a widow in their church who always picked them up and brought them to Sunday School, of seniors who expressed love in tangible ways—one lady always baked pies and gave them away, another spoke of a relatively poor older couple who gave her $10 to go towards her Bible School tuition (she only needed $3450 that year!) Talk about a widow’s two mites. By the way, that’s a good question for you as a reader—can you think of an older adult that impacted your life at some point in time? In the second hour, we talked about “caring as the mark of a Christian.” One student corrected me that “loving was the mark of a Christian” (John 13:34). She was right!

If we are a Christ follower, we don’t have an out-clause when it comes to loving (caring). Then we talked about caring as a vocation—meaning, sometimes, we feel called to tasks, jobs, careers that are deeper than the pay cheque or the prestige. They are places of service and personal identification. Why not work in a medical field—if you want to see people well? Why not teach if you want to see children thrive? Why not be a pastor if you feel strongly that you want to serve the body, soul and spirit of people? And the flip side is that if you don’t have a deep, strong, steadfast stomach for people-work, then find your calling in tools, technology, and transactions. Calling is deeper than a job. It’s your sense of doing what you think would be the best way for you to honour God with your talents.

Re-Missioning: Tradition Innovation

By Rev. Shannon Youell

The Maori people have a proverb that beautifully encapsulates their traditional world view: 

“We walk backwards into the future, our eyes fixed on the past.”

It gives us the picture that we approach the future every day not knowing what it will look like, as we can’t see into it, but that “(looking) to the past informs the way we move into the future.” The Maori people understand the past and present as “a single, comprehensible space because it is what they have seen and known. “We walk backward into the future with our thoughts directed toward the coming generations, but with our eyes on the past.” 

As I read church history and stories of God’s faithful people moving missionally throughout time and space, I am often surprised how innovative and creative people are in their love for God and His mission; how they adapted to the culture, context and time that they found themselves in for the benefit of those who did not yet know the God of all creation and the saving work He accomplished through His Son, Jesus Christ.  Often they stepped outside what was considered ‘traditional’ to innovate and map out a new pathway of being disciples, so that others could find their way to following.   

There is a difference between tradition and traditional. Tradition is really about our why—why we believe what we do. We look upon the ancient scriptures of the people of God and the new scriptures that tell of Jesus and His ushering in of God’s kingdom. We rely on the early translators and interpreters and our contemporary translators and interpreters. We live into and share values and ethics that have been passed along for centuries. Traditional, however, is usually the way we do things. You’ll hear families, around Christmas traditions, complain when something changes with a loud, “But that’s traditional!” In the church, we often say, “Well that’s the way we’ve always done it!” 

I’m with the Maoriwe must always look to our past. It has formed us and gives us a foundation. We still believe God is the creator of all things, that He created humans as His co-labourers to steward the earth, that He called a people His own to be both salt and light so that other peoples could see the glory and love of God lived out through them and extended to others. We believe that God so loved the world that He sent His Son…. 

But we always walk with these things in sight, into a future for the coming generation and for the current society and culture we live within. This means taking a good look at our traditional ways of being church and having open hands and empty tables to let go of things we may hold dear but are no longer effectively equipping us as we serve God’s mission of His kingdom of shalom into all the places and spaces of our human experience. 

The people of God have always adapted and pivoted as their mission field changes and evolves. To be local missionaries we must know our particular mission field. And when our particular mission field demographic shifts, we must revisit and re-mission ourselves to it or become irrelevant or obsolete ourselves as missionaries. It is a humbling experience to recognize that and to do the hard work of re-missioning.

As Josh Haydenpastor, author and re-missioning coachnotes,

 “Re-missioning established churches with movemental practices and missional theology is some of the most difficult and needed work in North America.” 

There is no doubt this will be difficult for us to do, and it’s not that we discontinue all those things. What we do with each activity, each program, each element of our worship and witness, in both our gathering and our scattering, is to discern together and  continuously evaluate the things we do and the impact they have, not only on ourselves, but on the world into which we have been sent. 

Like the Maori, we do not dismiss our past but embrace our past, allowing it to inform us as we move into innovating, missional practices that take us into fields that are ripe with harvestright where we live, work, play and pray.

A version of this article was originally published here:

Pastoring the Pastor Update

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have far-reaching effects—economically, relationally, and in terms of mental wellness, for everyone. Many CBWC pastors and ministry leaders have carried an increased load of pastoral leadership and congregational care as the pandemic has stretched to the end of 2020.

In response, CBWC Executive Staff developed a Webinar Series entitled “Pastoring the Pastor” for CBWC Pastors and Chaplains, to come alongside them as they continue to live, love, and lead amid the changing landscape of ministry. The Zoom calls were hosted by Executive Staff 

and led by specialists in the fields of psychology and mental wellness, conflict management, digital ministry, and church leadership. More than 247 registrants had the opportunity to take part in these webinars that were offered across the CBWC Regions and Territories. One additional webinar is scheduled for January 26 entitled “The Church after Covid: Allowing the Spirit to Re-Orient us around the Mission of God.” Click HERE for more details and to register for this important resource.

The CBWC Executive Staff continue to virtually engage with and walk alongside our Pastors by:

  • Hosting regional ministerial cluster meetings
  • Offering 1 on 1 check-ins with local pastors
  • Pulpit supply and Board leadership support
  • Gathering COVID-19 provincial guidelines and updating website with resources
  • Crisis care through the Canadian Baptist Benefit Plan
  • Developing meaningful and relevant resources for pastoral leadership in the local church

We look forward to creatively and passionately serving CBWC pastors and their churches in the coming year!

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Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.