Trust is the Measure of Your Ministry!
Trust is the measure of your ministry. A person can be 100% right and people may not trust them. A person can make significant mistakes and yet people may still trust that individual. Just because a person has good reasoning skills and relevant head knowledge does not mean people will automatically place “trust.”
There is no class you can take in seminary that makes assurances that people will trust you. There is no past experience you can go through, no significant book you can write, and no quality reference given by another that can make people trust you. Then again, not all people who are trusted should be granted that privilege.
We live in a world of broken trust. People often point out (albeit inaccurately) the percentage of marriages that end in divorce. Politically, we can speak of treaties not followed. Businesses make agreements and then break them through some loophole. Too often politicians have said one thing and done another. The news emphasizes clergy that are guilty of moral inconsistency. Parents have been heard saying to their children, “Do as I say, not as I do.”
Is it any wonder that the world is in a mess today? For the average person coming into the world today, the concept must be very strange one when we say “Trust God!”
We depend and trust in our bank accounts, our hard work, our achievements, our ancestry, our self-perceived position in society, our reputation, our plans, our discerning skills, our ability to defend ourselves, our goodness and other facets feeding our sense of self-sufficiency.
One stock market crash, one job loss, one hospital visit, one accident, one internet thief, one virus taking root… any of these can change our plans and perspective. It might even bring us back to reality.
Whatever happened to understanding “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 9:10)? That kind of attitude makes one humble. It leaves one in awe of our Creator. It makes a person an individual of integrity even when no one is looking. It makes one trustworthy—worth being trusted. Even when we do everything right it does not mean people will trust us; that is a choice others make on their own. We do not make trust in ministry by doing our stuff, but by doing His—and it is usually over the long haul! It is not really about having people follow us, but it is all about our following Him. Too often people seek to go up some invisible ladder to make themselves a capable leader, when going down the ladder is likely more important. Keeping our attitude in check is the greater accomplishment. Unfortunately, it can be faked, so be genuine!
May all of us seek the proper balance of humility while being courageous in our own setting!
Your co-worker, Dennis Stone
The Chaplain’s Corner
It is always good to hear about the pastors and churches in the Mountain Standard Region, and to listen to the stories that bring our region together and identify us with the long history of the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada (CBWC). There is a story that often remains behind the scenes, but deserves some recognition, as well. That is the story of the chaplains.
We have a number of different types of chaplains in our region, including a chaplain for the Edmonton Police, military chaplains, mandated lay chaplains, health care chaplains, prison chaplains, community chaplains and athletic chaplains, among others. I began my journey into health care chaplaincy only about two years ago, so although I am passionate about the work of companioning with others through various health conditions in various environments (long-term care, acute care, mental health), I realize I am a relative “newbie” when I read the list of chaplains in our region!
Often when I introduce myself as a chaplain, people ask me, “What does that mean?” Sometimes, patients assume we are there to give them “religious” advice or to get them to believe in God. One time, a lady who had requested I visit her after she chose to discontinue the life-sustaining treatment she was on, said to me, “Okay, I guess now is when I tell you how I made my decision, and then you will tell me if it is right or wrong.” I explained that I was there to accompany her on her journey with the decisions she makes. Chaplains are committed to providing client-centered care.
Outside of the chaplaincy work environment, there is also confusion about what a chaplain does. People will ask, “So, do you have the same qualifications as a pastor?” In order to become a certified Spiritual Care Practitioner with CASC/ACSS, we must have a minimum Master of Theology Studies (or other 2-year Master’s level theological degree) or Master of Divinity degree and then enter and successfully complete a program of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). CPE is comprised of four units of supervised chaplaincy along with intense theological reflection and psychodynamic group work. We are required to take a faith-based ethics course as well as a professional ethics course and write papers demonstrating competencies in spiritual care.
Within our health care environments, chaplains are called on to minister to and work with patients, their families and friends, as well as staff in health care facilities. We are considered an important part of multi-disciplinary teams, often providing other members of the health care team with insights into why patients might be behaving in certain ways or making certain choices. Chaplains are called on to provide guidance for ethical questions or dilemmas and participate on ethics boards/committees.
As chaplains mature through their chaplaincy work, some may choose to enter into guiding new students (either as a clinical preceptor or as supervisor-educator) through the CPE program and certification processes. We are privileged to have preceptors in our denomination- Reverend Lyn Beddoes, Reverend Jane Christenson, and Chaplain Becky Vink. We also have a newly certified Supervisor-Educator—Reverend Brent Watts—one of only three such supervisors in the Edmonton area and the only one in Edmonton working with Alberta Health Services.
I recently spoke with Brent about his journey to becoming a Certified Supervisor-Educator. He spoke of the additional coursework and papers required. He also assured me that he has by no means arrived and he is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry degree from Carey Theological College.
I noticed at the most recent AGM of the Alberta Association for Spiritual Care (AASC), that eight of the approximately 40 spiritual care practitioners in attendance were a part of the CBWC–that is 20%! Three of the 10 AASC board members are part of the CBWC, representing 30% of the board. The CBWC is very well-represented within spiritual care providers in the health care and other environments in Alberta! I think this speaks highly of a healthy theological ethos within the CBWC, of which I am glad to be a part.
Respectfully submitted –
Kathy Brown, MS Region Administrative Associate Student and Casual Chaplain
MS Region Chaplains
Cassandra Coster, James Scorgie, Becky Vink
Central Ricky Williams
Edmonton Lyn Beddoes, Becky Bonham, Kathy Brown, Jane Christensen, Heather Donovan, Dean Eisner, Susan Hunter, Garret Parsons, Lawrence Peck, Gordon Poley, Howard Rittenhouse, Kayley Sanders, Amanda Strain, Craig Traynor, Brent Watts
Peace Herman Friesen, Paul Hebert
South Anna Braun, Jack Knight, Stefan Ulrich
2020 Gull Lake Ministers Retreat
We had better numbers and an excellent experience at this year’s annual retreat. Our Regional Advisory Group prepped this event so that it went off without a hitch. Every part went well. Even the weather was decent. It started with our spiritual reflection workshop led by Brian Burkhart. Brian started and attends our Webster Community Church. The past few years he led a retreat centre in Germany. He learned that the European community appreciates the visual arts, so that was part of his presentation, which was to our largest group yet to this part of the retreat. Tuesday saw Lynn Dietz and Brian Archer from the Evangelical Missionary Church of Canada present some of their insights into discipleship. This theme is important to all of us regardless of our role, so the thoughtfulness on this topic was
appreciated. Wednesday ended with a testimonial by Brian Burkhart and then communion. Future years will be measured against this one. If you are a pastor or chaplain, don’t miss this event next February.
We also saw the brand-new Gull Lake Centre buildings that are almost completed. We heard about Gull Lake Camp’s 100th anniversary scheduled for June 13th. They expect about 800 people at that event. One interesting piece from the retreat was that our presenter, Lynn Dietz, knew that his dad came to Christ at Gull Lake Camp, but he had never been there before. In coming to the camp, he had come full circle with his spiritual heritage.
This regional newsletter is published quarterly within the CBWC’s monthly newsletter, Making Connections. Have a story idea? Want to tell us how great we’re doing? Or how terribly? Email our senior writer, Jenna Hanger: firstname.lastname@example.org