Vol 4 No. 37 Numbers

Folks, we are so grateful for our many partnerships that we often don’t identify particular people that have worked very hard to accomplish tasks for the common good and the kingdom amongst us. I have been (quite appropriately) admonished for not recognizing some of the wonderful work of some CBM staff and I want to correct that today with an open and thankful heart. Just before I do that, I want to express thanks to Ryan Sato, who probably spent 20 – 25 % of his time in the lead up to the BWA youth meetings, time from his job as CBWC Youth Director, very well spent in the common cause of our National partners and our international partner denominations. One of the things Ryan does best is weaving together dispirit groups. I also want to be very clear how thankful I was for Gary Nelson and Terry Smith’s willingness to facilitate the funding the of  large financial deposit required to book the hotel dubbed “Canada House” for our several hundred delegates. Thanks so much folks, maybe next time one of us other partner denominations can return the favour.

In reflecting as a team, we want to affirm the roles played by all of the people involved in this Summer’s Leipzig / STM experiences.  This includes our churches who sent their youth and funded the projects so generously, the team leaders from various regions, the Canadian Baptist Youth team, led by Rob Nylen of the CABC which was a key inspiration in the Summer’s events, the CBM team under Carmin MacMillan’s direction who planned and organized the trips, registration and Canada House events, and our many young people who became global disciples. To each – bravo!

I want to address the very awkward topic of numbers. It is only awkward because there are seemingly 2 very strong and distinct reactions toward numbers which are best summed up by the expressions; “small is beautiful” or “big is best.” I loved that when I was going to school in California, they used to say “wherever two or three thousand are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” I also love the notion that I seem to hear from some that we have two or three are gathered in my name, not only is Christ in the midst of them and the gathering is a “success”, but if ever you find yourself with three or four, quite clearly you have failed. I am trying to teasingly suggest to us that we should be conscience of numbers, yet hold them loosely as the Holy Spirit continues to remain active amongst us, leading some to churches of a few dozen and I believe in western Canada some of our churches who will one day be a few thousand. I wanted to mention some preliminary responses to attendance. We have had (THANKS BE TO GOD AND CLEARLY NOT OF OUR OWN STREGTH) an increase in attendance in churches in every region. In both the BCY Region and the Alberta Region, we increased by 2 %. And in the Heartland, we saw an increase of 10%.  We are still factoring in the correct numbers, but it looks like there are between 900 and 1200 new people in our churches this year that were not attending our churches last year.

Urban Camping is another area of encouragement and I want to share what Rod Olson shared with me in the middle of the summer: last year there were 440 kids and this year so far there are over 750, not including fall programs. We had hoped for 1000 new people in urban camping and it looks like we will reach that; again in God’s strength and not our own. I’ll talk next week about some of the implications of some of these numbers, but I thought I would let you know what we know up until now.

I would like to extend my thanks and appreciation for the work that Dawn Johannesson (BCY), Judy Hoefling (AB) and Judith Arends (Heartland) did in collecting this information from our churches and my thanks to Shelby Gregg who oversaw this project and the presentation of the data.



In Christ,

Jeremy Bell