The Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches exists “to multiply Christ-centred churches to see Canada transformed by the good news of Jesus Christ.” The CCMBC executive board officially approved this new mission statement during its January 2015 board meetings in Abbotsford, B.C.
The statement was crafted in June 2013, then vetted by leaders, pastors and churches over the ensuing 18 months. At Gathering 2014, delegates affirmed the statement in principle, and the board ratified it at the end of January.
“The unity we’re experiencing around this new mission statement will help us focus on our shared ministry from coast to coast,” says executive director Willy Reimer.
The board also spent considerable time discussing finances. To address a large revenue gap, board members approved several cost reductions to the 2015 budget originally presented at Gathering 2014. Moderator Harold Froese noted that most reductions came from “the operational side of things.”
“We want to be as fiscally responsible as possible,” says Froese, highlighting reductions such as travel cutbacks and staff salary freezes. The board also cancelled its face-to-face meetings in April, and will organize a virtual meeting instead.
“We’re hesitant to reduce ministry activity,” says Froese, “because the momentum is so strong. We’re experiencing an unprecedented request for our services – from payroll to church planting.”
To decrease the revenue gap, the board also hopes to see an increase in giving, “whether from local congregations or individuals,” and will work to build awareness of the services available to churches and leaders across the country.
The board also approved a motion to set CCMBC’s reserve at a minimum of 6 percent of deposit fund liabilities. Froese says the percentage was chosen “as a balance between financial security and faith.”
With the current deposit fund sitting at some $268 million, the target amount for reserves is around $16 million. Froese says that while the conference hasn’t yet been able to set aside the full 6 percent, “we’re working toward it.”
“Part of the timing relates to the sale of properties,” says Froese. “We thought it would be prudent to set goals [for the money that will come in].”
Overall, “the highlight for me,” says Froese, “was a meeting with provincial representatives on the Thursday before the board convened. We spent time in prayer. We asked questions about us as a national organization and got input from the reps.
“Feedback was generally positive – and we heard we’re improving,” says Froese. “There are many examples of how we’re working more closely with each other to improve ministry on the ground. We’re excited to see, for example, how the seminary and C2C are partnering together to develop leaders for church planting. It’s encouraging.”
—A Canadian Conference of MB Churches news release