This month, MBs from across Canada will meet in Winnipeg for our biennial national Gathering. We’re at a significant point in our history, as God’s Spirit has been at work to bring us together in ministry and mission for his glory.
In an effort to give readers a better picture of what God is doing among us, let me share some observations from Terry Mochar, the independent consultant who was engaged by the executive board to conduct a national ministry review in fall 2011. Terry believes the Lord has given him the following four messages for leaders of our churches:
1. A sacred moment in time
I began my review of the Canadian Conference of MB Churches (CCMBC) prayerfully, thoughtfully, and with the same methodology I’ve used to examine and restructure many organizations around the world. However, in the early stages of examining CCMBC, I felt the Spirit of God begin to speak very clearly and specifically.
I knew I was to listen carefully and handle reverently what I was about to observe and what I’d write in my report. This wasn’t primarily about a national office project, but rather was a catalyst God wanted to use to create an awakening.
The Spirit’s first message was that this is a sacred moment in time in both Canada’s spiritual history and MB denominational history – one that has been in preparation for several decades. It’s an intersection of significant spiritual and religious shifts taking place in Canada (inside and outside the church), and the rich heritage, distinctives, and resources that God has gifted to the MB denomination to equip them to reach the lost in Canada in the face of these significant shifts.
2. A Holy Spirit discontent
I travelled across the country from Sept. 2011 to Jan. 2012, meeting with pastors and various provincial and national conference leaders. In my last 10 years of restructuring organizations around the world, I have never before encountered what I found in these meetings. The consistency of messaging was astounding!
There was a Holy Spirit stirring and discontent among leaders across the country, manifesting itself in a longing for God to do more than what could be done through a single local church. But leaders were unsure what that meant or could look like.
I observed many extraordinary local expressions of redemptive ministry reaching people for Christ. These local “fires” were largely due to individual pastors responding to the Holy Spirit by casting vision, calling people to mission, and risking much for the cause of Christ.
However, these were isolated “fires” – not something caused by a national movement of MB churches joined together and ablaze to reach Canada for Christ. I heard many expressions of mistrust, disunity, arrogance, and competition across the country between pastors, provincial conference leaders, and the national office. The discontent I was seeing was a result, I believe, of the Holy Spirit exposing, convicting, and calling people to repentance. I felt a deep grieving from the Lord concerning this.
3. Held to account
The third message came as the Lord spoke the words of Daniel 2:21–22 and said I was to give the leaders of CCMBC this warning and promise: “He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him.”
The warning was this: The Lord is changing the times and seasons in both Canada and within the denomination. He is calling you to a new reality that he’s been preparing you for, things you never dreamed possible. He’s calling you to turn away from the sin that has divided you. This moment in time is so significant that the Lord says he’s going to raise up your children and grandchildren to hold you to account for what you do in this moment. They’ll ask you, “Where were you and what did you do?” The impact (either way) of what you choose to do will “mark” your history. If you respond to God’s invitation and acknowledge what he has prepared and gifted you for, he will raise up leaders, give you wisdom and understanding, and allow you to understand the times. This will take humility and courage.
4. A lighthouse
The fourth message is one that has such joy and “light” associated with it that I’ve found it hard to comprehend and fully articulate. Indeed, as I’ve received this promise, it’s been almost too glorious to articulate because of the redemptive impact it will have on Canada.
If you repent from the things the Lord has asked you to turn from, and embrace the things he’s invited you to, he will raise up the MB denomination as a standard/lighthouse in Canada. He will use you to demonstrate the authenticity of the gospel of Christ (John 17:22–23) to Canada – through unity and power – and many people will come to Christ from coast to coast. The denomination will be given favour to influence various levels of government, as well as bring unity across other denominations.
The Lord has given this warning: don’t allow arrogance to creep in, but safeguard your hearts with accountability and humility. He has also warned you to “lower the flag” of the MB denomination – that the flag of Jesus Christ alone be raised across the country. This last message will come at great cost. It will mean an unqualified turning away from personal agendas and kingdoms for the greater cause of Christ.