All BCMB pastors have been requested to attend a daytime session on convention Friday, prior to the official evening kickoff. An invitation has also been sent out to other leaders within the church – including leaders of the Canadian conference, the board of faith and life, and MBMS International. The session is not about theology as such, but that will undoubtedly be part of the pre-convention program.
Steve Berg, conference minister, says pastors “need to have conversation,” and B.C. conference perhaps has not done this enough. In the past, he said, there have been off-line conversations that can seed factional discussions rather than friendships, and that’s not a healthy state.
“We need to talk to each other, not about each other,” he says. “We need to have conversations in a respectful way.” The daytime meeting will not be a kind of study conference, “but more of a pastoral event, a dialogue,” says Berg.
He says it is vital to have pastors in direct dialogue, so that misapprehensions or any misunderstood actions by churches can be put in context and discussed. Berg says the chance to talk face-to-face is an opportunity to bring clarity and accurate meaning to other peoples’ thoughts and actions. It is a vital part of church family life.
Some of the session will be on theology “but it’s not about the issue of the atonement”, says Berg. “B.C. seems to have found its way into the centre of this conversation (on atonement),” he adds, and recognizes a responsibility to provide some resolution.
Theology can become a point of tension, especially among newcomers to the denomination, because a person without the benefit of years as an MB leader cannot easily contextualize some discussions. Berg is concerned that the B.C. conference do all it can to avoid misperceptions of both beliefs and actions.
The 2010 convention theme is taken from the phrasing of Philippians 2:2 in The Message –“deep-spirited friends.” Berg says, “We really liked that image, for that is what we are and what need to be.”
The daytime event is focused on pastoral needs, but the conference is also inviting other interested church people.
The B.C. convention will be held Friday and Saturday, April 30 and May 1, in Richmond. Host churches are Richmond Bethel and Richmond Chinese MB.