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Hand in hand across borders

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C2C Missional Partnerships
Breakout Session #1& 2 – October 22, 2015 at 9:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.

studyConf_cds_019I attended both breakout sessions on missional partnerships. The partnerships being discussed involved the U.S. MB conference, MB Mission, the C2C Network and CCMBC.

I sensed that the majority of the attenders felt that the question was not clearly presented. The partners have had some conversations around this and they were trying their best to communicate these conversations with us and to engage us in the discussion. There was frustration around being asked if we are “leaning in” on this question as the information was just too new and not clear.

The initial question of partnerships arose when USMB asked for assistance in church planting from the C2C Network. The broader question that emerged is How can we partner with our southern neighbours?

Clarification of the “question” is the first item that needed to be addressed.

The conversation on this day led us to discuss how MB Mission can help with reaching out to immigrant groups in the U.S. and Canada. The model used by C2C may have some limitations in relating to different people groups who are coming to our shores and living among us. Can MB Mission assist C2C in the matter? There was a sense that they can. On the flip side, C2C is receiving requests to bring some of their church planting resources and networking to the MB Mission work around the globe.

Canadian and U.S. Mennonite Brethren had a history of partnership, continued in the Historical Commission and MB Mission. I would add that we have some form of partnership when it comes to our Confession of Faith as well. (If there are others, please add to the list.) How would we partner in church planting? Would MB Mission be the way to cross borders? This is my simplistic way of defining the questions being asked. There was an understanding that we need to work through this on a relational level.

studyConf_cds_021The information shared from the executive board seemed to revolve around a structural response, a financial need and a use of personnel resources. The board was honestly looking for input from the local church level. They did not want to move forward without input from the churches.

At 10:02 many electronic alarms went off, reminding us to ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into the harvest field. It was met with the laughter of being on mission with God. We paused to pray together.

Those present affirmed the collaboration that is taking place between the agencies listed. There was a strong sense of moving forward on this at a conversational level at the least.

One of the concerns was the manner in which our Canadian charter may limit us to assist with ministry in the U.S. This is one of the questions that would need to be addressed, a challenge that needs to be addressed at some time.

Space to explore the implications was limited, however, delegates were largely positive toward serving our sister conference to the south. This breakout’s information is not without questions that need to be well addressed and more conversations about how best to meet the new mission field that we find in our world – both local and global – today.

—Reg Toews is pastor of Greendale MB Church, Chilliwack, B.C. Written with files from Jason Dyck, pastor of Elm Creek (Man.) MB Church, and a L2L coach and trainer.

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