In fall 2002, I attended Church Planting Canada’s congress in Montreal. Patrice Nagant, our current C2C Quebec regional director, toured us around Montreal and informed us of Quebec’s spiritual and political history and its overwhelming need for the gospel.
That day, I stood on Mount Royal and wept over Quebec’s spiritual need. It became clear to me that unless we worked together as a Canadian family of churches, we wouldn’t be able to give our Quebec churches the support they needed to reach out with the good news of Jesus. It had to be a joint effort of all Canadian evangelical churches.
That event opened my heart to involvement in the Canadian conference (CCMBC), but never did I imagine I would serve in the role of executive director a dozen years later. My belief in our need to work together as a family of churches and with other like-minded denominations has only increased. We must repent of the individualism that plagues us personally and corporately.
Not only is partnership a good strategy, it’s a biblical mandate. Paul continually challenged churches to support each other, and he thanked them when they did so. The resources God has given us are neither for our personal gratification nor solely for the benefit of our particular church. God has blessed us so we can be a blessing to others for his glory.
Unpacking our mission
As you read this article, Mennonite Brethren from across Canada are travelling to Vancouver to attend Gathering 2014: Multiplying for Mission. Our national convention will process the new CCMBC mission statement we’ve been testing across Canada for the past year.
CCMBC’s mission is “to multiply Christ-centred churches to see Canada transformed by the good news of Jesus Christ.”
We use the verb “multiply” because we’re praying for the Holy Spirit to develop in us a biblical mindset toward God’s purpose for the church – to increasingly give expression to the kingdom of God through the church by our participation in the great commandment and the great commission. Multiplication is a biblical mindset. It’s not a formula, target or goal. It’s a mindset.
The executive board also felt it was important for us to describe the kind of church we believe we’re called to multiply. Therefore, we use the term “Christ-centred.” We want to be about Jesus, glorifying him, honouring him and introducing people to him.
Many people have asked why we use the phrase “to see Canada transformed.” First, our scope of responsibility as a Canadian conference is Canada. We partner with MB Mission in global outreach, but our specific concern is the spiritual welfare of Canada.
Second, we believe transformation is observable. When people enter into a life-changing relationship with Jesus – moving from spiritual death to spiritual life – the transformation is observable. So we look toward the transformation of Canada one life at a time.
Finally, it’s the work of the Holy Spirit to change people. As God’s people communicate the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is at work in individual hearts.
Workers for the harvest
But there’s a problem. In fact, it’s the same problem Jesus addressed in the gospel of Luke. The problem isn’t our cultural context, the political correctness of Canada or the openness of Canadians to the good news. Jesus identified the challenge when he said: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields” (Luke 10:2, NLT).
Jesus told his disciples to pray for workers for the harvest. Notice he didn’t tell them to pray for greater receptivity to the gospel, more courage, more resources or better strategies.
So how do we add workers to the harvest? When God’s people spend time with God, they develop passion and interest in the things God is interested in. They learn that true joy is found in living in submission to the will of God, and they experience delight in following the leading of the Holy Spirit to do that which God calls them
We know the need is great, and we understand God’s call on us as his people is to participate in his mission in Canada. I have two requests for all Canadian Mennonite Brethren:
1. Join others who, every day at 10:02, pray for Luke 10:2 to be answered in Canada.
2. Ask God to show you how you are the answer to the Luke 10:2 prayer in your world.
Delegates at Gathering 2014 will be praying, and I look forward to reporting all God is doing in us as we meet together to seek his face and follow his leading in Vancouver this June.