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Invitation to fully engage

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Let’s be upfront. Most people don’t deal very well with change.

We are programmed for predictability. We develop routines and establish comfort zones for our lives. The prospect of things changing around us can cause a great deal of anxiety and a feeling of loss of control.

As Canadians, we seem to have an extra aversion to change. From politics to church leadership, Cana­dians tend to stay away from aggressive leaders who run on platforms of extreme change. We like our predictability.

The Canadian Conference of MB Churches has been buffeted on all sides by multiple changes in the last few years. Our “Spidey senses” are tingling and our level of nervousness is through the roof.

One of the side effects of rapid change is the erosion of trust. We stop trusting leaders who are taking us too quickly to places we’ve never been before. Lack of trust leads to apathy, apathy leads to disconnection and all we are left with is a sense of loss.

If we, as a family of churches, believe that we have been called by God for a specific mission and purpose in Canada, then we also must rally together in times of change.

If part of our theological understanding is that God is sovereign, then we know that the changes we are expe­riencing are not outside of God’s control or knowledge. It is imperative, however, that we remain true to our pur­suit of God; that we stay firm on the biblical foundations that have cemented us as a denomination; and that we operate from the convictions that are part of our DNA as a family of churches.

At our AGM on Oct. 23, 2019, we will be voting on the implementation of the Collaborative Model. This model calls for changes – changes in behaviour, attitude, funding practices, structure, and reporting systems. You may be feeling apprehensive and uncertain. I am asking you to disregard the natural tendency to apathy and isola­tion and instead to fully engage.

The goal of the Collaborative Model is to see healthy churches on mission together – locally, nationally, and globally. We hope the changes we are experiencing will lead to the following:

Healthy churches

To fulfill the mission to which God has called us, we must walk in a constant dependency of God’s Spirit. Spiritual vitality and biblical foundations are key to producing healthy churches.

Churches on mission

We join Christ on his mission of reconciling the world to himself. The call to make disciples continues to fuel the existence of the church.

Churches together

The Collaborative Model will endeavour to create partnerships for the sake of mission. These partnerships will facilitate greater growth in the body of Christ and in our family of churches.

Local, national, and global mission

God continues to call us to reach our Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the world (Acts 1:8).

Together we will humbly walk out the mission we have received. As changes occur, we will trust that he who has begun a good work in us will bring it to completion (Philippians 1:6).

is the national director of the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches. He and Ana live in Winnipeg. They have three children.

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