Mission-minded board increases collaboration
The Executive Board of the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches met Jan. 26–28, 2017, in Abbotsford, B.C.
“We continue to need and pursue a discipleship revolution of healthy, multiplying, Christ-centred churches to see Canada transformed by the good news of Jesus Christ,” says moderator Bruce Enns. “This is our prayer and our work.”
During a time of transition for the conference, the board is pursuing one mission through:
- helping to multiply leaders and disciple-making churches in local communities,
- strengthening and supporting vibrant provincial bodies to help MB churches,
- building a lean national structure that provides connection and meaning and
- learning and engaging with our global family.
These effort are being led by Steve Berg, the new interim executive director, who was appointed for an 18-month term, starting Feb. 1, 2017. The board expressed appreciation for L2L director Ron Toews who served as short-term interim executive director in December and January.
Following the board’s November 2016 meetings, Enns cited a need for structural changes. “We continue to strive to prayerfully understand and address some of the past, current and future conference issues,” says Enns. The board has slated part of their May and November meetings to work with the Board of Faith and Life (BFL) “to clarify their role and relationship with the Executive Board,” says Enns. “We see a critically important (likely expanded) role for the BFL in the future.”
After a report from the task force, the board approved a motion regarding the merger of the C2C Network and MB Mission. The task force presented on their consultation to date, including feedback from presentations at provincial conference gatherings and USMB district conventions; meetings with boards and leaders of CCMBC and MB Mission; consultation with international partners like ICOMB and Mennonite World Conference; articles in the MB Herald and Christian Leader; and the presentation to Gathering 2016 in Toronto. With prayerful discernment, the board unanimously approved a motion “that MB Mission assume responsibility for the mission and ministry of C2C Network” to be approved by the MB Mission board, discussed further at provincial conventions and brought to a vote at a Special General Meeting prior to November’s Equip Study Conference 2017. (See notice of motion).
“We are excited for how these two unique ministries together will bring God’s mission to the forefront of the local church – locally, nationally and globally – building on the strengths of each,” says Enns. “While we want to continue the conversation in the months ahead, as a board representing every region of our country, connected to many leadership groups and churches, we feel very confident to say that there is strong support for this motion,” says Enns.
Gathering 2016 delegates expressed concern over finances and gave the conference a mandate to build up reserves. “Our financial situation remains challenging, but we are encouraged by the preliminary year-end results for 2016,” says Enns. “These results, along with adjustments to the 2017 budget (including a $500,000 reduction), reflect alignment of the leadership team with the intent and spirit of the 2016 amended budget.” Legacy Fund Inc. board members updated the Executive Board on the development of the fund and its applications to regulatory boards, along with a plan for further work that will be reported at the May meetings.
“We are striving to be more intentional and evaluative in how we go about our work as a board,” says Enns. On the subject of collaboration with the provinces, the board continues the work of clarifying roles and responsibilities of provincial moderators (who sit on the Executive Board) and executive directors/conference ministers (who sit on the BFL). Additionally, “we recognized that we need a closer working relationship and accountability structure with both the MB Mission board and the MBBS board as we are exploring ways to work more closely and better align ministries with each of them in the future,” says Enns.
Board members signed a CCMBC covenant of collaboration that will be reviewed at the beginning of every meeting. A similar covenant for provincial-national working relationships is also in the works.
“Jesus’ discipleship revolution…is the mission that motivates me and all who lead the Canadian Conference of MB churches,” says Enns. “What a joy to work with churches in our calling that has eternal significance.”
Task force on MB Mission & C2C Network
Randy Friesen (MB Mission general director)
Gord Fleming (C2C Network national director)
Don Morris (USMB executive director)
Gary Wall (USMB representative)
Updated Feb. 18, 2017: U.S. reps added