The Saturday SKMB Assembly was preceded by a Friday evening Town Hall forum. Some 45 delegates engaged the director of ministry and Executive Board on three key documents to be voted on the next day: the 2021 budget, the Common Understandings and Common Covenant (CUCC) and the SKMB – Horizon College & Seminary MOU. Fruitful dialogue took place and clarity was achieved on a number of items pertaining to the documents. The evening also included National Director, Elton DaSilva, re-introducing the Collaborative Unified Strategic Plan.
The March 13, 2021, Assembly was the first for SKMB to be conducted via Zoom. Some 100 people took part including Conference leaders, ministry teams, delegates and guests. CCMBC Winnipeg staff provided capable logistical support.
Willard Hasmatali, SKMB pastor and planter, brought two devotionals on the Assembly theme: Restoring joy for the Mission. Hasmatali’s central claim was that COVID has not fractured the ultimate foundation of our joy – the person and work of Christ and the expectation of his return and our salvation. Using the text 1 Peter 1:3-9, Hasmatali asked listeners a series of questions for discussion in break-out rooms: Do you exemplify a life of great expectation (a living hope)? Did you equip yourself for trials so that your testimony would be one of joy in Christ? What activities in your church prepared you to produce joy? What personal activities prepared you to produce joy?
Moderator Gwen Machnee provided the Executive Board report highlighting work on the Common Understandings and Common Covenant (CUCC) document and the MOU with Horizon College & Seminary (Saskatoon). The purpose of the CUCC was to provide clarity around what it means to belong to SKMB. The MOU was the natural evolution of several years of relationship with the school and serves as another vehicle to provide leadership and discipleship training in the province. Machnee also conveyed appreciation for the work of Phil Gunther (SKMB DM). She indicated that Phil was instrumental in bringing shape to both the CUCC and MOU as well as the 2021 budget. Phil was also key to providing care and communication to SKMB members since the pandemic started in 2020.
Discipleship Coach Luke Etelamaki (pastor/planter) reported that COVID struck at the beginning of his ministry with SKMB and his role immediately shifted from being a discipleship coach to a pastoral care support to the Director of Ministry. Etelamaki is re-engaging in conversations with SKMB pastors and directors about discipleship in their respective churches and camps. Etelamaki will continue to produce Pastor-To-Pastor videos which serve to encourage vocational ministry staff. Etelamaki said he is all about cheering on churches to make robust changes toward better discipleship. He challenged listeners to be deliberate in defining the characteristics of a disciple and what discipleship looks like in their setting – What is your discipleship matrix and what are your metrics?
Other Assembly Highlights:
- The CUCC was adopted for a year of review by the constituency.
- The SKMB – Horizon MOU was adopted.
- SKMB has a new office on the recently built Horizon campus, a space shared with Multiply.
- Carmel Pentecostal Church (Saskatoon) was welcomed into membership.
- Recognition of Ross Hardy’s long tenure as a servant in SKMB’s ministry.
- Jeff Siemens (Saskatoon) was elected as the new moderator.
- The 2020 year ended with a surplus which will be re-invested in strategic initiatives.
- The 2021 budget ($181,000 revenue, $149,000 operational expenses, $21,000 Field
- Operation expenses and $19,500 strategic investments) were adopted.
COVID: One Year in and a Way Forward
The SKMB director of ministry (DM), Phil Gunther, provided a wake-up and rally call to churches and camps regarding post-pandemic life.
“God’s word teaches us that there is a time for everything, a season for every activity under the sun. Friends, the season of pandemic is on its last legs, infected numbers are decreasing, hospitalizations are decreasing, deaths are decreasing and the timeframe to receive vaccinations is decreasing. The window of hope and optimism is opening wider by the day. Yes, we have some battles that remain, with COVID and with fully re-opening churches. Here we must remain patient, all the while preparing for a new season, a post-Covid season. Our pandemic ‘winter’ is ending, our post-pandemic spring is unfolding, and God is calling us out of darkness to the light. He is calling us to Himself. He is calling us to mission. He is calling us to advance the Gospel. He is calling us from a period of self-preservation to a renewed passion for gospel proclamation. It is a time of opportunity led by His Spirit, and here is victory. God sees us as more than conquerors in Christ Jesus. Friends put on the armour of God and go forward as victors! This is our hope – the future is in the Father’s hands and He is sovereign. SKMB family, we will rebuild what was torn down, restore what was lost and revive what was cast down. Let us together re-commit to re-engage in the great command and great commission. Ours is the victory! Ours is the hope! Ours is the joy!”
Gunther went on to call lay and vocational leaders to help the church understand the present culture and need, redefine the mission for a post-pandemic world, to re-set passion for advancing the Gospel. He called leaders to ask mission-defining questions for a world so different than what it was even a year ago. Finally, he shared his own roadmap to strategic leadership in 2021 (download PDF here).