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Wanted: young leaders

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MBCM offers young leaders bursaries to Assembly

“As a conference, we’re taking steps to engage the next generation – with the understanding that it may change the way we do things,” says Janelle Braun, leadership development coordinator for the Mennonite Brethren Church of Manitoba (MBCM).

Janelle Braun
PHOTO: Anthony Mark Photography

To that end, MBCM has created 20 youth bursaries – 10 for men and 10 for women – that cover the full cost of attending MBCM’s provincial conference, Assembly 2018, Mar. 2–3, 2018, in Winnipeg. MBCM staff are tapping church leaders on the shoulder, calling them to identify young leaders they will bring to – and walk alongside at – Assembly.

“We want young people to see that their perspectives on church are significant,” says Braun. “It’s less about them adapting to the system and more about them understanding their place as a contributor to shape and form the system.”

The challenge: the younger generation doesn’t understand the reason for conference structure and gatherings; they can seem business-heavy and uninspiring.

“That’s been my own journey,” says Braun. Growing up in the MB church, Braun felt disillusioned and “put off by the politics because I didn’t understand its purpose, and I didn’t have a relationship with those involved at a deep level.”

Once she got to know MB conference leaders, she says, “I saw their passion and heart for church.”

As a volunteer with MB Mission, Braun spent hours travelling to conferences with mobilizers Lloyd and Carol Letkeman, talking about “the tensions and what fruit can come of them.” It shaped her understanding of the MB conference: “The different branches aren’t because we can’t work together, but because we each have different calls. I realized I have a responsibility to contribute.”

To date, five young people have received bursaries to attend Assembly, including Chloe Alby from McIvor Avenue MB Church in Winnipeg.

Pastor Denver Wilson recommended Chloe for the bursary because of her wholehearted engagement in church and faith. The nursing student has also put her leadership skills to work at Living Bible Explorers and Simonhouse Bible Camp.

“Our hope is that we can begin to mentor young people and show them there’s value to the structure, not for its own sake, but to help us in the direction God is moving us,” says Braun.

“Our churches have some incredibly gifted, passionate, creative young thinkers on how church should look: these are voices the church needs to hear.”

Contact janelle@mbcm.ca for more information regarding Assembly 2018 bursaries and other opportunities to develop your church’s emerging leaders.

[Angeline Schellenberg

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