2016 - 2017
C O L U M B I A C O N TA C T CONNECTING THE COLUMBIA BIBLE COLLEGE COMMUNITY | COLUMBIABC.EDU
CI T YL I F E CH U R CH Abbotsford's newest church
SH I N E Church on Mission
H O W T O SH O P FOR A NEW CH U R CH
T OPI C
Without being a consumer
T ODAY 'S C HURC H And why we ' re hope f ul for tomor row
PRE SI DE NT ’ S D ES K
2016-2017 Academic Year Columbia Bible College seeks to equip people for a life of discipleship, ministry, and leadership in service to the church and community.
" I LOV E T H E C H U R C H ! "
COLUMBIA CONTACT PURPOSE STATEMENT The purpose of the Columbia Contact is to encourage and provide updates about news, events, and related college business to students, alumni and friends of the college. Columbia Bible College provides faith formation and professional ministry preparation for Christians of all ages and supports the churches of the region in the fulfillment of their mission. Columbia is evangelical Anabaptist and is operated by two regional Mennonite conferences, British Columbia Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches and Mennonite Church British Columbia. Columbia Bible College 2940 Clearbrook Road Abbotsford, BC V2T 2Z8
EDITOR IN CHIEF Stephanie Jantzen
LAYOUT & DESIGN Grant Bielefeld Stephanie Jantzen
y declaration, “I love the church!" does not mean I love everything that happens in every local church. I have more than enough church experience to realize that sometimes churches engage in behaviours far from God’s perfect intentions. But I still love the church. I love the church because it’s where I heard the Good News of Jesus and learned of God’s amazing love. My pastors, Sunday School teachers, and youth leaders taught me the grand story of the Bible, and they showed me how to care for and serve others. The church gave me opportunities to use my gifts and talents, and to learn to abide in Christ so that together as a body we could “bear much fruit” (John 15:5). Today, I am so excited to be a member of a new church plant that is focused on helping unchurched people feel loved and accepted by God and our community. In one of the following articles, you’ll hear my pastor, Jon Wiebe, explain why we need more churches, even in Abbotsford. As he says, “There’s always room for more gospel.” Amen!
CONTRIBUTORS Bryan Born Tim Dick David Warkentin
CONTACT Tel. (604) 853-3358 Toll Free. 1-800-283-0881 firstname.lastname@example.org Fax. (604) 853-3063
C O LU M B I A B I B LE C OL L E G E |
Some people are highly critical of the church, and complain about its irrelevance. Sure, there are problems, but we also see many churches fully engaged in God’s mission. The comments found in the article, “Students on Church,” demonstrate this clearly. Jesus once said, “I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matt. 16:18). As I interact with the young adults studying on our campus, I see Jesus building his church in the present. Churches are made up of people, and that is the challenge. All of us are sinful, fallen people created in the image of God. And just as good and evil exist within each one of us, the same is true of the church. Recognizing this truth helps us grasp how desperately we need the grace of God. I love the church because Jesus himself meets us as we join together to worship and participate in his mission. God’s Spirit is alive and active in his church.
Bryan Born, President
CONTE NTS DEPARTMENTS 01
NEWS & UPDATES
"I Love the Church!"
New staff and faculty, new programs, upcoming events, and a Bearcat facelift
SH IN E: CHUR CH ON M I SSI ON
See what your Columbia community are up to
by b rya n B o r n
Putting our words to action as the Church. 17
Highlight on Bearcat Athlete Tim Dick
HOW TO SHOP FOR A NEW CHURCH WITHOUT BEING A CONSUMER
By dav i d war kenti n
Abbotsford's newest church, launched by alumnus Jon Wiebe
Tips for finding a new church, and knowing when not to
By Ste phan i e J a n t z e n
NE W S & UPDAT ES
C OLU M BIA T R A N S I T I O N S & U P DAT E S UPCOMING EVENTS
WELCOME TO NEW STAFF & FACULTY CANDACE FERGUSON is our new Female
GARY YAMASAKI'S BOOK LAUNCH Tuesday, November 1 10am in the Clearwood Room
Residence Director. After attending Columbia in 2009-2010 in Worship Arts Candace graduated from TWU in April 2014 with a BA in Biblical Studies and a Music Minor. Most recently she served as a Resident Director at TWU covering a maternity leave.
MATTHEW KLIEVER is the new QUEST Program Associate. Matt is a grad of Columbia’s Outdoor Leadership and Intensive LEAD certificate programs (BA 2016).
WINTER SEMESTER STARTS Monday, January 9
VIEW DAYS FOR POTENTIAL STUDENTS February 9, March 23
JESSE NICKEL is the newest member of our Biblical Studies faculty. Jesse holds a BA in Classical Studies from UBC, an MA in Christian Studies (New Testament) from Regent College, and is about to defend his doctoral dissertation at University of Saint Andrew’s, Scotland.
CHANTELLE RAMAGE has joined the Columbia
team as our receptionist. Chantelle graduated with her BA in Worship Arts in 2016.
KATE REID (BA 2014) joined the Intercultural Studies department as Program Associate. It’s her role to lead the UMD program as well as to coordinate ICS internships and activities.
SARAH REMPEL is Columbia’s Athletic &
Recreation Coordinator. She has a BA in Pastoral Leadership from Pacific Life Bible College (2012) and brings administrative and ministry experience along with a passion for health and fitness.
BEARCAT PROWL Saturday, April 8
CONGRATULATIONS ON NEW ROLES 2017 COMMENCEMENT CEREMONY & GRADUATION BANQUET
ASHLEY FUNK will be providing day-to-day management of the Admissions office in her new role as Senior Admissions Advisor.
JENNA SPARROW is now heading up conferences and events as our new Director of Hospitality Operations.
MATT KAMINSKI is spearheading the
JEREMY WALKER is now a member of
KURTIS KUBE has been named Program Director of the Diploma in Social Enterprise & Business. He’s also now the Director of Development.
Saturday, April 22
development of the new Applied Leadership program as Program Coordinator.
Columbia’s faculty, and is Program Director for QUEST.
Thursday, June 1
JERRY PAULS has taken on the role of Program Director for Biblical Studies.
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agreed to become Program Director for both Columbia One and for the Diploma in General Studies.
FERIN WILLMS recently returned from a
maternity leave and is now helping students succeed as an Academic Support Coordinator.
WHERE OUR STUDENTS ARE FROM 279
We just unveiled a new Bearcat logo!
ENROLLMENT 2% 11 % Columbia one & praxis
ary Yamasaki's fourth book, Insights from Filmmaking for Analyzing Biblical Narrative, has just been published by Fortress Press. This book on the Bible and film begins with a survey of scholarship on biblical movies, and then focuses particularly on what we can learn from movies to aid our study of the Bible. The approach to studying Biblical stories offered in this volume is rooted in our understanding of how stories work in movies. Components of this cinematic-
We defined our Bearcat values as well as the Bearcat vision and mission.
bearcats strive to
GARY YAMASAKI'S NEW BOOK
ommitme nt ard work e spe ct nte grity e rvice e am first John 15:4-8
Caregiving & Counselling
C h r i s t
b e Chris t- Centered & tenaciously competitive
story engagement are first defined and illustrated with material from dozens of movies. Well-known Biblical stories are then re-examined in this light, yielding fresh interpretive findings. Everyone is invited to learn more at the launch of this significant book on Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 10:00am in the Clearwood Room.
Pursue exCellenCe in all that they do grow in faith, CharaCter, & leadership through sport impact the world around them in a positive manner
We also created huge banners to hang in the Columbia Place foyer.
NE W S & UPDAT ES
ACA DEMIC NEW S ANNOUNCING NEW PROGRAMS!
DIPLOMA IN GENERAL STUDIES
DIPLOMA IN APPLIED LEADERSHIP
DIPLOMA IN SOCIAL ENTERPRISE & BUSINESS
EMERGENCY RESCUE TECHNICIAN CERTIFICATE
This two-year program is designed to deepen faith, provided a biblical foundation for life, and introduce students to key academic disciplines, including literature, history, psychology, business, and the arts. Graduates are eligible for the 2 + 2 transfer with UFV. Launched Fall 2016. 17 students enrolled.
A two-year program focused on developing faith, a Christ-centered approach to business, and core skills needed to succeed in the marketplace: accounting, economics, marketing, entrepreneurial operations, and more. Launching Fall 2017. Awaiting approval from provincial governing body.
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This program is a modification of the LEAD certificate. Its goal is to equip students with leadership skills for ministry and the marketplace. Students may enter in their first year, or after completing Columbia One, QUEST, or the new ERT program (see below). Launching Fall 2017; accepting new students.
A one-year career-focused program that aims to develop a Christ-centered character and worldview along with the hard and soft skills needed to help people in crisis. Launching Fall 2017. Approved. Promotion to begin ASAP.
AL U M NI UPDATES
Attended 2003-2005 Aaron: “After CBC, my phenomenal wife Skye and I planted a church in Southern California, finished a graduate degree at PLNU (San Diego), and had our first kid, Malachi (6). Late in 2010 we handed off our church to another pastor to answer a call back to Canada, where we had our second amazing kid, Junia (4). I am the Lead Pastor at Gateway Baptist Church in Victoria BC, which is the most irrepressibly fruitful work I’ve ever been part of.”
WHI TNEY (ROGERS) & TRAVI S BARBOUR
Attended 2005-2009 Whitney: “We were married on June 28, 2008. After graduating from Columbia, Travis continued his education at Regent College where he complete his MA in Theology in May of 2013. Travis started serving as associated pastor at Neighbourhood church in January of 2012. We have two daughters Evangeline (4) and Lydia (2). I am fortunate to be a stay-at-home mom. This has given me the opportunity to volunteer my time mainly in children's ministry, youth ministry and refugee sponsorship. One of the highlights of our time at Neighbourhood has been our involvement in a refugee sponsorship which brought together many local churches and the community as a whole. Travis' role as associate pastor includes his work in congregational care, worship, refugee sponsorship, BCHL chaplaincy, and facilitating a step 11 group for men in addiction recovery.”
MELISSA (HANSON) & DAVID MCVETY
Attended 2000-2002 Melissa: “I am the Assistant Director for Doing Family Right. Doing Family Right was birthed to help people maximize their most important relationships — marriage, family and God. Driven by the desire to provide practical, tested and Biblical advice and coaching for couples. David and I have 4 children, and one granddaughter. My oldest daughter Merci and her family also live here in Abbotsford. Our other children busy our lives with school, extracurricular activities, and their many interests. I have returned back to school. I am currently in the Marriage and Family Therapy program at ACTS Seminary to help build our ministry. I serve with my husband, and together we are passionate to serve wherever the Lord calls us to!"
ANGELLE ARI NOBU
Attended 1998-2001 Angelle: “I've been living in Otterburne, Manitoba for the last 6 years. I wear a few different hats in the three different schools under the Providence umbrella. I'm a Lecturer in Counselling Psychology at
Providence Theological Seminary. I'm the Assistant Director of Mile Two Discipleship School and I'm the Intake Counsellor for Providence University College. A lot of my work focuses on mentorship and I always circle back to this question, "How is what I'm doing, bringing this person closer to Jesus?" The work/ministry I'm doing here is rich and rewarding and I'm thankful for CBC's part in my spiritual formation.”
C R AI G TH I ES S E N
Attended 2007-2009 Craig: “After graduating from CBC in 2009 with my BA in Youth Work I began to serve as youth pastor at Ross Road Community Church in Abbotsford. I worked there for 6.5 years before resigning to continue my education at MBBS, where I am currently pursuing my MDiv. After seminary studies I believe God is calling me to further pastoral ministry. My wife Jenny and I got married in 2009 and currently have two kids, Joshua (3), and Kenzi (1). We continue to attend Ross Road Community Church, and currently reside in Langley.”
TAM AR A (R EI M ER ) F R I E S E N
Attended 1992-1994 Tamara: “After Columbia, I attended UFV and received a Diploma in Social Services. I married John Friesen in 1997 and moved to Abbotsford, BC. We are parents to two amazing children: Isaac (age 15) and Kara (age 12). Being a mom is the best job in the world! I also work as an Educational Assistant at MEI Secondary School. Over the years I have worked as an EA in many different environments but working at an independent Christian school allows me to not only assist the students with their school work, but also with their spiritual development. It is a privilege to be able to pray with my students and freely discuss all aspects of life with them. We have attended and served at Mountain Park Community Church for the past 20 plus years.”
Attended 2012-2015 Shelby: “I recently graduated from Kwantlen Polytechnic University from their Special Education Assistant Program and was hired by the Surrey School District. Because my husband, Adam, and I are welcoming another member into our family in March, we have decided it is best to take this time to prepare for the baby and to rest up because rest will soon be a dream! My husband Adam and I are living in Langley in a basement suite and Adam works at MCC in Abbotsford handling all of the donations! We are currently involved with the church that we call home, Village, doing kids ministry and production and we attend a community group as well!”
SHINE Church on Mission
B Y B RYAN B OR N
their book, The Gathered AND Scattered Church, Hugh Halter and Matt Smay describe the early days of their church in Denver, Colorado. They had been gathering people for various activities and discussions about Jesus, and had finally reached the point where people began to ask, “Are we a church?” Initially they were hesitant to refer to this group as a church, but some of the new believers challenged them, and said, “Aren’t we
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supposed to go to church?” Halter recounts his response as follows: “Actually, church is something everyone should be part of, but it’s different than being a faith community. Church happens when a group of people decide to go on mission with God together” (pp. 46). What a great definition! Instead of focusing on a building or a weekly meeting, Halter highlighted a committed community, ready to join with God in his determination to transform the world and
redeem humanity. In Eugene Petersen’s Message paraphrase, Matthew 5:13 begins with the words, “Let me tell you why you are here”. This powerful declaration begs for our attention, for in the verses that follow Jesus describes the raison d'être, the very purpose, of the church. “You are here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers,
you don’t think that I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand — shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).
students home. I remember one older woman forcefully telling me that she felt our girls were too bright. She said, “They have a light in their eyes. Take them away – I’m afraid they’ll lose that light.” When we talk about being the light of the world, we need to realize that light not only brings out color and attracts people, but
“ KNOWING WHO WE ARE —LIGHT— LEADS INTO WHAT THE CHURCH IS CALLED TO DO: STAND UP AND SHINE. “ LIGHT-BEARERS
It’s a beautiful picture: the Church glowing in the darkness, people being drawn out of the shadows towards the light of God. In a world that’s dark with confusion, conflict and conceit, it is often difficult to remember the incredible beauty that God has instilled in each of his children — we are light-bearers. That’s our calling! Not to be the light, of course, but to carry the light, to let the true Light of the world radiate from inside us (John 8:12; 2 Cor. 3:18). Let me give you a simple, but vivid, example. Several times every year, we send 40 to 50 Columbia students to the downtown eastside area of Vancouver. It’s an awesome learning experience for them. Although there are many wonderful people living there, that area has a dark reputation: poorest postal code in all of Canada, major problems with substance abuse, mental illness, prostitution, and the list goes on. Two interesting things often happen when I have walked with our students down Hastings Street. One, I’ve met locals who are eager to talk to our students. They are drawn by their smiles, their joy, their concern, and their willingness to listen. Our students exude light, and people are attracted to them. But a second thing has also happened. When some residents found out that I was in charge, they practically begged me to take our
it also chases away the darkness, and reveals the very real presence of sin. Jesus made that exact point in John 3:19: “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” We should not be surprised when the light of the church is not always received well. As we all know, people who have spent a long time in darkness find bright lights very uncomfortable. This too is one aspect of the church’s mission.
Knowing who we are — light — leads into what the church is called to do: stand up and shine. But our middle-class values teach us to stay well within our comfort zones. We are often obsessed with the prevailing cultural values of safety and security, comfort, and convenience, but we need to challenge that mindset. Brazilian author, Paulo Coelho, once wrote,“The ship is safest when it is in port. But that is not what ships were made for.” Of course we enjoy the easiest path, but that’s not what the church was made for. Jesus said, “Let me tell you why you are here.” Shine! For that to happen, we have to be intentional in our efforts to impact the world. Gordon Crosby, pastor of the highly influential
Church of the Saviour in Washington, D.C. for 60 years, once said that only those groups who set out to be missional (that is, to impact the world around them), while also embracing prayer, worship and Bible study in the process, actually get around to doing it. That’s a strong statement, but from what I’ve seen in my years of ministry, I would have to agree. The church as envisioned by Jesus is a city on a hill — a place of refuge, a beacon of hope, a promoter of all that is good, a prophet calling people to repentance, a preacher announcing good news of forgiveness, a sign pointing to Jesus.
Finally, Jesus calls us to live in a way that is open and generous not only with what we have, but also with who we are. This is what is meant by “going public” with the light. It’s about being kind and giving, it’s about encouraging others instead of tearing them down, and it’s about being real when we struggle, instead of trying to hide it. At Columbia, we find that young adults are challenging us to open up about our doubts, fears, and even our sin. We do not brag about our failings, but rather we admit that we are sinners calling on Jesus to save, forgive, heal, and transform us. When people around us see that we are genuine, then they are prompted to examine themselves. I have been amazed at how often students approach me with their worries and their sin after I have shared about some of my personal struggles. The world we live in longs for authenticity, not perfection. And that’s what light does — it reveals truth. When we as Christians are honest with the world around us, we draw attention to Jesus, not ourselves. The church has been called to shine in the world. But the amazing light of the Gospel story will only be understood as we put our words into action. The early church grew because everyone could see their commitment to Christ and their commitment to love one another. They grew because they knew that the power for mission wasn’t theirs but God’s. They knew that Jesus’ Good News wasn’t just “something” that you believe in, it’s a way of life, and a message that’s meant to transform life. ■
HOW TO SHOP FOR A NEW CHURCH WITHOUT BEING A CONSUMER B Y DAVID WA R KEN TIN
et’s be honest, looking for a church — a.k.a “church shopping” — is a common part of the North American Christian experience. Advances in technology mean even the most remote community can access countless options for church engagement via podcasts and live streaming. With driving such a regular habit, distance is also no longer a factor: “commuter churches” abound. The reasons to look for a church are also many. A move to a new area. Conflict. Relational disconnect. Leadership problems. New to faith. A return to faith. Spiritual dryness. Boredom. The list goes on. No doubt, most situations are a combination of good and bad reasons to be looking for a new church. So the issue isn’t should we church shop, but how we should church shop. At Columbia, we’re aware of this cultural phenomenon. We’re also committed to equipping students to view the body of Christ — the church in its many forms — as central to the mission of God in the world. We teach that central to discipleship is participation together as citizens of God’s kingdom. We’re passionate that
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students engage the church well. This includes equipping students for the process of choosing a church, emphasizing how this process can be vital to Christian faithfulness. Church shopping, it turns out, is important.
C O N TEX T M ATTE R S Now, to be clear, there is no uniform experience or single clear process for finding a church. Some, those in urban and suburban areas for instance, have access to many options. Columbia students arriving in Abbotsford know this well — there are some 100 churches to choose from — representing a huge variety in denominations, theology, worship styles, and demographic groups. In some places, church choices are sparse. Finding a church in a small community like Gem, Alberta will be drastically different than in Calgary. Clearly, church shopping will be different for everyone. A good first step is simply to identify your own context.
C O N S U M ER I S M & C H U R C H S H OP P I N G In all contexts, however, there is a common challenge to be faced: the challenge of consumerism. As I tell students at the start of every semester, we live in a culture of choice, from the food we eat to the products we buy to the churches we attend. On a certain level, this is good. Our individual freedom as North Americans is a privilege, one that the suffering and oppressed around the world are denied. The freedom to choose — consuming — is not the root of the problem. How we consume and what we consume, however, have major implications. To embrace individualism and self-fulfillment leaves people with only one question: “What can this church do for me?” Selfishness becomes the lens for belonging. It’s important to recognize that too often, churches themselves have catered to the selforiented consumerism of our culture. Alan Hirsch, in his book The Forgotten Ways,
CHURCH SHOPPING CAN BE A CHANCE TO PURSUE THE PATH TO TRUE BELONGING AS THE PEOPLE OF GOD. highlights how much of the North American church “is built on the ideals of comfort and convenience (consumerism), and of safety and security (middle-class).” Churches are left to compete for their parishioners’ attention, turn their pastors into celebrities, and create expectations for personal fulfillment more in line with pop culture entertainment than belonging to the people of God. Yet churches continue to shrink; relevance just isn’t working. We should listen to Hirsh’s conclusion, “We plainly cannot consume our way into discipleship.”
CHU RC H & BELONGI NG We need a better approach. Church is not a “thing” — be it a destination or experience — that we choose in the same way we choose a movie or visit a local park. In this sense, Christians don’t simply “go to church” as is so often described. The word often translated as “church” in the New Testament, ekklesia (“gathered assembly” – e.g. Acts 16:5), is only possible because of koinonia (“fellowship” – e.g. Acts 2:42). Koinonia describes deep community, a participation with God and one another that goes far beyond personal preference. This is our model. In finding a church, then, we need to shift from viewing church as a place of consumption to a place of belonging. To state the obvious yet often ignored point: the church is a people not a place. It’s in this belonging, then, that Christians give and receive the gifts of the Spirit with one another as they live together as citizens of God’s kingdom in the world. This is what we are “shopping” for when we look for a church. Distinguishing the difference between consumption and belonging means we need to honestly assess our rationale for church participation. If finding a church is driven by the same impulse as finding a new favorite restaurant, the problem may be more with our consumeristic lens than with the church itself. Here I would suggest a period of honest
self-reflection and prayer. Repentance and renewal may be your path. You may not need to find a new church, but instead re-engage your faith in your existing one. Such a realization, I believe, could have wonderful implications for your own faith journey, and also that of your church. Blessings to you if this is your story.
here?” Picture yourself connected and involved. Pray about it. Paying attention to consumer tendencies and focusing on belonging, you’ll be surprised how quickly format and structure (e.g. music style, programming) becomes secondary to discerning your place in a church’s overall identity. Try to narrow down your options to one clear choice.
S U G G E S TI O N S FO R B EL O N G I N G
VISIT THAT ONE CHURCH AGAIN. This time, ask
Yet honest self-reflection and prayer may mean you still need to find a new church. Not all cases of church shopping are about selfish consumption. Many people need to choose a church for a whole host of valid reasons. So, from a lens of belonging, here are some practical suggestions (by no means exhaustive) for choosing your church:
NARROW DOWN YOUR OPTIONS TO 2-3. Before
you actually visit a church, do some preliminary work. This is quite easy through websites, podcasts and conversations with people you know. Framed by belonging, here are some questions to consider: Does this church’s mission, beliefs, values and practices reflect my understanding of a biblical church community? Can I submit to this type of congregation in all matters of faith and life? Does this church reflect consumerism or belonging in describing itself? Use these questions to narrow down your choices before you visit in person. A Sunday gathering isn’t always the best indicator of beliefs around belonging, or even the essentials of faith. You don’t want surprises down the road that will make you rethink your choice. For this preliminary searching, try to narrow your list to no more than 2-3 churches.
VISIT ALL THE CHURCHES ON YOUR LIST AT LEAST ONCE. During the first visit, use this
members, what does it mean to belong here? As you listen and observe, be more specific in evaluating belonging. Is this church a community where I can receive the blessings of God’s people? Is this a community where I can share my gifts as a blessing to God’s people? Do the parts I don’t connect with (and be as honest as possible) become secondary as I imagine belonging? Or do they hinder belonging?
COMMIT TO A CHOICE AND PURSUE BELONGING FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME. This could
include formal membership (however that looks in that church), which can foster a belonging beyond attendance alone. Receive the gifts of others in the church – enjoying a good sermon is okay! – but also get involved as your schedule and gifts allow.
GIVE IT TIME, WITHIN REASON. The New Testament church doesn’t give a blueprint for the duration of church belonging. I would suggest an annual assessment of belonging, evaluating the church and your role in it. Yearly church-hopping isn’t a habit to take on, of course. But we recognize life has ebbs and flows. Participation in a number of churches over a lifetime can still reflect a faithful commitment to the people of God. Church shopping isn’t a process that will disappear from North American Christian life. But it doesn’t have to be a consumeristic process. Instead, it can be a chance to pursue the path to true belonging as the people of God. ■
simple question as your lens: “Could I belong
T H E S T O RY O F A B B O T S F O R D'S N E W E S T C H U R C H
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BY S T E P H A N IE JA N TZEN
gathering a church launch team. That, and making lattes here’s nothing surprising about seeing a pastor at Starbucks two days a week at Abbotsford’s Highstreet in a coffee shop. Unless it’s Jon Wiebe, lead Mall, the future site of their church. pastor of Abbotsford’s newly-launched CityLife “We chose Highstreet as our place,” Jon explains. Church. You won’t necessarily spot him with “They’ve done a really good job of creating community his laptop, working on his next sermon. Don’t and a neighbourhood feel in a mall.” Anyone who’s expect to chat with him about life and faith over strolled the Highstreet sidewalks can attest to its unique Americanos. Instead, Jon may well greet you with design. The mall has, for instance, a wildly popular kids’ a smile and a friendly “Hi!” while he whips up your playground right at its center. grande half-fat latte, extra-hot. “We saw Highstreet as a natural point where people Pastor Jon Wiebe is a Starbucks barista. Two days gather,” Jon continues. “I believe that we need to bring a week, he dons the green apron and everything that church to where people are, not expect them to come to comes with it: long line-ups, tricky drink orders, grumpy us.” Going to where the people are is why Jon decided customers, and taking out the trash. He’ll be the first to to become a Starbucks barista. He wanted to enter into tell you it’s been quite an adjustment. the community and really get to Four years ago, Jon was know it. the youth pastor at South “Working at Starbucks, I Abbotsford Church. He was see the same regulars, the same exactly where he wanted to families who do everything right be: leading a thriving youth " I BELIEVE THAT WE NEED there — shopping, working out, ministry with a congregation going on date nights, doing their he loved. In 2006, Jon had TO BRING CHURCH TO banking, picking up groceries.” graduated with his BA in Youth WHERE PEOPLE ARE, NOT His green-apron shifts have Work from Columbia Bible been eye-opening. Among the College with the sole focus of EXPECT THEM TO COME interesting insights Jon has becoming, and staying, a youth picked up on the job is just how pastor. “I didn’t want youth TO US." many people are driven to climb ministry to be a stepping-stone the corporate ladder, to land the to something else,” he explains. next raise, to top the next big “I wanted to stay in one church. business milestone. Another is I didn’t want kids to have three how rudely people — some Christians included — tend different youth pastors in their high school career.” to treat service workers. No one was more shocked than Jon when he sensed Perhaps the biggest surprise for Jon was becoming God might be leading him elsewhere. After Jon finally aware how many in Abbotsford have grown up far outside got up the courage to tell his wife, Gabrielle, how he was the church. In a community nicknamed the “Bible Belt” feeling, the couple started exploring what they might do of Canada, it’s easy to assume that most people’s parents next. The one idea they couldn’t shake? Planting a new and grandparents grew up attending church, even if they church. themselves didn’t. It turns out that’s just not true. “A lot When they took their idea public, Jon and Gabrielle of people have no idea what goes on in church,” Jon says. were surprised by the support they received. Their close This is why, when pressed with the question, “Why friends, family, and spiritual mentors affirmed their plant a new church in Abbotsford, of all places?” Jon has new direction. Another blessing came in the form of a ready answer. It’s a question he is asked often, and no South Abbotsford Church: they generously offered Jon wonder. Abbotsford already has close to one hundred a summer sabbatical so he could explore his vision for churches. Why not start a new church in a city like launching a new church and take seminary classes in Vancouver, or Montreal, where the need is greater? church planting. When, at summer’s end, Jon presented “There’s always room for more gospel,” Jon explains. his church planting proposal, South Abby agreed to His Starbucks experience is backed up by statistics: over partner with him, even if it meant losing their muchtwo-thirds of Abbotsford’s 150,000 people never go to loved youth pastor. church, and thirty percent consider themselves to have no That’s exactly what happened next. Jon resigned religious affiliation. He also brings up the fact that newer to focus fully on training with C2C Network and on
JON WIEBE Jon is the lead pastor of CityLife Church and a barista at the High Street Starbucks. Jon and his wife Gabrielle have a son, Ayden (5), and a daughter Aria (4). Jon graduated with a BA in Youth Work in 2006 and has completed a church planting apprenticeship with C2C Network.
Jon with his wife Gabrielle, his son Ayden (6 years), and his daughter Aria (5 years).
churches (less than ten years old) are most effective at reaching unchurched people. “So,” Jon concludes, “a city continuously needs new churches in order to have more people come to know Jesus.” Step into CityLife Church on a Sunday morning, and you’ll see this concern for the unchurched everywhere you turn. For one thing, CityLife meets in the Highstreet Cineplex theatre. “We wanted to provide an opportunity for people to come to a familiar place, and be able to hear about Jesus” is the way Jon puts it. Their entire Sunday morning service is geared towards pointing an unchurched person to Jesus in a way that’s fun and engaging. Expect to hear the band open with a mainstream song. One week it was Blink 182 in honour of the band coming to town. Don’t be surprised if the service incorporates funny bits in the vein of latenight TV. You won’t hear any churchy phrases — not from the front or in the worship lyrics. Whenever key theological terms — gospel, redemption, and the like — are used, they’re carefully explained. You won’t be celebrating communion; it’s a ceremony that excludes the unchurched, so they reserve it for their discipleship groups. And you’ll never experience a service over 65 minutes long. “We’re trying to provide a predictable experience,” Jon explains. In fact, CityLife is doing everything they can to make church “un-cringe-worthy,” so believers will feel it’s safe to invite their friends. What does this mean for CityLife’s teaching? In a church so focused on the unchurched, you might expect
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light and fuzzy sermons, designed not to offend. But Jon is clear that this is not the direction they’ve chosen. Instead, they aim for what he calls “double-barreled preaching,” practical, biblical messages that are meant for Christians, but with the awareness that the unchurched are listening in. “If you’ve kept people engaged to the point of the message,” Jon asserts, “you don’t need to change your message.” He’s fine with people walking away and not agreeing with the sermon, as long as they feel it’s a message worth considering and a community where they feel welcome to explore
spirituality and Jesus. Jon is also fine with making believers a little uncomfortable. He’s aware that CityLife is bound to attract Christians on the lookout for a trendy new church. “We’re unapologetic about not welcoming believers who are seat-fillers,” Jon says. “If you’re a believer, you’re going to feel the pressure to serve and get involved.” That said, if you’re willing to commit, there’s a definite place for you. “We need Christians,” he explains, as he passionately describes CityLife’s vision to be good neighbours – both at Highstreet Mall, and in the local neighbourhoods where believers live. It's also their dream to build community groups and volunteer groups where real discipleship happens. Now that CityLife Church has officially launched, will Jon quit his job at Starbucks? No way, he says, and quotes a recent tweet he enjoyed: “Being bi-vocational is not a punishment; it’s an opportunity.” One unexpected benefit of his barista gig is that it’s taught his leadership team not to rely on him too heavily, but to get on with the work of being the church. And it turns out that getting to know the community cuts both ways. By now, Highstreet regulars have gotten to know him. “I’ve become a Highstreet fixture,” Jon says, with a laugh. Green apron on and off. ■
Learn more at www.wearecitylife.com
“ IF YOU’RE A BELIEVER, YOU’RE GOING TO FEEL THE PRESSURE TO SERVE AND GET INVOLVED.”
Q & A : J E RE M Y, CI TYLIFE I N TER N
Studies student and
President Jeremy Lieuwen about
WHAT DREW YOU TO DO YOUR INTERNSHIP AT CITYLIFE CHURCH? I was originally drawn to the church itself. The model is very missional and outward-focused, which lines up with my values of what the church, amongst other things, should be. When I met with Jon, I asked him if he could use an intern, fully expecting that because the church had not even launched yet, there would not be enough work to justify taking on an intern. To my surprise, Jon was all for the idea. The prospect of interning at a church plant excited me because I would get to experience a wide range of ministry aspects in building all dimensions of our church.
WHAT’S YOUR ROLE AT CITYLIFE? At CityLife, I wear many different hats. Running our Sunday service in a movie theatre requires a couple hours of set-up and tear-down week to week, so my role begins there. I am also in charge of our Guest Services team, which looks after all aspects of the congregation's experience. The heart behind this team is more than just making sure people enjoy their experience, but to go beyond greeting and actually engage with people and hear their story, making them feel valued and loved. We want to make people feel like they truly belong in our church. On top of this, and as we move past our launch phase and into more of a routine in sermon series, I look forward to preaching in some of the services. In connection to my role in the Columbia community, I have also taken on
intentional mentoring relationships with some younger men at the college, whilst working in conjunction with Jon, who mentors me and teaches me how to disciple others effectively. At the end of the day, my role has ultimately been simply to learn. I get to shadow Jon and learn what it looks like, as well as what it takes, to launch and sustain an effective ministry.
WHICH PART OF YOUR INTERNSHIP IS STRETCHING YOU THE MOST? The part of my internship that is stretching me the most is working with people who see things differently than I do. I get to work closely with Jon, who has graciously invited me into many aspects of planning and decision-making. It intrigues me when he does something differently from how I would have done it. I think we are all stretched by situations like this because we have the tendency to think that we know best. However, the simple truth that has been reaffirmed for me is that sometimes we cannot reduce ideas to right or wrong, better or worse, because they are simply different. It has been enlightening to see Jon make a decision contrary to what I would have made, and see that work out really well. I am learning to think more broadly, respect other perspectives, and value the opinions of others.
WHICH OF YOUR CLASSES AT COLUMBIA ARE YOU DRAWING FROM MOST AS YOU SERVE AT CITYLIFE? I think back to many of my classes, but in particular my Church and Mission class, as well as my Urban Mission class. What I often think about is how I define "church" and what I think the church should look and act like. My understanding of church has developed immensely over my time here at Columbia, from simply an institution and building, to a community of believers that do life together oriented toward the Kingdom of God, and subsequently invite others into that community. Obviously, this is a crucial
conversation in a church plant. It is exciting to see how my classes are contributing to and informing my ministry in practical ways.
WHAT’S ONE THING YOU’RE LEARNING THAT YOU COULDN’T LEARN IN A CLASSROOM? One thing that I am learning that is more difficult to learn in the classroom is how to empathize with people. In the past I have struggled with compassion and it has been incredible to see God develop a compassionate heart within me. I have been able to come alongside people, journeying with them, and even leading them into freedom. It has given me a deeper understanding into how God works to develop our character. Where there was once a gap of weakness in me, God has filled in that gap with his Spirit, and now I get to lead others out of a place of humbly recognizing God work's in my life. This has given me lots of opportunities to develop skills of counselling and discipleship, which I am so grateful for. I write this now astounded at how something I was so bad at is now one of my favourite things to do and is quickly becoming a strength, and all by the grace of God.
IS CHURCH PLANTING SOMETHING YOU SEE YOURSELF DOING IN THE FUTURE? When I began my internship with CityLife, church planting was one of the things on my radar. Since that time, I have developed more of a heart and passion for para-church ministries, such as discipleship schools. I still have a desire to church plant but it is not my main plan for the future. What is amazing about my internship though, is that many of the aspects of church ministry transfer quite well to other ministries. From the more administrative side of things to discipleship, teaching, and leadership, I am learning incredible lessons that will apply no matter where I go in life. ■
STUDENTS ON CHURCH
We asked first-year Columbia students for their perspective on the Church and where it's going. Here's what they had to say.
WHAT I LOVE MOST AB OUT MY HOME CHURCH: "Coffee break. Fellowship.
"Our mission statement:
'We are committed to being a church unchurched people love
"They intentionally disciple young adults and provide many opportunities for us to serve in different roles in the church."
to attend.' "
"How they acknowledge brokenness and come alongside each other to love people where they are."
THE CHURCH OF TOMOR ROW WILL: "Need strong, biblical, Christ-like leaders." "Experience a lot of difficulty." "Use more technology." "Not be wishy-washy about what the Godbreathed Bible says."
"Be more concerned with connecting to unchurched people in ways that they will understand." "Be beautifully multinational." "Be friends of the community as Jesus has been a friend to sinners like us."
"Thrive!" "Learn that worship shouldnâ€™t be a show." "Look less like a church and more like a community, with fewer buildings and churchy spaces and more home groups/leased spaces."
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ONE TH ING I WISH MY CHURCH LEADERS UNDERSTOOD ABOUT MY GENERATION: "There’s no umbrella way to define us and therefore no umbrella way to
"We want to learn more and go deeper
into God’s Word."
"We are not hopeless, but hopeful."
"We desire to engage the Gospel relationally and intellectually."
"That I struggle to find the line between tolerance and acceptance for the choices of my secular friends. I wish
"We crave authenticity and despise what’s fake."
they acknowledged how difficult it is to love others in a post-modern culture."
"That we want to openly talk about subjects like sex. We want to feel
"We don’t focus as long as older
comfortable asking questions and
generations, so hour-long sermons are
getting answers from God’s Word and
hard to listen to intently."
"We’re not just trying to get married."
"We are enthusiastic and ready to share the gospel, if only we are
"We would love to spend time with the
encouraged and given the opportunity
older generations and gain wisdom
to use our gifts."
from them." "That depression isn’t for attention."
THE CHURCH IS MOST LIKE JESUS WHEN : "We get out of our comfort zone and love those who are “unlovable”, and welcome the “sick” not just the “healthy.” "We do outreach and live missionally, following the call to make disciples through love."
"We are forming people into fully-devoted followers of Jesus." "We love before we judge." "We fellowship together." "Everyone is loved and respected."
BE ARC AT AT HLETICS
BEARCAT HIGHLIGHT TIM DICK .
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T I M DI C K COLUMB I A WHY COLUMBIA?
I wanted to be able to integrate faith and basketball. I can do that at Columbia.
H OMETOWN HOMETOWN:
B EAR CATS BEST THING ABOUT BASKETBALL: Being part of a team.
FAVOURITE BEARCAT MOMENT SO FAR:
The insane team bonding at the athletic retreat this year.
LESSON YOU’RE LEARNING ON THE TEAM:
You can only go so far as an individual; we need to work hard as a team.
■ 21 games played in the 2015/16 season (100% of season’s games) ■ 2nd in Pacwest in block shots per game
■ 3.05 points/game ■ 2.71 rebounds/game ■ 0.81 assists/game
CH UR CH WHERE DO YOU ATTEND CHURCH?
HOW ARE YOU INVOLVED?
YOU’VE GOT SCHOOL, A TEAM, A COACH — WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO BE INVOLVED IN A CHURCH TOO?
WHAT’S ONE THING GOD IS TEACHING YOU THROUGH YOUR CHURCH?
CityLife church - a new church plant in the local Cineplex.
Church is the way Jesus is bringing His kingdom to earth. I think that’s an important part of our lives as Christians.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR CHURCH?
I was part of the launch team this fall. I serve on a set-up team two weeks every month. My wife and I lead a community group.
Church shouldn’t just be for church people. It should be for the lost. Inviting someone to a service isn’t the end of our responsibility: people need community.
It’s an accepting place where anyone can go and not feel intimidated.
THANK YOU! We’re so grateful to local churches who participate in our Church Match Bursary program For every dollar a church donates in support of a young adult studying at Columbia, we donate a dollar too, up to $1000 per student per academic year. It’s a great partnership that allows more students to pursue bible college education.
Tha nk You t o t his y e a r ' s pa r t icipa nt s ! Abbotsford Community Church
College Drive Community Church
Newton Christian Assembly
Bakerview MB Church
College Heights Baptist Church
Bethany Baptist Church (Richmond)
Eagle Ridge Bible Fellowship
Parkdale Evangelical Free Church (Victoria)
Bethel Mennonite Church
Grande Prairie Alliance Church
River of Life Community Church (Sorrento)
Bible College Church
Grantham Mennonite Brethren Church
South Abbotsford MB Church
Birch Bay Bible Community Church
Greendale MB Church
SunWest Christian Fellowship
Broadway Church (Chilliwack)
Hammond Bay Church
Trinity Baptist Church (Kelowna)
Calvary Temple (Brandon)
Kelowna Gospel Fellowship
Waldheim MB Church
Lakeview Community Church (Killarney, MB)
Westwood MB Church
Cariboo Christian Life Fellowship Chilliwack Alliance Church
New Hope Bible Church
Zion Evangelical Missionary Church (New Sarepta, AB)
New West Community Church
colu m b i a b c.e d u / C h u r c h M atc h B u r sary
C O L U M B I A C O N TA C T C olumbi a B i b le Colle ge 2940 Cl earbrook Road Abbotsf ord, BC C anada V 2 T 2 z 8 Send change of address and alumni updates to email@example.com