MB Herald Digest | November 2021

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NOVEMBER 2021 MBHERALD.COM

Digest VOLUME 60, NO. 11

A HA RV E ST O F RI G H T N E S S-N E S S A H A P P Y A P O C A LY P S E 2021 QUARTER THREE FINANCIAL REPORT

Sixty years of sharing the life & story of the Mennonite Brethren in Canada


Q: How do you speak well about marriage with your neighbours, knowing that marriage can be difficult? A: Check out the Faith and Life online pamphlets about marriage and family. www.mennonitebrethren.ca/ nflt-resources


Mennonite Brethren Herald Digest is digitally published monthly by the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, primarily for the use of its members, to build a Canadian MB community of faith. We seek to 1) share the life and story of the church by nurturing relationships among members and engaging in dialogue and reflection; 2) teach and equip for ministry by reflecting MB theology, values, and heritage, and by sharing the good news; 3) enable communication by serving conference ministries and informing our members about the church and the world. However, the opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of the church as a whole.

Say cheese! Participants and facilitators pose for a group photo at ONMB’s PCO East, October 27-29, 2021, at Northend Church in St. Catharines, ON. PCO (Pastors Credentialing Orientation) is an annual event where new pastors are introduced to MB family history. PCO also includes a deep dive into the MB Church Confession of Faith. With 2020 plans derailed, this is the first time a group has gathered in-person for PCO since 2019 in Winnipeg,

Digest

Man. For those affected by travel restrictions, a set of four monthly virtual PCO events begins on November 4, hosted by BCMB. Visit pco.mennonitebrethren.ca for more information.

NOVEMBER 2021 | VOLUME 60, NO. 11 EDITORIAL OFFICE 1310 Taylor Avenue Winnipeg, Manitoba R3M 3Z6 Phone: 204-669-6575 Toll-free in Canada: 888-669-6575 MBHERALD@MBCHURCHES.CA W W W. M B H ER ALD.CO M

ISSN: 0025-9349

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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CARING FOR THE MENTAL HEALTH OF LEADERS

Bonita Eby

The Mennonite Brethren Herald is a publication of

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NEIGHBOURHOOD MISSIONARIES

Randy Wollf

PLANTING SEEDS OF HOPE IN WINNIPEG’S NORTH END

Justin Dueck

BE CALM AND CARRY ON

Rev. Philip A. Gunther

Connect

Sixty years

of sharing the life and story of Mennonite Brethren in Canada

FACEBOOK.COM/MBHERALD TWITTER.COM/MB_HERALD SOUNDCLOUD.COM/MBHERALD MBHERALD.COM

ON THE COVER A much-used bible found at a recent Nuts &

Bolts resourcing event in Winnipeg, Man. Photo: Carson Samson

MENNONITE BRETHREN HERALD

NOVEMBER 2021


From the editor

e’re going through changes in the CCMBC communications department. Our little team of two is now one. At the end of October, our resident Jack of all trades, Bomba, left to take on a pastoral role at his church. They will no doubt be blessed by his presence and impact, just as we had for the past two years. However, what that means for us is that there’s an opportunity to add a new person to the team, someone to speak into the everyday workings of the department and participate in the input (and output) of the MB Herald Digest. It is also an opportunity for someone to make connections and build relationships across Canada as we support our provincial partners and tell the story of MBs everywhere. Do you know someone gifted with communication skills looking to go in a new direction? Are you that person? If so, I point you towards our job posting here. Speaking of job postings, MB Herald just relaunched its JOBS website with a fresh design to make it easier to post your employment opportunities. The new website also provides an option for paid advertising, giving churches and organizations a place to stay front and centre on all site pages. Please visit jobs.mbherald.com or email us for more information. Pierre Gilbert’s article on Biblical inerrancy from the last issue generated a considerable amount of online discussion. We reposted two letters in this issue, but I encourage you to see them in context on our online platforms. The conversation is ongoing, and you may wish to add your voice to it. The letters to the editor column is the first published since restarting as the Digest, something I have been looking forward to for over a year. We assume MB Herald Digest articles spur some engagement and debate among readers. Still, we don’t usually receive the direct feedback we hope for. May I take this opportunity to invite you, dear reader, to write in and have your say? Your voices paint a clearer picture of what is important and relevant to MBs today. Send your letters to mbherald@mbchurches.ca As I mentioned, we are a small team. And so, I am not only grateful for reader opinion and feedback but also for our thoughtful and creative contributors. They did not disappoint this month. But don’t take my word for it; read on and see for yourself.

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Blessings,

Carson

CARSON SAMSON

Communications director

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Letters to the editor What is an error?

After reading Pierre’s article (The Written Word Versus the Living Word), a question that I am left with is, “what is an error?” For example, Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 present differing orders of creation is one of them an error, are both in error, are both accounts to be read as parables and therefore not judged on their creation sequencing, or something else? How are the conquest of Canaan narratives in Joshua and Judges 1 to be reconciled: is the sweeping summary of the conquest in Joshua 21:44 an error? Are the descriptions of the Canaanite holdouts in Judges 1:19-35 an error, or are the texts meant to be read in some other way in which neither is incorrect? TH EO D O R E DYC K

See this letter in context on our facebook page

What is truth?

I agree with Theodore Dyck, who asks: “what is an error?” in the mind of Pierre Gilbert? Better yet, the question Pilate says to Jesus: “What is truth?” might be more helpful to think in positive terms. I do not think any pre-modern interpreters (nor the human writers of scripture) thought about “errors” in the same modern/post-enlightenment way we think about errors today. This is the problem with inerrancy, right? The pushers of inerrancy (e.g., Chicago statement-ers) are entrenched in a modern scientific worldview. The need to claim authority in opposition to modernist ideology in the 1920s and

30s, liberal ideology in the 1950s and 60s, or leftist/ progressive ideology today seem to be stuck in this modern-scientific frame. I submit that this claim for authority puts the category of “without error” as above God. I’d much rather contemplate the words revelation, sanctification, and inspiration when speaking of Holy Scripture. I’d rather talk about about scripture and its use within the church, in the economy of grace, in the lives of brothers and sisters. Before Pilate’s response, Jesus says: “Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” As Jesus followers, we hear and see Jesus in Holy Scripture. We learn how to be people formed by Jesus’ way, truth, and life in Holy Scripture. I’m just not sure how speaking of scripture as “inerrant” is helpful for conversations within the church or without the church. For those who do not yet believe in Jesus, why is making such a claim about this ancient text (for that is all it is to them) helpful? For those who do believe in Jesus, why is speaking this way helpful for forming us as people of the Way? To be most critical, I submit that using the language of inerrancy is antagonistic. It seems like an angry way to argue against people who don’t care, but it makes us feel good about ourselves. Let’s spend our energies elsewhere. JORDAN DUERRSTEIN

Lead Pastor, Waterloo Region, The Meeting House See this letter in context on mbherald.com

Letters to the editor MB Herald Digest welcomes your letter on issues relevant to the Mennonite Brethren church, especially in response to material published in the magazine. Please include name, address and phone number, and keep your letters concise, courteous, and about one subject only. We may edit letters for length and clarity. We will not publish letters sent anonymously, although we may withhold names from publication at the letter writer’s request and at our discretion. Letters may also appear online or be published in the Digest from an online source, such as comments on articles posted to mbherald.com or on our social media platforms. In these circumstances, letter writers will be contacted by the editor to obtain permission. Because the letters column is a free forum for discussion, it should be understood that letters represent the position of the letter writer, not necessarily the position of the MB Herald or the Mennonite Brethren church. Send letters to MB Herald, 1310 Taylor Avenue, Winnipeg, Man. R3M 3Z6, or by email: mbherald@mbchurches.ca.

MENNONITE BRETHREN HERALD

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# H AV E YO U R S AY ! HOMEPAGE

MB Conference seeks a new way of making family decisions The Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches (CCMBC) desires to work together as a body of believers to discover a new decision-making process reflective of their aspirational desire to be a multi-generational, multi-cultural, diverse and healthy spiritual family. CCMBC has relied on Robert’s Rules of Order to govern national gatherings and decision-making for some time now. However, that model hasn’t always served the MB family well and is out-of-date. Janessa Nayler-Geisbrecht (Fort Garry MB Church) is on a national task force exploring new decision models. She describes Robert’s Rules as “top-down, privileging some voices over others or allowing for input in the moment of decision making instead of gradually over time.” The task force asks the MB family to help develop a new model that fits into the bigger picture of CCMBC’s Collaborative Model. A survey is open to any who wish to offer an opinion and recommendations on how CCMBC may achieve this and how the new model might work. Click here to participate in the survey. Click here to watch a short (1:41 minute) introductory video. In addition to the survey, you can also attend a town hall meeting on Thursday, November 25, 2021. Registration for the virtual meeting is now open. Click here to confirm your attendance. The survey closes on November 15, 2021.

La Conférence FM cherche une nouvelle façon de prendre des décisions La Conférence canadienne des Églises des Frères mennonites (CCMBC) désire travailler en tant que corps de croyants uni. Nous souhaitons découvrir un nouveau processus de prise de décision reflétant notre désir d’être une famille spirituelle multigénérationnelle, multiculturelle, diverse et saine. Depuis déjà quelque temps, la CCMBC s’appuie sur le concept de Robert’s Rules of Order pour régir les rassemblements et les prises de décisions au niveau national. Cependant, ce modèle n’a pas toujours bien servi notre famille d’églises. De plus, il est maintenant désuet. Janessa Nayler-Geisbrecht (Église FM Fort Garry) fait partie d’un groupe de travail national qui explore de nouveaux modèles pour la prise de décisions. Elle décrit les règles de Robert comme : « Un modèle où les décisions sont prises aux échelons supérieurs et imposé à ceux étant plus bas. Ce processus décisionnel privilégie certaines voix par rapport à d’autres et permet seulement une contribution au moment de la prise de décision. La prise de décision devrait plutôt se faire de manière progressive. » Le groupe de travail demande à la famille FM de l’aider à développer un nouveau modèle qui s’inscrit dans le cadre plus large du modèle collaboratif de la CCMBC. Un sondage est disponible pour tous ceux qui souhaitent donner leur avis. Vos recommandations sur la façon dont la CCMBC peut parvenir à un modèle de prise de décision optimal sont les bienvenues. Vos suggestions sur le fonctionnement du nouveau modèle seront étudiées. Cliquez ici pour participer au sondage. Le sondage est seulement en anglais. Cela permet de compiler toutes les données et de les conserver au même endroit. Vous pouvez utiliser l’outil de traduction de votre navigateur Internet afin de traduire le sondage en français. Vous pouvez écrire vos réponses en français. Cliquez ici pour regarder une courte vidéo d’introduction (1,41 minute). La vidéo est uniquement en anglais. En plus de l’enquête, vous pouvez également assister à une réunion publique de type « Town Hall meeting » le jeudi 25 novembre 2021. Cette rencontre sera à prédominance anglophone. Vous pourrez tout de même vous exprimer en français. L’inscription à cette réunion virtuelle est maintenant ouverte. Cliquez ici pour confirmer votre participation. Le sondage se termine le 15 novembre 2021.

EQUIP MINI 2021

WEBINAR

NOVEMBER 19-20

Engaging Healthy Conversations Around Difficult Topics in the Church with Dr. David Fitch R E G I STE R AT E QU I P.ME NN ONI TE B R E THR EN.C A

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How well do you think your church embodies or reflects the following Anabaptist values?

Somewhat well

Not sure

Base: 413 MB respondents who attend church at least once every 2-3 months.

23%

Non-violent peacemaking

Providing relief and assistance for those in need

67% 10%

47% 89% 2% 47%

38% 84%

Public witness of faith

90%

Commitment to service

2%

3%

30%

32% Advocating for those in need

62%

Working for justice

80% 3%

9% 28% Community discernment

HOMEPAGE

Very well

72% 76%

93%

Believer’s baptism

7%

2% 15%

35% 66%

Reconciliation

85%

Discipleship

10%

3% 81% 96%

Jesus-centred theology

1%

CANADIAN CONFERENCE OF MB CHURCHES

2021 QUARTER THREE FINANCIAL REPORT

ONE-STREAM FUNDING $ 678 ,60 8 Y T D AC T UA L $701 ,7 75 Y TD BU DG ET

AS OF SEPTEMBER 30, 2021

T O TA L R E V E N U E $1,200,000

$1,008,456

$1,000,000

$962,550

$800,000

$600,000

$400,000

$100,000

Y TD ACTUAL

YTD BUDGET

T O TA L E X P E N S E S $ 876 , 528

Y TD ACTUAL

$962,550

YTD BUDGET

Please send questions and comments to FAQ@mbchurches.ca.

MENNONITE BRETHREN HERALD

NOVEMBER 2021

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A HAPPY APOCALYPSE e don’t normally use the word ‘happy’ with ‘apocalypse.’ The word ‘apocalypse’ is more likely to remind us of a violent war movie, the four horsemen of the apocalypse (conquest, war, famine, and death), or the end of the world. I heard the words ‘happy’ and ‘apocalypse’ together in 2012. Just before Martha and I moved back to Winnipeg, our family visited Vancouver’s First Baptist Church to hear the church’s pipe organ, and one of our favourite preachers. That Sunday, Darrell Johnson preached the first in a series of sermons on the last book in the Bible. During the sermon, he left the pulpit, walked to the baptistry, drew back a curtain—and there stood the church’s smiling moderator. The congregation burst into applause. He’d been there all along; but no one knew, until Darrell revealed him—or, according to New Testament Greek, until Darrell ‘apocalypsed’ him. And it was a happy apocalypse. In New Testament times, the word ‘apocalypse’ meant to disclose something, to bring it to light. The opening words of the Bible’s last book are, “The apocalypse [that is, revelation] of Jesus Christ….” We therefore call that book Revelation. (By the way: click here to hear Darrell explain how to read Revelation.) I believe we all need help knowing reality from unreality (and God is the ultimate reality, whose love created all else that’s real). Sometimes we need intellectual help. Western cultures squeeze us into an ‘immanent frame’—that is, into thinking that what is real is limited to (framed by) what we can see, touch, and examine. It’s hard to believe in God inside this frame. Sometimes we need emotional help. Those of us who experience mood disorders like depression and bipolar disorder too often feel that we have no real connection with God. Sometimes we need relational help. When we’ve been bullied, abused, or stereotyped, it can be harder to believe that God is love, and that love is sustaining the universe. For these reasons and more, we rely on helpers to provide us with the happy apocalypse we need. We need helpers to show us the reality that we didn’t know, feel, or trust was real. Churches worldwide gather on Sundays because it was Sunday when God raised Jesus from the dead. Jesus’ resurrection was a happy apocalypse that changes everything. In preparation for this Sunday, who or what is ‘apocalypsing’ (revealing) God to you?

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A N D R E W DYC K ,

Assistant Professor of Christian Spirituality and Pastoral Ministry at Canadian Mennonite University, teaches primarily in CMU’s seminary programs. He and Martha belong to Westwood Community Church and the Winnipeg Imago Dei group.


CARING FOR THE MENTAL HEALTH OF LEADERS The pandemic has changed how we as leaders connect, innovate, and lead. Mental health and well-being now top the chart for leaders’ concerns in terms of longevity. Several factors play into creating a spiritually, mentally and emotionally healthy environment in which leaders can thrive. Here are five essentials for resilient leadership: 1. Stay connected. Connection remains one of the most profound factors contributing to mental health. While we know this to be true among our congregations and workplaces; as leaders, we often find ourselves working alone. A wise mentor once told me, leadership can be lonely. How are you connecting with Christian peers and mentors who can sharpen you? Are you connected to meaningful places of fellowship where you can have emotionally safe conversations about the challenges you face? 2. Care for spirit, mind and body. While Jesus is profoundly concerned about our spiritual health, He is also interested in our physical, mental and emotional well-being. Are you spending time with God daily in Scripture, prayer, and a posture of listening? Are you taking time to eat foods that nourish your body so you can function at your best? Do you find time to rest mentally and pursue creative endeavours that support your emotional health? 3. Seek immersive relationships. As leaders, we often embark upon our careers with a sense of calling. We’ve depended upon the Spirit’s guidance while pursuing education and commencing our vocation. It is normal during hard times to feel bruised by the challenges we face, but we need to pay attention when we lose our sense of passion and meaning. Working to the point of exhaustion and leading in times of instability without

DEVELOPING LEADERS

Resilient Leadership

proper support and resources can cause us to lose our sense of passion and purpose. Deeply immerse yourself in your relationships with Christ and surround yourself with people who love and support you. 4. Establish healthy rhythms. If you are anything like me, the goals I prayerfully put in place are so tangible I can taste them. Sometimes the lines between serving others and being there for our family and friends can become blurred beyond recognition. What daily, weekly and monthly rhythms will provide you with refreshment as well as the connection you and your loved ones desire? 5. Care for the caregiver. In many pastoral and marketplace leadership roles, we are called to minister to the lost, hurting, and in need. Being the hands and feet of Jesus in a broken world spurs many of us to demonstrate the Kingdom of God is near, a critical part of serving our communities, congregations, and companies. But who is caring for the caregiver? Compassion fatigue and burnout are rampant conditions that take a significant toll and often lead to resignation. My heart breaks each time I hear the story of leaders leaving their position of influence broken-hearted and in poor health. Please access the support and resources you need to serve wholeheartedly. It is entirely reasonable to request help while simultaneously depending on Jesus to carry the load.

B O N I TA E B Y

attends and is a former pastor at WMB Church in Waterloo, Ontario. She is a burnout prevention strategist, executive coach, and owner of Breakthrough Personal & Professional Development Inc., specializing in burnout prevention and wellness for organizations and individuals. Connect with Bonita at bonita@break-through.ca.

MENNONITE BRETHREN HERALD

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DEVELOPING LEADERS

BE CALM AND

CARRY ON A S A G E W AY F O R W A R D I N D I V I S I V E AND DESTRUCTIVE TIMES

“ I W I L L . . .T R A N S F O R M T H E VA L L E Y O F T R O U B L E I N TO A G AT E WAY O F H O P E .” H O S E A 2 : 1 5 N LT “A T I M E O F T R O U B L E A N D DA R K N E S S I S M E A N T TO T E AC H Y O U L E S S O N S Y O U D E S P E R AT E LY N E E D . ” L.B. COWMAN

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Don’t panic, rush or give up. First, don’t panic, rush or give up. If you get stuck in an elevator, hear a smoke alarm ringing or get into trouble while swimming in deep water, the advice given is always the same – don’t panic. The same is true for Christian leaders facing troubled times – don’t panic. To panic when facing any degree of danger tends to result in a catastrophic failure of one sort or another. So, leaders, stay calm. In addition, a powerful temptation for any Christian leader is to rush a response, a plan or a strategy without doing the wise things like gathering all the information, committing a matter to prayer or waiting for the Holy Spirit (and earthly sage counselors) to provide insight. Nothing of any lasting spiritual value unfolds in the rush. The reality is that acting out of alarm is ill advised, too often achieving a negative outcome. St. Vincent de Paul wrote, “He who is in a hurry delays the things of God.” Most importantly, don’t give up. Remember the Apostle Paul’s words to the church in Corinth: “...stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV). My dad told me that in tough times the wise keep on keeping-on.

LEADERSHIP in troubled times: the counsel of PROVERBS “Ultimately, being a positive leader is all about leading with faith in a world filled with cynicism, negativity, and fear.” Jon Gordon ASK for wisdom “It is the Lord who gives wisdom; from him come knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:6

DEVELOPING LEADERS

he number of heart-wrenching dialogues I engage in about the future of the Church in Canada, specifically the MB Church, is steadily increasing. An urgency among Christian leaders to find a way forward is palpable in these conversations. This urgency arises out of profound uncertainty regarding how to engage the mission in divisive times. This season is one where relentless anxiety about the vacuum of unity within the Body of Christ is prevalent; a time when fear abounds about yet another ideological, political, or philosophical conflict breaking onto the ecclesiastical landscape. The trepidation is that just one more ‘trouble’ could decimate the flagging remnants of Christian fellowship and community. For many leaders, the weight of our time is crushing. And yet, I wholeheartedly claim that our hope remains because “the LORD works out everything to its proper end” (Proverbs 16:4a NIV). In these turbulent times, what counsel am I offering? Full disclosure, I provide greater detail and respond to specific scenarios in my conversations with Christian leaders. However, for the sake of this piece and its limited format, I simply offer some broad, over-arching convictions which I share with everyone. I have also included further help in the two side bars.

T

TRUST the Lord “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know. Remember the Lord in everything you do, and he will show you the right way.” Proverbs 3:5-6 “No human wisdom or understanding or plan can stand against the Lord.” Proverbs 21:30 GUARD your heart and lips “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23 “Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.” Proverbs 13:3 SEEK wise counselors “Get all the advice you can, and you will succeed; without it you will fail.” Proverbs 15:22 “Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.” Proverbs 19:20 LISTEN for the whole story “To answer before listening—that is folly and shame.” Proverbs 18:13 BE humble “True humility and fear of the Lord lead to riches, honor, and long life.” Proverbs 22:4 SHOW mercy to those who oppose you “If the one who hates you is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him water. If you do that, you will be making him more ashamed of himself, and the Lord will reward.” Proverbs 25:21-22 – Rev. Philip A. Gunther

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Start with faith. Second, start with faith. We have the great testimony of faith in the New Testament book of Hebrews to encourage us in our walk with God, especially when the world around us is falling apart. This testimony speaks of faith when an all-life-destroying flood was about to consume the world, faith when the vast armies of Egypt were about to vanquish a nation, faith when the future was unknown or threatened, faith when faced with conflict, persecution, prison, torture, or death. Take note of this testimony’s opening claim: “The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd” (Hebrews 11:1 MSG.). The author of this New Testament passage was steeped in Old Testament narrative and theology. This ancient likely allowed Proverbs 3:5-6 to shape his thoughts and writing: “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track” (Proverbs 3:5-6 MSG.). Faith always was, and is, the way forward in distressing times. Not faith in faith, but faith in a sovereign God. Leaders, faith honours God, God honours faith. And, as a trusted mentor once told me: We don’t need great faith, just faith in a great God. Follow-up faith with prayer. Third, follow up faith with prayer. Prayer is the way to be transformed and to transform our circumstances. Prayer is a means by which we become more like Christ and thus the channel by which we become gospel change agents in our world. Prayer helps disciples see what God sees and feel what God feels. Prayer is a tangible means by which we seek and receive an understanding of who God is, who we are, what God is doing and how we can join with him. Prayer was central to Jesus’ earthly walk and ministry, how much more should it be integral to our life and work? In the gravest of circumstances, Jesus prayed. As he hung on the cross, tortured and dying, he uttered – “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34a NIV). Can we imitate him in our present circumstances?

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LEADERSHIP in adversity: lessons from Nehemiah

“This good work.” “A leader is great, not because of his power, but because of his ability to empower others.” John Maxwell “Leaders envision themselves making a difference.” Andy Stanley Nehemiah rebuilt the walls around Jerusalem in the face of colossal resource and logistical challenges, external threats, and internal conflict. We witness Nehemiah... • FACE a need and the adversity around it with prayer before anything else – 1:4-11; 2:4; 4:9; 6:9. • IDENTIFY himself as a servant leader – 1:6,11. • EXHIBIT courage in the face of fear – 2:2,3. • LEAD from a place of robust faith – 2:20; 8:10. • CALL the community to a powerful mission and then unite them to achieve it – 2:17-18; 3, 4. • DEPLOY people according to need and their skill set – 3, 4. • MEET external threats with a call to trust God – 4:14. • CONFRONT internal problems in a timely manner – 5,9,10,13. – Rev. Philip A. Gunther

RECO M M EN D ED RE SO U RCE FOR CHRISTIAN LEADERS: LE ADING ME (STEVE A . BROWN). • The most significant leadership challenge you will face is yourself. • “You can lead without character, but character is what makes you a leader worth following.” • “The hallmark of our lives and leadership needs to be who we trust.”


“Pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NIV). “The end of all things is near. Therefore, be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray” (1 Peter 4:7 NIV). In faith, with prayer, stay focused on the mission. Last, in faith, with prayer, stay focused on the mission. Leaders, seek God’s agenda, not that of others, or your own. God’s mission has a faith community, and this faith community needs leaders passionately on mission. Christian leaders are to be about the business of the Father, co-labouring with him in his redemptive purposes as revealed to us in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20), the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:37-39) and the Great Collaboration (John 17:20-23). The grand distraction of our supernatural adversary is having leaders question whether these are really the main things God wants us to be about. In this space, it is obedience to the three ‘greats,’ not doubt about their veracity, that advances the gospel and reaps the blessing of God. The profound challenges facing Christian leaders in 2021 – and they are titanic – should not distract them from the doing the kingdom work of the Father to make disciples, answering the kingdom call to deeply love

him and others, and living out the kingdom value of unity. Each Christian leader has a specific and unique place and purpose in the unfolding kingdom blueprint of God. This is an honour and privilege; a responsibility to faithfully carry out for such a time as this. May you long to have these words of the Father said to you: “Well done good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21). American tennis great Arthur Ashe said, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” As Christian leaders, we would add “with God” on each point. Leaders, be encouraged. Stand firm. Stay on mission. In short, be calm and carry on.

DEVELOPING LEADERS

Leaders, be mindful of Scripture’s counsel: “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” (Colossians 4:2 NIV).

R E V. P H I L I P A G U N T H E R

is director of ministry for the Saskatchewan Conference of MB Churches

What’s Next? In the December issue of the MB Herald Digest, Rev. Gunther addresses humility in the life of the disciple and the church in Dissolving Outrage, Disarming Threats and Dismantling Walls.

Follow Jesus. Serve the church. Engage the world. Dig deep into God’s Word and build a strong Biblical foundation in Christ-centred community. Biblical Studies Pre-University Ministry Leadership Marketplace Christian Leadership (Online) Pursuit

SBCollege.ca

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DEVELOPING LEADERS

Neighbourhood missionaries

Living incarnationally is key to reaching the community for Christ Several years ago, as I was pastoring an established church, my wife and I were struck by how hard it was to get our unsaved neighbors and friends to come to church with us. Some might come to an Alpha Course in the church building, but that often didn’t translate into regular church attendance. Something was wrong with our approach to evangelism. Allan Hirsch, in his book Forgotten Ways, describes four types of people in our society. The first group is made up of those who have some concept of Christianity and are often willing to explore Christian beliefs. The second group is the average non-Christian who has little real awareness of, or interest in, Christianity. They’re often suspicious of the Church, but are generally open to spirituality. The third group has no idea about Christianity. They might be part of an ethnic group with totally different beliefs or they could be part of a fringe group that has been turned off by their perceptions of a narrow-minded, restrictive kind of Christianity. The fourth group is highly resistant to the Gospel. They view Christianity as a threat to their way of life. Now, obviously, the first group is usually the easiest to reach. They may even send their kids to youth, a church day camp, or even a week at a Christian Bible camp during the summer. They may come to an Alpha Course. These are the ones who may still attend a church at Christmas.

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The way many churches are set up allows them to be reasonably successful at reaching this group, especially if they are intentional about it. This is good and yet, there is also a problem. According to Hirsch, the first group only makes up 10% or less of the population in many Western countries. That means that most churches can only hope to reach about 10% of their neighbors using an attractional model that seeks to draw people into church programs. The other 90%, those in groups two, three and four, are unlikely to cross the huge divide between their lives and church life.

Learn the language

So, what’s the solution? We need to become missionaries in our own communities. We need to bring Christ into our neighbourhoods, workplaces, schools, and places of recreation. We need to learn the language of our neighbors, so that we communicate the Gospel in a way that they hear and understand. This is living incarnationally. You see, the Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood according to the Message’s rendering of John 1:14. As Christ’s representative, as his hands and feet on earth, we need to do the same. In 2005, our family left the church where I had pastored for 16 years to start missional communities (we called them house churches at the time). We did this with the

blessing and support of our church and our denomination. We realized that our neighbors would probably never go to church, so we decided to bring the church to them. For some, it’s a pretty big stretch to think about starting organic missional communities in homes, coffee shops, businesses, golf courses and other places where people naturally gather. Yet, I’m convinced that it may be a key way for us to reach those who are far away from Christ and the Church. Hirsch says, “Attractional church demands that in order to hear the gospel, people come to us, on our turf, and in our cultural zone. In effect, they must become one of us if they want to follow Christ. I can’t emphasize how deeply alienating this is for most non-Christian people who are generally happy to explore Jesus but don’t particularly want to be ‘churched’ in the process. The biblical model…is not so much to bring people to church but to take Jesus (and the church) to the people” (The Forgotten Ways, p. 142). Neil Cole, in his book Organic Church, proposes six myth-debunking truths about the Church. The first one is that the Church is a living organism, not a static institution. Cole suggests, “We would do much better as leaders in the Church to learn at the feet of the farmer rather than study with the CEO of a corporation” (p. 35). He then throws out this question, “What farmer would build a barn and then stand in the doorway calling all the crops to come in and make themselves at home?” Coles’ second truth about the Church is that the Church is so much more than a building. According to Cole, “Buildings are not wrong or immoral…Unfortunately, we often begin to function as though the church buildings are our life source… Many a church continues long after the soul of the church has departed because the building itself keeps them going” (p. 37).


Another truth about the church is that the Church is not bound to a single location. We can worship God with anyone, anywhere. Cole goes on to say that the Church is much more than a onehour service held one day a week. He argues that Scripture does not talk about weekly gathering times. Instead, he claims “you will find verses, chapters, and entire books that speak to how we are to live together as a spiritual family” (pp. 39-40). Cole’s fifth observation points to our tendency to centralize church functions, which is different than what we see in the early church. Of course, persecution sometimes helped to break down any centralized structures and dispersed Christians to witness in unreached areas. The final myth-debunking truth about the church that Cole proposes is simply this: We are the temple of God. The old system we read about in the Old Testament is done. Jesus’ death and resurrection opened up a

new way. According to Cole, God “has established a new nation of priests (1 Pet. 2:8-9) to cover the globe with His power, His presence, and His glory. Why, then, do we work so hard to reestablish the old ways with centralized buildings, priests, and constant offerings to appease the system?” (pp. 44-45). Let me conclude this session on Living Missionally with a summary quote from Organic Church: “Jesus paid a huge price to set His people free to take His presence everywhere. We need to resist the seductive magnet of glamorous buildings and religious hierarchical

systems that bind us to a place and form of church that cannot spread His glory across the planet. Recognize, once again, the beauty of the New Covenant: a decentralized nation of priests bringing the presence of Christ all over the world. All of us who are children of God have been set free and empowered in order to spread His glory all over the place. We are not all called to go overseas, but we are called to take His presence into the dark pockets of lost people in our world. Whether to your neighborhood or the nations, Christ in you is the hope of glory. Freely you have received; now freely give.”

R A N D Y W O L L F, P H D

is the academic dean and associate professor of Leadership Studies and Practical Theology at MB Seminary and the director of ACTS World Campus. This article originally published on MinistryLift.ca

PLANTING SEEDS OF HOPE IN WINNIPEG’S NORTH END ecently, a lady came by the church looking for prayer. We’ll call her Beth. A lay leader of one of the gangs (respected, but not a queen boss), Beth sent gang members to Living Word whenever they needed help. On that particular visit, Beth was distressed because of the violence taking over the gangs. The gangs, she told me, were intended to help young people overcome their depression. However, gang life has turned chaotic over the years, and the violence is overwhelming. So many of the young gang members are killing each other and dying. Concerned for the young people in her gang, Beth tried to look after a group of them in a house. She wanted to treat them to a barbeque supper but only had burgers. She didn’t have hamburger buns or side dishes, nor did she have a barbeque.

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She asked me if I could come down to barbeque their supper. With no other experienced pastor available to join me in this ministry, I was unwilling to barbeque supper at the house. However, I did offer to drop off food so that they could still have dinner together. I picked up some groceries, and a colleague and I went to the gang house to deliver it. Only Beth was there waiting for us when we arrived. I sat down and had a great conversation with her. Beth is a believer and wants her young gang members to find hope, which she recognizes can only truly come from Christ. I shared some Scripture with her and brought a handful of bibles for our house. One of the young gang members was excited when he saw the bibles. As Beth and I spoke, she expressed her vision to set up two

houses, one for men and one for women, where these young people could find stability in their lives. Though she wasn’t confident they’d leave street life, Beth wants to see them have a good life, a safe hopefilled life. Seeing this opportunity to bring the hope of the gospel to those without hope, I offered Beth our help in whatever she needed. God’s timing is incredible as Living Word has been dreaming of starting discipleship housing for men, women, and families. Here, Beth, a gang leader, had the vision. We have been praying for a breakthrough, and God is showing himself willing and able to accomplish all according to his will. J USTIN DUECK

Associate pastor, Living Word Temple (Winnipeg, Man.)

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Acknowledging his farm occupies land originally belonging to First Nations peoples, George Folz sought to build a relationship with Indigenous neighbours.

A harvest of rightness-ness hat I want,” said John Johnstone, “is to share the Good News, in a good way. Because it hasn’t been very good news, not for my people. Not even close.” As First Nations Ambassador for Multiply in Western Canada, John often reflects on the over 400 four hundred years of oppression of his people. He sees a lot of history, a lot of hurt, and a lot of walls. But he also sees a way forward. “I feel like Creator told me to dismantle those walls,” said John, “brick by brick. And then to use the bricks to build bridges. The relationship between our nations needs to be made right, made righteous. It needs to be put into … rightness-ness.” For years, John and his wife, Jenn, have been building bridges with two local First Nations communities through tangible acts of love. Among other initiatives, at Christmas they have partnered with various churches to prepare gift baskets for families on local reserves. However, last year, one church that usually participated was unexpectedly unable to help. Time was short, with Christmas only a week away. John sent out an urgent email to some of his friends and colleagues. Within days, he and Jenn were overwhelmed by the generous response. There was an extravagant outpouring of love in the gift baskets that came in. John’s call for help also sparked an unexpected and Spirit-led response in someone’s heart, which resulted in a transformational encounter with key members of one of the local First Nations communities. George Folz, a retired businessman, had read John’s email

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and sensed God moving his heart to do something to help. But what? How? After praying and pondering, George was reminded of some farmland that he owned, land that had historically belonged to First Nations peoples. “I have been growing garlic and kale on that land for years,” George said. “This last year was an exceptional harvest and brought in a good profit. I felt like I should somehow be acknowledging the land and acknowledging the First Nations people who historically stewarded it.” George contacted John and the two men prayed about how best to act on this conviction. Rather than just having George give money, John felt that it was important for him to personally engage with the people involved. “It would have been easy to just open up my wallet,” George said. “John showed me that God wanted to open up my heart.” John approached the First Nations community in question to set up a meeting on their land. One week later, John and George traveled to the edge of the land to pray, asking God to give them favor as they went into the meeting with two members of that community. “When we met, I started by sharing my story,” John said.


“It would have been easy to just open up my wallet,” George said. “John showed me that God wanted to open up my heart.”

“Story matters. Our past and where we come from is the root of who we are. So, I told them about being a First Nations kid who got caught up in the sixties scoop and then adopted out to a white family. I told them about getting into this Jesus thing, finding my birth family, wondering if it was even possible to be fully First Nations and fully a Jesus follower.” The two community members listened intently. Then John invited George to share his story. “I felt pretty ignorant,” George confessed. “I told them that I was still just learning about the history of First Nations and settlers, and that John was helping me to see how the brokenness between us needed to be healed before we could expect God to bless the land.” Going on to explain about his farmland and its harvest, George shared that he felt convicted by God to give back to their people from the profit that he had gained. Humbly, he asked the two community members to receive his gift, as a token of his gratitude to their people for generations of faithful stewardship. Then he held out an envelope, a bag of kale, and a huge garlic bulb. “One of them took the garlic,” George recalled, “and cradled it in his hands like he was holding a diamond. The other looked up at me and said, ‘This sort of thing never happens.’” Both members of this First Nations community showed profound respect for George’s gift, choosing to accept it as it had been intended, not as a transaction meant to appease a guilty conscience, but as a sincere expression of thankfulness. Then they gave a gift of their own. “You,” one of them said, pointing at John, “are a piece of

Lego. You connect two parts of a bridge, a bridge between our nations.” John was deeply moved. He had been told that before, but to hear his own people affirm this calling was powerful. “It was,” John remarked, “a good medicine day.” Both John and George left that encounter with a sense of awe at what God had done, and how a bond of community had been forged. “Heaven and earth got shaken up that day,” said John. “It was incredible. There is still a lot of building to do, and it hasn’t been easy to get to this space, but I believe that Creator is slowly bringing healing to the relationship between us.” Pray for a continuing harvest of rightness-ness, sown in peace by those who make peace (James 3:18). NIKKI WHITE

This article originally published in Multiply’s Witness magazine

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BUILDING COMMUNITY

STRESSED?

You weren’t called to do paperwork. We were. CCMBC Legacy Fund serves pastors and churches by helping with administration and finances to free you for ministry in your local communities. Here are some of the ways we can help: Accounting services Payroll services Pensions Benefits Mortgages Please let us know if you need help or support with any of these services. Our team is here for you.

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Finish lines

RUTH ELSIE (GRIEGER) REGEHR

Elsie gave her life to Jesus as a teenager. After business college, she worked as a bookkeeper at Canadian Co-operative Implements and General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC). She attended Pacific Bible Institute (now Fresno Pacific University), Fresno, Cal., for a year. While studying at MB Bible College, Winnipeg, she met the love of her life, John. They married and had four children. In 1966, they moved to Carman, Man., where John began his medical practice. Elsie was a stay-at-home mom who loved providing a godly, caring home. There was always room at the table and plenty of wonderful food. An avid gardener, she took special satisfaction when her yard won “Yard of the Month” for the town of Carman. Elsie devoted her time to her family, supporting their school and church activities. She volunteered as a Pioneer Girls club leader, ladies fellowship leader, Sunday school teacher, and choir member. Music was a big part of her life; she played piano at home while the family played their instruments. She lent her administrative and organizational skills to the school as president of the Band Booster Association. She made many lifelong friends in Carman and enjoyed their fellowship and support, remembering those good memories often. Elsie

Gif t s o f

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enjoyed many family camping trips to the Alberta Rockies and outings to local lakes. The family took two major trips: a road trip from Manitoba to California and a medical mission in the Dominican Republic. Elsie and John also visited Hawaii, Alaska, and Europe. After they moved to Calgary, she continued to enjoy gardening and trips to the mountains. Elsie suffered a cardiac arrest and underwent a successful open-heart surgery. God granted her 6 more years. With her changing health and John’s retirement, they relocated to an acreage in Abbotsford, B.C., to live with son Tim and Michele. Elsie’s health began to fail again, but she was granted one more grace from God. The family celebrated Elsie and John’s 60th anniversary Aug. 20–21, 2021. At 10 pm Aug. 21, she entered hospital and, after saying goodbye to each family member through the miracle of technology, Elsie died on their anniversary date. Birth: December 6, 1933 Birthplace: Winnipeg Death: August 26, 2021 Parents: Rudolf & Mathilda Grieger Married: John Regehr, Aug. 26, 1961 Family: John; children Tim (Michele), James (BettyAnn), Ron (Kathy), Janice (Jonathan) Bartley; 8 grandchildren; 2 greatgrandchildren; sisters Sina Fiks, Naomi (Walter) Dueck Church: Clearbrook MB, Abbotsford, B.C. Baptism: North End (now Elmwood) MB, Winnipeg, 1950, at Birds Hill

fort and m co

Delight your loved ones this Christmas by sharing God’s love with our global neighbours. Choose from gifts like goats, mosquito nets, clean water, books, and more.

Find more gift ideas online.

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ABRAM QUIRING Abe received his initial schooling in a one-room schoolhouse, and then his high school in Coaldale, Alta. Feeling the call to church ministry, he then attended MB Bible College for his postsecondary education. Upon graduation, he served his first church as pastor in Horndean, Man., followed by churches in Carman, Man., and Winnipeg; Virgil, Ont.; and finally, Calgary. After his time in Virgil, he also spent a few years in radio ministry with Mennonite Brethren Communications in Winnipeg. Abe spent 40 years in church ministry and relied on the strength and support of Anne through these years. Retirement from formal ministry allowed Abe and Anne to spend 6 months in a volunteer capacity at a church in Germany. Abe enjoyed his retirement years and was quite active in woodworking and restoring antique tractors. Abe participated in activities which his busy pastoral career hadn’t allowed. A memorable trip with some of his siblings took him back to Ukraine to see his mother’s birthplace. Birth: July 28, 1929 Birthplace: Namaka, Alta. Death: October 17, 2021 Parents: George & Anna Quiring Married: Anne, 1953 Family: Anne; children Ron (Betty), Ben (Donna), Judy Fitch (Garry); grandchildren Lisa Dyck (Matt), Traci Letkeman (Donovan), Jaron Fitch (Natascha), Ryan Quiring (Mary), Adrienne Perrin (Andrew); 9 great-grandchildren; siblings Alfred, Agatha, Bertha, Esther Church: Dalhousie, Calgary

O B I T UA R I E S H AV E LO N G B E E N A VA LU E D PA R T O F T H E M B H ER A LD. FR O M T H E F U N E R A L B U L L E T I N S , EU LO G I E S , A N D N E WS PA P E R O B IT UA R I E S YO U S EN D, O U R ED ITO RS C R A F T LIFE STORIES OF OUR MEMBERS TO INSPIRE A N D E N C O U R A G E O U R R E A D E R S , C R E AT I N G A MEMORIAL OF MB SAINTS. CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT AN OBITUARY

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LENA EDNA (GOERTZ) JANZEN Edna was the second child born in Canada to Mennonite refugees from South Russia, joining older siblings who had emigrated with their parents and grandparents under the auspices of Mennonite Central Committee. In 1936, the Goertz family moved to B.C., homesteading in the Coghlan area of the Fraser Valley. They moved into their first home in 1937 and were founding members of the United Mennonite Church. When a Bible school opened at Coghlan, Edna was in the first class, and found a personal relationship with Jesus there in 1941. She was baptized in 1943; church membership followed in 1945. She went on to high school in Langley Prairie, finishing in 1948. She met Eddie Janzen that summer at a baseball game; he was playing for a different church and took the girl who had heckled him out for an ice cream float after the game. Edna and Eddie married in the United Mennonite Church July 20, 1950. They moved to New Westminster for work, and later to Coquitlam to raise a family. They were long-time members of the Mountainview Mennonite Church (formerly Vancouver Mennonite Mission), founded for young couples like themselves who wanted to raise their children in the faith of their fathers, albeit in English. In later years, she was a member of Riverside Community Church, Port Coquitlam, B.C., pastored by her younger son and his wife. Edna was an accomplished homemaker, excelling in baking, cooking, and preserving, and delighting in motherhood. She was a Sunday school teacher for many years, and when the 100 Huntley Street TV program began showing in Vancouver, she became a telephone counsellor until she and Eddie retired. She was widowed in 2011. Edna was hospitalized for a stroke in late September 2020. A few weeks later, she suffered a second stroke, and went home to glory Oct. 25, 2020. Birth: February 20, 1928 Birthplace: Carstairs, Alta. Death: October 25, 2020 Married: Edward (Eddie) Janzen, July 20, 1950 [d. 2011] Family: sons Wayne, Terry (Ingrid); 3 grandchildren; 1 greatgrandson; sister Molly (Dave) Driediger Church: United Mennonite, Coghlan, B.C.; Mountainview Mennonite, Vancouver; Riverside, Port Coquitlam, B.C.


A moment in time

C R A N B E R R Y P O R TA G E , M A N I T O B A , 1 9 9 7 ( ? )

Winkler Bible Institute students playing broomball on a retreat at Simon House Bible Camp. Second from right is Ted Goossen, director of the camp. For more information on Winkler Bible Institute, visit cmbs.mennonitebrethren.ca Courtesy of the Mennonite Archival Information Database

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S U B S C R I B E T O M B H E R A L D D I G E S T W W W. M B H E R A L D . C O M / S U B S C R I B E -V I A - E M A I L