Winnipeg, Man.- There was a palpable sense of God moving in our hearts: it was life-changing and just a foretaste of what we believe is coming for Canada, said Montreal church planting couple, Chris and Yanci McGregor, in response to their experience at the national church planting retreat held in Quebec City, Oct. 31Nov. 3. The event, sponsored by the C2C Network, an initiative of the Canadian Conference of MB Churches (CCMBC), attracted 145 mostly MB planters from across the country for a time of rest and renewal.
It was very gratifying to see church planters from across Canada connect and encourage each other, said Gord Fleming, CCMBCs national church planting director. The times of sharing and prayer were powerful.
Throughout the four days, participants engaged in worship, led by recording artist Brian Doerksen, prayed together, and heard testimonies from church planting couples. Keynote speaker for the event was Jeff Vanderstelt, lead pastor of Soma Communities in Tacoma, Wash. He inspired church planters to be gospel-fluent, Spirit-led and mission-focused. If we fail to have the gospel as our language, the Spirit as our life, and the mission of God as our focus, weve missed what it means to be church, he said.
Participants were passionate in their response to the event.
Many church planters came in heavy-hearted and burdened, said Dennis Wilkinson, church planter from Vancouvers West End, but they were able to leave their burdens at the cross. We cried and laughed, prayed and worshipped, and enjoyed sweet, sweet fellowship it was a fantastic experience.
Every year, we are brought to tears by those who are in this battle together for the glory of Jesus, said the lead pastor of The Jesus Network in Toronto. Im so encouraged to be part of the larger MB family, and to see the MB conference embrace young men and women nationwide who are doing outreach and missional living in their communities.
Willy Reimer, executive director of CCMBC, was especially inspired by the many stories and testimonies from church planters. So many couples are following Jesus in faith and courage to reach Canada with the good news of Jesus Christ, he said. Im very excited about what God is doing in our country and very hopeful about the future of the church in Canada.
The retreat concluded with a prayer session, led by John Smed, senior pastor at Grace Vancouver Church, in Vancouver, B.C.
We are praying for great things in Canada, said Gord Fleming. We are asking the Lord for hundreds of church plants across our nation, particularly in our cities, and we are asking the Lord to pour out his Spirit on the bride in Canada so that we can advance the gospel across our land.
-a Canadian Conference of MB Churches news release