Update on C2C & MB Mission Task Force

A first draft of the Terms of Reference has been prepared regarding the task force that combines the C2C Network and MB Mission.

The document will be finalized by the CCMBC Executive Board at their meetings in November.

Click here to read the C2C and MBmission Task Force Terms of Reference.

 

 

 

 

Grace Fellowship attendees sit on the most comfortable pews in town

Photo: Pastor Murray McLellan (left) stands with Clay Bitner, an elder candidate and church volunteer at Grace Fellowship. (Photo by Andrew Spearin, Bridges)

Nestled in the heart of downtown Saskatoon, Grace Fellowship is a Christian community intent on digging deeper into the transformational message of the gospel. On Sundays they meet in a local movie theatre, possibly sitting on the most comfortable pews in town. During the week, the church meets in small gospel community groups that bring Christians and non-Christians together to discuss tough issues, learn, and grow.“We’re trying to really reach out to people who are not church people, never grew up in church, non-Christians,” says head pastor Murray McLellan. “That’s my own background personally and the people who are dechurched is the other group we look at. People who have not been connected with a church but have some sort of background.”

McLellan tries to create a church atmosphere that allows people to ask tough questions, even encouraging listeners to text in questions during his sermons so he can answer them at the end. He also strives to create an environment that is not intimidating for the un-churched, which is part of the reason Grace Fellowship meets in a movie theatre. “It’s all about Jesus and the gospel, therefore we don’t have a separate message for unbelievers and one for believers,” says McLellan. “So we don’t have to distinguish and say ‘this is going to be evangelism Sunday’. In that sense every Sunday is gospel Sunday. That’s what melts my heart.”

Grace Fellowship works hard to distinguish between ‘religion’ and ‘gospel’ in the minds and hearts of the community. For many unchurched, including a young McLellan, ‘religion’ is a word which means rules, or the right ritual routine to be accepted by God. It gives a distorted view of God.

The good news of the gospel, by contrast, is motivating and transforming, wonderful and powerful.

Grace Fellowship and Pastor McLellan request prayer for:

  • Wisdom as they continue to grow and church leadership makes important decisions for the future.
  • New leaders to be raised up from within the gospel community groups.
  • “That the gospel keeps transforming our own hearts and minds, and that we never lose our awe …if we ever lose our awe of the gospel, then we’re in trouble” (Pastor McLellan)

Visit Grace Fellowship online at: www.gracesask.com.

Paul Esau is a communications intern with CCMBC and the MB Herald.

Passion flows at national church planter’s retreat

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

Centering the community in the church: Oshawa pastor inspires possibilities

By Jan Woltmann

The cataclysmic events of 9-11 marked a watershed moment for church culture in Oshawa, Ont. People literally walked away from church: in droves. According to a Statistics Canada report published in 2003, the city of Oshawa, located 45 km east of Toronto, experienced the largest drop-off rate in Protestant church attendance in Canada following the tragedy.

For Oshawa MB church planter and pastor Dave Fowler, the new reality created the opportunity to think differently about doing church.

“The original vision of the core group I started with some 14 years ago was to plant churches in schools to create a network of churches across the Durham region,” explains the veteran pastor who is partnered with two other denominations: the Baptist Convention of Ontario and Quebec, and the Christian Missionary Alliance in Canada. “After 9-11 we began exploring the notion of church as community centre – a community venue out of which a number of events, services, programs, organizations, and the church could all find a home – creating a true centre for the community.”

Life Point Church Harmony Creek Community Centre

The process of acquiring a piece of property for this purpose proved to be lengthy, rife with seemingly insurmountable setbacks, but prayer and perseverance prevailed.

On Sunday, Oct. 2, Life Point Church (formerly the Durham Church Network) held its first service in its renovated space, a United Church building that they converted into Harmony Creek Community Centre, located at one of the largest and busiest intersections in Oshawa. The service took the form of a breakfast club (an idea borrowed from several Quebec MB churches), featuring football legend, Michael “Pinball” Clemons. An estimated 300 people came to hear the professional athlete who is celebrated for his community involvement and his leadership both on and off the field.

Dave Fowler and Michael Clemons

As part of the opening festivities on Saturday, Oct. 1, Fowler invited community leaders from non-profit and charitable organizations to an all-expenses-paid, day-long leadership training event, sponsored by the Canadian Conference of MB Churches (CCMBC), and facilitated by stewardship representatives Robert Bell and Ben Wohlgemut (certified trainers with CCMBC’s Eagle’s Flight program). In 2009, Fowler and his leadership team experienced the benefits of such a seminar and resolved to offer it to community leaders who may not otherwise have the opportunity.

“The response to the day was overwhelmingly positive,” said Fowler. “I was thrilled to meet with people who are movers and shakers in various organizations, some of whom I’ve been working with for quite some time. It opened up new avenues of conversation for those who came to the breakfast club the next morning – that was our hope.”

For Bell and Wohlgemut, it was the first time they presented the Eagle’s Flight leadership material to a largely non-church group. Of the 26 attendees, more than two-thirds were leaders from the community.

“Life Point wants to reach their constituency for Christ,” said Wohlgemut, “and they’re doing so by providing leadership tools for people who are in secular organizations – they’re serving them by giving them very practical helps. That’s inspiring!”

To be sure, Life Point Church is realizing its dream of becoming the centre of Oshawa community life. The gymnasium, part of the existing structure, is already home to a dance school, a karate group, and several women’s fitness groups, and is converted to a “jumpzone” with inflatable playground units for community use on weekends. Renovations are underway to make room for a large daycare centre chain due to move in next month; a music school will be occupying a revamped balcony area; a professional event planner from the church will ensure that the facility is used for weddings, banquets, and concerts year-round. And more community agencies are expected to have an onsite presence in the future.

God is on the move in Oshawa. People are returning to church: in droves.

Bruxy Cavey featured speaker at Church Planter’s Training Day

Yesterday (Sept. 20), Gord Fleming, national director of church planting at the Canadian Conference of MB Churches (CCMBC), facilitated a day of teaching, prayer and connecting for a group of more than 150 B.C. church planters and pastors in Vancouver.

The event, the first of four province-wide gatherings sponsored by Church Planting BC for the 2011-2012 ministry year, featured guest speaker, Bruxy Cavey, teaching pastor at The Meeting House in Toronto, and his site leadership pastor, Paul Morris.

Training days of this kind are being planned for other provinces in the future as part of CCMBCs C2C national church planting strategy.