Starting strong

December 24, 2014 | Viewpoints | Number 1
Dave Bergen |

Early in the new year many congregations hold their annual general meetings. This is often the time when various leadership positions and volunteer roles are confirmed. But how many congregations provide an orientation to their new committee members? How do they learn about their church’s ministries and the wide reach of these good works? And where would they begin to find the material to help them?

Introducing Mennonite Church Canada’s monthly “Equipping” package to new committee members is one great way to connect them to the ministry and many rich resources offered by the national church of which they are a part. These are designed to help strengthen, inform and equip leaders in local congregations. “Equipping” points leaders to resources that support and enrich church councils, Sunday school teachers, lay leaders, worship leaders, music teams and pastors in their roles; provides up-to-date information on international ministry; and makes leaders aware of the best and latest worship and study materials, curricula, DVDs and seasonal resources.

The other obvious way to equip leaders is to acquaint them with CommonWord Bookstore and Resource Centre (www.commonword.ca). CommonWord is a new collaboration of MC Canada and Canadian Mennonite University, and brings together the ministry of each into a single, unified service to equip the church more effectively. Through CommonWord, MC Canada offers more than 11,000 books, DVDs and more for loan, sale, download or link. CommonWord holds materials in more than 25 languages, its website is easy to navigate, and it offers an informative tutorial for first-time visitors. CommonWord holds the most extensive catalogue of curated Anabaptist re-sources in Canada.

As 2015 begins, several recent resources bear special mention:

  • “Begin Anew” by Palmer Becker is a brand new, accessible discipleship training tool for new Christians available in English and Spanish.
  • “Creation Care Primer for Churches” by Joanne Moyer, is a resource guide for congregations that are eager to learn how to live faithfully on God’s good earth.
  • “The Church Staff Handbook” from Faith Alive Christian Resources can help church staff and leadership teams, as well as those who hire and supervise them, build a better and more focussed ministry.
  • To help build healthy church processes, there’s “The Art of Agreement: Good Committee Process for God’s People,” by Mark Vincent.
  • Remember that your area church may have resources and services that can help. MC Eastern Canada offers “Church Office in a Box,” and MC Saskatchewan provides the “Congregational Leaders’ Handbook.”

As 2015 begins, start strong by equipping and orienting your leaders for the ministry to which they have been called.

Dave Bergen is MC Canada’s formation executive minister and chief administrative officer.

—Posted Jan. 2, 2015

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