Once upon a time, around 35 years ago, God brought into the world some new people. These people have grown up to love Jesus and follow him with all of their lives. They have also responded to the impulse of the Holy Spirit and God’s call to serve as leaders in the church. Some of them are pastors. Some are people just interested in making a difference in our world in Jesus-shaped ways. Most of these thirty-five-somethings are busy trying to make life work in this very expensive place in the world known as the Lower Mainland of British Columbia.
Many are married with children and work two or three jobs. They are willing to do stuff for the church, but they can’t see themselves sitting on a committee for a three-year term that can be up to three terms, for a possible total of nine years. They can see themselves being on a task group for a very specific ministry opportunity with an end date in mind.
We need to take a look at ideas and questions for Mennonite Church British Columbia that may result in these kinds of ministry opportunities. Is the committee culture of the way we engage in the work of MC B.C. becoming a thing of the past? Is there a future for committees? Can we imagine a different way of engaging that does not mean long-term involvement on a committee? Can the next generation of leaders see themselves being involved in short-term, issue-specific initiatives to achieve a specific goal or outcome?
Some areas of MC B.C.’s vision and purpose that have been identified are:
- Discerning, nurturing and forming the church from an Anabaptist perspective.
- Engaging in service and missional initiatives, including peace and justice.
- Connecting congregations to foster viable communities of faith.
Can these younger leaders see themselves getting involved in any of these areas of interest by taking part in a task force or focus group that works on specific issues or ministries? From my conversations with some of these folks in our MC B.C. congregations, it seems that the answer is “yes.”
Given that many activities have budgets attached to them and require accountability, which until now have been addressed by committees, how do we feel the accountability issue can be addressed in a new structure that is not focused on committees? Is there still a need for a committee to process budgeted activities, or how can it be done?
We’ve been thinking a lot about meaningful, task-oriented, time-limited engagement that may seem doable for our next generation of MC B.C. ministry. We had a lot of good conversation around theology, missiology and practical involvement this past year. And we’re not done yet. What do you think?
Garry Janzen is MC B.C.’s executive minister. This column is taken from his address at the regional church’s recent annual general meeting.