At the end of every year, I get together with a group of friends and we discuss our favourite music that came out in the previous 12 months. As a starting point for the discussion, each of us creates a list of our 10 favourite albums of the year.
When we began this music night many years ago, I was tempted to come up with an objective list of the Top Ten Best Albums of the Year. It would be a definitive list of the undeniably best music released in all of the world.
I soon realized my naïveté. Just because I think the latest record by California art-metal iconoclasts Deftones is the best thing I heard in 2016 doesn’t mean I can convince a classical music fan that it’s better than anything she’s heard.
What does this have to do with Canadian Mennonite? I mention it because the feature article in this issue consists of a list. In this case, it’s a list of 10 people who are 30 years old or younger who are making a difference in their community.
This past fall, we put out a call to readers. We wanted to hear about the young adults who are making a difference in your community, the emerging Mennonite leaders from across Canada who care about and support the church.
When I first pitched the idea for the feature to my editors, part of me thought that this feature would end up being the Top 10 Best Young Mennonites in Canada Right Now. Much like I have been tempted to do in the past with my annual list of favourite albums, I somehow thought I could come up with a definitive, ranked list of people who are objectively the best young Mennonites in Canada today. I imagined this list being populated by young people doing extraordinary things, that it would perhaps feature the Mennonite equivalents of Mark Zuckerberg and Kanye West.
In reality, the 10 people included in this issue’s feature article are extremely ordinary, and they would be the first to tell you so. They are everyday people using their gifts and talents to live out their faith in Jesus Christ.
Ironically, the fact that everyone on our list is extremely ordinary is what makes the feature special for me. It reminds me that if you really want to make a difference in the world, you have to start small. It also reminds me that all of us—not just a select few who we deem as somehow extraordinary—have a part to play in God’s kingdom.
So why highlight the 10 people you will read about in this issue? According to our mission statement, “Canadian Mennonite exists to educate, inspire, inform and foster dialogue on issues facing Mennonites in Canada as it shares the good news of Jesus Christ from an Anabaptist perspective.”
It is my hope that our “10 under 30” list on page 4 will educate, inform and inspire you by exposing you to some bright young people you may not have heard of before. And, like the lists my friends and I share about our favourite music, I also hope this feature gets you talking with your friends and family about the bright young people from MC Canada who would be on your list.
If you think of some people doing good work, be sure to let us know.
Farewell and welcome
We say farewell to Phil Wagler with his “Outside the Box” column in this issue, and welcome his successor, Ryan Jantzi.
Phil has cajoled, challenged and sometimes chastised his readers over the past 12 years. We will miss the energy of his writing and the sometimes prophetic thread of his thoughts, and wish him well as he continues his ministry to our wider Anabaptist family among our cousins, the Mennonite Brethren. (Read Phil’s last column: “Strengthen what remains.”)
At the same time we welcome his successor, Ryan Jantzi, in a yet-unnamed column in the upcoming Feb. 13, 2017, edition. Ryan is a pastor with Kingsfield-Zurich Mennonite Church in Ontario. He and his wife Brittany are the parents of three, with one on the way. Ryan previously enjoyed five years leading bi-vocationally with a church plant, Kingsfield-Clinton. He holds a master of divinity degree from Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary at Trinity Western University, Langley, B.C., and is particularly fascinated with how both traditional and new expressions of church can work together to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.
—Dick Benner, editor/publisher