Opinion

A collaborative leadership approach

"For Jesus... There would be no hierarchy, no coercive power, no one person ruling over and above another person. His model is mutual, shared leadership under one Lord." (Image by rawpixel/Pixabay)

We have a lot of pastoral transitions happening at the moment in Mennonite Church British Columbia. It is a time that has given me pause to think about how we do church ministry and what our pastoral ministry positions look like.

‘Camps make church come alive’

Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe, left, with campers from her cabin at Camp Koinonia’s youth week. (Photo by Darryl Neustaedter Barg)

Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe, centre, with fellow Camps with Meaning staffers Matthew Sawatzky and Emma Berg. (Photo courtesy of Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe, right, with camper Carlynn Davidson at Camp Koinonia’s youth week. (Photo by Darryl Neustaedter Barg)

It’s 10:30 on a sunny August morning and the lodge at Camp Koinonia, near Boissevain, Man., is bursting with shouts and harmonies. People dance and laugh together. The group radiates energy.

If the church is the body, then camp is the heart that pumps life into every corner.

Valaqua: A place where people express God’s love

"Conversations about God, Jesus, love, life and other big topics are abundant" at Camp Valaqua, Michael Taves writes. (Photo courtesy of Facebook)

I have worked at Camp Valaqua for a total of six summers, and this summer I am back on staff after being away for a few years.

Valaqua is a place where I learned many things. It was my first job. I learned how to work with a large group of people cooperatively. Valaqua is a very isolated place, so I got a taste for what it is like to live in close community.

Creating a wardrobe to match your values

Elise Epp’s sneakers are ethically and sustainably made and sourced. (Photo by Elise Epp)

Elise Epp’s socks are made of certified organic cotton. (Photo by Elise Epp)

Elise Epp’s shirt, jeans and shoes are ethically and sustainably made and sourced. (Photo by Krista Hawryluk)

If you wear clothes, then you need to care about how they were made and who made them. Even if you aren’t interested in “fashion.” Even if it means giving up your favourite stores and finding new ones. Even if you think it won’t be available in your budget, style, or size (it is). 

How do you get over these hurdles? Connect it with something you’re already passionate about.

The most important word

"With" may be the most important word in the Christian faith, Sam Wells argues in his book, "Incarnational Ministry." (Photo courtesy of stmartin-in-the-fields.org)

“With” may be the most important word in the Christian faith. So argues Sam Wells, an Anglican priest-theologian, in Incarnational Ministry, a book about being with the church.

The divine flame

"If the fire in your heart is out, pay attention to this deeper flame of God within you by spending lots of time in spacious prayer." (Image by Elias_S/Pixabay)

The song “Wonderwall” by Oasis came on the radio. I was about to change the station when these lyrics hit me, “Backbeat, the word is on the street that the fire in your heart is out.”

There are many fires that burn in one’s heart over a lifetime:

Igniting flames of hope in the midst of ending

(Photo by June Miller)

MW Canada members vote to dissolve the organization and turn the assets over to the five regional churches for future women’s ministries. (Photo by June Miller)

(Photo by June Miller)

Susan Martens Kehler (Photo by June Miller)

Elsie Rempel, left, and Shirley Redekop pack up MW Canada’s logo following the meeting to dissolve the organization at MC Canada’s Gathering 2019 in Abbotsford, B.C., on June 30. (Photo by June Miller)

On June 30, at our annual general meeting in Abbotsford, B.C., Mennonite Women Canada elected to dissolve our nationwide ministry for the purpose of releasing energy and assets to the regional churches so that they can grow stronger in their ministry with and through women within their contexts.

Leon’s ‘fifth step’ to sobriety

“Step 5 is a time when they acknowledge [their] transgressions to God and to one other person. Frequently, I am the one other person.” (Image by Free-Photos/Pixabay)

Throughout my years of ministry, being involved in the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step program has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my work. No, I am not an addict. But at times I’m called on to help addicts through their “fifth step.”

Two big surprises, two big questions

An encounter with the Stanley Cup led columnist Troy Watson (right, kneeling) to wonder: "What do I ‘live out loud’ to my neighbours and the people at places I frequent?"

Recently, a Kubota utility vehicle pulled into my driveway where my sons and their friends were playing hockey. Out popped Tim Taylor, a former NHL player and two-time Stanley Cup champion, holding the Stanley Cup. He put it in the middle of our driveway where we all took turns touching it, kissing it and drinking from it.

Things I noticed at Gathering 2019

Members of the worship team lead the singing at Gathering 2019. (Photo by Jane Grunau)

I didn’t used to get nervous leading singing. There were times before leading at Mennonite Church Canada’s Gathering 2019 when I was nervous. I was less nervous leading 6,500 youth and sponsors at the St. Louis ’99 Youth Convention than some points before leading a few hundred in Abbotsford, B.C., last month.

Centennial celebration

Photo: Mennonite Heritage Archives / Lawrence Klippenstein photo collection

New Canadian initiatives around multiculturalism in the 1970s—celebrating anniversaries like Canada’s centennial in 1967, Manitoba’s in 1970, and the arrival of Mennonites in Manitoba in 1974—created a new energy and appreciation for history in Canada. During these years, the Mennonite Heritage Centre and the Archives of Ontario hired permanent staff.

Walking with youth toward a fearless faith

At a youth ministry visioning event in April, MCEC participants explored new possibilities for walking with youth “towards a fearless faith in Christ Jesus.”

It is difficult to know what the future holds for youth ministry within Mennonite churches in Canada. Change is happening fast for some churches as they experience more immediate declines in the number of youth and children in their congregations.

7 digital tools for discipleship

Digital tools harness the technology we already have at our fingertips and they invite the Holy Spirit to continue guiding us on the road of discipleship. (Image by Karolina Grabowska/Pixabay)

With mobile phones, tablets and desktop computers within easy reach, Christians have many ways in which to learn, ponder their beliefs and strengthen their faith. Here are some ways you can cultivate your digital discipleship.

 

From darkness to light

Thousands of Indian people are placing their faith and trust in Jesus and being baptized daily, including Muthulakshmi, Selvi and Evangeline. (Photo courtesy of Paul Phinehas)

No matter how many times you visit India, the overcrowded cities, hazy air and animal-people-vehicle-jammed streets of this country with more than 1.3 billion people are an assault to your physical senses and inner spirit.

Building resource connections

CommonWord is partnering with Herald Press to make 'The Bible Unwrapped' available for small-group study at a discounted price. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

CommonWord is just over four years old. In that short time we have doubled our sales (reaching more than 10,000 retail customers last year), more than doubled the number of website users, and have continued to circulate half of our loan materials outside Manitoba—and increasingly to people outside our immediate Mennonite Church Canada and Canadian Mennonite University communities.

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