David Wiebe, Westwood Community Church
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers recently ended a Grey Cup drought of almost 30 years. Through that time, people stopped attending games or dropped season tickets. Not “Abby” my wife’s hair stylist! “Big Blue” was her team, no matter how they bungled things. She went to Calgary last fall and experienced the thrill of victory – finally – firsthand! She loved her team, thick and thin, and it spoke to me.
Our “home team” is MBCM, the Mennonite Brethren Church of Manitoba. But far above the sports analogy, it’s an ecclesiological – churchly – thing. Your local church, mine, and the other 40-odd local churches make up the Manitoba MB “Church” collectively.
The idea of the church is so rich, the New Testament writers used multiple analogies: family of God, temple, house, body of Christ, and so on. After the Reformation of the 1500s the church splintered into some 25,000 denominations today. So, it’s hard to visualize a unified church beyond our own local body.
But we’re foolish not to. We yearn for fellowship to gain strength and ideas. Look at the thousands of churches that joined Willow Creek Association, even “independent” local churches. So then, consider the strength that comes from being one church under a common theological Confession and a historic path of shared ministry.
MBCM has accomplished a great deal in its history of shared ministry. MBCI High school, Square One World Media, and CMU would not exist without the historic work of MBCM. Alumni of Winkler Bible Institute still impact at local and conference levels. Simonhouse Bible Camp and the “northern Manitoba” churches would not exist without MBCM. Our common Confession and its application led MBCM to affirm women in ministry leadership at the turn of the Millennium. We challenged CCMBC to take it on, resulting in the 2006 decision to open all church positions of leadership to gifted, called and affirmed women and men. These and more witnesses to the gospel are the product of our shared path as Mennonite Brethren in Manitoba.
“Abby” wore her Bomber pride (and love) on her sleeve. Can we be as proud of and committed to our provincial church-family? Do you love and pray for MBCM – and its spiritual leaders Jason, Cam, and Janelle? It’s a spiritual calling and will require deliberate choice to prioritize MBCM.
It took me awhile to learn to do that. We can do more together than alone.