November 14 marks the end of my almost 3-year employment with MBCM as I choose to make a transition to full-time Pastoral Ministry. In 2019, I took a step in my journey of obedience and helped with a non-denominational Manitoba church plant: New City Church. For the last couple of years, I’ve been serving with the church part-time, and the time has come for me to make a more significant commitment and make my responsibilities there a primary focus.
I’ve spent the last few weeks repeating my pre-meditated response when the transition comes up in conversation with others: “I’m excited about this new opportunity but also extremely sad to be leaving”. A pre-packaged response feels necessary solely because I want to guard myself against the wave of emotions that come with the reality of leaving a community of people I’ve grown very fond of as well as people that have become very dear friends. Here are some of my reflections during this time.
When I reflect on my interactions and involvement with the greater MBCM community, and by that, I mean MBCM leaders, I’m drawn towards the first half of Ecclesiastes 4:9: Two are better than one. From my vantage point, this idea – that we are better off in a community – is so beautifully displayed in the ways that I’ve witnessed you care and love for each other.
I actually go back to my early days of employment when I had the opportunity to sit in on a Focus Ministry session, facilitated and led at the time by Gerald Dyck. I was so new to my position, my role at these sessions was to take notes, listen, observe and learn. I’ve been a part of church my entire life, but sitting in on these times of discernment and conversation in this context introduced me to a level of love and care within the church that feels rare. It was incredible to see how the church could navigate through some tough but necessary conversations to heal and discern a vision for how to stay on mission. Authentic love, humility, selflessness and a great sense of togetherness filled the room. Honestly, I had no personal association with any denomination or family of churches before MBCM. I was struck by how beneficial and valuable this belonging presented itself when it seemed to matter the most. Amazing.
As I switch gears and reflect on the connection with my previous and current MBCM co-workers (Amanda, Cam, Jason, Janelle, Gerald), I am filled with an extraordinary amount of gratitude. I love these guys. They are actually the best. No, seriously, they really are. You’ve met them. You know what I’m talking about. I had planned on writing some whole spiel about how I valued how we bonded over learning how to work together during the pandemic, but my fondness of these individuals goes so much much deeper than “work”. These are dear friends.
The kind of friends that have been the most incredible sources of strength, love and encouragement in seasons of my life where I thought I would not be able to keep it together. Friends that have taken the time to listen and then do more listening. The type of friends that have gone the extra mile on countless occasions. The kind of friends I’ve been able to lean on when I was struggling and unable to stand on my own. Friends that have extended grace and compassion in response to my weaknesses. Friends that have been a source of joy and a lot of laughter. Friends that have supported my creative endeavours. Friends that have shown up over and over again. Friends that have embodied in the truest sense what it means to share the love of Jesus. Friends that I’m going to miss so much. I once heard someone say, “ I know God loves me because of the people he allows to be a part of my life”. That essentially sums up what I’m trying to say.
Let me wrap this up by saying that I feel incredibly fortunate to have been a part of this MBCM community, and as I make this job transition, I can’t help think of how spoiled I am to have been accepted and welcomed in by each one of you reading this right now. Thank you. If I may leave you with a simple word of encouragement: please do not take for granted the love that is present within this family of churches and individuals. It can be easy to forget that belonging to a family such as this one is a privilege. Or at least, that’s been my experience.