Categories
Blog News Staff Stories

Pastoral Transitions

Pastoral Transitions

August 17, 2021

A note about transitions. 

We need pastors. Pastors are our teachers, our leaders, the ones who carry our burdens in ways that others can’t or won’t. They won’t reject us in our most revealing moments. They are endlessly hopeful, to the point that we tend to believe it must be the Holy Spirit, ‘cause ‘ain’t no one that optimistic in real life! They guide us to Jesus and inspire confidence that God is trustworthy and holy, worthy of all honor and glory.

Pastors aren’t forever. It’s a mantra that I’ve repeated for decades now. After almost 20 years of pastoral ministry, am I allowed to say decades? Probably not, but there you go. Pastors aren’t forever. However you might think about that statement, I’m sure we can agree that churches tend to live longer than the tenures of their pastors. And thus, transitions are a necessary part of church life. Pastoral transitions are a mixed bag, and if you’ve been around church for a little while, you know what I mean. Seeing a beloved figure leave can be heartbreaking; it can even feel like a betrayal. Many of us are profoundly affected by our pastors. Even when a transition is healthy, it’s tough. And then there are the times that healthy isn’t the word you would choose. The difficulty only ramps up.

The family of churches that make up the Mennonite Brethren Church of Manitoba have experienced many excellent and gifted pastors, and that continues to be the case. Below you will see a list of recent transitions and pastoral vacancies. That’s a list that represents a lot. There are churches, pastors and families on the move. A host of stories. All of us at the MBCM office appreciate the many ways that churches have invited us into their transitions. Connecting with staff and lead teams as they navigate transition is a privilege. Whether sitting with a search team as they navigate the next steps or visiting with a pastor contemplating retirement from ministry, these are precious and holy moments.

There are many stories, and I’d like to tell them all. But here are two.

Some stories about transitions 

Discerning and equipping pastors is a tough errand. We’ve been trying many approaches over the decades with varying degrees of success. Success is measured in terms of new pastors working in our churches. I admit that’s a limited scope of what success looks like, but that’s what we’re talking about today. Multiply Central Canada has implemented TREK to be one such lane of equipping and discerning. Kevin Dyck stepped away from his work as a chiropractor and stepped into TREK as a move of discernment. He also served as worship coordinator at Fort Garry MB. Through this discernment journey, Kevin heard God’s call to pastoral ministry grow. In July 2021, Kevin started as the lead pastor at La Salle Community Fellowship. What a great story of success! No pressure Kevin.

How would you feel if the pastor you loved went to a church up the road a ways? I don’t know about you, but I can see that being kinda tough. For the elder team at  The Meeting Place, this was a question they faced when John Neufeld accepted the role of lead pastor at Eastview Community Church. How were the people of TMP to think about this? TMP’s elder team sent Eastview’s leaders a letter. Don’t worry; it’s a good story! It was a letter of blessing. A communication of sisterly and brotherly love. A note that said John was a blessing to us, and we pray that he will be a blessing for you. I don’t know about you, but I get that warm and fuzzy Holy Spirit feeling inside when I see this kind of story.

Prayer

Would you please pray for our pastors? The ones that serve today. The ones that have departed and even the ones to come.

Pray also for our churches in transition. That God would grant wisdom and favor as they search for the next pastor.

*A special note of thank you to our retiring pastors. Gerry Harms, Bob Enns and Terry Sawatsky have lived full ministry lives. They have poured out for the sake of the church. As any pastor knows, it’s not always easy and fun. But, it’s always worth it. These three have served a worthy King. Thank you for spending so much of your lives for the benefit of the bride of Christ. May you each experience the words of Jesus, “well done, good and faithful servant.”

Departures

    • December 31, 2020 – Gerry Harms retired from pastoral ministry. Gerry served at Justice MB for 28? years.
    • June 30, 2021 – Bob Enns retired from pastoral ministry. Bob served at Community Fellowship Church at Newton for 7 Years.
    • June 30, 2021 – Terry Sawatsky retired from pastoral ministry. Terry served at Friends Community Church in Carman for 5 years.
    • June 30, 2021 – David Gibson resigned as lead pastor of Lakeview Community Church in Killarney. David has moved to B.C. to continue in pastoral ministry.
    • June 15, 2021 – John Neufeld resigned as lead pastor of The Meeting Place in Winnipeg. 

Arrivals

    • June 2021 – Joe Welty is the new pastor at Crossroads.
    • Rick Hill transitional pastor at Friends Community Church 
    • August 2021 – John Neufeld is the new lead pastor at Eastview Community Church in Winnipeg.
    • July 2021 – Kevin Dyck is the new lead pastor at La Salle Community Fellowship in La Salle.

Vacancies

    • Lead Pastor – Manitou Christian Fellowship in Manitou.
    • Lead Pastor – Lakeview Community Church in Killarney.
    • Lead Pastor – Justice Mennonite Brethren Church in Justice.
    • Lead Pastor – Community Fellowship Church in Newton.
    • Lead Pastor – The Meeting Place in Winnipeg.
    • Associate Pastor (Mandarin) – Winnipeg Chinese Church in Winnipeg
    • Associate Pastor (Youth and Family) – Community Fellowship Church in Newton.
Categories
Blog News Staff Stories

Say Hello to Liam!

Say Hello to Liam!

July 15, 2021

 

My name is Liam Bull. I’m a 23-year-old college student studying at Steinbach Bible College enrolled in the bachelor’s of Marketplace Ministry program. My home church is The Meeting Place, located in Winnipeg’s downtown core area. 

For the summer, I will be working with MBCM as a temporary hire, sorting through old files at the old office at 83 Henderson, moving said files to the current office at 1310 Taylor, and working with Jon Isaak to catalogue them and put them in the archives.

I have a big heart and passion for cross-cultural missions.  The majority of my missional experience was spent in Japan, serving with Multiply’s ACTION and TREK programs. I have an enormous passion for sharing the gospel with the Japanese people.  More recently, I have been experimenting with cross-cultural missions in the workplace at my part-time job at Superstore. I try to be intentional about showing and sharing the love of Christ to my colleagues, many of whom are or were newcomers to Canada.

Some of my other interests include reading and creative writing, studying the Japanese language and culture (as well as studying Mandarin and Punjabi languages), playing a board game or video game to relax, and spending time with friends and family as often as possible.

More Stories

Categories
Blog News Staff

One specific adjusment for churches

One specific adjusment for churches

j_dyck_2019_005

There’s an adjustment in our future. I know, that’s kind of like saying the sun will rise tomorrow. When it comes to church, adjustments are constant and never-ending. But I’ve been thinking about one particular change. I know most, if not all, of our churches have worked on this specific adjustment at one point or another. Some have made it a priority. Some churches have had great success, others less. Before I explain this adjustment that I’m alluding to, I’m going to make a few generalized observations.

 

Generalizing is risky. Something might be generally true, but not necessarily true. I don’t make this general observation with complete knowledge of every church, and I certainly could be wrong.


It’s my observation that we Christians have created environments in our churches that are most conducive to righteous people. I’m not entirely sure how or necessarily why we did this. I am sure it wasn’t intended. Well, at least in part, it wasn’t intended. Here’s what I think we did intend. We believed that following Jesus in the context of the church would produce growing disciples. And one way we marked a growing disciple was by their behaviour. Right behaviour became the litmus test for a growing Christian. Over time, showing the right behaviour and hiding bad behaviour became the reality that many of us experience in our churches.


Our pastors and leaders have faced the brunt of this culture. None of this was for a silly reason, we have a Biblical understanding that fuelled our culture. Paul, in his first letter to Timothy, talked about what a pastor and elder needed to look like. Without fault, sober, modest, honest, hospitable, gentle, peaceable, generous, good parents, humble, reputable. You know, perfect. And somewhere along the way, we decided that not just our leaders should be held to this standard, but rather that every person should be pressed into this mould. Or at least look like they fit the mould.


Maybe you’ve had a similar experience in church life, perhaps you’ve had a very different one. Indulge one more generalized observation. Due to the landscape I’ve described above, we Christians have been receptive to sinners. Well, we’ve been receptive to one kind of sinner. We welcome and invite the person who realizes their sin, repents of their sin, and walks away from their sin in a reasonable amount of time. You’d be right to observe that this seems problematic, but the challenge goes deeper. We care about some sin more than others. In my observation, we ignore a lot and pay attention to a little.


Here’s what I mean. I’m rarely hungry. I used to think it was a nice feeling to be hungry; it created anticipation for food. But that rarely happens anymore. I have so much, I don’t need anything, and I think I indulge too often. Why do I ignore that this might be sin? I enjoy Star Wars and superhero movies. There’s a significant amount of violence in this form of entertainment. And yet it doesn’t even register that the violence depicted might work counter to the teaching of Jesus. Is that sin? My honest answer is that I don’t know. I’m not certain. I think there are a lot of pretty indulgent dynamics in our day to day lives that we simply skip over, don’t consider and certainly don’t think are sin. Maybe because they are part of our lives, and we don’t want to let them go?


And then there’s the sin that seems so easily identifiable as sin, probably because we see it in another person. Greedy people aren’t too hard to spot unless it’s me. Thieves, not too many of us, feel bad about a thief getting what they deserve. Our home was recently the subject of a break-in. It happened in the night while we were sleeping. Three men were caught on tape, wandering our neighbourhood, and they entered our home. What do I think of such people? What do you think? What do I think about the police officer who came to investigate? Do I think she is a sinner because of her choice to engage in violence? I know I’m thankful for her attention to our vulnerability. What about people who have convictions that differ from mine? Must they come over to my way of understanding to remove the sin in their lives? I don’t presume to know the right answers to these questions.


Here is something of which I am convinced. The church must be for sinners. In a significant irony, the church has always been for sinners, because that’s who I am. And this is the adjustment I am convinced we need to make. It must be possible for sinners to be included and cared for in our churches. Even if they don’t know their sin. Because I sure don’t know some of my sins. Now someone will immediately be concerned that I’m suggesting some sort of positional adjustment. Not at all! I don’t think we need to make a theological adjustment. Our confession is a shared conviction on which we can stand and remain confident. I believe we need an ecclesiological adjustment for a missiological purpose. We need to adjust our church practice so that sinners can be baptized and become disciples. Because Jesus came into the world to save sinners, and I am the biggest sinner of all.


I could stop there, and maybe I should, but I won’t. I can hear the objection. Shouldn’t believers who follow Jesus recognize their sin and walk away from it? Isn’t righteous living an outcome of a Jesus follower? Yes, I think so. But I’m concerned that we lack patience with the Holy Spirit. I’m worried that we might not always be as right as we believe we are.


I was recently reminded of the story Jesus told about weeds. For the sake of Jesus’ story in Matthew 13, the weeds are those among us who reject Jesus. My understanding of Jesus’ teaching here is that it’s not our job to root these folks out. That’s His job. I’m concerned about our ability to effectively accomplish a task that Jesus reserves for angels. You might have a different understanding, I could be wrong.


I am certain of this. I don’t know how to make this adjustment. But I think you do. I believe that God has equipped the people of MBCM to adjust our church experiences so that every human is welcomed, cared for, included and invited to the person of Jesus. So let’s pray and listen. Let’s talk to each other and learn. Let’s try things and survive a failure now and then. Let’s love Jesus and trust the Holy Spirit. You are God’s people, and I’m privileged to be a part.


Jason Dyck – Director of Church Ministries

Categories
Blog News Staff

Get to know Jason Dyck with 10 questions!

What are you reading right now?
I love insight, and I find books to be a great source. Books I am currently reading are: Paul and Gender by Cynthia Westfall for the second time, Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes by Richards and O’Brien, and A Preliminary Look at Flourishing Congregations in Canada by Thiessen, Wong, McAlpine and Walker.

If you could pick up a new skill in an instant what would it be?
Hmm, so many. The ability to sing at a professional level.

Who’s someone you really admire?
Andy Stanley in the areas of leading and communicating. And because I think he’s becoming anabaptist.

Favorite quotes?
“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them become what they are capable of becoming.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

What was your favorite band 10 years ago?
Tobymac

What’s something you want to do in the next year that you’ve never done before?
I stared at this question for a while wondering why I don’t have an answer. I think the things I want to do are all things I’ve done before. Maybe the thing I need to do is consider new things to do. I’ll go with that.          

What’s your favorite place you’ve ever visited?
Anywhere I can find Karina. I found her at the Grand Canyon a couple of times. That first glimpse of the Grand Canyon is a moment that kind of stunned me, it’s full of awe.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard?
Spend your capacity (time, resources, ability, affection, etc) on and for the benefit of another person. This is submission.

How do you like your eggs?
Over medium.

What’s your favorite breakfast cereal?
Whatever the kids haven’t finished.


Contact Info: jason@mbcm.ca / 204-654-5760

Categories
Blog Staff

Get to know Cam Priebe with 10 questions!

What are you reading right now?
Our supper and study group is going through the Gospel of Luke right now.  I just finished re-reading Faithful Presence by David Fitch. Starting to read The first 90 days, by Michael Watkins (because it is my first 90 days 😊 ) Also, I read Ephesians on a regular basis, just because.

If you could pick up a new skill in an instant what would it be?
Playing the guitar as good as my son!

Who’s someone you really admire?
I had the privilege of having breakfast meetings with Henry Schmidt (past president of Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary) during my time at the seminary in Fresno, California. I remember well his authenticity and willingness to share the joys and struggles of leadership. He also had a way of celebrating how God’s grace is real and evident in his life.

I also experienced and observed him believing in younger leaders, praying for them, encouraging them, and cheering them along the way. 

Got any favorite quotes?
“Jesus’ goal for his followers is never just a life without obvious sin, but a life filled with genuine love.” – Bruxy Cavey  

“We often judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behaviour” – Stephen Covey. 

What was your favorite band 10 years ago?
U2

What’s something you want to do in the next year that you’ve never done before?
Catch a fish. I am seriously fishing challenged! I really enjoy being together with other people and I’m really good at casting, but I’m horrible at actually catching fish.

What’s your favorite place you’ve ever visited?
The beach at San Simeon Bay in California. I love the ocean, and we spent many Saturday’s with friends at that small rather out of the way beach. The memories made together are so good! 

What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard?
“Be gracious with yourself Cam!” 

How do you like your eggs?
Over medium or scrambled. 

What’s your favorite breakfast cereal?
Fruit loops, simply for health reasons.  


Contact Info: cam@mbcm.ca / 204-654-5775

Categories
Blog Staff

Get to know Amanda with 10 questions!

What are you reading right now?
Under the Predictable Plant – Eugene Peterson & Beyond Incarceration:  Safety and True Criminal Justice – Paul Mallea

If you could pick up a new skill in an instant what would it be?
Juggling Anything.  Public Speaking.  Song Writing

Who’s someone you really admire?
Matte Downey for her love of theology and justice and for her eccentric behaviour and Greta Thunberg for her courage to call us out of our apathy.      

Got any favorite quotes?
“People say that nothing is impossible, but I do nothing everyday.  Doing nothing often leads to the very best of something.”  – Winnie the Pooh

What was your favorite band 10 years ago?
Bob Dylan, Ryan Adams, James Taylor, 

What’s something you want to do in the next year that you’ve never done before?
Paraglide!  

What’s your favorite place you’ve ever visited?
A little island in Dogtooth Lake, Ontario & a small field of milkweed along the Assiniboine River.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard?
Go slower.

How do you like your eggs?
Over easy or poached medium

What’s your favorite breakfast cereal?
Sugar Crisp or maybe Fruit Loops


Contact Info: amanda@mbcm.ca / 204-654-5779

Categories
Blog Staff

Get to know Bomba with 10 questions!

What are you reading right now?
The way of the warrior – Erwin Mcmanus
Letters to the church – Francis Chan
King Raven Trilogy – Stephen R. Lawhead

If you could pick up a new skill in an instant what would it be?
Singing, playing drums and drawing.

Who’s someone you really admire?
Michael Todd, pastor at Transformation Church. I really appreciate his approach of authenticity and transparency when sharing what God is speaking.

Got any favorite quotes?
“I’ll play the background, like it’s an instrument”  – Lecrae

What was your favorite band 10 years ago?
Michael W Smith, One Republic

What’s something you want to do in the next year that you’ve never done before?
Attend an Alicia Keys concert!  

What’s your favorite place you’ve ever visited?
Vancouver, BC

What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard?
Decide how to spend your time before everyone else decides how to spend it for you.

How do you like your eggs?
Sunny side up.

What’s your favorite breakfast cereal?
Frosted Flakes with warm milk!