Thinking Right-Side Up

By Cailey Morgan

A New Identity
In the apostle Peter’s beautiful letter to the church scattered throughout Asia minor, he presents a sometimes-poetic, sometimes-stark picture of the diverse and persecuted people of God as the new Israel: God’s family. Christians are the new children of Abraham, the new temple, the new priesthood. It’s a new way to live—a life direction opposite to the Roman culture they lived in.

If you’ve got 8 minutes, check out this visual walk-through of 1 Peter below to see how all these Old Testament pieces fit together with Peter’s New Testament definition of the church:

We can quickly find parallels between our context in 21st-century Canada and that of the God’s people in Peter’s time, not to mention the transient and exilic days of the Israelites, as Ontario author Lee Beach writes in The Church In Exile. So as you read this verse, picture yourself, surrounded by your congregation, when you hear the word “you” in Peter’s statement here:

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9). 

You have been called out of darkness and into light—an absolutely opposite experience from the life you used to have. And being this holy nation together not only shows up in the language we choose to employ or the “bad things” we try not to do, although that’s part of it (as a witness to God’s glory, 1 Peter 2:11-12).

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In His Kingdom, the last shall be first. In His Kingdom, there’s a new definition of success. In His Kingdom, the way we treat people is transformed. Power is perfected in weakness.

Right-Side-Right Right Here, Right Now
Some of this right-side-right thinking will come up against global power and cultural influence: Peter calls Rome “Babylon” in his letter in recognition of the pervasive, abusive corruption of political and military power throughout history. But foremost, right now, the way of Jesus confronts insignificant me and little old you. It confronts the root of pride I carry, and that hidden anger cycle in your heart, and that nasty little “me first” impulse that pops up seemingly before we can stop it and pulls our minds into making decisions that leave us with the credit and someone else with the suffering.

Living in the way of Jesus is something we simply can’t do on our own. We can’t see rightly without His lenses; we can’t think rightly without His thoughts; we can’t live rightly without His Spirit.

When His Kingdom comes in full, we’ll finally grow into the holy and beautiful Bride Christ is inviting us to be. But until that day, we pray “Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” And when we say those words, we’re asking the Lord to flip us right around, and give us the humility and the perspective to join Him in making the world around us more like heaven.

These next articles will be a study in opposites: how the Kingdom-of-God definitions of power and congregational success and leadership and conflict resolution contrast what we see around us (and even what we see in our own hearts), but how these ways of Jesus are in fact the key to being the chosen people and holy nation that we’ve been striving to become all along. I pray that you will see your identity as God’s set-apart sons and daughters and your life’s mission to “declare the praises of Him who called you” in every situation, every day.

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The Transition: Instead of “Fell Swoops”

By Cailey Morgan

Over the past several weeks on the blog we’ve been gleaning wisdom from a church that took on the monumental task of transitioning towards a more missional culture in their church family. We learned how easy it is to fall into the trap of casting big vision without the daily practices through which to live out that vision, and that we must guard against letting our earnestness to purge consumerism from our congregation end up destroying our disciples instead of building them up. Transitioning is hard.

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And in fact, our role of supporting you as you engage in whatever the next steps are for discipleship and mission in your context is just as difficult, because each church family, each neighbourhood, each leadership team will face individualized challenges and have specific strengths. But here’s what we can offer:

1. Contact us if you could use some help in discerning and stepping into the next season of health and growth for your congregation. Sam Breakey, CBWC’s Church Health strategist,  is here to work with you to facilitate a tailored Church Health Engagement process for your church. Your Regional Minister is just a phone call away and can provide more geographically-contextualized support. And of course Shannon Youell here in Church Planting is a wealth of insight and would love to offer everything from prayer to book recommendations to opportunities to engage in church planting partnerships or new initiatives.

2. Check out these resources you may find helpful:

  • Saturate the World (the blog where we’ve been sending you to read about the Austin Stone transition to missional) has a helpful article series on transitioning.
  • David Fitch, author of Faithful Presence ad our keynote speaker at Banff last fall, has written a helpful article on how to get started with reshaping expectations in your congregation (and if you haven’t read Faithful Presence, I highly recommend it!).
  • Scot McKnight says this in Renovation of the Church: “Jesus issues a high call to all those who are his followers. We take up our cross and follow him. It is daily death. We keep in step with God’s Spirit. We engage in the challenging work of putting on the new self. We decrease so he can increase. We live in the name of Jesus. This is not a calling for the elite few. It is the normative way of apprenticeship to Jesus.” You can read a review of the book here, and we’re also offering a free copy of the book to the first person who would like to read it and write their own review for us here on our Church Planting blog. Contact me via email if you’re interested (cmorgan@cbwc.ca).
  • And our friends at Forge Canada Missional Training Network are offering two-day Into the Neighbourhood workshops in both Edmonton and Vancouver this fall. Forge’s events are designed to evoke and equip, so we’d recommend bringing a cohort of your church leaders to engage in deeper discussion together about your particular church context and what movement forward could mean for you.

We all experience growing pains as we mature as disciples. My prayer is that you and your churches would be stretched and formed into by the Potter’s hands into who and what brings Him glory in your community.

Course-correction around Consumerism

By Shannon Youell

“In our attempts to avoid catering to consumerism, we forgot to love consumers.”

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The past two weeks we have been diving into the story and journey of Austin Stone Community Church, that tried and initially failed to reshape their church culture to a missional culture based on what the author calls “three cardinal sins.”

First: We Assumed the Gospel
Second: We Cast Vision without Practices

These are humble and transparent leaders, who share with us the places where they had to make course corrections so they could continue the hard work of changing their culture. Their experiences are timely wisdom for all of us who desire to see our worship communities become families of disciples who are missionaries in our own local places and spaces.

Their pain and insight and subsequent stories of how they corrected course and successfully engage as missional communities offers us great help and understanding in our own missional work in our own communities.

Here’s number three: We Didn’t Love Consumers

 

The Gospel According To…

By Shannon Youell

In the first blog of Killing Missional Culture, Todd Engstrom revealed the first revelation their leadership had in how they approached shifting the culture of their church to a more missional ethos. He wrote about assuming the gospel from the position that many Christians today fumble awkwardly around when asked to define the gospel. We’ve written about the importance of not assuming that our language is understood and interpreted in the same way–even among the folk in a single congregation.

I have asked groups on many occasions to define the gospel for me. The responses generally range from the gospel is about Jesus dying on the cross and when we believe in him we get to live with him forever after we die (an accurate but partial definition), to the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (again the gospel is found in those books but are not the gospel themselves).

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But here was our problem: We spent so much time thinking about where we wanted to go that we forgot where our people were.

Often in our zeal and passion to follow Jesus onto the mission field, we forget where we currently sit.  This is where the hard work begins.  Going somewhere without our people is not a good demonstration of the gospel!

In Part two, “Casting Vision Without Practice,” Todd explains this pitfall further.  Congregations are the people who gather, therefore we must disciple our congregations carefully, gracefully and lovingly towards any kind of culture shift by helping them shape their lives around Jesus and God’s mission, not by leaving them in the dust!

Failures in Disguise

By Shannon Youell

The North American church is filled with passionate Jesus-following people. These people desire to join God at work in revealing the Kingdom among us through the message of Jesus our Savior AND our Lord–to realize the redemptive, restoration of community relationships: God to human and humans to humans.

Because we are humans, our best attempts can fail. And sometimes, our successes are failures in disguise when it comes to reproducible practices of disciples who make disciples who make disciples.

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We all love the success stories because we want to be one, but the reality is that because mission is contextual and cultural, methodologies are only replicable in like contexts and cultures.  Often, though, it is the stories of those who tried and failed that help us the most when it comes to our own missional work in our own communities.

For the next three weeks we will be re-posting a series aptly titled Killing Missional Culture. 

In reading this blog we were impressed with the honesty and insight that these leaders demonstrate. Each post is applicable to our ongoing discussions about creating a discipleship culture both within our existing congregations and our new expressions of gathered community.

3 Ways We Killed a Missional Culture 

  1. First, We Assumed the Gospel
  2. Second, We Cast Vision without Practices
  3. Third, We Didn’t Love Consumers

Read the introduction here so you have the context. Then, check out the first way they killed a missional culture here.

 

Understanding Today’s Missional Landscape Part 2

By Shannon Youell

Brad Brisco writes, “The difficulty the church is experiencing today in relating to the current culture is in large part due to our Christendom heritage. Many in the church today still believe Christianity is in a place of influence and significance. Many still operate under the false assumption that Christendom is alive and well. While there may be some parts of the country that still cling to Christian values, the vast majority of the population is rapidly moving away from the things associated with the church. In the eyes of many outside the church, the church has become completely irrelevant.”

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We continue the conversation started last week about the church’s position in our changing contemporary landscape, with this article from Brad Brisco.


Rethinking Culture

By Brad Brisco

The myth of a Christian culture continues to set the mind of the Western church at ease. This myth assumes that the West is, or once was, a Christian culture. If the culture is Christian, there is no need to analyze its assumptions or develop a counter-cultural instinct. ~ Michael Goheen

Remember the famous line from the 1939 film Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy first arrives in Oz and realizes she is now in a world that is strangely different. “Toto,” she says to her little dog, “I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” Dorothy’s surroundings were now unfamiliar. The people and places she was used to seeing no longer existed. She had no idea where she was, but one thing was certain — everything around her had drastically changed.

The church today also finds itself in a place that is strangely different. The world has seemingly changed so quickly and radically that many churches feel like exiles in a foreign land. Like Dorothy, many churches no longer recognize their surroundings. They don’t completely understand the changes that have taken place; they only know that things are not like they used to be.
Christendom to post-Christendom
Numerous factors have influenced the change we see today in Western culture. Issues such as globalization, urbanization, post-modernism, and the rise of the Information Age have all had significant influence on the church. However, nothing has shaken the foundations of the church over the centuries as much as the rise and fall of Christendom.

In 313 A.D., the Roman Emperor Constantine adopted the Christian faith as his own and decided to replace paganism with Christianity as the official imperial religion. He brought the church in from the margins of society, where it had been operating for the previous three centuries, and united it with the empire. Giving great resources and favors to the church, Constantine set in motion a process that would eventually bring all of Europe into a church-state relationship known as “Christendom.” It is difficult to overstate the impact Constantine’s decision had on the Christian faith.

The net effect of Christendom over the centuries was that Christianity moved from being a dynamic, revolutionary social and spiritual movement to being a static religious institution with its corresponding structures, priesthood, and rituals. The Christian faith moved from being an integrated way of life that was lived out seven days a week to being an obligation that was fulfilled by attending a service at a set time.

By the middle of the 20th century, however, it was becoming clear in Europe that Christendom was in serious decline. People began to use the term “post-Christendom” to describe the church’s loss of social privilege. Others used it to refer to Western civilizations that no longer considered themselves to be Christian.

In this era of post-Christendom, the church once again returned to the margins of society. It had lost its position of prominence and control. While once the majority, in post-Christendom the church was in the minority.

What difference does it make?
Here is the important point in this whole discussion: The difficulty the church is experiencing today in relating to the current culture is in large part due to our Christendom heritage. Many in the church today still believe Christianity is in a place of influence and significance. Many still operate under the false assumption that Christendom is alive and well. While there may be some parts of the country that still cling to Christian values, the vast majority of the population is rapidly moving away from the things associated with the church. In the eyes of many outside the church, the church has become completely irrelevant.

The decline of Christian influence can be seen in multiple ways. The most prominent is the continual drop in church attendance, but it doesn’t end with attendance. In fact, every indicator that can be used to measure church health is headed in the wrong direction. Look at it any way you like: conversions, baptisms, membership, retention, participation, giving, religious literacy, effects on the culture. They all are in decline.[ii]

This creates the setting for an enormous problem. At the same time, the church is less and less effective at reaching a changing world, many in the church continue to believe the church maintains a central role in the life of culture. So instead of leaning toward the missionary vision of the church, we default to church as a “place where certain things happen,” and we wrongly assume that those outside the church will be interested. But as we can see from all of the statistics, that simply isn’t the case. The sooner we can come to grips with that reality, the sooner we can return to the revolutionary, missional movement that is exemplified for us in the early church. We must see that it really is 30 A.D. all over again!

Action / Reflection

  1. List the changes you may need to make in your life in order to live as a missionary in a foreign land. What steps will you take to incorporate the first change?
  2. List the changes your church may need to make in order to connect with those who are no longer interested in things of the church.

**The ideas from this article are based on Brad’s upcoming book, ReThink.

[i] Adapted from Alan Roxburgh, Crossing the Bridge: Church Leadership in a Time of Change (Percept Group, 2000), 25.

[ii] Christine Wicker, The Fall of the Evangelical Nation: The Surprising Crisis Inside the Church (New York: HarperOne, 2008), ix. See also David Olson, The American Church in Crisis (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008).

Brad is the Director of Bivocational Church Planting for the North American Mission Board. He holds a doctorate in the area of missional ecclesiology; his doctoral thesis was on assisting existing congregations in transitioning in a missional direction. He and his wife have three children and have been foster parents to more than fifty other kids. Connect with Brad on twitter @bradleybrisco.

Understanding Today’s Missional Landscape Part 1

By Shannon Youell

When we start thinking more missionally, there is a lot of hard work involved! We must relearn what it means to be missionaries in our own culture and contexts. It may seem strange to suggest that we don’t understand our own culture and contexts, but that is often the case since we all approach life through a lens of embedded views through which we see, discern and make sense of the world. Many churches in the evangelical world still view the world around them through the lens of Christendom, a worldview that suggests everyone has some understanding of God, church, and the story of Jesus. But that is no longer the case in the Western World.

Therefore we are deeply appreciative of folk like Dr. Joel Thiessen and the many sociologists, missiologists, researchers and scholars who continue to study, analyze and give us current perspectives on how our society shapes itself and the influences around them.

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New Leaf Network/Forge Canada Event on May 29 in Surrey, BC.

Recently New Leaf Network in partnership with CBWC (in Victoria) and Forge Canada (in Surrey) presented a collated conversation on the growing front of Nones and Dones in Canada (Nones being those who have had no church experience and would tick “no religious affiliation” on their census forms, and Dones being those who had some church experience but still choose to tick that same box). Joel was one of the presenters and has very important things to say to the church.

Read his blog below on our Contemporary Missional Landscape in Canada.  This are crucial conversations for us as churches to be engaging in as we wrestle with what it means to be faithfully present to the world around us.


 

The Contemporary Missional Landscape

By Dr Joel Theissen (Reposted with permission. Find the original article here.)

Aspects of the “Missional Landscape” in Contemporary North America

I am currently involved in three collaborative projects: an interdisciplinary study on flourishing congregations in Canada; a book comparing “religious nones” in Canada and the United States; and another book, on millennial attitudes, experiences, and behaviors in Canada. (For my American friends, know that I also waded through the American literature on each of these topics). I want to pull strands from each project to help us think carefully about a few aspects of the “missional landscape” in contemporary North America.

Clear Self-Identity

Congregations that flourish know who they are and are not.  They know where they have come from, where they currently are, and where they are going. When North American church planters, for example, consider the “missional landscape” today, it is critical to grapple early and often with the purpose and mission for starting a new church and then filter all decisions and activities toward such ends. Congregations cannot be all things to all people. Thus, be clear on your mission and purpose; develop the structures and processes to help you toward such things, and evaluate your effectiveness against these values.

missional landscapeWhat is your church’s reason for existing? What would you like to see happen in and through your church? What demographics are you trying to engage and why – sociologically, theologically, and practically? Do you aspire to grow primarily from disenfranchised religious folk, “religious nones,” transfer growth, or another group?

How you tackle these queries will shape what questions you ask about the missional landscape, the conversations you have, and the steps you take in your ministry. Having a clear identity does not mean you will flourish; yet rarely do churches flourish without a clear self-identity.

Religious Nones

Those who say they have “no religion” are the fastest growing “religious” group in North America. They represent 20-25% of adults and around 30% of teens and millennials, depending on the region. As I outline in The Meaning of Sunday, religious nones are a diverse group, with a range of beliefs and practices regarding the supernatural, the afterlife, prayer, meaning and purpose, and so forth. Many “nones” in North America were raised in Christian families, though increasingly “nones” are raised by unaffiliated parents. Few “nones” say they are open to greater involvement in a religious group.

I hear of many church planters launching new initiatives for religious nones. Unfortunately, we lack good empirical data to track the effectiveness of such efforts. The best (and limited) data suggest most initiatives grow mainly due to transfer growth from other churches. I’m not here to dissuade such efforts. Rather, I want to pose a few candid observations and suggestions for reflection.

  • Like any good missionary, it is essential to study the culture and know your audience. If your core mission is to “reach” religious nones, then read social scientific research on religious nones to know how they actually think and behave in the world (not how you think or wish they view the world).
  • Form long-lasting and meaningful personal relationships with religious nones. Sociological evidence is clear that a lead reason for someone joining a religious group is because someone they know and trust invites them. Rarely do unaffiliated individuals “randomly” show up to church, regardless of a church’s best “outreach” intentions.
  • Be honest with yourself and others. If you want to be a church for religious nones, then anchor and measure your ministry effectiveness in this direction. If your congregation grows, be truthful about the source of that growth … and if religious nones are not filling your church, consider ways to pivot around this core identity in your church’s life.

Millennials and Adult Influences

Millennials (a third of whom are religious nones) today confront an interesting paradox: they are raised to embrace a wide array of choices in most aspects of their lives without being equipped in how to make good choices. Social scientific research reveals that the more choice a person has, the more likely they are to question their decisions.

missional landscapePerhaps more than ever before, the opportunity is ripe for intergenerational mentorship of young people. Research on millennials in religious groups reveals that they want adult influences to speak into their lives. One concept I have come to appreciate in the book, Growing Young, is “keychain leadership” – leaders who hand the keys over to younger leaders, and who equip and empower them in the process.

Are there ways for you to foster sustained and meaningful intergenerational interaction in your church? How might you strengthen and mobilize longstanding members to invest in younger members in your church? Are there areas where you can and should train and develop young leaders, to give them a seat at the table and a set of keys? What are the risks of not taking such steps, now and in the future?

Clear self-identity. Religious nones. Millennials. Distinct topics to be sure. Yet I believe these subjects coalesce in important ways as church leaders grapple with the missional context of North America in 2018 and beyond.

Dr. Joel Thiessen is Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of the Flourishing Congregations Institute at Ambrose University, in Calgary, Alberta. In addition to publishing several articles, he has written two books: The Sociology of Religion: A Canadian Perspective (co-authored with Lorne L. Dawson) (Oxford University Press, 2014) and The Meaning of Sunday: The Practice of Belief in a Secular Age (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2015). More information can be located on his website, http://www.joelthiessen.ca.

 

 

A Discipling Culture

By Shannon Youell

Hey friends, here is a resource that I am giving a good second look. It is quite pertinent to our ongoing conversation about discipleship.

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At first run through of Building a Discipleship Culture, I was excited about the way Mike Breen and the 3DM Team wrote about understanding discipleship and the challenges of making the cultural shift to re-engaging in disciple making. This makes up part one of the book. They use language and concepts that I’ve been developing and writing about in my own contexts.

The book’s back jacket contends that, “we don’t have a missional problem or a leadership problem in the Western church. We have a discipleship problem. If we make disciples like Jesus made them, we’ll never have a problem finding leaders or seeing new people coming to faith.”

Pretty strong words and promises! I believe they are bang on in regards to the discipleship matter.

Part two uses symbols, called LifeShapes, as our discipling language. When I went through this book the first time, I wasn’t that keen on the symbols and utilizing them. But then I ended up incorporating the first LifeShape into a discipling teaching I was doing with our church Leadership Team!

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It was so easy to explain the first shape—Circle—and helped us all understand a starting point to initiating deeper discipleship with one another and also as a place to start with our friends and neighbours to help them process an event—a “kairos moment” in their lives. This LifeShape teaches us to help us respond to the event rather than just stopping for a short “whoa” moment and then moving on.

The authors describe the kairos moment and discipleship engagement from it as follows:

“The Circle (the first LifeShape they utilize) shows us:

  • What it means to live a lifestyle of learning as a disciple of Christ
  • How to recognize important events as opportunities for growth; and
  • How to process these events.”

What I discovered when I gave this book a second chance is that the symbol did exactly what the authors claim it does! I first tried it just in a discussion group with Leadership.  I hadn’t planned on using it, but because symbols are memorable, when the opportunity arose during discussion when a person shared something God had revealed to them, the Circle came to mind, and I walked them through it in casual conversation. It was amazing where it brought that person and the others in the group observed!

The next week, I intentionally took the group through understanding what I had done and they were excited. It will take much repetition before it becomes natural of course, but the more often we do something, the more it just happens.

So the tool is easy to remember and to utilize, which excites me because we aren’t very equipped as members of churches, to actually disciple people—usually we leave that up to the pastors!

Watch a video here for an explanation of this first of eight discipleship tools.

I’ve often said that any of the people who I have been in relationship with that eventually came to faith discovered that I had been discipling them all along. So discipleship happens within the community of believers for believers and also beyond the believing community into the places and spaces where we all spend the majority of our time: amongst the world God so loves!

What disciple-making tools are you utilizing? It would be great if we could begin to share together what we are doing to help in the art of disciple-making and how we are equipping those we are discipling to be disciple makers themselves.

Engaging in Mission: Practical Ideas for Summertime

By Cailey Morgan

As Canada Day approaches each year, I get the urge to remind us all about the opportunities we have in warm-weather-months to take Jesus’ words about loving our neighbours literally and seriously. And as we do, we will find out what fun it actually is to engage in mission on a very small and relational level (I would venture even “mustard seed” small!)

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artofneighboring.com recommends starting small: get to know the names of your literal neighbors.

Although our shared ministry priority of “Engaging in Mission” can mean big things like multiplying churches, those big things only happen as a culmination of a whole bunch of these tiny things coming together.

So, whether you already spend your mornings on your front porch like Heartland Regional Minister Mark Doerksen does, or don’t tend to show your face in your neighbourhood other than through the window of your car, here are a few simple musings and practical ways we can engage in mission in our own homes or on our own streets.

And speaking of Brad, check out Lance Ford and Brad Brisco’s Next Door as it is in Heaven. Leave a comment on the blog or shoot me a note if you’re willing to write a short review of the book for this blog. The first person to respond will get a free copy of the book sent to you!

What else are you doing this summer to bring the Good News of the Kingdom of God to your contexts? What are you reading? Share your ideas and resources with us by commenting here or shooting me an email: cmorgan@cbwc.ca.

Ministry Priority 3: Engaging in Mission

By Shannon Youell

Over the past couple weeks we’ve been sharing our excitement over CBWC’s new ministry priorities that came out of an intentional season of discernment by our churches, Board and Staff. There are so many good things we could be doing as a family of churches in support of each other and in pursuit of God’s mission on earth, so we asked God to show us how we should focus our time, energy and resources in the coming years, and He responded by clarifying goals we already had and renewing passions for deeply rooted values of joining God at work around us.

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Engaging in Mission
Along with Cultivating Leadership and Investing in Relationship, Engaging in Mission will also be a priority for us as a body of churches in the coming years. We as CBWC see this as “Growing our CBWC family through fresh expressions and intentional implementation of the gospel.” And while it may be third on our list of ministry priorities, Engaging in Mission is absolutely core to our identity as God’s kids.

We are missionaries! Every one of us. Jesus invites us to join Him in the family business of making disciples of all peoples. We’ve written here often about engaging in the places and spaces we occupy in our everyday lives, building relationships, sharing life and stories and faith with those around us. When we gather in our churches we pray that we may be witnesses to our family, friends and co-workers. This is missionary work.

The good news is that God’s Kingdom of justice-making, oppression breaking, reconciliatory, restoration of humans-to-God and humans-to-one-another Shalom is among us.  The Kingdom is unfolding and Jesus is the King who—rather than reigning from a palace representing the power regimes of humans—chooses to be placed upon the cross, revealing God’s sacrifice for this restoration.

Moving Forward Practically
So how do we intentionally implement this gospel? How do we foster God’s love of the world among ourselves—the love that compels us to join Him on His mission to witness to the Father’s goodness wherever God has placed us? Here’s some of what we’re doing and planning towards:

  • Developing resources for congregational renewal, including re-planting. Are you revisiting your vision and mission statements? Are you asking the hard questions of what Jesus calls us to as missionaries in our own context and then evaluating if you are engaging in ways that help to foster missional work around you? We gather and share ideas for engaging our congregations in this conversation. This includes Sam Breakey’s work in Church Health Assessments, which helps a church down a path of self-discovery towards a place of “where-to-from-here.”
  • The call to discipleship is the formation of who we are as followers of Jesus.  We are gathering and developing tools to help our churches reimagine discipleship that makes disciples who make disciples—the mandate the early church ran with! Watch for upcoming learning events on discipleship, or check out some of our articles here.
  • Speaking of articles, our blog is one of our best resources for sparking conversation in your churches! Though it’s named the Church Planting Blog, we post many different perspectives, ideas and thought-provoking articles on discipleship, vision, and missional thinking. The purpose of this blog is to get us thinking, hopefully enough that we ask good questions of ourselves and our churches when it comes to engaging in church life from a missional perspective. We’ve gathered and shared—and will share again the stories and ideas of others who have stepped into the “missionary in our neighbourhoods” conversation. These practitioners help us to understand how to engage those who will likely never just wake up one Sunday and say to themselves, “I think I’ll go to a church today.” Our society is increasingly unchurched, so, like the missionaries we send overseas, we must also relearn how to be a missional people, which causes me to consider that perhaps God is in the shift all along to inspire us to reengage in local missionary work.
  • Providing resources for church planters and for churches looking to multiply. The reality is that churches plant churches and we help them!  There are many expressions of church planting but the mandate is always the same:  to multiply those who confess Jesus as Lord and Savior and join in the mission of God!
    • Multiplication:  churches that make disciples who can make disciples grow into new expressions of church in their neighbourhoods, towns and cities. The healthiest thing a flourishing church can do is send teams of leaders/lay leaders well-equipped and trained to reproduce the good work of the mother church.
    • CBWC comes alongside to help you be your most successful selves in this endeavour, including the current development of a Canadian Baptist training/coaching program for teams, not just for planters.
  • Encouraging active participation in the national Canadian Baptist Church Planting initiatives. This is where we tie it all together.  Canadian Baptists are working on a national initiative for sharing even more resources, coaches, mentors and trainers to walk with planters and teams.  This Training Center will be fundamental in creating a dynamic church planting culture to support teams in developing healthy projects, and is developed by Canadians for our Canadian landscape. This is the basic training that includes Assessment, Coaching and Discernment in an culture of teamwork. It does not promote any one model but rather every team comes to discover together what their church plant should be and what they are capable of planting, what makes sense for them and the people they want to serve. Daughter, sister, missional, fresh expression, satellite, attractional, house: all models are open to consideration.

When you think of our CBWC family, what  examples of fresh expressions of the gospel come to mind? Do you have ideas for what God’s good news could look like in your community or a new community in Western Canada?