By Shannon Youell
One of my year end “research projects” has been answering a request from one of our churches. In the gathering of the information to respond, I was reminded, again, of how God is always with us and at work even when we are so close to the work that we don’t quite see it.
I will be candid here: I can personally become discouraged and slightly cynical, in that as we pour ourselves out to serve Christ in our world, are we making any inroads, any difference at all? Are lives being transformed towards God’s goodness and Shalom, are churches thriving, are those living in darkness being exposed to the light of the world?
And the answer, of course, is yes, because God is ever present and at work always—we simply join him! I invite you to reflect on these handful of reminders and allow your hearts and spirits to soar with the joy of participating in the good, true and right work of the kingdom of God in our midst.
The task of the little research project was to go back ten years and report on how many churches have been planted, established and affiliated with CBWC since 2010. What a delight to put the information on a page that stared out at me stating CBWC churches are truly Engaging in Mission! New churches planted and coming into affiliation with our family are churches reaching people we hadn’t and haven’t yet reached. This is mission! This is what we are all called to be engaged in: go and make disciples everywhere that people are not yet following Christ’s ways.
Since 2010 our CBWC family has planted and welcomed 27 new congregations! Five of these are in their first five years. Another three are currently in their pre-launch year which brings to a total of eight currently in their first five years! We anticipate those three groups to launch in 2020 bringing 30 new congregations in 10 years! We also have new congregations planted within existing churches as part of their expanding engagement in their communities. To the best of my knowledge we currently have six of those congregations—all new in the last ten years! That’s a total of 36 new gatherings of people who are growing in discipleship and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
I hope you are hollering out a hearty Praise God!
Each one of these new churches and gatherings are the result of much prayer, much discussion, much wrestling, sorting, planning, training, coaching, encouraging, dusting off and going forward on the part of the planters, the core members and the Church Planting staff. Investing in Relationships and Cultivating Leadership, one to another, is how we roll! We have been blessed with the immense privilege of walking with these groups and have grown deep heart relationships with so many who labour in the Kingdom work.
As we all look forward into 2020, let us treasure up these things in our hearts as an encouragement and a testimony of God’s working in us and through us for the glory of Christ, now and forever!