Live from Banff

By Shannon Youell and Cailey Morgan

Greetings from Banff!

We’re having a great time with many of you and many new friends enjoying the beautiful snow-caps mountains and the joy of hearing–over good food, of course–stories of God on the move in our churches.


Along with both gentle and exhortative words that speak to our shared heart and struggles we face as church leaders, our speakers have been guiding and encouraging us to look first to theology (who God is) as the framework for our ecclesiology (how we live out our faith as a church family).

A recurring theme from keynote Cam Roxburgh is the hopeful remark that our ecclesiological culture is starting to shift towards reengagement with the “blue ocean” segment of Canada’s population of those who don’t yet follow Christ. Blue ocean refers to the increasingly secular reality of our society: many do not feel a need for faith, or are even hostile to the Gospel. As Colin Godwin shared with us today, it seems that we are not so much the persecuted church here in Canada but the ignored church.

Like the story of Jonah that Jeff Gullacher has been unraveling for us this week, we can find ourselves in “pouty self-indignation,” completely missing the point of our calling which is joining in God’s missional heartbeat.

The pathway to reengagement that God our loving Father opens for us is one of honest, responsive repentance and relearning how to act out of His redemptive nature, joining Him on mission.

One resource that has been helpful for us as we process what it means to see ecclesiology through a theological lens is Brad Brisco’s ebook Rethink. We commend this book to you, and have made it available here on the blog for you, with permission from Brad. Let us know what you think!

Prayer is Not Optional

By Shannon Youell

At Banff Pastors & Spouses Conference, Church Planting (which includes missional innovations) always has something to help stimulate your imagination in sharing Jesus with those who have not yet experienced His presence in their lives. This year we put together a few simple resources to share with your congregation on a crucial place to begin engaging neighbours in proximity to where you live, work and play.

I want to assure you that we provide you with ideas that most often we have done or are doing ourselves and/or are currently challenging our thinking around evangelism, discipleship and being faithfully present to God and neighbour. We want to populate our thinking that inviting Jesus with us into all the places and spaces we find ourselves in should be the norm for His followers, not the exception.

It seems that 2017 has been the year of prayer.  By that I mean that across our nation, in our churches and in our spirits, God has been tugging us to that place of making space, praying, listening, and responding.


We’ve been joining in praying for ourselves with the Luke 10:02 movement. Just to say it again…when we pray that prayer Jesus instructed us to pray we are praying for ourselves, as we are the workers Jesus is calling out for.

We’ve been praying for our churches and denomination during this season of 77 Days of Prayer.  And, I certainly hope, we have been praying for our neighborhoods and neighbors and folk who live and work and play around us.

That’s a lot of praying for God’s kingdom to come and God’s will to be done here on earth as it is in heaven, in our homes, neighborhoods, churches, towns, cities and nations!

Paul wrote to the Galatians about sowing to please the Spirit and not our own selfish natures.  He encourages them, and us, to “…not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Gal 6:9). There’s that reaping a harvest analogy again and we find that we are the reapers (again)!  “Don’t become weary”, don’t quit because it is hard, unrewarding, boring, silly, uncomfortable and isn’t filling the seats of your Sunday service. The call is to pray “unceasingly” and with boldness, faith and until you see God moving and hearts shift (usually I’ve found it is first my heart that needs shifting; my mountain that needs to fall into the sea!) and suddenly God’s presence fills the spaces between our praying and the harvesting.

If, in the sincerity of our hearts, loving those God loves, desiring to witness and be a part of seeing the light of shalom come into places where darkness still prevails, then praying is always the foundation.  Can we pray? Can we give up some of our precious “me” and “us” time to seek the kingdom in the way Jesus instructed.

In our give-away super packet at Banff, we included some ideas about prayer walking your neighbourhoods in your town. You can get it by clicking here.

Print it out.  Give it to every person in your congregation.  Model it first yourself.  This is where I began, though not with a guide or even an idea of what I was doing.  God challenged me to stop praying only for my home, my safety, my family and to begin to pray for the neighbourhood too. Then He challenged me to walk my neighbourhood weekly and stop, listen and pray at each house.  For you, we give this guided thirty-day challenge.  Will you accept it?  Will you join God who is at work already–He grows the harvest after all–and take the time to discover where He wants you to begin reaping?


Pics from Banff

by Cailey Morgan

Now that the news is out that the wonderful Joell Haugan will be joining our Church Planting team as the Heartland Director, I can finally share some pictures from our time in Banff at the Pastors and Spouses Conference!

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Quite a view!

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Awesome Bible Studies with Loralyn Lind.

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Jason and Katie leading us in worship.

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Dreaming about Church Planting.

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Dreaming about Church Planting.

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Dreaming about Church Planting.

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The whole team together for the first time! Me, Ron Orr, Joell Haugan and Shannon Youell.

It was really great to be together and to look toward what God might be up to in our provinces and territories.

As of today, the teachings from Banff were not up on the Audio Blog page yet, but I encourage you to keep checking back there, as the Bible Studies and teaching times were very engaging, encouraging and convicting.

Send your Pastor to Banff


All pastors and their spouses are invited to Banff November 4-7, 2013, for the CBWC’s annual Banff Pastors and Spouses Conference. The Conference is a wonderful opportunity for pastors and their spouses to enjoy a relaxing, refreshing retreat with friends and colleagues who share God’s call to serve Him across Western Canada while enjoying God’s wondrous works. Past participBanff Retreatants have always found the Conference to be a refreshing and restorative time for fellowship, prayer, worship and learning.

Our theme this year is Stories Jesus Told:  Reading, Proclaiming and Living the Parables. We are delighted to have Gordon King as our keynote speaker. Gordon was the Director of Relief and Development for the Sharing Way at Canadian Baptist Ministries for six years. Our worship will be led by Sam Chaise, Executive Director of CBM and by Rev. Rob Des Cotes, former pastor of Fairview Baptist in Vancouver and now a spiritual director at Imago Dei.

Bible Studies will be led by Anne Smith, pastor of The Church at Southpoint in Surrey and by her husband Dr. Craig Smith, professor of Biblical studies at Carey Theological College. There will be workshops on spiritual formation, personal health and wellness, prayer walks, personal finance and continuing education.

The conference will be held at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in Banff, AB.

You can download the brochure here.

Early Bird Registration Deadline is coming up fast: August 15, 2013. Registration includes hotel and meals, and costs $1,624 for pastor & spouse.

Online Registration — Registration is complete only when credit card payment is made.

Registration Form – send us a cheque or your credit info by surface mail.