Potential Impact Report

By Shannon Youell

Do we approach God and His calling on our lives with fisted hands, holding tightly to things we have already determined or with open hands, willing to allow God to inform and shape our futures? Do we allow God to fill our empty cups and then are we able to drink the cup he has given us?

This was the opening focus to more than twenty young adults from Alberta, BC and Saskatchewan, gathered at Gull Lake Camp April 27-30 to challenge the next generation to focus on spiritual direction, an openness to ministry potential, and general calling and leadership in their life. Facilitated by CBWC ministry leaders and pastors, the Potential Impact conference metaphor quickly formed around the charging rhinoceros, who can see only twenty feet in front of itself yet knows that to see the next twenty feet requires stepping into the unseen-ness of the future.

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Using a three-fold framework of Spiritual Direction, Deeper Personal Understanding, and Openness and Exposure to Ministry Potential, we went on a journey of self-discovery of Who Am I, Where Do I Fit, How am I Unique, What am I to do and Where have I been/where am I going. Facilitated by Chris Maclure, Tammy Klassen, Dennis Stone, Mark Archibald, Steve Roadhouse, Debi Burt and myself, these topics were engaged through sessional teachings and activities, faith stories, small group coaching, worship, prayer, reflection and–of course–by rambunctious times of basketball, floor hockey, arrow tag, ping pong tournaments, campfires, star-gazing, sharing meals, to name just a few of the things we did together.

The call to join God where He is at work no matter where life leads was dominant in both the presentations and in the small group coaching. In these peer sessions, participants could wrestle with the presented material and “engage in the topics of identity and call” with speakers and coaches who “were awesome, encouraging, helpful and practical.”

The conference organizers are keenly aware that engaging and empowering young people for ministry potential is crucial to continue in the work of the kingdom of God generationally. This is, after all, a component of making disciples who make disciples. Developing and raising/releasing leaders into whatever their sphere of influence as “ministers of reconciliation” will be, is our responsibility as the generations before them. And it will be their responsibility to the generations who come after them.

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Orienteering and the Year Ahead

In the sporcompass-mapt of orienteering, participants race using a compass and a map to find points in the landscape. It can be enjoyed as a walk in the woods or as a competitive sport.

Compass use works best when looking ahead to focus on where you’re going, while also looking back regularly to remind yourself where you’ve come from and to help keep yourself on track.

Looking back over 2012, we’re excited and grateful to see God at work in our Church Plants. He’s strengthening and growing them deeper in their relationship with Him and in the communities they’re called to across Western Canada. We’re seeing people coming to faith and coming back to faith, people being baptized, and people being discipled and raised up as leaders.

Everywhere we look we see that God is moving, the West is changing and the world is coming.

Looking ahead we’re awed by the opportunities before us. There are prospective planting opportunities in Neepawa and Winnipeg, Manitoba; Kindersley, Regina and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; Calgary, Edmonton, Hughendon, Red Deer, and Wainwright, Alberta; and Quesnel, Vancouver, Victoria, and Williams Lake, British Columbia. The task ahead is as thrilling as it is daunting.

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Mikyuki and Yoichi Taniguchi

As we orienteer our way around Western Canada we are very thankful for the courage and sacrifices being made daily by those leading in our new and developing churches.

We continue to pray for Reymus and Angie Cagampan in Winnipeg; Patrick and Vicki Hazelwood in Lethbridge; Roger and Dorcas Maurice, Yoichi and Miyuki Taniguchi, and Cliff and Jen Gonzales in Calgary; Janet and Gerry McBeth, Albert Kao and Christina Wu, and Peter and Jennifer Chong in Burnaby; Jodi Spargur and Hizon and Grace Cua in Vancouver; and Norm and Alice Sowden in Mill Bay.

Tom with Alice and Norm Sowden

Tom with Alice and Norm Sowden

Our successful Church Plant orienteering is made possible through the ongoing prayers and generous financial support of the entire Canadian Baptists of Western Canada church family. In particular we would like to thank Westview Baptist Church, Leduc Community Baptist Church, Bethel Baptist Church Sechelt and First Baptist Church Lethbridge for going above and beyond to help make extra contributions to the cause in 2012Thank you!

Special thanks also to Jan Paasuke and the CBWC Board, Jeremy Bell and the Executive Staff, and Joell Haugan and the Church Planting Advisory Team for your continued oversight and encouragement. To Cailey Morgan, my co-labourer in ministry: thank you for going the extra mile in our communications, networking and research—and for being a difference maker in the Kingdom.

Orienteering is a full of risks. The challenges are many and the task sometimes seems impossible. Church Planting involves courage, character and conviction. Looking forward to 2013 we’re emboldened by the words of the apostle Paul to the Philippians:

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus (3:12-14).

Pastor Tom Lavigne, Director of Church Planting