Western Canada Leadership Summit 2014

We are excited to announce that the 2014 Western Canada Leadership Summit will be held on May 19-21, 2014 (Monday evening through Wednesday noon) at Alberta Bible College, 635 Northmount Drive, NW, Calgary, Alberta, T2K 3J6.

Our resource leaders for this event will be Alan and Debbie Hirsch. They will help us explore themes related to how we become and make missional disciples. Stay in touch for further updates regarding this event.

Hirsch

Alan and Debbie Hirsch

 

Western Canadian Leadership Summit

On May 6-8, 2013, many of the leaders of our Restoration churches and ministries will gather at Alberta Bible College for the Western Canadian Leadership Renewal Summit. You are invited, along with the folk in your congregation who have a heart for the emerging generation! As you are making travel plans, remember that the Summit will begin at 7 pm, Monday, and end at 12 noon, Wednesday.

This will be a great opportunity to encourage one another and to celebrate our lives in Christ and the ministries He has given to us, in worship and prayer! It will also be a critical time to consider this years theme, “Making Room for Gen-Next.” How do we empower young people and young adults to become fully-functioning parts of the Body? What are the implications of ‘youth culture’ for Kingdom mission? For leaders and leadership development? For our life together as the Body of Christ? For our structures? The extent to which we answer these types of questions well, will determine present inter-generational vitality and health of our mission as God’s people.

To help us navigate this vital theme, we are privileged to have Dr. James Penner, a sociologist specializing in youth culture in Canada to lead us. James will share recent research on sociocultural trends among young adults particularly in relation to faith issues. We will have the opportunity to sort through the implications for our ministries. Other parts of the program will focus on promising ways of engaging young adults in Christian communities, through coaching and ‘new wine skins’ (new congregations), among other things.

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN!

Early Bird Registration (5 PM April 15)

$70.00

Regular Registration (After April 15)

$85.00

Tuesday AM Penner Sessions and Lunch

$50.00

Please make all cheques payable to “Alberta Bible College” and write “Summit Registration” in the memo line.

Send to:

Alberta Bible College
635 Northmount Dr. NW
Calgary, AB T2K 3J6

Thanks to our sponsors for making a strategic event possible! Church of Christ Development Corporation, Alberta Bible College, Mission Alive, The Pension Fund of the Disciples of Christ, and an anonymous sponsor!

If you know of others who would be interested in attending, please feel free to forward this email.

Questions? Contact [email protected] or [email protected]

Ron A. Fraser
Director of Learning Services

Copyright © 2013 Alberta Bible College, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

Alberta Bible College

635 Northmount Dr. NW
Calgary, ABT2K 3J6
Canada

Please Send Information For This Site

You are encouraged to visit the 3 Streams Website at www.3Streams.ca for information about the fellowship of churches across Canada known as Churches of Christ, Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ), and Christian Churches in Canada. Although we go by different names and work in different parts of the country we have a common history and dream of a common future. This group of churches is sometimes known as the Restoration Movement or the Stone-Campbell Movement.

The website has been created to explain these churches and provide current information on items of common interest. Please explore the website and see what information is available. Send information that you would wish to see on the site to [email protected]. The “Churches” portion of the website (http://www.3streams.ca/churches) needs constant updating. Please send us your updates.

The history of this movement is important but it is our future together that gets us excited. This fellowship of churches cooperates together to
* Network together in regions
* Coach church leaders and leadership groups for greater effectiveness
* Provide church health assessments
* Plant churches together
* Help existing churches start additional services and multiple sites
* Help churches go into their communities to be the hands and feet of Jesus
* Assess leaders for church planting
* Assess leaders for pastoral ministry
* Find young leaders and encourage their development
* Provide educational resources for continuing education of leaders
* Provide restoration processes when leaders fail

A steering team for 3 Streams, consisting of leaders across Canada, is in the process of being formed. If you or someone you know would make a good member of this team please contact the team via the 3 Streams email address.

Western Canada Leadership Renewal Summit: More Images Worth a Thousand Words

Dr. Reginald Bibby presents data for consideration and discussion.

 

Click on each image for a larger, full resolution image. Photo credits: Cal Hultgren.

 

Multi-generational Conversation

 

Thoughtful

 

Together in prayer

 

Other Voices: Thinking Shrewdly

 

Helpful guidance

 

Inspiring music

 

Inspired

 

Panel discussion

 

Challenged to go out "Full of Grace and Truth"

 

Most of the participants

Click on each image for a larger, full resolution image. Photo credits: Cal Hultgren.

 

Bibby Response Document

1.  What are the strengths of the Restoration Movement which enable a positive response to the results of Bibby’s research?

Unity
Open to changing demographics
We are Chriistians only but not the only Christians. We are open to others
We are open to immigrant populations
1. We’re very, very sneaky
2. Relational
3. Affinity with conservative Protestants (authority of Scripture)
4. Affinity with Mainline (weekly communion)
5. Ideal of Unity

-authenticity
-opennes to other cultures / growing ethnic congregations
-autonomy, personal responsibility, freedom
people can join without violating denominational loyalty as we are not denominational
- ‘Christian’ church is generic
-seeking unity among all Christians – people don’t care about ‘petty’ differences

easier for individual churches to have a mindset change rather than having a denom.needing to move
•simply being Christian
•less bound by tradition than some of the other denominations
•we can respond and make decisions quicker (less red-tape)
•our roots are a call not to change a denomination but to be just Christian
•the downplay of clergy and more embracing of the priesthood of all believers
•simple church

-because we don’t have a denomination, each congregation has the freedom to move freely and liberally in reaching out-not bound by hierarchy – feel freer to reach out and work with other denominations
People are afraid of institutional baggage…we have freedom to change structures easily. Allows us to explore new ways of doing church.
Network is in place…ministry initiatives can be launched easily.
“Priesthood of all believers” provides freedom for people to lead without years of training and credentialing.

Come as you are

2.  a) What are the weaknesses of the Restoration Movement which hinder a positive response to the results of Bibby’s research ?
We don’t align ourselves to the evangelical branch thoroughly enough to reach the 12%
Local autonomy can be restrictive in our aligning ourselves with other denominations. The only way we can respond is individually.
We lean more toward the cognative. People are looking for a spiritual encounter.

1. Too much family talk
2. Playground double-standard
3. Smallness and lack of brand
4. Isolation and disconnectedness

1. legalistic expectations of unspoken theological doctrine, ie. adult immersion as the only
2. legitimate form of baptism
3. weak at building relationships with churches from other families
4. requiring people to buy in regarding the pattern of the church
-possibily out of step with culture in terms of emphasis on doctrine
-personal responsibility can undermine communal responsibility
-loss of connecting points that create relationships (eg. PYPA, WCC, etc.)
-mindset has not always been positive
-struggle with accountability because there is not a “head” keeping us in line
-hard to move forward as a “sisterhood” in the same direction
-become too independent – “Independent and Christian should not be used in the same sentence.  We need each other.  Sheep are dependent on each other and the shepherd.
•we are not the only renewal movement, not the only ones asking similar questions.
•we are not a multi-cultural movement, we don’t have a lot of xp culturally in this fact
•we have not done a good job explaining our identity; has created confusion in figuring us out
•haven’t fostered in the congregents an awareness of the presense of God (as much as we should)

* Can tend towards legalism some times.
* Under-developed theology in the area of prayer, Holy Spirit, women in ministry may not enable us to speak into the “spiritual” thirst that is present. Mystery is not always acknowledged.
* A “cerebral’ movement that has downplayed the miraculous.
* Desire to defend and preserve what used to be rather than explore new possibilities.
*
b) What strategies might compensate for these weaknesses?

-emphasize caring for one another (sharing of resources, etc.)
-emphasize ministry to outsiders
-accountability systems put in place- within bodies and within the body of Christ at large
-bible college – meeting hub – decisions are not binding, but useful – eg. regional meetings, 7Cs meetings
-get out of our own little Restoration circles for fellowship and accountability
•lots of prayer
•learn from other congregations
•foster leaders from other ethnicities
The more educated the clergy and congregation become the less practical (less effectively evangelically) they are (eg. Will Jesus save my marriage? Answer – Power of Jesus to effect change. vs. “Based on my experience and education, maybe”.). Shut down the education (tongue in cheek)
Awareness/sermons of our differences and similarities
Co-operating on the mission
Connect through College, camp these events, sharing resources, be intentional about working together
Explore the experiential more in services and education, teach about it
Not just share information but also impart ourselves to others. Live alongside.

1. Clear articulation of mission/vision
2. Three Streams website
3. Intentional Relating

3.  What threats for Restoration Movement congregations  are presented by Bibby’s research?

Some expressions of the Emerging church (threaten some of core biblical values)
Shackled by psychological ??? (we’re doomed mentality)

difficult to have affinities when we are spread far apart
difficult to affiliate with RM churches if you are an independent church
-distinctives that mean so much to us mean very little to others
-maybe part of the struggle with the RM is that our identity is formed around values and distinctives that don’t matter to the prevailing culture (that is, most people assume that all churches believe the same things)
-lack of importance and interest in solid theology
-changing names can flatten identity (good/bad???)
-wanting to cling to our names – most people out there don’t care about our names – names mean nothing to them – a church is a church
-many immigrants are coming with their own faiths alre
•if we are hoping to reach RC and mainliners for our growth, our hopes are misplaced
•no sense of demoninational loyalty, thus it is easier for a family to pickup and leave to another church
* No home base means we do not always know who we are. Can be both a strength and a threat.
*
1. Fortress mentality vs. lack of distinctives

4.  What opportunities for Restoration Movement congregations are present in Bibby’s research?
-multi-ethnic congregations (openness to ethnic groups)
-cooperation with other denominations and agencies with whom we have affinity
-focus on practice, particularly social justice and environmental issues
easier to be just a community church and meet needs of community
-immigration – intentional reaching out – eg. conversation club
-reaching out to felt needs – divorce care, Rainbows, etc.
* A greater openness to diversity within congregations and still function well and accept others.
* When working with Catholics, recognize we are all spiritual people, and accentuate similarities…rather than focus on differences. Can work together on social justice concerns.
* Lack of structures give us the ability to offer freedom to people (including teenagers) to be who they are.

Changing our focus to the 75%. The 12% are still “saved”. Let’s focus on the lost
Emphasize partnering with the 12%

•to use our position of being strong in familiy ministry effectively
•better position to reach disconnected Catholics because of weekly communion, importance of baptism
1. Ideals (i.e. unity) position for talk of affinity
2. Guide the ship into a current
3.
5. The elders of your congregation are planning a retreat to discuss directions for your congregation.  One piece of reading assigned to all participants is Bibby’s research.  They have asked you to make a presentation on strategic implications of the research meshed with the ideals of the Restoration Movement.  Outline the key strategic implications you would identify.
-educate many members of congregation about the Restoration Movement-many don’t have the background and don’t care about it
-focus on ideals – focus on the contents – not the “envelope”
-importance of evangelizing – focus on discipling people to the point of choosing to live for Christ
-need to allow greater freedom for the Spirit to move
•building alliances to serve the community (not to be seen as us thinking we are the only church in the neighbourhood)
• Emphasize as a means of outreach: helping and serving the community instead of “come to our church”
•start a dating website
•building relationships with the community
1. Ideals: Unity; Word of God; Ministry
2. Opportunity: dialogue with other denominations; preach Scripture; invite people to serve with us
-people are not looking for churches but for ministry (faith expressing itself in love)
Holy Spirit is at work (don’t fret or fear)
Not be so discouraged twice a month instead of weekly. They are still committed to Christ
Remember the mission
Build relationships for the sake of loving our neighbors
Emphasize being “mission” minded and not “church” minded.
Focus on needs of our culture (hope)
Social justice, environmental awareness
Use inclusive language

have a clear understanding of our ideals
prepare for a mindset changes
have a positive attitude toward the future ie. a missional mindset

Continue to evangelize within the community the local church is located through relational ministry.

 

 

Leadership Summit Jigsaw Document

JigSaw – Discussion of Chapters

1.  What ideals of the Restoration Movement are identified by the authors?
-Jesus is head of the the church
-the name Christian is “non-sectarian”
-sola-scriptura
-priesthood of all believers
-right to private judgement; in essentials unity, in non-essentials diversity, in all things love
-unity of all believers that the whole world might believe
All of church history is the history of the Restoration Movement
Commitment to the N.T. church as revealed in scripture
call to unity -to be a witness to others – so that they will know we belong to Him
-commitment to love one another – only way to accomplish unity and make anything work
-religious freedom and liberty of conscience
-Christian character is the only test of fellowship
Tradition must submit to scripture
Supernatural is above reason but not contrary to it
Going by the name Christian points to unity
What is the mission? – Trying to be unified and restored (blueprint, pattern)? Should be about restoring and being restored
Understated “Theology” – role of women, prayer, second coming
We have something to say to the post-modern world. Fluidity (What are we doing this for?) is necessary
1. The Authority of the Bible
2. The Unity of the Church
3. Restoration leads to Unity leads to Mission
4. Growth of the Church
1. The fervent call to Christian unity of all believers
2. The doctrinal differences causing division
3.The unity is based on the confession of faith in Jesus, not creeds
4. Condemnation of divisions
5. Desire to return to the purity of the first century church
6. Appeal for love and understanding among Christians
7. The process of restoring is an ongoing process.
8. Not polarizing the blueprint, ie. restore the church to NT practice with those for whom unity was the highest priority.
9. We are a movement within the one church
10. Jesus is the only head of the church
11. Bible is the only creed and sufficinet for rule and practice

2.  What connecting tissues are identified by the authors?
-history that traces back to Pentecost; evidence was seen in the fruit
-concept of restoration
-the gospel story
-similar change of heart/vision between Thomas and Alexander (independent of each other)
-many people thinking the same sort of things
-belief in freedom (true in the larger US culture at that time)
-mutual respect between leaders – had to model unity they were striving for in the movement
-call to meet together on a regular basis – world convention – just being together – discussion on certain assigned subjects- writings of people – trying to keep people connected – fractures and factions – leaders had irenic spirit – call to keep factions talking to each other
-praise for Reformation leaders – that led people back to the bible and paved the way for R.M. – called their work the current Reformation
-Restoration is not starting the church from scratch
-similar values and objectives – freedom from traditionalism and denominationalism

Rejection of traditionalism, back to scripture
Moving away from denominational structures, no creeds, no head offices, autonomy
Manifestations at Cane Ridge
American frontier approach
1. Democratization of church structure
2. Priesthood of all believers/reconnection to mission
3. Non-creedal stance invited wide range of thought
4. Centrality of the Bible
5. Dialogue between streams
6. WCCC
7. Faith in Christ
1. Freedom as found on the American frontier – the democratization of Christianity
2. The name Christian
2. The manifestations of the spirit at Cane Ridge
3. Many thinkers came to same conclusions

 
3.  How did succeeding generations deal with the ideals of the Restoration Movement?

polarization between blueprint ideal and unity ideal
-polarized between “restoration” ideals versus “unity” ideals
-tried to maintain ideals, but clearly they were (are) open to interpretation
-struggled to maintain ideals over time and geography
-lack of structure can result in lack of connection; colleges, conferences and camps tried to address this issue
-didn’t deal with it – some went back to their original denominations- eg. Calvinism
-some held onto it – we’re sitting here today
-stuck on some of the ideals, standards not alllowed to evolve – celebrated where we were, not where we were going – we’re still pushing for arrival – but much of our movement is not moving  – became the denomination we didn’t want to be
-became a target of other denominations because of phenominal growth – stopped to defend ourselves and got stuck debating not growing/celebrating scripture

They almost abandoned it. Some rejoined the methodists.
Became legalistic
We are it (exclusive unity)
We are church alongside (unity)
Post denominational – all are one (unity no matter what)
Unity became the end as oppossed to the means
Lord’s supper – varying views (open to closed), role of women in the presentation and serving vary as well
1. Restoration vs. Unity?
a. What is unity?
b. Times of sectarianism.
2. Emphasis on growth
3. Recent loss of identity.
a. What are our ideals?
b. Are Independent churches Evangelicals?
c. Are Disciples mainline?
4.  In the contemporary Restoration Movement,
a)  Which ideals are still living?
Autonomy (strongest)
Scripture is definitive though we tend not to read and study it as much
Plurality of elders, though this has changed somewhat
Weekly communion
-authority of scripture, though this is increasingly being called into question
-priesthood of all believers
-autonomy of the local church
-authority of scripture – autonomous churches
-baptism by immersion
-believer baptism – some allow any mode – but baptism important
-membership requires baptism
-celebration of Lord’s supper – weekly

1. Weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper
2. Sense of Mission: Word and/or Deed
3. Believers’ Baptism
4. Authority/Centrality of Scripture
5. Priesthood of all believers

1. priesthood of all believers
2. weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper
3. authority of scripture
4.
b)  Which ideals have been lost?  Why do you think they have been lost?
-unity of the church so that the world may believe (this is valued but gets lost in practice)
-lack of unity within an individual congregation
-priesthood of all believers (ideal still held but again, unclear how to practice)
-congregations have remained fairly mono-ethnic, especially in comparison of the culture
We are less unique than we used to be
Services are looking similar (Pentecostal, Baptist, Christian)
Unity based on specified doctrine that we were important – essentials. So many have now adopted what made us different. Lord’s supper practiced weekly, Some Catholic churches now practice full immersion.

-differences in doctrinal beliefs used to be discussed – have become less open to others with different ideas – “in essentials, unity – in non-essentials, diversity–and in all things, love
-what we consider essential has changed – still debating

1. the blueprint model has been lost – most preachers do not see it as biblical

1. Identity (among the people in the pews)
Why?
- lack of historical consciousness
- sociological reality
- theological neglect
2. Unity
Why?
-
3. Emphasis on Discipleship
4.

5.  What connecting tissues exist today?
Christian Standard, NACC, World Convention of Churches of Christ, International mission gathering on an annual basis, books, our history – church planting partnerships  (-connecting tissue very strong withing national gathering – groups within this national meeting are working together – new feeling of fellowship – working for the Kingdom together in North America)
-love for the “lost”

Not enough.
We still believe in the possibility of being Christians only
Bible Colleges and schools, publications, NACC, regional gatherings

1. Alberta Bible College
2. Pine Lake Christian Camp
3 Relationships

Occasional gatherings

Western Christian lectures
Church camps
Church planting
Alberta Bible College
Facebook/social media

 

 

 

 

What’s Happening Across Canada?

What’s Happening Across Canada?
“This is a time for a dramatically new vision. The current predicament of churches in North America requires more than a mere tinkering with long-assumed notions about the identity and mission of the church. Instead, as many knowledgeable observers have noted, there is a need for reinventing or rediscovering the church in this new kind of world.” – Darrell E. Guder, editor, Missional Church: A Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America, 1998.

1. Rosscarrock Church of Christ, Calgary

Our congregation has been experiencing growth over the past 5 years.  When Karen and I arrived we were told there had even been consideration of selling the building and potentially closing.  That is not the situation today.  We believe our congregation is vibrant, diverse, outreaching, effectively praying, and regularly contributing to the Kingdom.  We have approximately 60-70 people in regular attendance and well over 100 people who would call this their home congregation (you know the attendance routine of many is 2-3 times per month rather than every week!).  We are seeking to be faithful in our mission outreach too as we focus on a number of vital ministries.  Besides supporting ABC and Pine Lake Camp we have Rick & Linn Rehn living in Tanzania 6 months of the year as part of the support ministry with Pioneer Bible Translators.  Ricot & Mandy Leon’s work in Haiti, Terri Scruggs with Wycliffe, Norman & Jill Weatherhead with Pioneer, and then local ministries such as the Mustard Seed and Canadian Bible Society.  Over 20% of our giving is directed to mission work.

The diversity within our congregation is a microcosm of the population in Calgary.  We have 6 Spanish (first language), 6 French (first language), 2 Carribbean, and a host of others who have immigrated to the city.  We also have several individuals from a local Reheboth home (designed to care for mental/emotionally handicapped adults) and then the vast variety of socio-economic stratas.  It is marvelously eclectic!  We have determined to commit to the idea that God is calling us to ‘love whoever comes through our doors.’

Anyway, we are very thankful for where are right now and where we think we are going.  We continue to think about strategies for raising up Kingdom-minded people and are faithfully praying for people by name (our friends and family) who we desire to see come into a vibrant relationship with Jesus.  We also have committed to being a partner in any future church planting endeavours within the Calgary region.  May it be so.

2. The Vine, Vancouver
The Vine, a church of Christ, is a church plant in East Vancouver.  Our leadership team moved to the area in 2009 and have spent the last three years networking in the community, serving their neighbours, and laying the ground work for a community of faith to develop.  We worked closely with other church plants (LifeHouse & Downtown Friends) during 2009-2011.  The Vine has also worked with area churches such as Grandview Calvary Baptist & the Vineyard Eastside church to serve the neighbourhood.  We also have developed relationships with local agencies and community initiatives such as the Community Policing Centre, Under One Umbrella project, the Business Association (BIA), and the Lion’s Den Day Centre (a program for the elderly).  We’ve volunteered with these organizations to serve alongside our neighbours and to develop relationships that we pray will bear fruit in God’s Kingdom.  We’ve also stayed connected to the South Burnaby Church of Christ & the Delta Church of Christ who provide us encouragement and support.

We feel that the partnership we’ve experienced with local churches and service providers has been effective for Kingdom ministry.  We haven’t needed to reinvent the wheel.  By joining other groups, we strengthen their ministry/service and build relationships.  Working alongside other churches helps counteract the negative image of a divided ‘Church’ that many Canadians have.  Working alongside local service providers is a witness to the heart of Jesus and an acknowledgement that Christians aren’t the only ones involved in Kingdom activities.

The Vine is building a seed team for the church plant with local Christians and pre-Christian people who believe in our vision of seeing the neighbourhoods of East Vancouver transformed by the power and love of Jesus Christ.  We’ve been a part of planting numerous seeds in people’s lives.  We’ve seen God help people take next steps in their spiritual journey.  We’ve celebrated as a few people have become followers of Jesus.  At the same time, we’ve waited for God to provide people to join the vision God’s given us.  It’s been a slow process.  There is much spiritual warfare in Vancouver and certainly in our neighbourhoods.  We get discouraged at times.  But God keeps lifting us up, providing for our needs, and reminding us that He is the One who brings growth.  He also is the definer of what “growth” looks like in His Kingdom.  Jesus is The Vine and apart from Him we can do nothing.  But He promises that those who remain in Him will bear much fruit.

3. Clyde Christian Bible Church, Clyde Alberta
In Clyde, our relationship with the community offers many opportunities to bless our neighbours, particularly because of the relationship of mutual blessing we share with the local school.  Our After-school Bible Club regularly brings in 40 kids to play and learn some Bible basics, and our Youth Group is recognized by non-Church community members as a shining light and necessary ministry for our local youth.

Our area has an incredibly healthy sense of community between congregations and denominations.  There are monthly ministerial meetings, where Church leaders of all walks of Christianity (Baptist, United, non-denom, Catholic, Pentecostal, etc) get together to encourage and communicate.  There are shared funds and bulletin items.  I am always encouraged by the unity displayed here.

 
4. Bow Valley Christian Church (submitted by Ryan Scruggs)
Last May Bow Valley hosted a course (in conjunction with ABC) called “The Gospel in a Global Village.” It was an 8-week course (two hours/night) that investigated the meaning of the Gospel, and then how this good news address global issues such as Poverty, Modern Slavery, and Environmental Degradation.

At the end of the course there were 15 people who wanted to continue on by forming a group specifically intending to address these three issues in our churches. The vast majority of the members are Bow Valley congregants, though we also have a couple individuals from Rosscarrock who are integral as well.

The group has hosted a number of events to raise awareness of these issues and has also been busy volunteering in the community.

Mission statement: To respond as the church to issues of social injustice for the glory of the King and His kingdom.

5. Churches of Christ and Disciples of Christ Churches in Ontario (submitted by Lane Scruggs)
Churches of Christ:
-Attached is the Gospel Herald survey of the national churches the article by Ellis is probably the most helpful… definitely asking questions similar to what the conference is geared toward the 13th Annual Meeting of the Canadian Churches of Christ Historical Society, August 18, 2012, at Meaford, ON
-The Great Lakes Bible Lectures will be held in the fall

Disciples
- At present, there are Guelph, Hillcrest (Toronto), St. Thomas, Ridgetown, Mapleton, Windmill Point and Winger.  There is a minister and a Pastoral Advisory Committee working on organizing a new congregation at Guelph as well.  At St. Thomas, there is conversation about opening a retirement facility on the grounds on the church.  If it came to fruition, that would be an exciting development which would enhance outreach and ministry. Our greetings and best wishes to friends in the West from. Attached is the Ontario Newsletter as well for you to browse.

 

- The bold part is the allusion to a church plant that is taking shape in Guelph led by Jennifer Garbin (http://sdcguelph.com/) Sugarbush Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

- It seems like more than a conversation about the Retirement Facility at St. Thomas, but who knows what stage it’s actually at.

6. Oak Park Church of Christ
Decision Christian Church was launched in Port Salut, Haiti, in mid-March, with 185 attending the first service.  This was the result of 2.5 years of hard work, including development of several Haitian leaders to help with the work.  Decision is the work of Ricot and Mandy Leon, who are hired by Oak Park, with help from a number of other churches in Western Canada, including Coldstream, Clyde and others,  to do this work.  The dream is that through the church, Heart for Home (the umbrella name of the ministry) will develop a clinic, an early childhood education program and a major focus on an agricultural college will help large numbers of Haitian orphans develop a livlihood.  Ricot also hopes to use the resources (building and land) that are being put in place to encourage the development of local culture, including music and dance.  Helping to plant churches in other places has been a long time dream and priority of Oak Park.

7. Real Life Ministries, Coldstream, BC
A couple of things we have done that have been great in serving the greater community is hosting a shoe box packing event for Operation Christmas Child. We have a couple of people who do all the buying (thousands of dollars of shoe box fillers) and then we invite people to come, pack a shoe box and make a donation to Operation Christmas Child. It makes it quite a social event in the community and we usually send around 300 boxes. Basically out of a church of 80 we do 10+% of all the boxes that come from Vernon.  Then with the leftover boxes and box fillers we go to a downtown church that has a program called the ARK that for the poor in downtown Vernon. Then they have their own shoe box packing event and we work alongside of them for this evening. This has been very encouraging for them as they love to be able to give to others as well. We do a couple of events a year, one called Sweet Feet where we provide a meal and games and activities while a group of others gives pedicures and provides new socks to anyone who wants one.

Over the past three years we have been working in partnership with Heart for Home Haiti. This has been a major increase in our missions program going from about 5000 per year to between 30 and 40000. We have sent a team each of the past three years to work in Haiti with Heart for Home. This has been a great privilege to see God multiply resources for the work of his kingdom and an opportunity to partner not just with Heart for Home, but also with other supporting churches.

Another local work has been my serving as chaplain of the local Junior Hockey Team, the Vernon Vipers. The resources come from sponsors within our church. Through this we are able to have a “Faith Night” at one of the Viper’s games that invites all the churches and includes a number of features that highlight the various churches and a video of the chapel is shown to the entire crowd. It is a great outreach to young men and to highlight the work of God’s church in a positive way to the community.

8. WestCoast Christian Church, Surrey, BC
Our mission is to make disciple-making disciples of Jesus for God’s glory. From day one, it’s been our heart and passion to be a church-planting church. By God’s grace, we’ve tithed our offerings toward planting churches in Canada and have given something like $50000 since we
began.

Also, we have specific benchmarks that the church family is working toward in terms of our disciple-making and outreach. We are already beginning plans to either begin a new campus or church plant somewhere else in the Lower Mainland as Jesus allows. Thanks to Jesus, we saw 16 baptisms in 2011, and so far in 2012 we’ve seen 8 more people express their loyalty to King Jesus.

In terms of serving the poor and broader community involvement, every year our Community Groups prepare Xmas hampers for needy families. We also partner with the public school each year for the PAC’s annual fundraiser which raises money for needy children at the school….this
is the same school that we rent on Sundays.

By God’s grace, 2012 has seen many more unchurched families come and engage with the church family. One key reason this is occurring is because the church family is reaching out to their own friends and family within their own relationship circles and living out the Gospel in front of them. A big emphasis for us is that Christians are to be the living proof of the Gospel.

9. Parkland Christian Church, Red Deer
* Parkland Christian Church, embraced being multi-ethnic, called a Filipino Pastor who see’s discipleship making in all its forms as central purpose of the Church. Experimenting with the satellite model had led to establishing a satellite congregation in Ponoka (now worshipping on Saturday mornings using Allliance building and running 40+ after a year) and a satellite congregation in Wetaskiwin – now meeting for 8 months in Baptist building on Sundays at 4:00pm and running 20+.
* Majority of the additions at all locations are Filipino but a good representation of anglos and other at Red Deer.
* Word of life, a congregations started 40 years ago by Pastor Mel Mullen, using the Parkland building now has a large Red Deer facility, a school, a bible college and a global ministry. They have 24 churches that are connected, often starting as satellites. They host leadership conferences both in Canada and abroad.
* With 44% of Albertans being immigrants (either from abroad or other provinces), mostly young and pursuing their dreams in a new environment -some feel this is a time when the doors of opportunity are open for Christ’s Church.