The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)
“Fear not!” Repeatedly we hear these words in Scripture—easier said, or received, than done! Each of us, I’m sure, has succumbed to the grip of anxiety, fret, and distress in this past year. However, like a fire-torch in a cave or a flashlight on a dark night, God’s presence conquers the fears. God’s word is like a lamp that leads us (Psalm 119:105), and His love drives out fear (1 John 4:18). Churches and leaders have battled fear and discouragement and many good stories of life change, people who reached out to friends, neighbors, and co-workers with the goodness and kindness of God’s love, keep us encouraged and focused!
We are pleased to announce that Laurence Hiebert has been able to join the ABMB team as Conference Minister (part-time). His gift of pastoral care and theological clarity will be a great asset to our pastors and churches as he is now able to donate more time and energy to this role.
ABMB continues to work toward adding churches, including a “new Canadian” congregation and a couple of churches that are being “rebuilt” or renewed. Churches are collaborating in these partnerships to assist financially or in leadership oversight. As churches specifically team together to help each other, greater strength and increased impact is developing.
We also report a couple of churches who have either closed or moved on to another church family. Although difficult, we also acknowledge that God continues to work in these situations. We currently have 18 member churches plus another two in emerging status.
This coming year one of our Calgary churches, together with ABMB and MB Seminary, will become a “teaching church”. This is a valuable step in calling out and developing the leadership base in our congregations.
ABMB continues to develop the Four Ministry Teams as articulated in the CUSP and emphasizes the blessing of churches working together. Multiply is assisting a few of our churches at hosting our first ever “SOAR” this summer after years of trying to make this a reality! Additionally, Camp Evergreen is key in the development of disciple-making leaders, and they are reporting many positive developments in this past year, including a healthier financial situation. ABMB was also able to end the year with a stronger fiscal reality; this will enable us to increase our ministry impact for the future.
Finally, we acknowledge that the past two years have made us more aware of things we do well, what needs to be cleaned out, or what should to be made new. The increasing social pressures, government encroachment into church life, or financial concerns, may be frustrating and divisive, but therein is also the opportunity! People are looking for meaning, deeper relationships, and ultimately a loving God who can forgive and bring life and blessing. Let us live with less fear and more faith!
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)