2024 SKMB Report

Supporting SKMB churches and camps in making disciples

Director Of Ministry – Phil Gunther


Move! Called to act, called to mission.

“When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town.  If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere.”  Luke 9:1-6 NIV
There is an urgency to our gospel mission.  Our culture is rapidly departing from the values and principles that for generations have strengthened community, safety and responsibility.  Christian Biblical values are shunned as being for the narrow-minded, delusional or hate-mongering crowd. In Canada’s feverish pursuit of individual self-deification, we have become a nation confused about our identity, fearful about our safety (personal and economic) and emotionally in tatters.  We have more people on anti-depressants, more people committing suicide and more people generally lost about why they even exist.  Our times are dark times and in desperate need of the gospel, the kingdom, the truth of God’s Word.  Just as Jesus sent out his twelve disciples some 2000 years ago to proclaim the kingdom of God, exorcize demons and heal the sick, he has called us MOVE, to act, to mission in his name. SKMB, let us MOVE out into our neighbourhoods, towns and cities with Jesus and for Jesus.


2023 Ministry

I routinely describe my work as seeking to fulfill a single mandate – supporting SKMB churches and camps in making disciples.  I then claim that accomplishing that mandate looks different among our family of churches and camps.  Sometimes it’s pastoral care and counsel, sometimes it is lay-leader support, sometimes it is helping folks gain missional clarity and application, sometimes it is assisting with governance and administration and sadly, sometimes it is dealing with conflict resolution or dissolution.  I thank God for your prayers for wisdom.  Here are several 2023 examples of my work:

  • Preaching support various member churches.  At times this involved facilitating communion.
  • Leadership support for North West Community Church (Meadow Lake), Forest Grove Community Church (Saskatoon) and Riverbend Fellowship (Borden) in their pastoral transitions.
  • Leadership support for Redberry Bible Camp and West Bank Bible Camp.
  • Liaison support for Thrive Discipleship School and Horizon College & Seminary.
  • Twenty-seven church visits; three pastor support cluster meetings.
  • Meetings with church/camp/school leaders to pursue avenues of greater collaboration.
  • Assisted several churches with their governance documents or staff MOU’s or pastoral assessments.
  • Worked with the Alberta MB Conference on a joint African leadership conference and upcoming pastor and spouse retreat.
  • Worked with Parkland Community Church and Blaine Lake Gospel Chapel in their dissolution processes.


2023 Financial Story

Thank you!  Your faithful giving and other revenue allowed us to meet all our 2023 operational and strategic commitments.  I want member churches to note that our church giving fell short of budget by $8500.  Some good news financially was an unexpected significant interest return on our Strategic Investment Fund of $19,745.  Due to prudent stewardship, SKMB ended the fiscal year with a surplus of $15,000.  This amount will be transferred to our Strategic Investment Fund.  I was truly pleased to note that giving and revenue helped us meet our $38,627 strategic investment commitment.


For the 2024 budget $17,500 has been added to our strategic investment portfolio to assist churches/camps in sending their pastors/directors and their spouses to the October Banff retreat.  We have also increased the ministry support budget line due to the fact that we may be sending upwards of fourteen new pastors/directors to Pastors Credentialing Orientation in Abbotsford this May.


Your giving is making an impact on multiple levels and we continue to see the positive results of prudent stewardship.  I am asking our SKMB family to at least maintain, if not increase, support as you are able, to our collective mission and ministry.  Please note that since 2019, we no longer have the giving of six churches.  Every dollar is important, especially in these turbulent times.  I thank you in advance for your 2024 giving.


Thrive School of Discipleship

I continue to serve as your liaison to the Thrive School of Discipleship on their governance board.  In 2022, Thrive welcomed Curtis Zoreb to serve as president.  Curtis is a pastor in Saskatoon and serves the school half-time.  Thrive continues to transform the lives of young adults, discipling them to follow Jesus with all their heart, strength and mind.  At Assembly 2023 adopted a new Partnership Agreement that replaced the existing MOU with the school.  2023 will be a decision time for the school as they weigh their ability to continue ministry.  Please pray for Curtis and the school board as they discern these matters.


Horizon College & Seminary

Horizon is Canada’s competency-based leadership college.  It is a Bible college dedicated to advancing God’s kingdom by helping students develop their God-given gifts and talents to serve God competently for their entire life. Horizon is nicely settled into their new campus next to Forest Grove Community Church.  President Jeromey Martini continues to provide excellent leadership helping the school fulfil its mission.  SKMB will continue to offer an Anabaptist History & Thought class at the school.  SKMB covers the audit course cost for the first ten church leaders who sign up for this course. Also, we congratulate Rick Schellenberg to his new role at Horizon in the area of ministry formation and internships.  Collectively we are exploring ways of greater collaboration in order to best fulfill leadership needs in our SKMB family.


Objectives & Targets Update

When I started as DM I committed to several key strategic goals and ministry targets.  Here is a quick update on how I am fulfilling these commitments:

  • Enhance and expand SKMB communication: To date we have a website, bi-weekly newsletter, quarterly financial update, monthly information videos, and monthly praise & prayer bulletin notices. 
  • Articulate and achieve SKMB office ministry service targets – The service targets are listed on our website and at times noted in the newsletter.  These ministry targets are currently being met.
  • Assess SKMB operations – I continually monitor SKMB operations, looking for fresh ways to streamline administrative operations and reduce expenses. 
  • Connecting with pastors, camps and churches – My annual goal is to visit every church and camp at least once a year and, in some fashion, connect with every church or camp routinely (eg. call, email, visit, etc.).
  • Building the cluster ministry – The five clusters met twice in 2023 due to my sabbatical.  Normally it is three times a year.
  • Fostering the work of the Ministry Teams – We have seen productive work from our FLT, FLT (LC), DLT and MST.  Our greatest challenge is populating these teams with passionate volunteers.
  • Operating with healthy & balanced stewardship – The 2023 budget revenue was met and we experienced a small surplus.  The 2024 operational budget is based upon 2023 revenues and is realistic, responsible, strategic and sustainable.  The 2024 budget strategic investments continue to be significant as we seek to invest in the future, today.
  • Fostering CCMBC relationships to build upon the SKMB mandate – The relationship the SKMB has with the CCMBC is very positive and growing.  I continue to work with our partner ministries (Multiply, MB Seminary, etc.) on resources and events that see the SKMB mission fulfilled.
  • Fostering relationship with our provincial partners – With the implementation of the national – provincial Collaborative Model a new National Ministry Team (NMT) is in operation.  This team consists of all provincial senior staff who meet in some fashion monthly to discuss mission strategies for our provinces and Canada.  In 2023, SKMB/ABMB hosted an African leadership conference in Calgary and are looking to partner for a second such event in Regina.  In 2024, we will again have the privilege of hosting a joint leader & spouse retreat with the Alberta MB Conference.
  • Resourcing churches and camps – This continues to be a passion and priority for me.  New resources are being introduced and previous ones evaluated for effectiveness.


On the ‘Front Lines’ in 2023

  •  Steven Schmidt concluded his ministry at Parkland Community Church (Yorkton).
  • Matthew Blackaby and Kendrew Friesen began pastoral ministry at Forest Grove Community Church (Saskatoon).
  • Britten Banerjee began ministry at West Portal Church (Saskatoon).
  • Dieter Penner began pastoral ministry at Philadelphia MB Church.
  • David Koster began pastoral ministry at Bridgeway Community Church (Swift Current).
  • Hibrets Saskatoon Christians Church started dialogue with SKMB on joining SKMB.


Leader & Spouse Retreat

October 21-24 – Banff, Alberta
Reboot – Recharge – Revive
All things can be made new, even you.
“Show me your ways, O Lord,
Teach me your paths; guide me in your truth
and teach me, for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.”
Psalm 25:4-5
Ministry and leadership are challenging at the best of times.  Supporting a partner in ministry is no less testing.  Whether it be the arrows of the evil one, the influences of our world, the schemes of some within our ranks or our own weaknesses, faithfulness to one’s calling is daily being squeezed.  There is no bridge over these troubles only a call to journey through them.  On this path God gives us psalms for the soul, words of truth and hope for all seasons and spaces.
The Restored Soul – Psalm 23
“He restoreth my soul.”
Cam Stuart, CCMBC National Director
The Cleansed Soul – Psalm 51
“Cleanse me from my sin.”
Ken Esau, NFLT Director
The Guarded Soul – Psalm 121
“The Lord will keep you from all harm.”
Mark Wessner, MB Seminary President
The Known Soul – Psalm 139
“You know me.”
Bruce Enns, Multiply Executive Director


National Collaboration

I continue to serve on the National Ministry Team (NMT).  Rick Schellenberg assists me on the National Faith & Life Team.  National and provincial leaders continue to operationalize the Collaborative Unified Strategic Plan (CUSP).  I also serve on the Canadian Conference (CCMBC) Executive Board as the Saskatchewan representative.  This role is normally filled by the provincial moderator but due to the current moderator’s personal capacity, the SKMB Executive Board requested that I serve in this role.  Lastly, I continue to serve as a regular writer for the MB Herald.


The DM Work in 2024

  • Development of lay leader training regarding matters of governance, conflict resolution and leadership in collaboration with MST and DLT.
  • Assisting our Discipleship Coach with lay leader training videos focused on helping them re-engage mission in our present cultural context.
  • On-going camp synergy meetings.
  • On-going pastor clusters.
  • On-going church, camp and partner ministry visits and support.


Discipleship Coach – Luke Etelamaki

Church Revitalization 
We have been constantly trying to raise awareness of the need within our families of churches to come face to face with the reality of the church life-cycle and the need for church revitalization. Many of our churches are on the back side of the church life cycle and are in a place where they need to consider how they can experience gospel revitalization so that they do not continue to move toward deep decline.
We have spent a lot of time raising awareness and giving our churches some self-assessment tools that will help churches diagnose where their churches are on the life cycle. We also spent some time working with churches that were in a place of decline, working with them towards revitalization. As we look at the year ahead, we continue to raise awareness and provide tools for leaders and churches to assess their health and missional effectiveness.
In 2024, another area of focus will be on churches in the “maintenance” stage of the church life cycle. These churches have money, people, and no glaring issues but have lost sight of the mission of Jesus and are not experiencing missional growth. These churches are in an ideal place to experience revitalization so they don’t continue declining.


Healthy Leaders
Over the past number of years, we have released two equipping video series designed to help equip church leadership teams to focus on moving churches toward clarity around what it means to be a leader in the context of the church and clarity around the church’s mission. Our hope is that these video series will help develop and strengthen the leadership teams of our SKMB churches.

This Spring, we are releasing our third equipping video series, Leadership Greenhouse. This series focuses on how our churches can create a system to develop future leaders to meet the future leadership needs within the church. For too long, we have depended on outsourcing our leadership development, but as we look ahead, it will be critical for our local churches to own the call to raise and develop healthy leaders. This resource is designed to help you do just that.
Executive Board – Gord Schroeder
This past year was a full year for the Executive Board (EB) and has required an additional time commitment.  Thank you to fellow Executive Board members, you have served well. 
We have completed the process of receiving Common Understanding Common Covenant responses from all churches.  We are grateful for the positive responses and feedback received.  We would ask churches not to forget about the document and review it on a regular basis.


Delegates at Assembly 2023 provided directives on Insurance requirements for SKMB churches and camps.  Insurance policies should include three million liability and SKMB be listed as an additional insured.  This process is underway, and we ask that churches complete this process as soon as possible and a certificate of insurance be submitted to the MST. 
The EB has completed the process of reviewing and updating the SKMB governing documents.  This review included the Constitution, Bylaws, Governance Manual and Operations Manual.  Vern Funk assisted us with this process, we want to thank him for his help.  The few remaining items that need to be addressed are constitutional and are being brought to Assembly 2024 for decision.
The EB, together with the MST, have addressed several church facility items.  

  • The Carrot River property has been sold.  The funds owed to the general fund were returned and the balance of sale proceeds were put into the Strategic Investments Fund.
  • The request from the Emanual Community Church congregation in Pierceland to remove themselves from the Saskatchewan MB Conference has been completed.  The transfer of the property is complete. Cash proceeds received have been put into the Strategic Investment Fund.
  • The Executive Board continues to make ourselves available to our churches and camps.  Investing in the care of our churches and camps is a high priority. We don’t take for granted the time commitment of our church and camp leaders.  Without their commitment and hard work our churches and camps would not be able to accomplish the good work being done. Thank you and may God bless you for this! We want to assure you that we pray for our churches and camps often.  



A ministry of PCC, SKMB and Multiply
“We must be global Christians with a global vision
because our God is a global God.”
John R.W. Stott
Dear Brothers and Sisters In Christ,
            Thank you for your investment in the ministry of the GLOBAL GOSPEL ADVANCE through either Parliament Community Church, the Saskatchewan Conference of MB Churches or Multiply.  We know of your heart for local and global missions, that the gospel is for all nations both here in Canada and across the world.  We thank God for your passion to see the advancement of the Kingdom of God in your family, among your friends and neighbours, and in every city and village in Saskatchewan, Canada and beyond.
            The GLOBAL GOSPEL ADVANCE is a ministry of partners within the MB community focused on discipleship and disciple-making.  It is our mission to proclaim the gospel, raise up disciples who make disciples and train leaders for the planting churches, pastoring congregations and discipling in their local settings here in Saskatchewan, Canada, and internationally.
            The primary vehicle for this work presently is the ministry of Pastor Athanase Chiruza.  Athanase preaches, teaches and trains present and upcoming leaders of African origin using various mediums like Zoom.  Athanase also travels to the USA, Europe and Africa encouraging pastors, planters and church leaders in discipleship, disciple-making and leadership.
            We are inviting you to not only hear about this ministry, but also to consider supporting it.  You can contact Athanase to arrange a visit to your church using email: athanasechiruza@gmail.com.  You can also support Athanase today.
Global Gospel Advance Team