Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer (which means “the stone of help”), for he said, “Up to this point the Lord has helped us!” 1 Samuel 7:12
I know the passage of scripture above has become cliche. It is primarily used as comfort in moments where endurance is needed. But as I reflect on the last four years, there is no better text able to convey the reality of our recent history accurately. Today with this report, I want to place an Ebenezer (a stone of hope).
It is hard to believe that this June marks four years in the role of National Director. Some days it seems like time has flown by, and other times it has felt like a long Winnipeg winter. For the first time in a while, I feel hopeful about our future as a family of churches. Consider for a moment the difficult situation we found ourselves in a few years ago: depleted reserves, large debt due to overspending, a need to reorganize and bring our stewardship ministry into regulatory compliance, a Seminary at the brink of financial collapse, a failed merger of C2C and MB Mission, and strained relationship with our US counterparts. Not to mention entering a Pandemic. These and other issues created a disconnect between the many parts of our collective ministry.
God has been gracious to us. At the time of writing this report, Legacy is fully compliant and in a healthy position. MB Seminary is coming out of exigency. CCMBC has a plan for debt repayment and rebuilding reserves. There is healing in our relationship with the US Conference with a recommitment to working together. Multiply has just announced the hiring of a new General Director, affirmed by both owner conferences. Many people prayed and worked hard over the last few years, and God has worked with and through them.
As part of my report to the National Assembly in 2019, I suggested that we would need to enter five stages of rebuilding:
With the Strategic Partnership Agreements and MOUs coming for voting and approval at this National Assembly, we are coming to the end of the design stage. The Collaborative Model is functional, with its many parts operating as intended. Now we look forward to the building stage.
So, what can you envision for us? What do you believe God has for us?
I envision a denomination that invests collectively and strategically in preparing tomorrow’s leaders, carefully integrating elements of non-formal and formal training and education.
I envision a united and committed denomination to a robust theology and spiritual practice. One that is in keeping with the convictions articulated in our Confession of Faith.
I envision a denomination that, at its core, understands the need to raise, empower and send disciples who will lead new churches across Canada and the world.
I envision a denomination that invests in the training, resourcing, and support of its leaders by providing healthy processes, policies, and programs that lead to healthy organizations.
I envision a denomination that responds to the needs of our country and world with generosity and faith.
I’m full of hope, how about you? Can you see yourself building this kind of future for our family of churches? Christ is our Ebenezer, and with Him, we can move forward.
I want to end my report by extending my thanks and appreciation to those whom I could not do this work without. After 30+ years of service with CCMBC and Legacy, Bertha Dyck is retiring in fall 2022. She will be greatly missed. It is a blessing to work with both Bertha and Jason Krueger as they diligently provide oversight to Legacy.
Thank you to Jon Isaak of CMBS, Carson Samson, Kara Friesen, Ken Esau and Holly Hannigan. Working with this team is a privilege and I am blessed by their tireless work ethic and joyful attitude as they serve our family of churches well.
Thank you also to the Executive Board for their ability to tackle many difficult things with courage and commitment. Lastly, I want to extend my gratitude to the National Faith and Life Team and the National Ministry Team for their work on behalf of our denomination.