We love being a family at KGF, and we love being a part of a larger family in our province and country. Kelowna Gospel Fellowship is part of the BC Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, with 120 churches around the province. This past weekend, our provincial family gathered for the annual convention. Two of our own, Gerda and Don Vogt, enjoyed this event as our delegates at the Broadway MB church in Chilliwack on May 4-5. Photos from the gathering here: Here's their report:
We were very encouraged by numerous stories of individual hearts being touched and by people coming to know Christ through ministries such as Church Planting BC, the five MB Bible Camps, Columbia Bible College, as well as the numerous churches.
A highlight was the Church Planting BC ministry which under the leadership of Gord Fleming (whose original home church was KGF!) has blossomed and has become a widely recognized leading church planting model. There are currently over 33 MB church planters and apprentices in BC, 25 of which are working in churches that have already launched. Three new church plants became official members of BCMB at this conference. The decision was made to expand this ministry to become a national organization known as “C2C Network Canada”, which will minister to all provincial MB conferences as well as church planting ministries from other denominations. God has prepared this ministry for a wide open opportunity. KGF is already contributing financial support to all of the ministries through our conference giving and we can all find joy in offering prayer support as well.
We have included a fuller summary of the weekend here:
BC Mennonite Brethren - Annual Convention
May 4-5, 2012
Convening at Broadway MB Church Chilliwack
The theme of the conference “Enable Your Servants”, which was based on Acts 4:29
“Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.”
The entire event was an encouragement in faith as MB leaders, churches and programs shared the realities of their ministries in this past year. Stories of coming to faith and trusting God and relying on his blessings and provisions were numerous from missions, the camping program, Columbia Bible College, and the Church Planting BC program.
Summary of Reports...
- Report from the “Director of Leadership” Ron Toews.
Work has been done on the development of “transitional ministry”, to serve churches following negative endings of pastor’s terms in churches.
- Report from “Management Committee”, Steve Boakes .
Church contributions exceeded $1.5 million, which was a 5.46% increase over 2010. The conference ended the year with a surplus. It has been a busy and successful year.
- Report from “Columbia Bible College”, Ron Penner .
This is the 75 year anniversary of CBC and its predecessor schools. There were approximately 500 students enrolled. A highlight was the construction of Redekopp Hall, a student residence at a cost of $3.5 million, which was paid for with funds raised.
- Report from “Pastoral Ministries Committee”, Rob Dyck
Approximately 25 pastors or associate pastors successfully went through the credentialing process this past year. Doing so, complies with the policy of the BCMB. An ongoing concern is that there are currently 20 not yet credentialed leading/preaching pastors and approximately 80 not yet credentialed associate pastors in our BC churches.
- Report from “Camp Ministries”, Merv Boschman
A total of 5618 campers, and 715 staff and volunteers participated in camps this past year (2010 was 5388) in all five camps combined (ie. Gardom Lake, Camp Bob, Pines Camp, Camp Likely, and Stillwood Camp). Nearly 2000 commitments or recommitments to Christ took place.
- Report from “Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, (the national conference)”, Willy Reimer
This organization had contracted Terry Mochar, a consultant (an early retiree from international business, having managed the restructuring of over thirty international businesses employing a total of about forty thousand employees), to perform a review of the organization, its overall effectiveness and its relationships with provincial conferences and pastors. Terry Mochar addressed the conference with what many saw as the most compelling words heard at the conference. In essence his prophetic message was...
“We are at a pivotal moment in history and in our country. MB’s are poised to be very instrumental in ministry in this land. We have been prepared for this time and we carry a great responsibility to meet the opportunity of ministry and leadership that lies before us. At the same time, we do carry some issues that need to be resolved. The national organization has become a program driven institutional movement that is slow to respond to the changing needs of pastors and churches and is slow to deploy funding.
There is also a harmful spirit of competition that exists between the national and provincial organizations as well as between individuals which fosters disunity.
The national average of personal giving is at about 2%. The problem is not that we don’t have enough money, rather the problem is disobedience.”
- Report from “Church Planting BC”, Gord Fleming
- oCPBC is currently working with over 33 MB church planters and apprentices, 25 of which are working in churches that have already launched.
- oGod continues to bring planters from other provinces and denominations to our door for assessment, training, encouragement, coaching and leadership support.
- oThree churches have been planted in the past year (refer to “Motions” below).
- oChurch Planting BC has been highly effective and has been seen as a leading model. It has been sought after by MB conferences in other provinces as well as by church planting organizations from other denominations for advice, resources and assistance, so much so that it has seen to be necessary to expand to a national organization. This has been done and will now be known as “C2C Network Canada” (See “motions passed #1” below).
(More detailed information for these and other reports are available online)
- The executive of the BCMB was challenged from the floor regarding the process of selecting/rejecting candidates for nominations and also regarding the policy to refuse nominations from the floor. The chairman permitted comments and questions of displeasure and the chairman responded with statements that included
- o“It is our intention to be as transparent as possible.”
- o“We will consider your concerns.”
- o“A certain person’s nomination was not accepted because better candidates were available.”
- o“The process for nomination is to consider all candidates equally at the outset. Then to begin the selection process by reviewing their biography, by interviewing them and then by checking their references.”
- o“It is the intention of the executive to best serve the BCMB conference.”
- A recurring theme was the need to raise young leaders to establish a succession of competent leadership in our churches and our conference. Numerous leaders are retiring or about to retire, or are moving on to the Canadian conference for work at the national level. These individuals include...
Ron Penner, president of Columbia Bible College (retiring)
Arthur Loewen, camp ministries committee chair (retiring)
Marilyn Hiebert, director of administration (soon to retire)
Merv Boschman (leaving the post of interim Conference Minister)
Ron Toews (leaving the ministry of Leadership Development to do similar work
at the national level)
- 1) That Church Planting BC now become part of a national organization called C2C Network Canada. Gord Fleming will be the leader of both the C2C Network Canada and the provincial MB church plants.
- 2)That the following church plants become full participating members of BCCMB.
Crossridge (Surrey) pastor Lee Francois, planted Sept 2011..
Meta Communities (Westend Vancouver) pastor Dennis Wilkinson, planted Sept 2011.
Westside Northshore (North Vancouver) James Bonney, planted April 2012.
- 3)That we accept the closure of “Urban Journey Church” in the UBC/Dunbar region of Vancouver.
- 4)That the income budget supported by member churches through their ministry commitment be set at $1.6 million for 2013.
- All nominations presented in the conference handbook were acclaimed.
- Rob Thiessen was elected to the position of conference minister (replacing Merv Boschman who had temporarily replaced Steve Berg). Rob has most recently been pastoring North Langley MB church.
For further information the conference handbook (reports and financial statements etc) is available online@ www.BCMB.org
Respectfully submitted by your conference delegates
Don and Gerda Vogt