I love how a new calendar year can often feel like a blank canvas. In 2018, there are several things that I hope we choose to paint on our collective calendar together. The first item I would like to work together on is deepening our collective understanding of ministry in Canada. After all, how can we accept responsibility for neighbourhoods we don’t understand? Now is the time to bring together our sanctified imaginations and dream. The New Leaf Network will be hosting several events across the country to help get that kind of conversation started. We plan on bringing together some of the most important voices on the changing religious landscape in Canada for a day of learning and in cities all across the country. We did a trial run of this event in 2017 in Montreal as a pre-conference to the National Church Planting Congress. People who attended the pre-conference insisted that what we shared during the day was vital to ministry in Canada. Many denominational and church leaders asked us to bring our content to their context to educate their leaders as well. I’d love to see the Free Methodist Church get in on the action too! I hope that you will take time to invite key leaders in your congregation to be at one of our events. If you’d like to bring us in for the day, don’t hesitate to contact me.
A second item I would like put on the canvas for next year is deepening our collective commitment to supporting our church planters. Church planting is still the best way we know to share Jesus and His way of life with Canadians. It is still the best way we know to reach into new communities, neighbourhoods, and cultures. Something so important to our mission and our future is worth supporting! In 2018 the Church Planting Department will be undergoing significant shifts in order to better support our church planters. One of these shifts involves hiring coaches who can give more dedicated time, talent, and energy to helping our planters succeed. Would you consider joining these resourcing efforts by leading your church to make a regular financial commitment to the Church Planting Giving Stream? There are many churches that already support the work we do. Some do this by dedicating a special monthly offering to our giving stream. Would you consider partnering with us too?
A third item for our calendar would be for our congregations to develop skills in the area of evangelism. We have gathered together some great resources designed to help pastors and small group leaders lead their church to become communities on mission. If you haven’t already would you consider checking out our “Bearing Faithful Witness” small group resources? It can be found here – https://fmcic.ca/resources/bearing-faithful-witness2/ My hope is that these resources can help people learn to meaningfully engage with their neighbours with the good news about Jesus. I would love our denomination to recover it’s historic commitment to faith sharing in Canada!
These are just a few of the things I’d love to see us work at together in 2018! What are your hopes for 2018?