Did you realize that for more than 100 years, First Baptist Church, Vancouver, has been a part of a wider family of churches known as the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada (CBWC)?
The CBWC is made up of about 170 churches across the four Western Provinces, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories. It's a huge geographic region with plenty of uniqueness and diversity both in the landscape and our churches. Prior to becoming the Executive Minister of the CBWC in July of 2017, I served as the BCY Regional Minister for nine years. As I toured churches in my first year as the Regional Minister, in almost every congregation someone would come up to me and say, "you know, we're not a typical Baptist Church!" After a while I began to realize that there is no such thing as a "typical Baptist church," which is one of the reasons why we celebrate a diversity of ethnicities, ages, leadership and worship styles, all the while keeping Jesus at the centre of who we are and all we do.
About a year ago, after a time of prayerful discernment with the churches and the CBWC Board, we put forward three key priorities for the next season of ministry for the CBWC. Let me give you a glimpse into these priorities.
The first priority is Cultivating Leadership. The CBWC used to have a one-year leadership training program known as the Baptist Leadership Training School (BLTS). Until its closing in the late '90s, BLTS helped to train both pastors and congregational leaders for our churches for more than 50 years. We are in the process of creating a new "gap year" program to help raise up the next generation of leaders for both society and our churches. Please pray for wisdom for our team in creating this program and for financial resources to help us make it accessible to all.
The second priority is Investing in Relationship. Ministry is all about relationship and we are spending our time building relational bridges with our churches and church leaders, as well as our ministry partners across Canada and around the world. Jesus has called us to love God and to love one another. That love can truly grow when we intentionally take the time to invest in one another.
The third priority is Engaging in Mission. Our mission as the church into God's world is never-ending. For this next ministry season the CBWC will be emphasizing church planting, helping to settle more refugees in Canada, and continuing to learn how to best walk alongside the Indigenous community.
Please pray for the leadership of the CBWC and I encourage you to look for ways to become involved in your broader church family. One way to stay in the loop about CBWC events and initiatives is by signing up at cbwc.ca for our monthly e-newsletter, Making Connections.
The peace of the Lord
Serving with you, for Him!
Executive Minister, CBWC.