As churches grow, Canadian MBs seek unity, identityBy Tim Huber Mennonite World Review
Mennonite Brethren congregations in Canada are growing, leading the denomination to reconsider organizational structures that have not kept pace.
In recent decades, the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches has shifted from what was historically a homogenous group of immigrants from Ukraine in small, rural churches to an ethnically diverse and increasingly suburban landscape.
“All of a sudden the Mennonite Brethren here are having large churches,” CCMBC moderator Paul Loewen said. “Some of Canada’s largest churches are Mennonite Brethren.”
The result has been a disconnect, both vertically between congregations and the denomination as well as horizontally among congregations and provincial conferences.
In conjunction with hiring executive director Willy Reimer in early 2011, the CCMBC executive board commissioned consultant Terry Mochar to interview national staff, provincial representatives and pastors as part of the National Ministry Effectiveness Project. At its Jan. 27-28 meeting in Abbotsford, B.C., the board approved the study’s findings and recommendations.
Mochar’s report offered nine recommendations to align the denomination to a common set of goals and strategies for sharing Christ with others, including:
Cast a clear vision and mission about what MBs can do together as churches to transform Canada with the good news of Jesus;
Provide support to develop pastors, first as disciples and then as effective leaders, so they can live balanced lives and lead healthy churches;
Lead the way in 21st-century communication strategies that enable MBs to reach the broadest constituent base possible.
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