Conference Registration Hits 100 (Updated)

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We’re pleased to announce that 100 people have now registered! Conference 2010, which we’re calling Regenerate, is happening 21-24 at Sun Peaks, BC (outside of Kamloops). We’re hoping for another 200 attenders — at least!

If you would like to sign up, please visit our registration page.

Don’t forget as part that booking accommodations is the last step of registration. Clicking through on the link on the registration page will take you to a discounted booking page. (We’re getting a great deal from Sun Peaks!)

This is going to be a great Conference in a wonderful location, and is planned with sufficient freedom to explore it all.

Update: I’ve just received word that we’ve far surpassed 100! And there’s still lots of room for more. But don’t wait too long. Time is running out!

Another Brush (or Two) With Reality

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Louise just returned to South America after having finished some extensive training in Hong Kong. She hasn’t returned to Venezuela though, she’s gone to Colombia, which is a new country for the EFCCM! A handful of days after she arrived though, she was robbed. The thieves didn’t find her cash, or her computer, which is a big relief, but it’s still rattling to have someone take your property. It’s certainly not the kind of welcome we’d hoped for her there.

We also received word from Eddie and Bonita in Rwanda that they have been victims of an attempted burglary too. Guards chased the would-be thieves from the property before they could make off with anything. But it’s clear that there are people with the intention to steal, and who’ve got a clear idea what they’re after.

When we ask for prayers of safety and protection for our missionaries, this is a way that they get answered. We’re grateful that in neither of these situations haven’t been as bad as they could have been, but please take this as an encouragement to continue to pray!

When Everything Becomes Real

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Recently Jake and Marg serving in the deep jungle of Bolivia posted two blog entries illuminating the realities that they’re facing.

We honour the risk and the energy that they have invested, and continue to invest into this work. Their ministry is imposing a very steep learning curve on the local community as they work on areas areas like credit and finance, farming methods, even basic nutrition. As they’ve indicated in these two posts, it’s been a really hard go.

Unfilled Expectations
Frustrations

Please pray for breakthroughs in connecting with the local community, and for continued stamina for Jake and Marg. There is certainly no romance or glamour in these posts. There is just the hard reality of people facing each other across a massive cultural and socio-economic divide.

The Pulse, Now in Chinese

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We are pleased to introduce our first translated copy of the Pulse. This is to include the Chinese brothers and sisters in our Chinese congregations here and around the world in the news and celebrations of what God is doing in and through the EFCC.

This is an even greater commitment to a document that takes a lot of work to produce. You can honour that investment of time and energy by helping us share this link as broadly as possible to the people who’d like to read it:

See the Chinese edition of the Pulse.

Practical Steps to Mature Leadership

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“Dear Brothers, when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to mature Christians. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in Christ. I had to feed you with milk and not with solid food, because you couldn’t handle anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready, for you are still controlled by your own sinful desires. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other…when one of you says “I am a follower of Paul”, and another says, “I prefer Apollos”, aren’t you acting like those who are not Christians?”

These words from I Corinthians 3 are quite convicting – especially when one browses the local Christian bookstore, or listens to believers arguing about their favourite Christian hero (or demonizing their favourite Christian “whipping boy”). Alas, we are prone to immaturity! I would love to pass off some of these things as just style preferences, but Paul gets right to the rub and reminds me that my tendency to find one spokesperson who I feel I (and all other good, mature, orthodox Christians) must follow…is, um…well, immature.

And the immaturity extends further than we might like to admit. In 2005 the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada commissioned a study of Christian Leadership in Canada. Don Page (former VP at TWU and founder of the Master of Arts in Leadership) reports that the top three complaints regarding Christian leaders in Canada were: Servant Leadership (we talk it but don’t walk it), Authentic Relationship with God (leaders lean on conferences and books over their calling and leading from God) and Character Development (humility and integrity were especially found lacking in Christian leaders). The other most-mentioned areas that leaders were failing on: developing younger leaders, courageously challenging the status quo (i.e. taking risks) and discovering and sharing God’s vision for ministry. Christian leaders were also seen as weak when it came to team work and accountability. Respondents basically said we talk team well, but we find it hard to work together (and hold each other accountable) in any sort of mature manner.

I was recently reminded of one relationship in the church where our immaturity really hurts us: Pastor and Board (and Board Chairman). In light of Paul’s admonition and Don Page’s research, allow me to make Bill’s top 10 suggestions for promoting mature teamwork between pastors and boards.

  1. Pray together — not just for a few minutes and not just for health issues (Acts 13:1-3). If you ask God what He wants…He may just answer!
  2. Have fun together — eat together, fellowship, get to know each other as humans!
  3. Retreat once a year — get away from distractions, pray, ask God for His vision.
  4. Learn together — read a ministry book, be a learning community.
  5. Delegate — set up teams that have permission to carry out ministry – don’t make the board deliberate over details like lawn care, worship, Sunday School etc…
  6. Pastors and Board Chairs — get together! For golf, lunch…whatever! Talk about how church is, dream what it could be. And set the agenda for meetings together.
  7. Decide that you are on the same team – you have different roles, but God has called you to build His church together! Don’t allow yourselves to see each other as the enemy.
  8. Remember it is Christ’s church. Our human agendas are irrelevant!
  9. Speak as one, not as individuals. You are a team. Don’t undermine the team by dissenting after the meeting – dissent during the meeting, then speak as one.
  10. Be each other’s backup! Leaders get shot at — don’t shoot each other. Instead demonstrate that if someone wants to attack one of you, they just bought themselves a “whole heap of hurtin’”!

OK, number ten makes it sound like I was in Alberta for too long. Oh well. What I really want is for it to be said of us that we serve His church well, maturely and as one!

Serving with you,

Bill.