VMC Thinking Ahead E-Update January 2012
VMC Thinking Ahead e-update

Adjusting to the Sudden Loss of Dave

Many have been asking me, “How are you doing? And how is VMC adjusting to this sudden loss of Dave McClurkin?”

It’s been a shock! Dave and I worked together very closely. We regularly discussed just about everything we were doing.
Michele Lewis who has been doing our book-keeping is also a chartered accountant so we are not without financial expertise. But we will have to make some serious adjustments over the next four or five months. She was hoping to be doing less work for us rather than more. So…we are talking about that.
Doug Loveday will be picking up some of Dave’s responsibilities as well. We will have more to say about that soon.
It’s the shared thinking, friendship and projects that Dave and I did together that suddenly is very different. Plus Dave was a very relational person who connected with many. That is also something that is suddenly gone.
It will take us some time to discover exactly what is missing and how to find our way forward. On the other hand we were thinking into the future quite a bit and had some new irons in the fire that involve others as well.
I don’t know what more to say just now other than, we really do need prayer.

--Gord Martin

Debate Stimulating but Can Hinder Ministry by Gord Martin

I grew up in a family where we enjoyed arguing – just for the fun of it. When I got married I learned that some people believed that to argue was impolite and that some didn’t have the same appreciation for debate! Heather and I have had to learn a variety of ways of to communicate.
It’s easy, sometimes fun, to debate the Bible, theology, ministry and how to do church best. Today it’s common to debate with people we don’t even know through print and electronic media. People take sides with their favourite spiritual heroes and demolish their less spiritual enemies with great vigour!
The themes we are addressing at Thinking Shrewdly V have the potential to polarize people. Almost every important issue can be seen from at least two vantage points.
The Bible itself often presents contrasting emphasis on the same issues. The truth is most often found where those contrasting emphases meet, not in one or the other. We believe that Jesus is both fully God and fully man. The truth is arrived at by accepting seemingly contrasting or even opposite concepts and allowing both to inform our conclusion.
The same is true in discussions about ministry. There are legitimate and polarizing ideas about what makes for effective evangelism, leadership, ethnic ministries and many more topics.
Do any of these sound familiar?

  • Evangelism is about urgency, proclamation, being Spirit led, clear about the good news, hell, invitation, praying the prayer VERSUS evangelism is about relationships, time, responding to questions and “use words if necessary”.
  • Leadership is about having a single gifted empowered leader, is up front, communicates with authority, is results-oriented VERSUS leadership is about servant leadership, discovering what God wants, involving everyone, believing that we will move ahead when the time is right.
  • Ethnic ministry is about being missionaries to the people who come to our country, getting the Bible and the Gospel to them, learning just enough about their customs and cultures to communicate, start new churches because this is a time of opportunity VERSUS helping them with English, with social adjustments, showing hospitality and friendship.
We will welcome the debates but will be looking for wise, effective and perhaps diverse conclusions that will honour God and the people He loves.

Thinking Shrewdly V:
The Gospel & Your Church

Next national VMC conference in 4 months!
May 10-12, 2012
Thurs., May 10, 10:00 A.M. to Sat., May 12, 1:00 P.M.
Lakeside Church in Guelph, Ontario

The Gospel and YOUR Church will be our fifth national VMC leadership event! We are always listening for critical issues that face our churches. The five primary streams of this edition of Thinking Shrewdly are representative of what we have been hearing. The plenary sessions will inform, challenge and inspire. But the conversations have already begun in the ten Canadian regions we visited in the fall. Each of the four stream sessions will be seeded with people with lots of experience. We anticipate having Acts 15-like discussions in each of the sessions so that at the end of the conference people will be able to have take-home ideas that will make a difference in their communities. Please pray with us to that end.

Plenary Speakers:

Bruxy Cavey, Teaching Pastor, The Meeting House

Gary Nelson, President, Tyndale College and Seminary

Greg Paul, Director, Sanctuary Ministries of Toronto
Plenary sessions will be for everyone.

Conference participants will choose one of the following five streams:

    80% of Canadians do not share our Christian faith or values. The exact numbers may be debatable, but it’s clear that the majority are not responding positively to the Gospel message we are proclaiming. We will identify the challenges we face and pursue ways to become more evangelistically fruitful.
    Good leadership makes a big difference. Getting the right leaders into the correct roles and helping them commit to humility, servanthood, integrity, faithfulness and effectiveness is the key to flourishing churches. 
  3. SHOW COMPASSION & FIGHT FOR JUSTICE/Greg Paul with Jeremy Horne
    Jesus set a very high standard for compassion and justice.  His reputation attracted many and his cause threatened major upheaval to the status quo.  What would it take for us to have a similar impact and reputation?
    People are arriving on Canadian shores from all over. The character of our cities and towns is undergoing massive change.  Can more of us learn to think like missionaries? Or will we continue to send costly mission teams elsewhere while ignoring the people who are coming to us?
    /Terry Wiseman with Jay Gurnett
    New kingdominitiatives are the church’s frontier. What hinders us from being more daring and adventurous?  Can we face our fears and apprehensions and stay on the cutting edge of new ministries, new congregations, new sub-congregations (on or off-site), and new communities. Let’s do it!

VMC Blog

Read some of the latest posts by VMC leaders.Spark some community--leave a comment on the blog.
Permission to Speak Freely?
Jay Lehman (Auburn Bible Chapel)
Rainbow Spotting 

David Knight (Lincoln Road Chapel)
Ideas Everywhere  
Jay Gurnett
Beating Your Head Against a Wall
Mark Harris (Grace Chapel)

VMC staff took 18 leaders from the VMC network of churches to the National Church Planting Congress “re:Call”in Winnipeg,November 15-17. 500+people gathered to discuss church planting, including Shawn Erb, pastor at House of Hope Church in Brantford, Ontario.
Shawn writes:
Thanks for making it possible for me to go to the Congress! It was a very valuable experience. Most of the conferences I had been to haven't been so intentionally missional. It was great to get together with a group of people who were of very similar mindset in our devotion to Christ. 
It really helped me to refine who we want to be as a community. Of particular interest was one of the workshops I went to. Jamie Arpin-Ricci (the presenter) started a house church in downtown Winnipeg and talked about the cost of community. This, while not mind shattering, was especially applicable to me in both the church plant and the work I do at The Olive Branch [centre where poor are fed].

It was especially challenging as he drove home the idea that community has a serious cost to it. 

The other highlight was getting to know some of the VMC guys. It was an amazing group of people each doing what they felt God has called them to do. It was also very interesting to hear about their very different ministries. Thanks for putting them together.

Need Help?

Need help moving your church’s mission forward? VMC staff and trusted associates are available to consult with your leadership team.

Feeling stuck as a leader? VMC provides short-term coaching for pastors and elders.

Want to start an impossible sounding new ministry or church? Get in touch with Gord or Jay.

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