We are always listening for critical issues that face our churches. The five primary conference streams at Thinking Shrewdly V: The Gospel and Your Church (coming up in May) are representative of what we heard from you as we visited ten Canadian regions. Not everyone can come to the conference but everyone can participate in the conversation
. We welcome discussion, even debate, as we look for wise, effective and possibly diverse conclusions that honour God and his people.
Read a reflection on the "Show Compassion and Fight for Justice" stream by Edmonton hospital chaplain Jessica Baker.
Then join the conversation on Facebook
or leave comments on the VMC blog
Show Compassion and Fight for Justice
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? Should we start new ministries as churches or encourage people to work in existing ones in the community?
Showing compassion and fighting for justice should be done both inside and outside of the church. As a hospital chaplain, I can think of many examples where churches have started compassionate health care ministries that are not really “new” but have proven quite successful in other settings. Providing parish nursing, counselling services and a variety of support groups are examples that immediately come to mind.
However, of these two choices, I gravitate most strongly towards encouraging people to work in community based programs. And this does not necessarily mean faith-based programs. There is a lot to be learned when you step outside the walls of a church and beyond the safety of Christian culture. It is invaluable to explore different communities and contexts and to get to know and care for individuals within their own space and environments. Connecting with people in their own settings means learning about their beliefs, passions, emotions, and deeply rooted spiritual convictions and recognizing that they too want to be loved, listened to and treated with respect.
Community work is a time to assess our agendas and underlying motivations. It makes us look at, interact with and find ways to love people who might never step foot anywhere near our church doors. It forces the question of “if compassion means entering into the suffering of others, then how am I going to enter into the suffering of people who don’t fit into my church culture?” Often it means putting to rest the desire to change other people, and instead, allowing change to occur within us.
Read Jessica's complete response in the special 12-page magazine edition of Thinking Ahead that will be delivered in May and handed out at the conference.
Jessica Baker is a chaplain with Covenant Health in Edmonton, Alberta. She’s an endorsed chaplain through Vision Ministries, has a M.Div. from Tyndale Seminary, and is a certified Specialist in Spiritual Care with the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care. She’s passionate about the intersection of spirituality, mental health and trauma care.
Other Discussions You can Comment On
by visiting Facebook
or the VMC blog
Tell a 2000-Year-Old Story to Unresponsive Canadians
The majority of Canadians do not share our Christian faith or values and are not responding positively to the Gospel message we proclaim. We will identify challenges and pursue ways to become more evangelistically fruitful.
Practice Effective Church Leadership
What makes the Gospel good news for today’s Canadians?
What is the Gospel? How do people come to faith—crisis or process?
What comes before “telling the story”? For how long? Is it different for people that are gifted as evangelists?
How can we equip people to witness?
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.
Reach & Learn From Millions Who Are New to Canada
How can the effectiveness of a church or its leaders be evaluated or measured?
What is the best way to build effective church leadership teams?
What is the role of faith in God on a leadership team or in a church?
What is the ideal organization and structure for each size of church?
People arrive in Canada 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 coming to us?
Start New Outreach, New Congregations and New Churches
What can long-time Canadians and churches learn from new immigrants to Canada?
How can first generation leaders raise up new leaders and deploy them well?
How can established churches best work with new immigrant churches?
Can Kingdom values be distinguished from those of our contemporary cultures?
New kingdom initiatives 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, and new communities? Let’s do it!
Why is it necessary to have ongoing “fresh expressions” of church?
Can we predict who can successfully start a new ministry?
Training and coaching—how much and what kind?
How can we overcome the hurdles that loom large in our paths?
Thinking Shrewdly V: The Gospel and Your Church
VMC NATIONAL CONFERENCE // MAY 10–12, 2012
Lakeside Church: 7654 Conservation Rd, Guelph, Ontario
This is an interactive event. Although you will be listening to some expert presenters, there will be plenty of time for developing relationships and wrestling with truth together. We will also be talking about collective initiatives through VMC. We believe God shows up when his people get together! Register online at www.vision-ministries.org or by phone at 1-877-509-5060.
We Want You to Come! Here are some incentives:
Travel subsidy available for the first 50 registrants outside of Ontario and Quebec
Younger leaders (30 and under) pay only $100
Register as a group of 7 or more from the same church and the 7th registration is FREE!
Early Bird Registration (by April 10, 2012) $250/individual or $300/couple
Did we mention that registration includes five meals, snacks, and more delicious teaching and conversation than you can possibly digest during the conference?