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SKMB On Mission Together – April 12, 2023

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Replanting Together

This past Assembly I had the opportunity to lead a breakout to talk through church revitalization and how the SKMBs are looking to see dead and dying churches experience new life. One of my main takeaways from Assembly is that many of you feel this desire to revitalize churches is a need here in Saskatchewan. As I got the chance to talk with many of you over our two days together, I constantly had the same two conversations. One conversation was usually around how important and needed church revitalization is, and the second was a simple question, “How can our church be a part of this?” Maybe you are asking that second question, “How can our church be a part of this?”

As we look ahead at moving toward church revitalization, there are three clear ways we can be a part of church revitalization.

1. Replanting Partner Churches

As we continue to develop a church revitalization framework, one of our desires is to see existing healthy churches commit to revitalizing dead or dying churches. What is the role of the Replanting Partner Church? How do you know if being a replanting partner church is something that your church should consider? Here are three questions you should ask as a leadership team?

• Are you in a healthy place?

We aren’t asking if you are in a perfect place, but are you healthy? Does your leadership team have the time and energy to not only care and lead your church but adopt and lead another church? Does your church have some extra capital to invest in replanting a church? Do you have leaders or a leader that can invest significant time to invest in discipleship and training for a core team of people? Is your church family excited and on board with the idea of replanting through revitalization?

Are you willing to make a three – five-year commitment?

Church revitalization takes an investment of years, not months. Culture change and dealing with spiritual vitality issues are at the heart of church revitalization. These kinds of things take a significant amount of time.

• Can you create a Replanting plan?

Is your leadership team willing to develop a 3-5 years church replanting plan that has a detailed process that you would take to see a dead or dying church move towards life? This plan would be shared with any church considering working with you to be revitalized.

2. Support A Replanting Partner Church

We know that not every church can take replant a church, but that doesn’t mean you cannot be involved in church revitalization. As we progress and begin to see this develop, the reality is that every replanting partner church will need help. That help could be financial. It could be your church willing to come alongside and provide weekend missions teams to a community where revitalization occurs. The point is this is a kingdom project, and it will take us working together with a kingdom mindset to see it happen.

3. We Can All Be Praying

Jesus clearly states in John 15:5 that we can’t do anything apart from Him. As we consider and work towards church revitalization, we want to be people coming before Jesus and asking him to be at work in our province, communities and churches. May we see a move of God’s spirit across our provinces that results in people from all four corners coming to know Jesus as the church is empowered to live on mission and make disciples. 

Luke Etelanaki

SKMB Church Multiplication Team

Redberry Bible Camp

Thank you to our SKMB family for your continued support and prayers for Redberry! We continue to hear such kind words of affirmation and encouragement from so many who love the camp.

We are now only a month away from our Advance Summer Team joining us at Camp and we are really excited to begin building into the team while preparing the grounds for this summer’s camps. It really is an exciting time for the camp and we as a team are thrilled to be carrying on Redberry’s legacy of sharing the love of Jesus and raising up young leaders.

We are not naive to the fact that this might be a leaner year for the camp as trust takes time to rebuild. We respect that but are also very confident in God’s redemptive work and know we have great things to look forward to. We have been working hard as a board and as a staff team to ensure the safety and respect of all future campers and staff at Redberry.

Here are a few of the things we’ve been working on:

Policies & Procedures – Our board has been working tirelessly at evaluating and revising our policy manuals. We haven’t been doing this alone. We have worked closely with Plan-to-Protect, the Saskatchewan Camping Association, the Faith and Life Team and our Insurance Providers to re-evaluate our policies to ensure we are doing everything as we should be. This thorough process has resulted in a robust policy manual which has really helped us to bring much more clarity to many of our practices and procedures. This, in turn, will help us to better equip our staff.

Staff Training – We have adjusted our schedule to allow for 2 extra days making staff training 5 full days for our summer staff. This will give us more time to go through “Plan to Protect” and our camp policies and procedures. It will also help us to bring more clarity around guidelines for Staff & Camper Health (physical, mental & spiritual). The training will also include teaching on our MB Confession of Faith and how that translates practically into how we do camp. And it will give us the opportunity to bring clarity to our mission on values as a camp which puts “sharing the love of Jesus” first.

• Having new staff has also given us the opportunity to have fresh eyes on our Application Process. We have updated the entire process adding more questions about background such as both personal life and church and have added a Statement of Belief and a Code of Conduct that every person has to read and agree to. We have also updated our reference forms and no one will be hired without at least three references. Every applicant will be interviewed prior to hiring and will be asked more intentional questions about belief, response to authority, and how they will handle difficult situations.

Redberry has had a proud history of providing an amazing community experience. And the culture created by the staff team has been a huge part of this community experience. We are keenly aware of the importance of the culture on the camper experience and so we are screening potential staff members with the campers best interests in mind. We are working hard to develop our staff training to foster a positive, encouraging and caring environment at the camp. Our theme this year is ‘Journey’ and the inspiration for this comes out of Hebrews 12:1-2. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” (NLT)

We’re all on a journey and in every journey the path may not always be so clear and it is possible to be distracted or go off the path. It is only as we set our eyes on Jesus, the founder and perfector of our faith, that we can truly assure we are moving in the right direction.

It is with our eyes set on Jesus that we excitedly look forward to the summer to come. And there really is a lot to be excited about as we look forward to this next season at Redberry

• We have an amazing team leading our camp. Take a minute to go on our website and read a bit about them. They are wonderful people with big pastoral hearts!

•We have most of our speakers lined up and only have a few positions left to fill in our staff team.

•Camper registration is open and campers are excited about coming back to camp

•Sarah Braun – our new Associate Director is busy interviewing summer staff

•And the Redberry Run is coming up on May 27th and we are going to be celebrating our 80th year as a camp!

We really believe that God is doing something special at Redberry, but we are very aware that we cannot accomplish this on our own so we want to thank you, our friends, our supporters, and our prayer warriors; our family.

Thank you for your gifts, your kind words and your many offers to help through difficult situations. Thank you for your continued prayers for the camp, the camp staff and most importantly for each and every camper that steps on to the grounds at Redberry Bible Camp!

Dave Carey, Executive Director

Redberry Bible Camp