On March 12th approximately 85 participants took in the online SKMB Assembly 2022. The day began with a pre-Assembly session specifically engaging questions pertaining to the 2022 Budget and Common Understanding & Common Covenant. The speaker for Assembly, Ken Esau, was introduced and provided a brief update on his work as the interim National Faith & Life Director.
The theme for Assembly 2022 was Do not lose heart from 2 Corinthians 4. Ken Esau, Old Testament instructor at Columbia Bible College provided listeners with five powerful reasons followers of Jesus should not lose heart:
- Because it is God who has called us (and empowers us)
- Because Jesus is king (sovereign Lord)
- Because we have a treasure (eternal Gospel) in jars of clay (us)
- Because no trouble changes the plan and purpose of God
Rick Schellenberg, SKMB Faith & Life Team chair, led the Assembly communion and prayer for Urkarine.
Jeff Siemens, moderator of the SKMB Executive Board brought forward five key motions all of which the delegates adopted:
- 2022 Budget of $186,000 with $19, 750 of strategic investments. Financially, SKMB ended 2021 with a surplus of just over $22,000.
- The Global Gospel Advance project
- The Common Understanding & Common Covenant
- Gord Schroeder to server as moderator.
- Jeff Seimens to serve as assistant moderator
Discipleship Coach, Luke Etelamaki, introduced the Missional Leadership video resource for lay church leaders seeking to re-gain missional traction post-COVID: “The Missional Leadership series was created to help you and me as leaders to push against missional drift.” The resource should be available for downloading by the end of March.
Director of ministry, Phil Gunther, gave the following address to the Assembly: “I want to begin by giving thanks to the LORD for His unwavering faithfulness toward Janine & I and the work of this office of Director of Ministry. God is good, all the time. I want to follow that up by saying thank you for your support, in multiple ways, of myself and our collective mission and ministry.
As a community of MB churches, camps and schools, we have had a metaphorical rollercoaster ride – emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and programmatically – since the pandemic struck Saskatchewan exactly two years ago. Assembly 2020 was the sunrise event for us into a season of frustrations and adjustments, Assembly 2022 is hopefully the sunrise event of a fruitful future.
As we gaze out upon the horizon, we quickly learn that we are in a different world, a different culture, a different ministry context and set of challenges, and yet, the same spiritual needs exist, and our Gospel continues to be the only remedy and hope.
I continue to hear in my mind that words of Tod Bolsinger in his book called Canoeing the Mountains, “The world in front of you is nothing like the world behind you… we are called to adapt to a changing world because we are called to reach that changing world [with the Gospel].” And, as Ken Esau has encouraged us, we do not lose heart in the work.
SKMB is anchored to the Gospel and seeks to advance it by the power and blessing of the Holy Spirit. We are kingdom-minded, and our king has given us our mission – to go and make disciples. We do this as a love and faith response to Jesus. SKMB’s mandate is supporting churches and camps in making disciples, that is our singular focus, but it takes on different shapes from missional training, leadership, conflict resolution, governance support, pastoral transition assistance, pastoral care and collective strategic partnerships.
A sample of the challenges our member churches and camps face in 2022 include:
- Discipleship and its relationship to authority – church and state
- Post-pandemic ministry traction
- Addressing the matter of on-going infringement of church/ministry efforts. (eg. Bill C4 and summer grants program)
- Effective biblical ministry to the LGBTQ2 community
- Biblical justice and the struggles of our Indigenous neighbours
- The impact of indifference on the future of the church
- Gospel advancement, multiplication and church planting
- Effective leadership in conflict
- Sound biblical interpretation and applicatin
- Skill development for lay leadership
- Leadership burnout and depression
In some of these areas, SKMB has already provided support, resources and counsel:
- Luke has introduced a training resource to help churches and lay leaders gain post-pandemic missional traction.
- We are providing a course with our ministry Partner – Horizon C&S on Leadership and Conflict (May)
- We provided access to Postureshift training.
- We helped introduce the Grace Fellowship gospel video resource material call The Story
- We provided access to the Manitoba Conferences’ pastoral training called Nuts & Bolts.
- Together with our NFLT we provided counsel on Bill C4.
- Together with our NFLT we provided sound guidance on biblical interpretation and application.
- We subsidized a biblical counselor for vocational staff
- We provided guidance on the future of digital ministry post-pandemic.
- We are planning a Pastor & Spouse retreat in Banff mid-October together with our Alberta colleagues. This year we will look to a one-time subsidization of the cost of attending so that no one is left out because of finances.
In 2022, we plan to rename three of our ministry teams:
- Ministry Support Team > Organizational Health Team
Although this team will continue to superintend financial, legal and property matters, its primary work will be in the
area of lay leadership development. It will also be more invested in ensuring our Conference is functionally at its
- Church Multiplication Team > Missions Mobilization Team
- Developmental Leadership Team > Leadership Development Team
To the question so often heard, year after year, “What does the conference do? What does it do for us? and Why do we belong?” You now have every tool at your disposal to answer those questions clearly and with significant depth:
- The Advantages to Belonging brochure
- The CUCC
- The Strategic Blueprint
Your Conference is working non-stop on your behalf so that you can be as effective as possible in making disciples who make disciples. Friends, we cannot do that without your support, prayers, monetary gifts and human resources. Our ministry team members, at full capacity number 16, right now we are at 7 and after Assembly we will be at 5. This means
that we can produce resources and support at 31% of our ability. We need passionate folks from member churches to invest time and energy into our mandate. Presently, our MST and FLT are the areas of greatest concern.”