While hunting in northern Alberta one fall, I had the opportunity to observe a pack of wolves separate an Angus cow and her calf from the larger group of cattle. Had I not been in the area, the wolves would have been successful and a rancher would have lost at least a calf and probably a cow also. The lesson from this story is: In ministry, avoid being separated from people that are vital to your effectiveness and safety.
“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NIV).
The writer of Ecclesiastes has some wise counsel for us: stick together. Cooperate. Hang around each other. Enjoy a meal together. In ministry, isolation kills. Our ability to lead our churches and see lives transformed by the Gospel depends on our intentional cooperation and networking with other pastors. If we are to respond to the challenges of doing ministry in our culture, we must figure out how best to work together. This is critical for us to maximize our effectiveness and avoid isolation.
In the last edition of the Horizon I reminded us that our ultimate goal in ministry is to see lives transformed by the power of the Gospel. The recently restructured relationships between the CNBC and regional associations are helping us to achieve that goal by creating opportunities for members of the CNBC to increase their cooperation and networking with each other.
Greater cooperation and networking within the CNBC makes us more effective in different ways, including:
When we partner together, we can share collective wisdom. This past Thursday, the pastors that I meet with each week enjoyed a meal together. As we shared what the Father has said to us in His Word over the past week I began to have a better understanding of what is “working” in this regional context and what might not be as effective when sharing the good news.
When we partner financially with each other, we can send missionaries more effectively. Not only can we send more missionaries, but we are also a stronger support system for those missionaries. Currently no one organization sends more missionaries than does the International Mission Board. This is a direct result of churches working together to advance the Kingdom. Even churches and church plants who may not have much in the way of finances can have a multiplying effect in the Kingdom when they partner together.
When we network together, we become the cord of three strands referenced in Ecclesiastes 4:12. Isolation is a killer in ministry, but when we work together in community we can fight back against those common feelings of isolation. Cooperation among church leaders creates healthier ministries, which in turn increases our effectiveness when sharing the Gospel.
It is our prayer that the CNBC, regional associations and the North American Mission Board continue to cooperate together, sharing the good news and seeing our human efforts blessed by the power of the Gospel in the changed lives of those we minister to.
CNBC regional ministry leaders:
Alberta: Dwight Huffman
Saskatchewan: Steve Fish
Ontario: Jason McGibbon
Other CNBC personnel who work in a similar capacity:
British Columbia: Hamish Buntain
Manitoba: Rod Giesbrecht