By Gerry Taillon
It’s time to redream the dream. As we enter into 2019 we are well aware that 2020 is just around the corner. In 1998 God led us to embrace a vision for 1,000 healthy, reproducing and cooperating churches by the year 2020. It was an incredible challenge then and it remains a daunting challenge today.
This vision changed the CNBC forever. In 1998, we were planting three or four churches a year. We had about 100 churches in all, most of which were in Western Canada. There was a sprinkling of churches in Ontario, a few in Quebec and a couple in the Maritime provinces.
The vision stretched us as we began to reorganize the convention to adjust all that God would do. Funds were reappropriated to prioritize starting new churches. Denomination positions were restructured to concentrate on catalyzing new churches in every region in Canada. We began to strategize to plant churches where we were the weakest and had the fewest churches.
Our relationship with the North American Mission Board (NAMB) and the International Mission Board (IMB) developed and deepened as the Lord led them through multiple restructuring processes, each benefitting the CNBC’s focus on church planting. The IMB concentrated on the hardest to reach people groups (less than two percent Christian) in our major cities in Canada.
NAMB reorganized and our cooperation increased, resulting in a greater impact in church planting across Canada. NAMB’s reorganization resulted in the implementation of many of the strategies we were using in the CNBC for some time. We found ourselves amazed that a small convention to the north could have that kind of influence on an important Southern Baptist agency nestled in the heart of the Bible belt.
Our synergy with NAMB continued to increase to the point that today the CNBC church planting team is the same as the NAMB Canada church planting team. Our strategies and priorities are virtually identical and we have seen additional resources made available for our church planting thrust. Today we have personnel, enlistment, assessment, support and funding resources that have positioned us as one of the premier church planting networks in Canada.
The CNBC vision transformed us to be in perfect alignment with our partners to take full advantage of all the resources God had put in place. It led to rapid growth that is the envy of any Canadian denomination. We went from planting three or four churches every year to an average of more than 25. In a climate where many evangelical groups are struggling to replace the inevitable number of churches that are closed each year, the CNBC saw a net gain of more than 300 churches. Among the 406 CNBC churches today, more than 150 churches are east of Manitoba. We saw God create a national network with churches in every Canadian province. In Quebec we witnessed a miracle that only God could do. In the place that was supposed to be the hardest to start churches we saw the fastest growing churches in
God has blessed the CNBC in incredible ways. The increases in churches and high-quality leaders we see today are entirely due to God’s goodness and His desire to show His undeserved favour. In all likelihood we will not achieve our goal of 1,000 churches by 2020 but we must not lose sight of God’s incredible blessings. We are eternally grateful for all God has done in the last 20 years and we look forward with positive anticipation to all He will do in the future.
It’s time to redream the dream, to see where He will take us next and to embark on a new visioning process. Let’s begin by praying and asking God what He has in store for us in His future. To Him be all the glory.