As a partnership of churches, we seek to impact Atlantic Canada with the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The CBAC exists to grow healthy, missional churches who produce healthy, missional disciples.
But these are challenging days. Churches are struggling with societal change, aging congregations and loss of youth and young adults. While there are significant challenges, as a family of churches we have accepted a bold mandate for renewal as outlined in the goals for 2025 (view full document here).
By 2025, the CBAC will see:
1. Sixty-five new congregations birthed:
- 30 new churches will be planted in growth centers throughout Atlantic Canada with research and Spirit led targeting of un-churched and under-churched areas resulting in an average of 3 per year from 2015-2025;
- Many other models of church planting are equally relevant including: satellite churches, amalgamated churches, house churches, fresh expressions of church etc.
- 10 new churches will be “replants” of former churches;
- 15 small churches will start fresh expressions of church in their communities;
- 10 new churches will emerge through congregational amalgamation;
- 25% of these new congregations will include Francophone, First Nations, New Canadians or other ethnic groups, with 15 congregations forming from within existing churches and then utilizing the facility and resources of the mother church.
2. Eighty percent of CBAC churches will demonstrate a missional culture:
- Churches will be defined by the effectiveness of their ministry in their community and beyond;
- While effectively meeting the needs of members, churches will move people to an outward focus that utilizes the spiritual gifts of members; changing the benchmarks of success toward commissioning the laity to ministry in the community;
- Being committed to ministries addressing issues of poverty, affordable housing, literacy, justice for oppressed people groups, addictions recovery, disaster relief and stewardship of resources, etc.;
- These churches will have one or more intentional ministry of service or compassion in the community in which they worship;
- These churches will have one or more partnership with a community organization for the sake of enhancing the organization in its community work;
- In partnership with CBM and others: to identify, recruit, equip and send people to do global discipleship on both a part time and full time basis.
3. Actively developing effective, healthy Pastoral leadership:
- Strongly encouraging pastors to take part in regular continuing education experiences in partnership with Acadia Divinity College;
- Encouraging pastors to actively pursue transformation through spiritual disciplines becoming like Christ in the rhythms of engagement in ministry and disengagement for prayer and soul restoration;
- Encouraging pastors to be involved in small groups of peers to develop relationships, mentoring and, accountability;
- Encouraging pastoral leaders to engage in a healthy lifestyle of regular physical recreation, an understanding and emphasis on good nutrition, theological reflection as well as nurturing strong family relationships;
- Providing access to crisis counselling and intervention through the CBAC based resources including career counselling when appropriate.
4. Identifying effective, strong churches and volunteers called to share resources with others:
- Challenging regionally strong churches to deliberately take responsibility to support, encourage and resource other churches, new church plants, etc.;
- Challenge churches to release Senior Pastors and other ministry staff one day or more a month (up to 2 weeks a year) to mentor pastors and leaders from other churches;
- Identifying and challenging effective, growing, healthy churches (small 0-75 people), medium (75-200) and large (200- +), with an ethos of starting satellite churches and new congregations to release lay leaders to serve in new or existing congregations for the sake of building the Kingdom of God.
5. Creating a structure that adapts to changes but is sufficient to undergird the ministry of CBAC churches with required resources and help:
- Continuous review of ministry effectiveness and making adjustments based on needs, requests, and resources;
- Being fiscally responsible by establishing realistic budgets with expansion or cutting of services based on support of churches;
- Placing a high budget priority on missional activity and new congregations and ethnic ministries.
This is merely a snap shot of what the future could and should look like in the next 5 to15 years. In order to begin the long process of turning the large ship called the “Convention,” we must begin to position ourselves through the designation of senior staff positions and to redirect our people and resources. These steps are necessary in order to make the kind of significant shift necessary in our denominational organization.