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Today (April 12) is the last day to register for next week's conference!
Our churches differ in size, style, strategy, demographics and context. We span across time zones. Polarizing issues threaten gospel mission.

But we are together in Jesus!

So we are gathering again as a national network of leaders this April! Learn more here
Church Planting: Next Generation
VMC Staff Retreat - Guelph, ON, March 2024
The VMC staff gathered from across the country for a couple of days together in March at the Guelph Bible Conference Center in Guelph, Ontario. It was a time to review the past year and talk about the three strategic priorities we named last year: Church Planting, Next Generation Leaders, and Diaspora Mission.
Jay Gurnett described the types of church plants (non-traditional, multi-ethnic, reboots, church plant from another church, from scratch, and international church plants) that VMC supports, while also explaining the finding, discerning, funding, and coaching involved in each one.

In terms of Next Generation Leaders, Matt Pamplin told us more about what is happening with young leaders in the VMC network. See below for a more detailed look at this strategic priority.

Mike Stone gave an overall view of the Canadian landscape in terms of immigration and the diaspora communities within VMC. 20% of VMC churches focus on diaspora communities and we have at least three diaspora sub-networks within VMC (Chinese Church Association, Chin Christian Fellowship of Canada, and Farsi Christian Ministries), with a strong relationship with the East African Network. Realizing that this is an opportunity for the Canadian church to collaborate and work with brothers and sisters from around the world, there are many questions and possibilities before us to consider.

Then, Jeremy Malloy gave a brilliant presentation about understanding the VMC office team and the many and varied roles and tasks involved. It not only reminded us that the work VMC does is unique, but that many people and gifts are needed to connect us as churches and to promote and facilitate church planting.

We also heard updates from the regional networks - Atlantic, Quebec, Ottawa, GTA, Simcoe, Hamilton, KW, London, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, and Victoria - noting the sense of vitality, cohesion, and impact for each one.

Finally, we concluded our time together by discussing how to best nurture and strengthen our network, while imagining future possibilities and wondering what God might be doing among us.

Photo (left to right): Sharon Stone, Mike Stone, Henrietta Koenig, Chris Atkinson, Darcy Wallace, Jeremy Malloy, Doug Pippus, Elizabeth Millar, Matt Pamplin, Guy Bourassa, Doug Loveday, Gord Martin, Jay Gurnett, Yonatan Hiruy, Mingpeng Gong, Randy Hein
Next Generation Leaders: VMC's 2023 Strategic Priority #2
Matt Pamplin works as VMC's Church Catalyst for the Toronto and Hamilton area, with a special focus on the next generation. He leads small cohorts of young leaders, encouraging and guiding them as they think about and pursue church planting. Matt gave us a window into the hearts and minds of our young leaders at the 2024 staff retreat. For the Next Gen (18-35 yo), there is a keen desire for authentic faith and a deep trust in the Spirit of God.

Next Gen leaders describe our current world as lonely, isolated, complex and chaos. The lack of integrity in Christian leaders has put us in a leadership crisis. Culture now views the church as not only irrelevant, but also dangerous. There is a desire to fight injustice and listen to the pain of our communities with compassion. There is a hunger and openness for God to move.

However, pragmatism, heroic activism, big platforms, fancy programs - these are the things the next generation of leaders would like the church to unlearn.

Read below for their responses to the questions that Matt posed to some of VMC's young leaders.
What are you most encouraged by in your peers/young leaders?
  1. "I'm encouraged that despite all the downfalls that we've seen in Christian leaders that there are still young people desiring to enter into ministry and ministry leadership."
  2. "I am encouraged by a mature blend of boldness and humility. When I see my peers stepping out in the prompting of the Lord and yet remaining willing to learn and grow from every experience."
  3. "A deep desire amongst this generation to lead from a place of weakness and dependence. Recognizing that pulling up our boot straps and barreling forwards simply does not work long-term. This generation desires to walk in guidance with the Spirit according to his power and not ours."
  4. "Vulnerability and openness with different struggles. There is such power in vulnerability, in allowing God into parts of our hearts overcome with sin, and from that place inviting trusted, godly community in as well."
How can the church and organizations support you in your leadership?
  1. "Having a variety of tools and avenues for gifts and skills to be identified and practiced within safe boundaries. I'm a very practical thinker, so clear tools and resources are very helpful for me."
  2. "Making prayer the heartbeat of this generation."
  3. "Those who have gone before to come alongside and teach us/equip us and transition us into positions of leadership as they continue to walk alongside. Also, regular check-ins where encouragement and areas for growth are highlighted. This accountability and encouragement is huge."
  4. "Training, accountability, discipleship! There are lots of young people who think they can become experts because there's SO MUCH information available online... but that can't replace communities that provide structure and transformation and discipleship. They can't replace seminaries and formal education. I think churches and organizations need to provide training, discipleship, mentorship, and accountability that doesn't just inform the minds but informs and shapes character."
What would you want to say to the older generation on behalf of young leaders?
  1. "Lots of us are actually quite sick of 'shallow' and 'cheap' ministry. Some of us grew up in spaces where it was about making things trendy and flashy, but alot of our peers have actually walked away from faith because they weren't intentionally taught and discipled in a deep way. We want to go deep and we want to take people deep in our ministry and leadership."
  2. "Please keep sharing your wisdom and experience, but support us if we want to try something totally new. We've been brought up in an ever evolving landscape and the evolution is just quickening. Be patient with us as we make mistakes and help us to grow from them. Help us to see our gifts and talent and where they might be used. Social media has taught us to compare and doubt ourselves alot, so having a trusted outside voice call something out means alot."
  3. "Don't raise up young leaders as just another part of your system. See us as individuals who need to be mentored into the people/leaders that God made us to be."
  4. "We will make mistakes in pursuit of the glory of Christ. But that's OK. We want success to be not about the conversation or how can you show results. But success in answering the question: Are we in love with Jesus? Are we a generation that is in love with Jesus?"
  5. "We need you! We can't do this alone and we want to be in relationship with you. You have so much wisdom and experience that we do not have and we want to learn from you."
If you were tasked with supporting, equipping, or training young leaders, what would you do first?
  1. "Set up a discipleship group, Bible study, or book club. Provide a space for young leaders to gather together, to disciple and be discipled, to pray, to encourage, to challenge one another, and to grow one another."
  2. "This will sound out of left field, but I'd be sure to teach them the practice of indifference. The act of surrendering a work into God's hands to do with it what He will. Trusting that no matter the results of the effort you put in, it's His ministry that you're joining Him in. Be willing to put the work in but trust the results - no matter how encouraging or discouraging - to God."
  3. "Focus first on doing deep work with them to understand their gifting and uniqueness. Create roles that help them use those gifts in a healthy way while also meeting the needs of the group they are leading."
  4. "Develop a relationship and give us the tools/material necessary to begin the journey with lots of prayer and reliance on the Holy Spirit. Discipleship from life-on-life - not delegation."
  5. "Prayer - committing to regularly pray for young leaders and then to get to know, encourage and lovingly challenge those leaders into who the Lord has created them to be. Also - inviting them into your life. So much is learned from life-on-life discipleship and this kind of mentorship relationship feels rare. But when it happens, the Lord moves in beautiful ways."
VMC Storytelling
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The VMC prayer team gathers on the first Thursday of the month at the following times across the country:  1:00-2:00pm (Atlantic), Noon-1:00pm (Eastern), 11:00-Noon (Central), 10:00-11:00am (Mountain) and 9:00-10:00am (Pacific).