Article

Communications

Conference Making Strides Toward Change in 2021

Posted: December 17th, 2020

January 9 & 16 Conference-wide Virtual Days of Worship

For the past month, Ontario Conference leaders have engaged in discussions intended to shift our conference from mostly declining and plateauing churches to growing and multiplying ones. As previously reported, 66% of our 175 churches are either plateauing (47%) or declining (19%), with 34% growing and 0% multiplying.

Since early November, Conference administrators have formed think tanks considering contributing factors and workable solutions for declining and plateauing churches. Administrators and directors kick-started this conversation at their weekly Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) meetings. It continued with a joint Strategic Planning and Evangelism/Church Growth committee meeting, including pastors serving as regional field secretaries.

Pastor Mansfield Edwards, Conference president, met recently with support staff seeking their perspectives as well. Soon, all pastors and lay leaders will be engaged in this process. Themes arising from these discussions to date include the need for true worship and spirituality, leadership, and mission/vision.

Edwards told Conference directors, during their Strategic Planning Committee meeting, that the workable solutions they’re now pinpointing “have to be a significant turning point. We are now setting the groundwork for 2021, and we cannot and must not be satisfied to stay where we are.”

January 9 & 16 Conference-wide Virtual Days of Worship

Ontario Conference staff has engaged in fasting and prayer for God’s leading as we lay the foundation for a DiscipleShift. We are now pleased to announce that the second and third Sabbaths of January, the 9th and 16th, will be set aside as virtual days of worship, focusing on prayer and fasting for our conference. After defining our reality, we will prayerfully lay down our vision of “moving [our churches] from declining and plateauing to churches that truly represent the bride of Christ,” said Edwards.

The rationale for these special days arose from Joel 1:14, “Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord.” Amidst overwhelming challenges, the prophet Joel asked Israel to gather together, set aside any distractions and pray. Let us accept God's call to do the same.

*Please watch out for Zoom information for these dates in future correspondence.