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Equip 2023 | SKMB

Equip 2023

Ken Esau, National Faith & Life Director, stated that Canada is witnessing a “Great De-Churching” and the largest group leaving are those 60 and older. Some of the top reasons for those leaving the church include: 1. Change in life situation, 2. Disillusionment with the church, 3. The church was unloving, 4. Changed beliefs. The top reasons people would return to the church included: 1. If the church helped me feel closer to God, 2. If the church could fill an emotional or spiritual gap, 3. If the church shared my values. Esau wondered if these reasons given for people’s return are right or healthy. He went on to articulate and evaluate how people are answering the question “Why Church?”

All good reasons for being a part of the church…

  • Why church? For the personal benefits – my well-being.
  • Why church? For personal spiritual formation – me and Jesus.
  • Why church? For the social good – me helping my community.
  • Why church? For the proclamation of the gospel – evangelizing the lost.

The best reason for being a part of the church…

“Why church? Because it is centrally important in God’s kingdom mission for the world. The church is God’s kingdom community on earth called to worship him and proclaim his name. It is the visible witness of the unseen kingdom of God.”
SKMB Communications

I attended my second Equip study conference this Fall at Northview Community Church in Abbotsford, BC. Having been engaged with the MB Community for four and a half years, I found myself in a better space to appreciate and reflect on the Study Conference.

Northview did an incredible job hosting us. While that may be nice, I think on a deeper level, they reflected Biblical hospitality in everything they did. Whether it was the worship they coordinated or the meals or the break time snacks- they facilitated our gathering and nurtured our MB Community. One could argue that hospitality is a gift that has disappeared in our larger culture, and the church has a place to show hospitality as a witness to the larger world. Northview demonstrated this gift to us.

While I enjoyed the Plenary Discussions and took lots of notes, the Table Discussion Groups resonated with me in response to the first two plenaries. The desire to discern in community is an anchoring distinctive for us as Mennonite Brethren churches. In those discussions, I valued our shared faith and the diversity of voices speaking to the topics of the nature and mission of the church. It was a tangible reminder of the ‘great cloud of witnesses’ that Scripture speaks of.   We saw the Holy Spirit working through diversity to help us discern together.  

I appreciated the breakout sessions I attended. I was discouraged I could only participate in two of them. I valued how each breakout I attended was rooted in theology but then explored how to live out the theology on that topic. I talked to others about their breakouts and gained a consistent sense that the breakouts were all of that calibre.

Finally, I was blessed to gather with the greater church family of Mennonite Brethren. We worshipped together. We ate together. We laughed together. We listened together. We learned together. In our diversity, we were united in our love for the triune God and His grace. I was blessed to be a part of Equip 2023 and look forward to Equip 2024.

Mike Engbers



Supporting SKMB Churches and Camps in making disciples.

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Equip 2023

Ken Esau, National Faith & Life Director, stated that Canada is witnessing a “Great De-Churching” and the largest group leaving are those 60 and older. Some of the top reasons for those leaving the church include: