Previous | Next

October 1979 · Vol. 8 No. 4 · pp. 15–16 

Reports of Renewal: Transplanting at McIvor Avenue Mennonite Brethren Church

Allan Labun

In the spring of this year many of us took some plants from the crowded conditions of a nursery plot and transplanted them into the more spacious environment of the garden. The McIvor Avenue Mennonite Brethren Church has had a rather similar experience since we first opened our doors three years ago.

There is a spirit of enthusiasm about our church that cannot be explained apart from the blessings of God. But I shall attempt to identify some of the factors.

The pattern of what we see happening here is well stated in 1 Corinthians 3:6, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.” Our church was “planted” when the North Kildonan Mennonite Brethren Church building became too small and the members chose to start another church rather than build a larger one. I believe that a very significant factor of our development was that our existence was rooted in the brotherly love and mutual cooperation and respect which characterized our beginning.

Another important factor is the high motivation that comes with making a new beginning. People banded together with a desire to make {16} it work. The novelty of a new building brought many people from the community through our doors, and our people welcomed them so warmly that many have decided to stay. Warm interaction is encouraged by a fairly large foyer which accommodates visiting and getting acquainted after church. It is well said that “first we shape our buildings, and then they shape us.”

It is still God who makes churches grow. In our church God has used the spirit of warmth and acceptance of the membership. This comes along with hard work by the council and the deacons.

Among the people who have come to know the Lord here are not only children of members but people from outside the church and individuals who have come back after straying away. There are a number of young people coming who are not yet Christians but who say they come because they understand the message. It helps that there are many young people, some of whom are actively bringing non-Christians into their youth activities.

We find that the primary interest is in the morning worship service. People look forward to the fellowship, the singing, the fine choirs. The verse quoted above mentions something about “watering.” The pastor considers it very important that the preaching be clear and applicable. At the same time, every worship service involves a number of participants, and comments have been heard that a testimony left a deeper impression than the sermon!

Our agenda for the future is expressed by a set of congregational goals we developed in a church workshop. They are, first of all, to aim for Christlikeness as Christians, then to be a teaching, worshipping, praying, and witnessing church. Along with this we see the need for expansion of our physical facility, for programs of home Bible studies, and for the discipling of new Christians. We have been planted, but we still have a long way to grow.

Allan Labun, Pastor
McIvor Mennonite Brethren Church
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Previous | Next