From July 11 to July 15, ISMC staff from coast to coast, along with some ministry partners from FAR from China, I Am Second/e3 Canada, ReEntry, and several local churches, gathered in Montreal for our biennial National Staff Conference. This was the first time our national conference was held east of Manitoba. While Canadians celebrated Canada’s 150th anniversary, on May 17 Montreal marked the 375th anniversary of its founding as a missionary colony!
Our conference theme was United in God’s Great Story. The 80 participants looked at aspects of God’s great story (His-story) in daily Bible studies, examining passages from creation to Revelation. Each of us had opportunity to tell something of their story, and how it fits into God’s big story. These connect group activities allowed us to build relationships with staff from across Canada.
Each morning began with prayer, and time was available during the day for additional prayer. We enjoyed worship times, with songs in different languages. ISMC staff members are multi-ethnic and multi-lingual; scripture was read in 18 languages!
Workshops on relevant topics were offered and the plenary sessions challenged us to equip returning students for the adjustments they will face, and to see the possibility of training some as church planters.
Each day we considered elements of emotionally healthy spirituality. Our leadership team members had studied Peter Scazzero’s book of that title. We see emotional health as an essential ingredient in achieving spiritual maturity.
The conference was a refreshing time of connecting with God, with ministry partners, and with other staff. May God bring much fruit from this gathering.