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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Monday, January 11, 2010


2020 Vision Goal 3: Every Congregation in Relationship with CPI (Co-missioned Pastor Initiative).

“Russ preached a really great sermon last Sunday,” I was told. “The kids were really paying attention, and really ‘got it’.”

If you are a preacher or public speaker, wouldn’t you like to have that kind of ringing endorsement for your messages? Don’t you wish every sermon was so captivating? Can you imagine what that would do for your congregation? The possibilities are almost enough to take your breath away!

Russ, of course, is Russ Pirie; Pastor of Hamilton congregation, and if he is reading this, he is probably both surprised and blushing; surprised to find himself spot-lighted here, and blushing due to the praise that came from a member of his congregation. But how did this pastor get so skilled? Where did he learn to speak that way? At the risk of over simplifying, the answer may lie in the fact that Russ is a trained, CPI Pastor. Along with the other three CPI Alums in CEM, he is a better trained, more competent and confident, and a more effective pastor and speaker as a result of spending time every year for four years in training. That is the benefit we want for all our pastors and their congregations. Consequently, we have begun the CEM CPI program. As far as I know, we are the first mission centre to do so. So far we have twelve pastors from seven congregations involved in our first cohort. This is our pilot group. We are planning for more.

Earlier this year when first we met with this new cohort for team building and orientation, several of the pastors spoke about how they “just knew” this was what they had to do. There was something ‘calling’ them into this new program, even if they didn’t understand exactly what all might be involved. There was an eagerness in each person; an anxiousness to learn, a quiet excitement. I smiled, and knew they would not be disappointed.

This fall, we met with that group of twelve again, this time for a week of intense study with the Dean of the Community of Christ Seminary, Don Compier, and South America Mission President Arthur Smith. They came together in retreat to study theology and learn scriptural exegesis. In the weeks leading up to the retreat, and even at the beginning of the week itself, we heard a fair amount of groaning about the amount of reading, and whether they really had time to do this much work. Again, I smiled. I smiled because I knew of the benefits that would come to them as a result of this commitment of time. Despite their reservation, they began immediately to apply themselves faithfully to the task. One by one, around the room, the light dawned as each began to understand. And I know, without any testimonials, that their sermons are better, their confidence has improved, and their ministry is stronger as a result of that week together.

Our goal is to have every congregation in the CPI program. It won’t happen overnight. It does take work and costs money, but it is worth every minute and every penny. It is an investment in our congregations and in the future. I thank God for pastors who are willing to grow.


  1. I have seen growth in our pastoral team, a direct result of being a committed part of the CPI program. The church needs this program, and I hope that the pilot group is just the beginning of a new chapter in the CEM area, and that it will act as a catalyst to empower future pastors

  2. Thank you Anonymous, we hope so too.


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