Pastor's Blog

Thursday, January 10, 2019

For several months your Pastor Search Team has been meeting and progress has been made in finding our new Lead Pastor. We are now at a very crucial point in making the decision about who will be candidating for this position and you need to know where we are at and what's next so you can pray more fervently and specifically for God to guide us.


Fact #1 – Your Pastor Search Team has now narrowed the list of applicants down to the top four. This has been accomplished through much prayer and research. Much personal information has been requested beyond the first step of sending us a cover letter and resume. For example, an application questionnaire made up of 19 carefully crafted questions was developed based on what the Search Team discerned as important qualifications and qualities needed in a Lead Pastor at Buhler MB. These questions included, "How has your love for Jesus impacted your decision to explore this position at Buhler MB?" And, "Tell us how you have experienced or implemented outreach from the church to the community." These applications and requested information have been bathed in prayer for discernment and God's leading.


Fact #2 – beginning this week, the Pastor Search Team will be collecting information from personal reference checks and from criminal background checks. Calls are being made to listed references and others who know the applicants. In these 10-15-minute calls, questions will be asked about a variety of personal and ministry qualities and experience. We aren't seeking a perfect pastor but a godly pastor who loves Jesus, is guided by the Holy Spirit and is growing in maturity in Christ and in ministry skills and gifts.


Fact #3 – Also beginning this week, the Pastor Search Team will begin online interviews with each of the four couples (both husband and wife must participate). I am in the process of coaching the PST through developing 8-10 good interview questions that are tailored to the uniqueness of each applicant and his wife. These online interviews will last one hour in length and should be completed by January 17th.


Fact #4 – At our next Search Team meeting on January 20th, we hope to decide on the candidate. The team will then submit his name to the Faith and Life Commission of the Southern MB District for evaluation of character and doctrine. If approved and he accepts our offer to candidate, we will be able to share his name with our church and schedule a Candidating period of several days when he and his wife/family can visit Buhler.


Fact # 5- Pray…pray…and pray some more. Here's the request from the Pastor search team that was put in the Connection: "Pastor Search Team members: Paula Eigsti, Allison Pauls, Brent Wichert, Randy Roberts, Lee Pankratz, Judy Banz, and Brian Moler would like to invite you to pray for the final steps in our search for a pastor. Please consider fasting along with us on Thursday, January 10 as we focus our prayer on discerning God's wisdom while conducting interviews in the next two weeks. Thanks for partnering with us in seeking God during this process!"

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Thursday, January 03, 2019

Have you ever read through the Bible in one year? Or, do you now read through the Bible in one year? If you have or haven't, let 2019 be the year to RTTB.


Why read the Bible in a year? Let me suggest a few answers to why you should do it.


First, doing so helps you get the whole counsel of God on a daily basis (Acts 20:27).


Next, by reading it through in a year, you can see and hear God's plan and purpose spelled out from Genesis to Revelation.


You can also listen to the Holy Spirit speak directly to you each day in the Scriptures. What a blessing that can be to see to listen to God speaking to you personally according to your need.


You can better understand the different ways the Lord can speak the same things through different ways of writing that are inspired by the Holy Spirit.


Read and listen prayerfully and carefully and you'll begin to see how Jesus shows up in some way on every page of Scripture.


Reading the same passages of Scripture every day can better unite the church.


There are many other reasons, but the best is that you will get to know our Lord better and grow in your love for him. God has promised that his word, when read and heard, will bear his fruit in your life and in your church (Isaiah 55:11).


Here are some places where you can shop for a Bible reading plan that best fits you: (a favorite of mine)


Happy reading!

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Thursday, December 20, 2018

The end of the year is a time for reflection, so I thought I'd do some reflecting about this past year.


2018 brought some big challenges to BMBC and we all have had an opportunity to look at the church. During this year we have seen the church as a complex mix of various ministries and people in need of some help. But, in all this, let's be honest with ourselves and our brothers and sisters in Christ.


Many changes have been made in a number of areas, and we have been stretched in our faith and sometimes beyond our comfort zones. For some, change has been welcomed and quickly accepted as the "new norm" for Buhler MB. Others of us have adopted a "wait and see" approach to renewal. Still others have said, at least inwardly if not verbally, "This will never work and I don't like it at all." A very small number have just decided to leave the church rather than face the need to change and step out in faith with God's help.


Have you ever realized that you need to go deeper, much deeper than the little things such as starting times, how we use "our" finances, who the leaders are, what kind of music we sing in worship, who is in leadership, or what can I get out of coming to this church?


May I suggest that each of us need to look deeper into our hearts as we reflect on what God wants for us. Seeking God's will and pursuing his vision for ourselves and for our church requires personal change in our hearts as we are led by the Holy Spirit and through his Holy Word. God's plan for his followers and for his church requires ongoing transformation – transformation of the heart first, then transformation of the church.


What need for God's transforming work of your heart is apparent when you honestly and prayerfully look deep in your heart? What in your heart needs to radically change in order for our church to experience lasting renewal as we move into 2019? Is it the need to seek forgiveness from God or the need to seek forgiveness from someone? Is it a need to put Jesus first in everything including your personal preferences? Is it the need to sacrifice your wants and put others first? Is it to finally leave the past behind in order to pursue God's new vision for your church? It's really about your heart.

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Thursday, December 13, 2018


Our new Constitution and By-Laws documents are now approved. For those who were not at the 2 ½ hour meeting on December 9th, the final vote on approving the new documents as amended was 69 for the motion to approve and 12 against. Over the last several months of work on developing and approving these important church guiding documents, I learned several lessons that I want to share with those who call Buhler MB Church their home, so here goes.


Lesson # 1 comes from Psalm 127:1a – "Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain." In the church, we do our best work when we rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit, lots of prayer seeking his will, a thorough study of God's Word and making sure we are building our "house" on the foundation of Jesus and the Bible. Our guiding documents become quickly confusing, irrelevant and outdated when we rely on our own opinions, preferences, personal values and interpretations and we forget what's really important.


Lesson #2 – Church guiding documents such as our Constitution and By-Laws need to be thoroughly reviewed and, where necessary, revised every 2 years or 5 years at the most. Although our message of the Bible and its gospel of Jesus remain unchanging, "these times, they are a changing." The culture is constantly changing around us and it has a tendency to shape the church rather than the church shaping the culture. Therefore, church structure and methods need to regularly change to reach all people, all cultures and all generations with the gospel.


Lesson #3 – There are essentials of our faith that we should not budge on, and non-essentials with which we should be able to live. Essentials for our church include the authority and inspiration of the inerrant Scriptures, the virgin birth of Jesus who is fully God and fully man, the substitutionary atonement of Jesus on the cross, the second literal coming of Christ and a literal heaven for true believers and a literal hell for all those who reject Jesus as Savior and Lord. Some may add to that list based on their interpretations of Scripture, but others who know and love Jesus may disagree with the personal interpretations of others. Mennonite Brethren hold that the church has the ability to interpret Scripture, and the church membership as a whole has the final say for that church. As someone once said, "In essentials, unity; in the non-essentials, liberty; and in all things, charity (love)." This is the higher road.


Lesson #4 – Any church that does not regularly evaluate its structures, ministries and guiding documents is probably doomed to confusion, a growing lack of unity, an inward focus, a loss of mission and vision and a spirit of criticism. It's tough to renew, revise and get back on track, but God is able (Eph. 3:20-21).


Lesson #5 – A great deal of love and appreciation needs to go to our church leaders who, with God's help and the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, try to oversee the church family and do what is best for the congregation. And, I am speaking of our church that is made up of many different people with many different ideas, opinions and interpretations. Voluntarily giving wise and godly leadership is challenging, even in the best of circumstances.


What lesson about our church have you learned, recently? What have you learned about yourself?

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Thursday, December 06, 2018

It's hard to believe that Marty and I are entering our 12th month as the Interim Pastor of Buhler MB. The challenges have been many, but the time has gone quickly. As we are now in the Pastor Search process, now is also a good time to look back into the past 12 months and also look at the present. This is a time to reflect and praise God for many answered prayers and God-sightings. It's also a time to be honest about the church. To do this, I invite you to take a little time and help me by answering some questions. So, here they are for your consideration.


What encourages and excites you about the current state of the church as compared to over a year ago?


How have you seen God involved in the life and ministries of our church during this year?


What could we have done better as a church during this year of transition and renewal?


What do you see as signs that God is renewing our church and has a hope and future for us as a church?


What do you wish your Interim Pastor had done that was not done this year?


What remains as the greatest need in Buhler MB after 11 months of renewal ministry?


Has your trust and confidence of the church leadership increased, decreased or remained the same throughout 2018? What improvements if any have you seen in helping to build your trust and confidence in the church leadership?


If you were to advise the next Lead Pastor of our church on what he needs to do during his first year of pastoral ministry, what would you say to him?


How do you see yourself serving at BMBC this next year?


What is the greatest prayer need we have for the next year at Buhler MB?


Please copy and paste these questions on a new Word document and then answer some or all of them. Send your answers to me at Or, if you would prefer to write a note to me with your answers, please give your response to me or to Julie or Bonnie in the Church Office. I appreciate and value your reply.


#Interim Pastor #Interim Ministry #church renewal #pastor #BMBC #church




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Thursday, November 29, 2018

On Sunday, December 9th at 5:00pm, we are having a BMBC Special Business Meeting. The main purpose is to discuss and vote on the new Proposed Constitution and By-laws. This is a very important guiding document for our church as it will replace our old Constitution, last amended in 2003, so here are some comments from your Interim Pastor on how we need to conduct this church business as a church family.


First, there is about a week left before this meeting so make sure you have thoroughly read the proposed documents and understand the contents as best as you can. Some of you may want to read the old Constitution in order to compare and contrast the two documents. Please contact the Church Office and Julie or Bonnie will be glad to send you a copy.


Next, we will be following the latest edition of Robert's Rules of Order in our comments, debates and voting. Please use this time of doing church business to encourage and show love and grace to one another in an orderly manner, even if there is disagreement. And, please pray for our church Chairman, Brent Wichert, as he is responsible to lead and manage our discussion and voting.


Any member may speak in favor of or against the motion to adopt the new Constitution and By-Laws that will be put "on the floor" by the Church Council, but you may only speak once so that as many as want to may debate the motion. Because of the size of our membership, only up to five minutes of discussion by any member on a motion will be allowed.


If you would like to make an amendment to any section or article of the Constitution or By-Laws, you are asked to submit your specific amendment in writing to the Chairman, either before or during the meeting, who will read the amendment and ask if there is a second to the offered amendment. If a second is offered, then the amendment may be discussed and debated for a limited amount of time before a vote will be taken on the amendment.


A vote on the entire Constitution and By-Laws will be taken only after the Chairman declares that debate on the original motion has concluded and no further amendments are being offered. The motion requires a 2/3 majority vote.


You are asked to try to refrain from requesting to move to table the motion on revising the Constitution and By-Laws or "postpone indefinitely," as this would force us to take a major step back and try to use our old Constitution. This also would require a 2/3 vote. In my opinion, this would handicap a new Pastor with confusion and a lack of clarity on how BMBC is to be governed. No new pastor would want this and the resulting criticism and conflict it might bring.


Please pray for the Special Meeting that Jesus will be honored and that the Holy Spirit will guide us and give the membership discernment in following the will of God in all that we do.

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Thursday, November 22, 2018

This is Thanksgiving week and at BMBC we have a lot for which to be thankful. Take a few minutes with me and let's count some of our blessings so we can pour them out before God's Throne of Grace as an offering to Him.

1.    We can be very thankful for being part of a church that loves Jesus and seeks to follow Him in and by his Word, the Bible. Thank you, Lord.
2.    We can be thankful that our Lord has preserved Buhler MB through some difficult days and we can now see growing church health and a new potential for Kingdom growth. Thank you, Jesus.
3.    We can be thankful for many willing workers who keep our church working and reaching out to our Buhler community and beyond. Thank you, God.
4.    We can be thankful for all the faithful financial support that has come in during 2018. Even though we have lost many people over the last few years, giving to God's work through BMBC has remained stable and at the same level. Thank you, Jehovah Jireh, Lord our Provider.
5.    We can be thankful for the energy of our church youth and children as they worship, fellowship and serve at BMBC. God is at work and is showing us a future for our church right in front of our noses. Than you, Holy One.
6.    We can be thankful for the many ministry and leadership teams in our church who labor hard for the Kingdom of God in us, our church and our greater community. Thank you, Lord of the church.
7.    We can be thankful for all the Buhler MB people who have been sent out to serve the Lord in other cultures and settings. They are our missionaries and we love them. Thank you, Our Redeemer.
8.    We can be thankful for all who lead us in Christ-centered worship every week. It brings us together in unity around Jesus and His Word. Thank you, Lord of hosts.
9.    We can be thankful for a new, Kingdom mission and vision for our church that God can use to guide us into the future as we seek to transform communities through the love of Jesus. Thank you, God our banner.
10.    We can thankful for many answered prayers in our church and for our church. Thank you, God Almighty.

What thanksgiving for our church is on your heart?

Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ, His Son

Song writer, Don Moen


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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Our Pastor Search Committee is getting serious about finding a new Lead Pastor for BMBC so I thought I'd help a little by sharing an important resource that describes "the perfect Pastor."

Our Pastor Search Committee is getting serious about finding a new Lead Pastor for BMBC so I thought I'd help a little by sharing an important resource that describes "the perfect Pastor."  


1. After hundreds of years the perfect pastor has been found. He is the perfect pastor who'll please everyone.

2. He preaches exactly 20 minutes and then sits down.

3. He condemns sin, but never steps on anybody's toes.

4. He works from 8 in the morning to 10 at night, doing everything from preaching sermons to sweeping.

5. He makes $400 per week, gives $100 a week to the church, drives a late model car, buys lots of books, wears fine clothes, and has a nice family.

6. He always stands ready to contribute to every other good cause, too, and to help panhandlers who drop by the church on their way to somewhere.

7. He is 36 years old, and has been preaching 40 years.

8. He is tall on the short side, heavy-set in a thin sort of way, and handsome.

9. He has eyes of blue or brown, (to fit the occasion) and wears his hair parted in the middle - left side, dark and straight, right side, brown and wavy.

10. He has a burning desire to work with the youth, and spends all his time with the senior citizens.

11. He smiles all the time while keeping a straight face, because he has a keen sense of humor that finds him seriously dedicated.

12. He makes 15 calls a day on church members, spends all his time evangelizing non-members, and is always found in his study if he is needed.

Unfortunately, he burnt himself out and died at the age of 32.


Source unknown (so don't blame me!)

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Thursday, November 08, 2018

The Constitution Revision Team made up of Daniel Friesen, Lu Schroeder and Pam Pauls, and the Church Council has completed its work at writing new Constitution and By-laws for our church. These important documents are now being distributed to our church members for study, discussion and approval. One month from now on December 9th at 5:00 pm, we will meet in a special Congregational Business Meeting to discuss and vote on the approval of these documents. All members are encouraged to discuss these documents with other members as well as in groups such as Sunday Scholl classes and Life Groups before the Business Meeting is held.


At the Business Meeting, if you are a church member, you will have the opportunity to offer any amendments to the documents. You will be asked to put your amendment proposal(s) in writing and submit your change(s) to the Chairman. If your motion is seconded, discussion may then take place in an orderly fashion at the meeting before a vote is taken. Following the individual votes on all seconded amendments, there will be a vote taken to approve the entire document. Our current By-laws require a two-thirds (2/3) majority for approval.


Here are some observations about the proposed documents:


  1. Both the Constitution and By-laws are short and simple. However, they do contain sufficient details to guide the business of our church. Where more detail is needed, the design is to expand any important supplemental details in the form of policies and job descriptions that are approved by the new Team of Elders, the new governing board of BMBC.
  2. There are two leadership groups that are specifically mentioned in the By-laws: The Team of Elders that will become the governing board of BMBC and the Team of Deacons, a servant-leadership team that serves under the authority and direction of the Team of Elders. Other former committees and ministry groups may become ministry teams, but their leaders will be appointed by the Team of Elders after recommendation by the Nominating Team (the former Spiritual Gifts Committee).
  3. The Lead Pastor position is for a qualified man only. A Candidate will go through a search process led by a Pastor Search Team like the one we have in place now. He will be called by the church membership. He will also serve on the Team of Elders as a non-voting member. The Team of Elders will make sure the Lead Pastor will go through an annual review and evaluation led by 2 Elders and a member who is not an Elder.
  4. The Team of Elders will be made up of 7 qualified men while the Team of Deacons can be made up of at least 7 qualified men and women. Deacons can be either married or single or widowed. Both Elders and Deacons will be elected or affirmed by the church membership. Other ministry leaders will be appointed by the Team of Elders after recommendation by the Nominating Team.
  5. The Lead Pastor will be the only Pastoral Staff member who serves on the Team of Elders. Other Pastoral Staff members serve under the supervision of the Lead Pastor, but they may be invited to participate without voting privileges in Team of Elder meetings at the request of the Lead Pastor or the Team of Elders.

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Thursday, November 01, 2018

Did you miss it? I'm speaking about what happened at our Town Hall meeting on October 28th. God is working, and there are several reasons I say that.


The Town Hall meeting was an opportunity to openly discuss an important part of our Proposed By-laws. I wasn't sure what to expect because there were several "controversial" topics to talk about. Because of that, the Church Council had decided to talk in smaller groups around the dinner tables and then have someone from each table share with others what was discussed.


One topic of discussion was the leadership role of women at BMBC. This is something that has been talked about and talked over within the Mennonite Brethren fellowship of churches since at least the 1980's. No formal decision or policy has been developed over the last 30 plus years, only a couple of resolutions that are non-binding on local MB churches. Since our new proposed By-laws state that the Lead Pastor and Team of Elder members can only be qualified men, the prospects for arguments and conflict seemed to be high.


So, what happened at our Town Hall? Everyone responded with good, healthy discussion and there were no expressions of anger or even raised voices over different interpretations of Scripture. The spirit of loving fellowship and of building up the church prevailed through the power and leading of the Holy Spirit. The positive reports and contributions will be of great guidance and help to our Church Council in producing a final working draft of our new By-laws. That was the desired goal of our meeting. A decision by the church membership is yet to come, but I am looking forward to some more great discussions and decisions.


Also, in our discussion was a proposal for the role of a Team of Elders as our new governing board and the role and make-up of a new Team of Deacons who will serve our church. There were a number of concerns and opinions presented over these two structures, but again God showed up. I believe the discussion served only to build up BMBC. This is the way discussions about important issues in our church should happen with a Christ-centered approach. Thank you, Lord. I am encouraged to know Jesus is Lord over our church and all we do.


Please continue to pray for discernment and guidance by the Holy Spirit as we move forward, and keep in mind the following proposed dates for continuing our discussions:


November 4th at 5:00pm – our fall Congregational Business Meeting where we will vote on moving forward in the direction of the proposed By-laws section on Elders and Deacons (not a final vote for approval).


December 9th at 5:00pm – a special Congregational Business Meeting to vote on approving the new Proposed Constitution and By-laws (amendments will be accepted after motion, seconds, discussion and vote). Members should take several opportunities to continue to discuss the proposed documents  before this important meeting.

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The W's of the Leadership Retreat

Pastor's Blog

October 18, 2018


On Saturday, November 3rd, we are having a BMBC Leadership Retreat and all ministry leaders are invited.


Here are the facts:


What? The Leadership Retreat is an opportunity to have the ministry leaders at our church gather to hear about and talk about the continued transformation of BMBC and our various ministries.


Who? All ministry leaders and leadership team members are invited. This includes the leaders of our church ministries such as Christian Education, Worship, Wednesday Night Light, Youth, Pastor Search, Renewal Team, Council, Deacons, Life Groups, Kitchen, Sunday School classes, Spiritual Gifts Committee, Missions/Evangelism, Trustees, Children's Church, Communication Team, Decorating Committee, Library Committee, Social Committee, Women's Ministries, Ushers, Greeters, Nursery, etc. Pastor Charlie will be leading the retreat but will be assisted by members of our Renewal Team. If you are a team leader of a ministry and can't come, please get one or two other leaders from your team to come and report back to you.


When? The Retreat takes place on Saturday, November 3rd, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm in the meeting room of the Dillon Nature Center. Lunch and snacks will be provided. Those who attend will gain maximum benefit for themselves and their ministries if they come for the whole time.


Why? During the last 10 months, the Renewal Team has been seeking to help our church become healthier with a clear mission, vision and core values. These leaders have also been working on developing a "Simple Church" model and currently a disciple-making pathway to help all our ministries and members know how to be part of a church that is serious about spiritual growth by loving God, loving others and making disciples of Jesus. Now is the time to share how all this impact and help all ministries in the church. This retreat will be a call to participate in church and community transformation and will include training and coaching for ministry leaders.