"Christian Service Brigade is the men of the local church reaching out to the boys in their neighbourhood for Christ."

Friday, 11 December 2015

Bob's Return on Investment in Ministry

Dan works late into the evening with solar power running the lights and laptop. There is no other choice on the high mountain plain of Cameroon. He is heading Wycliffe’s cluster project in the village, translating the Bible into nine different dialects, languages that had no written form until Dan, with his wife Melody and three kids, initiated the project in 2000. It is the product of God’s calling in his life.

Meanwhile, halfway around the world, his twin brother Steve also works late into the evening on his laptop, writing and editing rather than translating. He pastors a small church in Saskatoon and heads up CSB’s curriculum update projects: reVISION for Stockade and INNOV8 for Battalion.

Both Dan and Steve are products of their dad’s investment in ministry. Forty years ago, Bob supported CSB Canada with a monthly donation to the general fund. For six years, he faithfully provided support while his twin sons were involved in CSB as boys. He could put a dollar amount on that investment, but the return on his giving far exceeded anything he imagined, because at God’s urging, he decided to also invest in his local Regional Director.

The Regional Director helped run several camp programs for those six years. He was the Captain for one week of Battalion camp for teenage boys, and he ran the Tree Climber Weekend for fathers and sons for those same years. During those Battalion camps, he led eight boys to Christ personally, but also saw 40 other boys make first time decisions with other counsellors. At the first Tree Climber Weekend, he saw 3 dads rededicate their lives to both God and their family. Bob knew he had invested well, but the big payoff was yet to come.

For two of those Tree Climber Weekends, the Regional Director worked with Bob’s 15-year-old young son, Steve, helping him learn how to lead camps, tell stories, and lead boys. Steve ended up working for the next seven summers at Camp Kakeka, the last two as Program Director in charge of both the camp and counsellor programs. Seven hundred boys each summer were reached though the camp, with 70 of them making first time decisions for Christ each year. Bob’s son, in fact both of them, were being “called” to serve the Lord.

During the time of Bob’s support, the Regional Director visited 60 units, while maintaining a leadership presence in his own unit as Captain for four years and Lieutenant for the other two. He participated in organizing and leading almost 20 Advanced Leadership Training courses, six Basic Leadership Training courses, helped with some curriculum development, and worked with five young men who received their Herald of Christ awards. The Regional Director was involved in Camporees and Shape ‘n Race Derbies, as well as a host of other activities, all because of Bob, and people just like him.

Now it is today. Bob had to deal with cancer a few years back, and has back and nerve issues that limit his mobility. While he continues to support CSB, his only personal involvement in ministry is prayer. He prays for his wife, kids and grandkids, his church, and all the different things he has been involved with over the years. CSB get special attention, and the reasons are plain.

Of those 48 boys who accepted Christ forty years ago, 35 of them are still actively involved in church, and have led hundreds of their friends and others to Jesus since then. Six of them are pastors, others are teachers and businessmen and tradesmen – but they live within a Biblical worldview. God is part of their lives and conversations.

Of those three Tree Climbers dads, two continue strong in their faith, and are involved in their churches. The third one passed away ten years after that weekend; his son became a church leader in his own right.

Of those five Heralds of Christ, two ended up on the foreign mission field, one is a pastor, one is a schoolteacher, and one is an entrepreneur. All five are family-oriented men who have worked hard to raise their kids to stand firm in their faith in Christ.

This year, CSB Canada had display booths at several Missions Fests, Promise Keepers and ISI conferences, and elsewhere. At those booths, all kinds of men greeted the Brigade leaders with words like “I was involved with Stockade when I was a kid” or “I was in Battalion. It was the best time of my life”. Everywhere the Regional Directors go today they run across these alumni.

And, what of the Regional Director that Bob supported so long ago? Well, he’s been a businessman for the last twenty years, but for the last ten, he has been supporting Bob’s son, Steve, whom he worked with at those two Tree Climber Weekends. Steve is now a CSB Regional Director, himself.

If you asked Bob which investment is bringing him the greatest reward today, he would look you in the eye and say. “Those six years I invested in CSB… There is nothing like CSB out there, in the church or otherwise. It is tremendous.”

For six years of investing in the ministry of CSB Canada, Bob saw some 3,600 boys hear the Good News of Jesus Christ at camp; thousands more heard it through the weekly Christian Service Brigade ministry; and hundreds responded to the call of Christ to follow Him. Countless individuals continued to grow to be spiritually mature and they are found all over the Church today. All of those boys became men who are influencing the next generation, and on and on, multiplying down through the years.

The truth is, when you invest in the ministry of CSB today, just as Bob does, you are investing in the church of tomorrow. Whether your support goes to funding the ongoing curriculum updates, the revision of the Leadership Training materials, or allowing a Regional Director to lead units and camps, your support will have an effect that will span the generations.

In 2 Timothy 2:2, Paul asks Timothy to entrust to faithful men who will be able to also teach others that which he heard from him in the presence of many witnesses. That’s four generations: Paul – Timothy – Faith Men – Others!

Those who invested in CSB when it was founded in 1937, and planted in Canada in 1943, have received a Return on Investment far greater than those who joined Apple or Intel when they were founded. The ROI they received from Brigade reaches forward not just through the generations, but into eternity. How can you calculate that? You can’t, so instead, take time today to consider investing, just like Bob, in the work of CSB. 

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