COVID-19 is an inconvenience, an obstacle to be avoided. If ministry were a football game, COVID would be the opposition, but it would NOT be the focus. In Christian ministry, whether the obstacles are giants or microscopic viruses, the mission of every Christian is to take the Gospel to those who haven’t heard it and make them disciples of Christ.
That’s what was talked about at the November meeting of the CSB BC Regional Committee, and the men got excited. Now CSB is Christian Service Brigade, a men’s ministry to boys that got its BC start in 1943. For generations, “Brigade” has helped churches and their men mentor boys from kindergarten to college, giving them practical examples of Christ-centred manhood.
As those men talked about the impact of COVID on the local ministry, it was quickly learned that not all groups were dead in the water. Some were limping along, others were running, and a couple were thriving. There was even a church in Calgary that saw Brigade as their solution to reaching kids when they couldn’t have Sunday school. The conversation at the committee meeting inspired the men to do CSB in another way.
For years, CSB has encouraged men to develop their skills and hobbies, wrap them in Biblical Truth, and share them with boys. This is the essential foundation of Christian Service Brigade. Every boy wants to grow into manhood, but he can’t do it on his own. In Titus 2, God gives men, and women, the responsibility to train children toward Biblical maturity. Dr James Dobson spoke of mature Christian men being an essential part of every boy’s life. CSB recognizes this and builds healthy relationships between generations. CSB is known as “Christian boy scouts”. In today’s uncertain world, CSB knows how to develop men of God of all generations.
So, when the men heard about what Chief Ranger Jerry Forder was doing with the Tree Climbers, Stockade and GEMS Girls’ Club at Bear Creek Community Church in Surrey, and what Captain Jim Pike was doing with the teenage guys in the Battalion at Calvary Baptist Church in Coquitlam in the middle of a pandemic, they couldn’t help but get excited.
When asked about the impact of COVID on their meetings, Jerry said, “We never took a break. I don’t even think we missed a week. We just moved our meeting onto Zoom and kept going. And when we were allowed, we went back to meeting in the church. We met all through the summer. The parents loved it. In late November when we were no longer allowed to meet in person, we went right back to using Zoom.”
It was noted that girls are equally welcomed to meet with the boys. They were doing that when they met at the church – arriving together and then separating into their own groups. So, when there is only one computer in the home, or limited internet bandwidth, it made sense to include the girls. “Besides,” says the Chief Ranger, “the girls like the active stuff that the boys are doing.”
Captain Jim Pike did much the same with his group, but they moved to a different internet platform that, after the devotional, games and training, allowed the young men to separate into different rooms where they would play video games together. Jim said that, “Transitioning from in-person Battalion to online was a bit of an adjustment. There is a steep learning curve to find ways to maximize participation, create personal connections and deepen the boys' faith, but it is worth it. Joshua 1:9 and Proverbs 3:6 are two verses that continue to help me to keep leading my Battalion boys. I would encourage other boys and men to do the same. It’s worth it.”
Jim and Jerry are not alone in their creativity. Other groups are using intermittent activities to build fellowship – hikes, father-son campouts, service projects, and parking lot video games projected on an exterior church wall.
This is CSB during a pandemic and the committee recognized that it is also a future version of CSB for some families who cannot make it to a nearby weekly meeting – families in Dease Lake, Beaverdell or Indian Arm BC, Carbon, High Prairie or Wandering River AB, Whitehorse YK or Skagway AK, or the missionary family on the Mexican west coast.
There is a place for online CSB units in each time zone around the world in multiple languages. And the first intentional ones are in the Lower Mainland of BC. For now, one happens Wednesday evenings from 6:30 to 8:15pm for boys and their sisters ages 4 to 12. For young men ages 12 and up, it’s on Friday evening 7 to 9pm.
To learn how to get involved, contact Howard Pike, CSB BC, by clicking here.
CSB ONLINE Works!
Start an ONLINE UNIT
Whether you already have an established in-person Brigade Unit, or are looking to start something completely new, BRIGADE ONLINE creates an opportunity to build boys and young men for Christ where they cannot otherwise be reached.
There are hurdles to be jumped, checks and balances to be negotiated, but reaching boys (and girls) for Jesus is a wonderful privilege in expanding God's Kingdom.
Click here to connect with CSB to explore this option.
Support an ONLINE UNIT
We are NOT saying "Send money," though it does help. But the truth is that CSB doesn't happen without a man as the key leader. It doesn't happen without a supportive wife. It doesn't happen without supportive friends (especially for the unmarried leaders). It doesn't happen without the supportive church.
Boys and Young Men are build up in the Lord because someone made the connection and someone else supported them in making it happen.
BRIGADE ONLINE is also in need of technical support - guys who can look after the operations side of running an online meeting.
Click here to connect with CSB to explore these opportunities.