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This article was published 14/8/2016 (1186 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Jared Hiebert didn’t want this. He didn’t want to plant another church in Steinbach, a city that has, in his assessment, lots of them.
"It just nagged at me and I fought doing this," said Hiebert of launching another place of worship. "The more I thought about it, prayed about it, looked around, the more I began to realize, instead of me thinking about going into a church and … not fitting in and finding myself struggling, I want to respect the churches that are here," he said.
He strove to start a Christian church from a mindset the city lacks.
"What you’re not going to find in this area is a reformed theological perspective that is coming from a church explicitly committed to it," he said.
Steinbach did not have a Reformed church until Covenant Reformed Church held its first service Sunday, likely because the city’s heritage hasn’t fostered that belief. The region is historically Anabaptist, and, in turn, Steinbach’s earliest settlers founded Mennonite churches that reflecting their teachings. Often referred to as Calvinism, Reformed theology is an understanding of faith that recognizes the Bible as the inerrant word of God. They focus on expository preaching, investigating the meaning of passages in Scripture by explaining what the Bible means by what it says.
Reformed theology is perhaps most commonly celebrated and argued against for what it says about God’s sovereignty. While other denominations believe that God saves people based on their decision to follow him, adherents to the Reformed faith believe it is God’s decision alone who is saved; human effort does not matter.
This blunts the criticism that Christians have to look or act a certain way, believes Hiebert.
"Listen, you’re part of our body no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, no matter who you are, but understand this: God’s grace is going to change you," he said.
The Reformed church also holds the view of complementarianism, which means men take leadership roles in the church and the family unit.
Hiebert, who lives in La Broquerie with his wife Tanya and his two children, says he didn’t hide his Reformed beliefs when he spoke to his former congregation at Cornerstone Bible Church in Steinbach, where he pastored for a decade.
After leaving the church earlier this year, the Hieberts wanted to become part of a church together, where they could be a pastoral couple again. They took time off to determine their next step, when the idea of embarking on a new church took shape.
"All the while I was fighting this thought of planting another church because Steinbach has a thousand of them, it seems like," said Jared Hiebert.
"It’s only been in the last two or three months when I felt really strongly that this would be the right thing to do for the right reasons."
In the months after he and Cornerstone mutually parted ways, Hiebert thought about forgoing the pastoral life completely, but he realized he couldn’t. He felt called by God to not only keep preaching but continue his ministering in Steinbach.
"One of the things I realized in my six months away is that this is what I’ve been put on this Earth to do," said Hiebert.
He said he was excited to see the new church materialize. The first service, held at the Pat Porter Active Living Centre, attracted about 40 people to their gathering space, the Fireside Room.
When asked where Steinbach’s first Reformed church will be in a couple years, Hiebert said he tries to avoid deliberately thinking about it.
"The belief that I have in the sovereignty of God and his commitment to building the church is that if God is in this, he will build our church, he will make it look how he wants it to."
Covenant Reformed Church meets Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m. on 10 Chrysler Gate.