Our Story

INNOVATE was created out of a deep desire to intentionally resource leaders and congregations across Canada, catalyzing and equipping a movement of missional discipleship across denominational and theological boundaries so that God’s Kingdom can truly be on earth as it is in heaven.

INNOVATE began as a movement within Mennonite Church Eastern Canada (MCEC) to resource interested congregations on how to form disciples equipped to be a Jesus imitating, community oriented, mission presence in a post-Christendom world.  

Initially resourced and lead by Catalyse Change (formerly 3DM Europe), a team of leaders who were part of this initial movement through the 2 year engagement of ReLearning Community here in Canada were intentionally equipped and trained to assume responsibility for the movement and build a uniquely Canadian expression.  

Out of a desire to become more overtly non-denominational, INNOVATE has been birthed out of MCEC as a separate organization thanks to the generous financial and resource support of MCEC through their Legacy Initiatives Fund. 

INNOVATE continues to form partnerships with other organizations around the globe who share a similar missional discipleship DNA. Through in person and online training, INNOVATE provides coaching and resourcing to pastoral leaders and congregations as well as marketplace leaders and entrepreneurs across Canada who are eager to explore the call to join God on mission in their context.

Our Team

Norm Dyck

INNOVATE Team Leader

Norm is committed to the belief that every neighbourhood deserves a Jesus centred, disciple-making, peace presence. He is blessed with friendships that span the globe and counts many of these relationships among ministry partners. Vocationally, Norm is employed as the Mission Minister for Mennonite Church Eastern Canada, charged with oversight of denominational church planting efforts which has been largely newcomer/immigrant focussed, challenging the established church to reclaim her mission heart, engaging global mission partners, and generally agitating for change within denominational structures. Married to Rose, they live in Listowel, Ontario and together have four sons who are growing up too quickly – Malachi, Jonah, Elijah, Nehemiah.

Born to immigrant parents who grew up in the Mennonite colonies of Paraguay, Norm has always seen himself as being between cultures. Much of his childhood and now into adult life and career has been engaged in interpreting and translating cultures. Whether that was translating Canadian culture for his parents, trying to interpret Canadian culture for pastors and leaders of newcomer congregations, or simply wrestling with the massive seismological culture shifts happening within and around Canadian church culture (accelerated by Covid).



Kim Kabbes

Kim is the Program Coordinator for the INNOVATE team. Kim and her husband, Andrew, live in Kitchener with their four children: Anna, Axel, Samantha and Eve. Kim and Andrew are passionate about pursuing where Jesus is working in their neighbourhood and being a family on mission. After experiencing first-hand how powerful and life-changing family on mission & discipleship is, Kim truly believes that INNOVATE's mission is at the heart of what God has been calling the church to do. She has gained a unique and personal understanding of how valuable it can be to follow Jesus into our neighbourhoods and workplaces and is excited to help others see that value too. Aside from busy everyday life, Kim is passionate about healthy eating, prayer, learning, and loving her family & community. She also enjoys cooking, having people in her home, and can't live without a nice cup of tea.

Sean East

Sean has been engaged with Innovate as a learner, a leader, and a practitioner, leading a congregational team through Relearning Community and Community of Practice and participating in the training of 20+ congregations in the cohorts that followed.  A trained accountant with a thirteen year career as a CFO in the manufacturing industry prior to shifting vocational call towards ministry and ordination as a pastor within the Mennonite Church. Sean loves teaching new ideas to eager learners and walking alongside leaders and congregations who seek to grow in missional discipleship so that as many as possible can experience the love of God and be invited to thrive in life changing relationship with God. 

Sean's current bi-vocational employment includes co-pastoring at Listowel Mennonite Church and serving as the Financial Manager for Mennonite Church Eastern Canada.  Sean resides in Nithburg with his wife, Jacquie, and their four children:  TJ, Daniel, Rebekah, and Emma. They are passionate about church being about more than Sunday morning gatherings, and about participating in the Kingdom coming on earth (or in Nithburg or Listowel or wherever they may be) as it is in heaven.

 

Craig Frere

Craig and his wife Kim live in Drayton where he is the pastor at Community Mennonite Fellowship. They have 3 young adult children, Geordi, Mairi, and Shona, who are at various stages of “leaving the nest”.

While Craig is the pastor, he and Kim serve together as a team in ministry.  They enjoy making connections and building new relationships with people in the community where they live and they deeply desire to equip and inspire people in the church to do the same.  Craig is a servant leader who has been through the ReLearning Community process twice with two different churches.  He is excited to be a part of INNOVATE where he can walk alongside others on their discipleship journey and help them to become who God has called them to be.

Janel Hiemstra

Janel, her husband Rodney and two children, Noah and Jensyn, live in Listowel, Ontario, where she is an Educational Assistant at Listowel Christian School.  Janel loves to learn and teach.  Janel is deeply involved in her church and surrounding community.  Janel and her family strive to be a family on mission, whether that's by having people over enjoying a backyard campfire or skating on the front lawn.  In her "spare time" Janel loves to play baseball and challenge herself physically by participating in Triathlons and crazy hiking adventures.



Andrew Kabbes

Andrew is married to Kim (INNOVATE's Program Coordinator) and has four wonderful children: Anna, Axel, Samantha, and Eve. He's currently employed at Wilfrid Laurier University as a Mathematics instructor and laboratory coordinator.  Andrew loves to teach, but loves to meet new people even more.  Andrew understands the church's need, but even more so the world's need, for discipleship and mission.  He is excited to be part of the INNOVATE team where he can help others understand tangible steps to take in changing the world for Christ. He also enjoys biking, running, a good homemade latte, and keeping things light.

Kevin Peters Unrau

Kevin is married to Kara and has 2 sons.  He currently serves as a pastor at Hillcrest Mennonite Church in New Hamburg and enjoys akido, curling and recently video editing.