Shawn Talks "Group Life"

I recently put some questions in front of Shawn Klassen, our Connections Pastor and asked him to talk a bit about group life at SunRidge and this is what he said:

Why do we have small groups if we are already getting together on Sunday?

Sunday mornings are awesome and being a part of a Small Group allows us to take that experience further. We get to know and be known, help and be helped, love and be loved. They’re also great for exploring what we heard from the message on Sunday morning - to see where it connects with our day to day life.

If you could describe the benefit of a Small Group in 6 words, what would they be?

Journeying together in Friendship and Faith.

What happens in a small group? Is it all a big discussion?

They involve food and laughter, catching up on what’s going on in each other’s lives, seeing how we can help/serve others, talking about important things, and praying for each other’s needs.

Are groups divided up by age and marital status?

We’ve got groups that can fit any age and marital status. There’s one specifically for young adults; the other groups are for any and all.

What if a person feels it is a bit out of their league, they are new to talking about the Bible and issues of faith?

For those who are exploring or new to faith, I would encourage you to connect with Starting Point when it’s offered. It’s the perfect place to ask questions and have a conversation around what it all means. At the same time, it’s important to know that our Small Groups are safe environments to ask your questions and bounce ideas of people you can trust - you won’t be judged for being new to it all!

What if a person can’t come every week?

We understand life is busy. I would say connection is important! Don’t miss out on community because you have other stuff going on in your life. Last night for example — my small group ended up being three people and I couldn’t be there because of a board meeting. They still got together because meaningful connection can still happen. The idea is that we know each other and can track with each other even if we can’t make it all the time.

What’s the best way to get connected, do people just randomly show up at the home of the person who is hosting it?

A conversation with me is the best first step. We’ll talk about what you’re looking for, what night of the week works best for you, and what to expect at our Small Groups. I’ll buy the coffee! email me anytime at shawn@sunridge.org or link up with our small group connect page

Meet The Interns (Part 2)

Last week I posted a little interview with one of our interns, Naomi. This week I am happy to introduce you to Matt De Jong — another one of our wonderful SunRidge interns.

An Internship at SunRidge is an opportunity for someone to come alongside our SunRidge family and staff to serve for a time in a variety of capacities. It is an invitation to explore different areas of ministry in a church, to be challenged and mentored and to allow God to use this time “set aside” to see what new directions, gifts and ideas come from the experience.

If you haven’t met him yet, this blog post is all about Matt!

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Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Calgary, AB

3 words a good friend would use to describe you:
Passionate about debate, learning, and sports!

Bible not included, what is one of the best books you have ever read and why?
CS Lewis Screwtape Letters was super valuable in showing me how I tried to cover my own sin

If you could invite 6 people to sit around a table with you for an evening of good conversation, who would they be?

Living: John Piper, Barack Obama, Noam Chomsky, Francis Fukuyama, David Cameron, and Reginald Bibby

Dead: John A. Macdonald, George Washington, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Maximillien Robespierre, and Niccolo Machiavelli

A great piece of advice you have received is...
That Gretzky's "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take" quote is best applied outside of sports.

If a SunRidger invited you for dinner, what would your food aversion be?
Not a fan of stir-fry

Cats or Dogs?
Dogs

Country or Rock?
Country

Starbucks or Tim Hortons?
Tims

What was your role at Green Bay Bible Camp this summer?
I was the DTP (Discipleship Training Program) Manager at Green Bay this year

A recent thing God has been teaching you:
God has been teaching me the value of investing in him as a first priority, rather than a last resort.

in 200 characters or less describe your faith journey:
Grew up in the church, doubted my faith from about 12-15, but had an amazing experience of the kind of community Christianity can provide at Green Bay Bible Camp (here in West Kelowna) and have been devoted to my faith ever since. I've gotten to see and learn so much about God in 5 summers at Green Bay, and me being here this year. 

Why intern?
I felt God weighing it on me pretty heavily as soon as the internship was offered. I've been considering pastorship, and so this was a great opportunity.

What is a goal you have as an intern?
To get to explore what pastoring means and what it looks like on a more day-to-day basis.


We are super excited to have Matt serving in OOSC (SunRidge Out of School Care), it’s awesome to have a great mix of men and women in there, loving kids in our community.

SunRidge, hope you will go out of your way to meet Matt, get to know him, feed him, and make him feel like he has been our friend for a long time already!

 Teresa Klassen

Teresa
Klassen

 

Meet The Interns (Part 1)

Hey, did you know we have two really wonderful people who are serving at SunRidge as Interns?

An Internship at SunRidge is an opportunity for someone to come alongside our SunRidge family and staff to serve for a time in a variety of capacities. It is an invitation to explore different areas of ministry in a church, to be challenged and mentored and to allow God to use this time “set aside” to see what new directions, gifts and ideas come from the experience.

If you haven’t met her yet, this blog post is all about Naomi Spoelstra who is serving as an Intern until the New Year before she heads off to YWAM in Hawaii

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We sent some questions her way to help you get to know her and here is what she said:


Where did you grow up?

I have moved around lots across the East coast and West coast of Canada for my dad’s work but when people ask me where I grew up I always say most recently, Vancouver. 

Six words a good friend would use to describe you:

Optimistic, Determined, Outgoing, Strong-willed, Understanding, Conversationalist.

Bible not included, what is one of the best books you have ever read and why?

The Artisan Soul by Erwin McManus. Erwin McManus has always been one of my favourite communicators but this book especially is so inspiring to worship ministry. Its bottom line is that us, as Christians, were all created to create works of Jesus in the mundane everyday not just on stages or where our “craft” seems easy. We create because our creator intentionally created us. 

A great piece of advice you have received is...

Seek in your day your daily bread and God will provide. In other words, take days one day at a time and don’t plan your life in one sitting. 

If a SunRidger invited you for dinner, what would your food aversion be?

Any pasta dish ever. 

When you have time off you like to:

Organize my space. write songs. read books. write poetry. 

Something you love to talk about:

I love to talk about what makes a song special. 

Cats or Dogs?

Dogs

Country or Rock?

Rock

Starbucks or Tim Hortons?

Starbucks

What was your role at Green Bay Bible Camp this summer?

Worship Director 

A recent thing God has been teaching you:

God has been teaching me to slow down and be still and know he is present in my everyday. I’ve been realizing that my productivity is not the same as my worth and that not every one of my stressors needs to be figured out within the night. God has been teaching me to lean into him like a backbone when  I am weary and stressed. 

in 200 characters or less describe your faith journey:

The moments my faith became real and tangible to me were the moments I saw myself as a failure. In those moments I was able to take a step back and have my pride broken down in order to see more of how Jesus was actually working in my life. I was baptized at fifteen years old in my home church because as a Christian, I knew that was the next step to publicly declare my faith and to seek accountability. These past two summers I was given the opportunity step into my calling as the Worship Director at Green Bay Bible Camp. This past summer, more prominently than ever I have felt the Divine call to be a worshiper at heart first and then also lead others into the presence of God through worship. I have felt this calling presently in my devotional life and through trusted leadership around me speaking into my life. I love Jesus and I know he is for me and willing to walk along side me and qualify me for positions He has called me into even though I might not feel qualified myself. (Editor’s Note: 989 Characters, but who’s counting?)

Why intern?

Being an Intern at is something that has been on my mind for the past while, especially a worship intern. I believe the practical and hands on learning experience while still being called to a higher standard of leadership is such an journey. I was interested in Sunridge specifically because when I walked into church on a Sunday here, I felt at home. I come from a church of 2000 so its easy to get drowned in a sea of people, but I really respect the community of people here that made it a priority to introduce themselves. I really am so happy to get on board with a community like that. 

What is a goal you have as an intern?

My goal as an intern is to further develop my relational skills so that I may be able to ask God how he wants me to best love of specific people he brings into my life. Another goal I have is to bring more prayer into practice in worship. And have a more sustainable devotional life.


Hey SunRidge, hope this helps to fast-track you in getting to know Naomi. Hope you make the most of the time we have with her to get to know her, make her feel really at home, and help to make this whole experience rich for her!

 Teresa Klassen

Teresa
Klassen


Stepping In

In case you didn’t know, SunRidge partners with Westbank United Church to come alongside in serving lunches to those who need them in our West Kelowna community. And who needs lunch? There are those who have experienced a turn in life that has left them homeless. There are those who have lost their job and a lunch here and there brings relief to the budget. There are seniors who might not be cooking a hearty meal for themselves. There are young people who are sorting things out and some warm food and some warm words are helpful. There are a lot of different kinds of people who come to a hot meal (three times a week) and sandwiches on the off days.

This requires

  • a lot of organization (Nancy is a force to be reckoned with),

  • a home base (thank goodness for the centrally located United Church facility and their compassion for the city)

  • food (donations come from all over our city from churches, businesses, farms, and concerned individuals)

  • volunteers (lots and lots)

This week we were short-handed on Monday and it highlighted again how many people it requires to keep this work going. So today I am highlighting people who “step in.” I know there are many who do — lots of faithful behind-the-scenes servants who help with no fanfare. There are people who send lovely home baking — the guests LOVE the home baking. There are people who go around finding donations, people who serve once and twice and three times a week. There are people who buy last minute groceries, people who wash dish after dish, people who give hugs, people who cut onions and…there is one beloved person who even comes to tenderly cut and style people’s hair.

If you would like to get involved in this practical, love-your-city, mission email our rep Randy at lunchprogram@sunridge.org or contact us here. There are on-site opportunities and other things you can do if you can’t do that! We also have a grocery list at the Connect Centre. Pick one up and add a few things to your list each week. You can drop off at SunRidge or at the United Church.

How did our shorthanded Monday go? Thanks to Mark P., Kim R., and Lindsay W. and some others from outside SunRidge who all “stepped in”…we got’er done! Go team go!

At the end of our shift, I like how Mark summarized things:

 Why is Mark wearing oven mitts while stirring Coleslaw?

Why is Mark wearing oven mitts while stirring Coleslaw?

“A kitchen filled with love and servants hearts. People of all ages and backgrounds banding together to do their part in order to make a HUGE difference to show those less fortunate in our own community that they are loved, cared for and matter so very much. What an honour to be a part of it.”

 Teresa Klassen

Teresa
Klassen

 

Series Description

We all have questions about God at some point in our lives. Whether we question our faith, God's goodness, or just His willingness to work miracles in our lives, we could all come up with our own question. For the next several weeks we want to invite you to take a seat and ‘Let’s Talk About It’!

About The Artwork

In this image we see a rather ordinary scene; someone crossing the street in ordinary clothes. No matter who you are or where your regular commute takes you, you face big questions. The image is covered with drawings and writing in a style you might find in a notebook or scribbled on the street even. This look has been used to show that these discussions we’re going to tackle, though they might seem intimidating, are approachable, not reserved for the academic, these are topics anyone can tackle. Why the multiple figure drawings? Well, when having to state our opinions on a difficult subject there is often an inner wrestle... logic says one thing, emotion says another... God’s black and white truth has answers to our questions we can have confidence rooting ourselves in.


Hasn’t Science disproven God?

October 28, 2018

With all the discoveries made about the natural world, is there still a need for God? Isn’t science at odds with what the Bible says? We’ll talk about the big ideas behind these questions and what the universe can tell us about God.


Would a loving God really send people to Hell?

October 21, 2018

We have heard that there are two options after death: Heaven and Hell. We’re ok with believing in heaven - a paradise where everything is perfect. But Hell troubles us - if God loves everyone, why wouldn’t we all end up in heaven?


How can a good God allow so much suffering?

October 14, 2018

Injustice. Oppression. Natural Disasters. War. Famine. Disease. We don’t have to look far to know there is a lot of suffering in our world. Doesn’t God see it too? Or is He looking the other way? If He sees it, why doesn’t He do anything about it?


Why does God care about sexuality?

October 7, 2018

There are many views on sexuality and gender and it can be confusing. Many would say that they are troubled by the limitations found in the Bible. Is it outdated? Should we ignore those parts? Why would God care about that area of our lives?

*Please be aware there will be mature themes in this message which might not be appropriate for children.


Who says there is only one way to God?

September 30, 2018

There are those who say that since there are so many ways to find God, Christianity is only one among many valid ones. Then why are Christians so exclusive about their belief that one can only find God through being a Christian?


Isn’t the Bible a Myth?

September 23, 2018

There are many people that say that there are many good things in the Bible, but you should not take it literally. Others say that the Bible should not be trusted because some parts of the Bible are wrong and historically unreliable. So let’s talk about it as we look into these concerns.


Don’t all religions teach the same thing?

September 16, 2018

Today we will look at the 4 top spiritual leaders of all time. They are Confucius, Buddha, Mohammad and Jesus Christ. We will look at each of these men and what they taught and how they lived – and then we need to ask the question: Who will you trust your life to?


And More Friends Inside!

One fine evening last week, I happened to be within earshot of our Student Ministries Pastor, Kyle Dyck, greeting the Student Ministries Lead Team. As you can imagine, it was enthusiastic! Kyle stood at the door and called out, “My friends!” as they came to the threshold of his door and then he added, “And look, there are more friends inside!”

I smiled to myself; I love a good moment and this was one. How beautiful it is when friends gather around a purpose. The goal of that night, as I understand it, was to move beyond planning to a time of building into one another, to listen to God and prepare for the journey ahead of investing in and discipling students.

I can say, from experience, there are few things so wonderful and so hard at the same time. It is wonderful to stand as brothers and sisters for such a great cause as loving people. And…there is nothing so challenging, because people are people and we all know what that means.

But it is worth the effort and it is worth the risk to welcome people at the threshold and then walk together for the long haul around this mission. Jesus calls these gatherings “His Bride” and He asks us to do what He does: serve with each other in sickness and in health, in good times and bad. Laugh with each other, cry with each other, exhort and encourage each other, keep each other on the path and spur each other on along it.

The Student Team is one way to practice this walking/serving together and there are lots of other ways. You can find out more here. It’s the best way to make a friend and be a friend so do some exploring at SunRidge and find friends inside!

 Teresa Klassen

Teresa
Klassen

 



DIVING IN

Kick-Off Sunday - DIVING IN

September 9, 2018

Ezekiel 47

Every great relationship starts at the beginning, and it then grows deeper from there, step by step. Same is true of our relationship with Jesus. We start at the beginning when we say YES for God’s forgiveness, and it then grows deeper from there, step by step. Today, we want to look at some of those steps – it’s time to get wet!


In The Garden

Like so many others who are able to till, seed, and water the soil to bring forth plant life (I exclude myself from this list), Shawn and Lisa Klassen put in a grandé garden this summer. As we heard this past Sunday, it was Shawn's idea and he brought Lisa and Mac into his vision and behold there were vegetables, lots of vegetables.

I love what their garden became this summer: not just a place to feast on fresh produce, but a sacred space to "do devotions," to ponder what is growing in the depths of our lives, feeding on God's Word. At different times over this summer season, the Klassens had people over to linger in their garden, read the Bible, journal a bit and share. Lisa described this in the photo below, taken in their garden:

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"Devos in the garden.
Quiet reflection on passages, journaling,
sharing and prayer. Just simple get-togethers
where we invite others to do devos together."
-- Lisa and Connie

What I love is how Lisa and Shawn made space for this...or better put, made this space to include this.

When I think of devotions, it is something we do intentionally in our lives, but there is so much creativity as to the how and when and where and with whom. Spending time in God's Word doesn't need to be complicated. You don't need a big lead up. You don't need a giant amount of time. You don't need to "be a great writer" and you don't even need to "be a big reader." What you need is a seeking heart and a willingness to let the Holy Spirit teach you.

You can sit in interesting places with God, you can steal 15 minutes at a coffee shop, you can invite a friend to create a shared experience.

The Bible says, "Certainly the Lord watches the whole earth carefully..." (I am sure He saw a few people who just happen to be opening God's Word in a garden in Kelowna) "and is ready to strengthen those who are devoted to Him." 2 Chronicles 16:9 NET

Devoted = very loving or loyal, to study and discuss = devotions.

If you haven't figured out what this looks like in your own life, you can

  • contact any of the @sunridge.org staff (mike@sunridge.org, shawn@sunridge.org, teresa@sunridge.org etc.). We will meet with you and walk with you!
  • stop by the Connect Centre on a Sunday
  • access a reading guide here (remember, you don't have to conquer the guide. Read some, read all...there are no rules here)
  • Get in touch online here and we will get back to you about a devotional life!

Don't let this year go by without meeting with Jesus regularly. You will find Him in all kinds of interesting places...

 Teresa Klassen

Teresa
Klassen

 

The Whole Bunch of Us

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On Tuesday most of the SunRidge Staff were all in one place for a post summer staff meeting. We worked through an agenda, looking beyond our more relaxed summer routines and approached the calendar more intentionally.

If you look at the picture in this blog closely, you will see there were seven people in attendance at our meeting. These seven "staff" have certain gifts, certain callings, and a certain amount of time each to put those to work. But these seven are inadequate. These seven can be obedient to fulfill maybe seven roles, but Jesus' call to His Church is for the whole bunch of us to fulfill all kinds of roles -- hundreds of them with varying degrees of personal sacrifice.

As we were putting some plans to paper, I couldn't help but think: there are a whole bunch of SunRidgers and there isn't a single person who isn't called to engage. We all have something to offer. Wouldn't it be amazing if every single person at SunRidge actively played a part making SunRidge a beautiful community to be a part of? And wouldn't it be amazing if every single person at SunRidge actively played a part in taking that spirit out into our neighbourhoods? Week in and week out...

We have been reminded of this in this 10:02 series and the "art of neighbouring" and I think it is a great nudge for the Fall.

I wonder, as the whole bunch of us listen well to the Holy Spirit, what needs will be filled in this new season? What new ideas will be tried in the coming days? What connections will happen week to week? What conversations will set a new course for someone? What service will be offered that will provide relief and make this world just a little bit more the way God intended it?

It's up to the whole bunch of us.

If you are "in" you can make it known by initiating some contact through our Get Connected tab on our website, or go to the Connect Center on Sunday and start a conversation about serving!

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Teresa Klassen

 

 

 

Read Any Good Books Lately?

Read Any Good Books Lately?

Today the Old Testament reading on the reading guide was the book of Joel – 3 chapters in total. It’s a pretty amazing piece of prophecy with heart-wrenching picture of the consequences coming to a people who have rebelled against God, and it is also a magnificent picture of God’s flamboyant grace, poured out over this same people.
 
I found myself wondering what it must be like for someone of Abrahamic /Jewish descent to read a book like Joel. Really, reading the Bible must be, for them, a lot like reading a book of your family history. How much wonder and joy  and laughter there must be for those who read it with a hunger and curiosity to know their past, and how much horror and sorrow, fear and anguish also.
 
The book of Joel carries us along through the worst, through to the best…where God’s Grace is on display for the guilty and rebellious Jewish nation. He never gave up on them. Through all the drama, God forgave and forgave and then offered the ultimate forgiveness through wiping out their “blood guilt” through His own blood, shed out of love for them and ultimately us. 

We get to read their story and see God in how He related to them, knowing this is how He relates to us also; what a privilege!
 
What landed on me today is that this same thing is happening in the story of my family. God is in our story showing us His magnificent grace and  hopefully we will live in a way so that other people get to "read" our story. I look at all our storylines, as far back and as current as I can and there He is. He is in the wonderful and joyous storylines and He is in our disasters – the horrible, broken and shameful ones. Our stories get to tell His story -- I pray that it will tell well the story of God's flamboyant grace. 

Flamboyant, by the way, is one word full of other words to try to capture the meaning of grace because God's grace is exuberant, confident, lively and active, vibrant, elaborate, lavish, bright with light, joyous, and causes a universe-sized celebration when one receives it and lives within it.
 
God is telling a story of grace through my life, our family's life, and He is telling one through yours. Are you reading it?
 

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Teresa Klassen

P.S. Want to download a reading guide? You can find it here>>