Gathering

People You Know

This is a shout-out to small groups, and as an example — my own. This past week our small group had a BBQ together on a windy evening; we love getting together! We look forward to it. This year our group members have been all over the country and out of the country but we always keep tabs on one another and get together as soon as we are on the same soil. It’s so good to gather.

I don’t even know how long this group has been together, but we know each other quite well by now. We are at that stage of honesty where we can challenge each other, cry with each other, pray consistently for one another, celebrate the wins, puzzle over the puzzles…its all that and more. We love to eat together, hang out with each other, and figure out this journey of faith together. I love my small group (and not just because Marcella slips me jars of jam).

My small group has done the miles with Mike and I. They have been right at the core of quite a tender journey. They have been burden bearers for us: always interested. There are times we have gone “on and on” about weighty things and our group has been immensely patient and understanding. I see how we all try to be this for one another. It is amazing to experience. Church.

Recently we had something pretty big to celebrate in the middle of our ongoing story — and their hearts just joined with ours and I was further buoyed up by the beauty of community. At the same time, someone else was experiencing hard things — it is almost always this way. So we all leaned in to listen and to ponder it and to pray and to hope. This group doesn’t give up.

I know there are other groups who could say the same. This is the goal with small groups, isn’t it? Life on life, knowing each other, the happenings, the uncertainties, the wrestling to figure out obedience to Christ, the long-suffering walk, the ready applause, the hug, the eye-to-eye call to live out one’s calling in a safe and “for you” kind of place.

As September comes closer — find out about Small Groups. Talk to Shawn Klassen, connect at the Connect Centre. Fill something out online (Whoa! Who are those fine looking people on the SG page?). Small groups run for 10 weeks and then if you feel like trying something different — a different group, a class — feel free! Become a part of the mix. Enter into group life: love people, and be loved back!

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

Eh?

Just a little shout-out about summer plans for kids! Our Out of School Care Director, Walter, has planned some really great mini-lessons for summer for kids K+ so that even while we aren’t running our usual full program, there will be a little learning going on…but a lot more chill than usual. Parents, I hope you will take advantage of the good work Walter has done and continue the “good input” of GOD’s word in their lives over these next weeks.

Every week Walter is looking at an animal GOD has made and seeing what we can learn about our GOD through that creature! If everything about GOD can be known by what we see with our own eyes, nature has obviously got a lot to tell us!

Check out this coming Sunday’s creature in the photo! Know what that is? Well, you’re going to have to come to find out (bet it isn’t what you think it is). The theme will be on the topic of “hope” along with the verse: “No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame.” Psalm 25:3 — sounds interesting to me!

See you Sunday!

As to the preschoolers, we are hoping to “man” that room to provide a break for parents…but this will be dependant on volunteers coming forward to assist. So if you are in to help, please email info@sunridge.org or link to our volunteer page for Children’s Ministry and let us know.

It’s going to be a great summer in SunLand!

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 


How Did You Get There?

Sometimes things stop me in my tracks and speak to me. On Sunday, this happened. It was post-Gathering when only 6 or so were left hanging around; I was mid-sentence in a conversation when I looked up and saw this:

vine medium.JPG

Look closely and you will see a vine drilling its way between wall and roof, straight out from the poster that says “Live Mission.”

At first I laughed and said what I have said many times over the past 22 years: “Only at SunRidge.” Only at SunRidge through these barn walls, into this simple meeting place, among this hodge-podge collective would this happen. Just another oddball thing to keep us laughing. How silly is this? How did it get there….?

But then I had that familiar feeling of the Spirit telling me to look closer and deeper and there it was. This is the way of the Vine, the stubborn vine that won’t be stopped when money is short, when staffing is thin, when prayer is wobbly, when community is complicated, when culture is messy, when the future is foggy. This is the character of Jesus the Vine, the true and tenacious Vine going wherever He wants, however He wants no matter the terrain, the climate or the circumstances.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

Won’t He go where it doesn’t make sense for the sake of His Mission? Won’t He show up miraculously during impossible times? Aren’t we invited, called actually, to go along for the ride where literally no wall can stop Him? Won’t we hold onto Him even then, growing in obedience, seeing Him everyday as unlimited?

So Praise GOD today, people of SunRidge, for the beautiful ways of Jesus. And take a look at the vine in this picture (not sure if the facility team will be quite so keen to maintain its existence indoors). It represents the idealism of GOD and His absolute commitment to get where He wants to go with His people: NO MATTER WHAT. The wonders of GOD never cease and in our time we will see this if we have eyes to see.

Unstoppable God, Let your glory go on and on

Impossible things, In Your name they shall be done

Nothing shall be impossible
Your kingdom reigns Unstoppable

We'll shout Your praise forevermore
Jesus our God unstoppable

  • Unstoppable GOD, Elevation Worship

Thanks Father for this little reminder…we got the message.

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 







Hanging Around at Green Bay

This past weekend 80+ SunRidgers got to hang out at Green Bay Bible Camp for the weekend for another round of Family Camp! We have been doing this for a lot of years and it only gets better. This year the weather was in full cooperation: the sun was shining, it was hot, the skies were clear, the lake was warm. A perfect Okanagan weekend.

Friday night people arrived, unpacked and roamed about until kids fireside at 7:45. Fireside for kids involves some crazy campfire songs and then a great lesson, this year led by Walter B. who spoke about Gideon and how GOD gave him courage in the face of fearful circumstances. The kids all played field games after this, led by some of our Students! Mike K. picked up on the theme of “do not fear”at the adult fireside, something Jesus spoke of and something the Bible refers to over and over again. After this, we played a community-building game in the Dining Hall until 11 pm — had some great snacks too! Thanks to everyone who pitched in!

In the morning, a great Green Bay breakfast and adult small groups and then the Pickle-ball tournament began in the gym. This is an annual competition that only gets more competitive as the years go by! Thanks to Carla, Kyle, Cole and Monique for all teaming up to make this such a success again. In the end, knocking out all the competition — Tracy & Tiana K. won and accepted the pickle trophies in an emotional awards ceremony.

There was lots of beach time with all the water toys open for play — lots of people in the lake, on the beach, running around the camp all afternoon in the sun! There was a sand-castle building contest at the beach as well with much creativity on display!

For adult fireside on Saturday, Gary Swabey continued the theme of “Do Not Fear” with an emphasis on the “Shalom” peace of GOD followed by another community-wide game and snacks in the Dining Hall.

To end off the weekend, our Sunday gathering was held at Green Bay followed by a hot dog BBQ outside around the picnic tables where people could linger and visit and enjoy the beauty of where we live.

That’s the rundown of what happened, but there was so much more — all kinds of conversations, lots of play between adults and kids, hilarious spontaneous thing that only make sense if you were there (like the second “wedding” we held for Andrew & Liv at 11 at night in an RV complete with a loud sing-along to Celine Dion…like I said, had to be there). There was more random fun than can be recorded here. Family Camp is a very bonding, family building, warm time and something we look forward to every year.

The Green Bay Camp staff hosted us so well…we have so loved being able to enjoy the lake, the toys, the space, the food, the gym, the accommodation. There is something for everyone there and for every kind of weather (we have occasionally been rained out and the gym has been rather handy on those years). Thanks Green Bay!

A big shout-out to Mikaela K. who was busy all weekend managing the schedule and the myriad of questions that came her way…hope you had a long nap after it was all said and done. And thanks to everyone who played a part, big and small, to serving this church family on Family Camp Weekend.

If you weren’t able to come, reserve the weekend in June — it usually happens Father’s Day weekend and we will let you know as soon as something is booked! Be a part of this family gathering — it’s such a highlight!

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

What Happens at Family Camp

What happens at Family Camp doesn’t stay at Family Camp and that is the great thing. Over the years we have had more and more fun, more and more community, and more and more reasons to do it all over again because it pulls us together and gives us stories to remember; and isn’t that what makes life rich?

So much happens in a few days that is unique to a weekend like this and so we make a big point of calling SunRidgers to SIGN UP (early would be nice)! Every person who adds themselves in and engages with others, creates another dimension to what the weekend ends up being. Each person — single, married, young, old — is the family at family camp.

What laughs will happen?

What games will get played?

What conversations will be new to us?

The kids run wild, the adults find their playful side, and in the middle of it all, Jesus does some beautiful and meaningful things (He does love a good party).

So come and kick off your shoes and be campy with us and be part of the “remember when” stories that will come out of it all.

Camp will be at Green Bay Bible Camp on June 14-16; Details can be found at this link: Family Camp

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

Isn't That Great?

Isn’t that great?

This past Sunday was so encouraging as the Student Team led the morning. They were involved at every level, from entertaining to explaining, to challenging, to testifying, to singing, to preaching to calling us to love the way Jesus loves.

Isn’t that great?

We have so many student leaders with gigantic hearts that selflessly give of their time, treasure, talent to be in the lives of these students with such passion and integrity. They see what is “going on here” and they feel compelled to do their part to stand guard for these students.

Isn’t that great?

We as a church family get behind this ministry by creating space for them, by helping where we can, by giving money, by supplying resources, by applauding and encouraging.

What isn’t that great”

When the lights go out in the auditorium after a morning of joy, it’s what isn’t great that we must remember and this is where we as a church family get to be great in a crucial way.

We know the enemy wants to steal, kill and destroy the younger generation so we must pray. We must pray in the morning, we must pray in the noon-time, we must pray in the evening because these students aren’t tucked away safely in the corner of the week. We must be so acutely aware of what they are facing that isn’t great…

  • What isn’t great is we have students who feel their identity slipping away from them because the world is deliberately confusing. The enemy nudges this along so that they literally do not know who they are and what their purpose is. Instead of hearing the kind and affirming voice of the Father, they think they are a neutralized pronoun without GOD-given shape or form or purpose or uniqueness. Oh how we must pray!

  • What isn’t great is we have students who hurt themselves because they are hurting during the week and this self-inflicted pain seems better then that pain they have no choice over. Oh how we must pray!

  • What isn’t great is we have students seeing things they counted on, erode before their very eyes so that they don’t feel a firm foundation under their feet. Oh how we must pray!

  • What isn’t great is we have students who fear, who doubt, who crave, who cave, who watch, who want. Oh how we must pray!

There are so many things that aren’t great that we better be great at prayer; there is so much at stake! Don’t let the lightness fool you, many of these students are navigating things that aren’t great. Let us not fail them as a family. Let’s adult; let’s pray and not just when we are prompted.

Pray with hope and expectation. GOD will advertise His goodness through their lives and we will live to see it and

Isn’t that the greatest?

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 




Mud On My Boots

“There’s dirt on my shirt
And leaves in my hair
There’s mud on my boots
But I don’t really care… “

— Jeff Foxworthy, Dirt on My Shirt

You may not be aware of this, but recently our SunRidge campus was the site of a large and messy youth event involving water and dirt. Low in cost, but requiring a large sacrifice of time and energy and soap, this was the first, and most likely annual, mud fight.

A week out, leaders spent the day picking up a truckload of dirt (thanks to Cole’s dad for providing high quality dirt) and shovelling it out at SunRidge. There were hours needed for set-up to have different mud-fight challenges (including a duel-pool, an army crawl and slip-n-slide), lots of energy was required for the event itself and even more energy and a pressure washer to clean up.

This is what our Student Ministry Team is willing to do for the students they care for week to week. No one is telling them to do this. On no job description will you find “Mud Fight.” This amazing team is making this up as they go out of a great love for Jesus that spills over onto these young lives.

When you love people you look out at them and ask, “What do they need?” We should all be asking this because it is what Jesus did. At a wedding once, people needed wine so the party wouldn’t stop so Jesus stepped up and provided. Another time, out in the middle of nowhere the crowd needed loaves and fish so that hunger wouldn’t take away from their experience with Jesus — He made dinner for everyone. Sometimes He saw people needed defending sometimes He saw they needed a story. Sometimes He thought the time was right and they needed to get out of a boat, on other occasions He saw they needed to go fishing.

What do our students need? In this time of life where there is so much angst, with this generation where there is so much social disconnection — the team looked at those they love, like Jesus would, and said: mud fight (and couldn’t we make a Biblical connection to Jesus also using mud to show love to people along the way? See John 9)

So all this investment of energy, all this time, all this clean-up, all for the memories, all for the joy, all to build a community who can laugh together and the next week talk about the most serious of things. That is in fact what happened because this week they tackled a big heavy topic: how to deal with the problem of pornography.

SunRidge, please express thankfulness to GOD for those who BLESS our students. Pray for them. Say nice things to them! Pray for the future too, that our Student Team will always be well led, well staffed, well loved. We so value the blessing, the discipling…and the mud-fighting.

PS. I should mention, there were fish involved. Each team was given a large fish they had to carry with them through every event and the fish “most intact” at the end, won. Also, during different mud challenges the students were rewarded with sardines.

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 





You 25

When does a church with prayer become a church of prayer? When can we say, “We are a church of prayer!” — How does one measure that?

  • A measurement might be when we notice in ourselves and in each other that we are thinking of prayer without being reminded to. That nudge of the Spirit, that inner call.

  • A measurement might be when we notice we are praying without being asked to and we are seeing others do the same. In all kinds of gatherings, groups, and one-on-ones it would seem strange to not be praying.

  • A measurement might be when we see we are more quickly moving towards prayer as an instinctual response and others are doing this also. Something happens and the call goes out, “Let’s stop everything and pray…”

  • A measurement might be when we notice we are less self-conscious about prayer and much more aware of GOD than ourselves. I think we would see old praying with young, and young praying with old and peer to peer and group to group and no one would use disclaimers.

  • A measurement might be when we begin to listen for GOD to speak to us and to look for answers that come from Him and we see others doing that too. We would be hearing about it.

  • A measurement might be the change we see! When GOD’s people are praying then change is literally in the air. When GOD’s people are praying there is a visible movement and measurable results from it.

  • A measurement might be how, through a new confidence gained in prayer, we come alive in our faith, hope, resilience, freedom, and the practicing of our gifts.

I don’t know what more to say — there is more to see than say, I think. To witness. One thing I know: until we witness that “constant” of prayer, the nail — the call to pray — needs to be hit over and over and over again. We need to learn this. We need to learn the faithful walk of prayer and not slip into a malaise.

So right now we are praying for pre-service prayer to be a solid place of prayer. Twenty five who won’t give up praying Sunday mornings at 9 am. It isn’t a magical time slot, and it probably isn’t even an indication of what prayer will be down the road for our church, but right now…we need to get one thing down with some steadiness and stubbornness.

We are praying for you 25.

PS. Right now we are at a pretty steady 15. Come on Disciples, Followers of Jesus, let’s do this. 9 am, Portable, Every Sunday. Kids are welcome to come play while we pray. Interruptions are allowed!

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

Behind the Fun

There were balloons…hundreds of them!

There were costumes…all kinds and all colours all mixed together!

There was lots of loud and lots of laughs!

Moms and Dads got right into it…

And a dance floor filled with EVERYONE: toddlers, kids, teens, young adults, and….adult-adults. One big mix of happy!

When it was over…it wasn’t over. If there was music, there was dancing, even while the clean-up was well under way! Sometimes you just can’t stop having fun.

This is the Goofball, but there is more! It’s the more you need to know to understand why we would even host this event. The Goofball is a complete goofy, fun-filled celebration of childhood, but it has a serious vision. The Goofball exists to create space for joy and to affirm each child’s GOD-given identity. This year the main point was to not live under the pressure of a label. From the stage, on-screen and around the tables the message was that each person is unique — they can be themselves and let other people be who they are! We don’t need to give in to pressure to be something else or do what everyone else does. You can enjoy a whole variety of things, and that just makes you interesting! Kids were challenged to listen to the voices of people who truly love them and have their best-interest at heart and put negative influences waaaaaaaay in the back row of their lives.

After the food (including Nikki’s hilarious cupcakes), the games, the pep-talks, the prizes…all that was left was dancing, and did everyone dance!! So much freedom and happiness, fuelled on pure fun…is there anything better then that?

The next day I was still grinning, thinking of all the spontaneous, crazy, goofy, lovely things that happened all evening.

If there was ever a time to cheer the next generation on and feed them hope and encouragement, this is it! So thanks to all of you who did all the behind the scenes stuff: the hours of planning, the decorating, the set-up, the cooking, the serving, the dish-washing, the sweeping, the wiping down, the putting away…

Yay SunRidge, I love your attitude! Thanks for getting behind the fun.

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 



Have Some AGM With Your Soup

This past Sunday was Soup Sunday. I have to pause here, because on February 17 at least one of our SunLand kids thought it was Soup Sunday and they were pretty disappointed to find out it was a week away. Soup Sunday is that good.

So, this past Sunday was Soup Sunday and it was that good! Thanks Lisa and team and small groups for feeding all of us.

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Part way through we added in a little AGM — our Annual General Meeting. Bernie led the way through the agenda starting it all off on the right note, reminding us of how faithful GOD is and how He hears and answers our prayers. He shared from his own recent experience of seeing GOD answer a very specific prayer when he was hospitalized. May this be the beginning, middle and end of everything for SunRidge: always seeking the Lord, always hearing from Him, always trusting and obeying what He tells us and asks of us!

Magnus began with a budget review from last year. Last year we approved a more aggressive budget and not only was the budget met, but we had more funds come in than we had planned for. This was also a time for Magnus to pass the baton of leadership. Magnus has been the head of the finance team, well, it seems like forever. He has been the overseer of this team with such diligence and faith. He has made the budget review more than numbers, but rather an inspiring call to the church to be thankful to our GOD and trust for His provision always. The baton has been passed on to Brian Hawkins who is also an elder at SunRidge and part of the finance team — we are so grateful the Lord has sent Brian to serve in this way. Magnus will continue to serve on the finance team. Well done Magnus!

  • Brian went through some of what is coming in the new budget, explaining all the significant changes and a vote was taken on this budget and it was approved.

  • This was followed by some great ministry updates by Kyle Dyck (Student Ministries), Olivia Wark (Children’s Ministries) and Walter Blackwood (Out of School Care).

  • Pastor Mike gave a property update, specific to the area behind the portable. A donation has been made to help develop this part of our property so it can be used as an activity space (retained, sculpted, paved) for SunLand, OOSC and our students to use including a potential basketball court, higher fencing etc. More will be brought to the church for discussion as plans begin to develop.

  • Bernie shared about the Lead Team’s processing this past year on the topic of Discipleship and what it takes to move a church to be “Disciples who make Disciples.” More to come on this as well as it unfolds in the church.

There is much for us to do as the Lord includes us in His Mission. We want to pray well, listen well, obey well and become more and more the passionately committed followers of Jesus He is shaping us to be!

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen