Serving Teams

What's Up For Sunland in the Fall?

"Lord, what are your plans for SunLand? We have been praying for 'Your Person' to come and lead the way and help us help our kids to know the wonderful love of Jesus!"

We have been praying this kind of prayer for half a year; resumes have come in, and yet, in our best effort to be discerning, the Spirit has not pointed to that someone and said "they are the one."

"So what is the plan for the Fall?" That's what we have been asking?

If GOD has not provided "the person" yet, then He must have another idea, for now, for our community. It wouldn't be like Him to leave us stranded, so then He must be wanting to equip us for a work of ministry that looks a little different.

I hope you will join in on "the different" and see what GOD will do!

come on in!

Don't wait, come on in and figure out how you can be a contributor!

  • Pray -- first and foremost! (ideas below)

  • Offer what you can. It would be unusual that a person would "grow out of" being able to offer something to the grand assignment of raising this part of the family of GOD. Age and experience only ADD to the effectiveness of your role with kids and families. So what do you have that you could offer?

  • We will be looking for Room Hosts (just friendly people to be supportive in a class on Sunday morning, greet parents, simple things). If you have the ability to be friendly and welcoming -- there is a place for you!

  • We are looking for teens to take the next step in leadership and to really lead in the class. If you are walking with Jesus and have a desire to up your leadership abilities -- let us know!

  • We are looking for kind Jesus-loving people to come alongside our little tots -- young parents go through about 5 years of "purgatory" (this in-between place of coming to the church gathering but not able to really be in church) -- your willingness to help could turn this around to be a really joyful time for them!

  • We are looking for young adults who would be like "camp leaders" to kids in the Gr 4-6 age group. A discussion facilitator...a big brother/big sister.

  • Call your friends and family to connect with this -- this is a big family project for SunRidge!

  • Let us know that you are "in" and we can figure out what that means together! Use this link to step into the ring!


be a part of the conversation

The conversation is happening of what the "Fall Construct" could look like and ideas are bubbling up, including those things we are receiving from your online feedback forms and through conversations we are having.

There is lots of room for input -- so when we organize conversation loops, be a part of these!

We hope to see a solid plan, a solid lead team, a solid staff come together well before the Fall!

how should we pray?

  • Pray for unity -- that we would all work with one goal, one heart, one mind, one love!

  • Pray that the Father would see us all and say "well done" for pulling together, being a true co-operative in how we are all a part of solving this need.

  • Pray that we would all listen well, so we can be led well by His Spirit

  • Pray that there would be a TRUE and NEW surrender of our time, treasure and talents so that we would bless our Father in how we care for His precious children. Pray that this would happen across the generations!

pulling it all together

Helping to organize all of our effort -- the people, the ideas, the materials -- we have a team of volunteer leaders forming.

I (Teresa Klassen) am stepping forward as a volunteer to serve as the interim point-person for the SunLand Lead Team. I will be working with the vision/curriculum/staffing side of things.

Colleen Loewen has stepped forward as a volunteer co-leader to bring into order a lot of the "nuts and bolts" of SunLand involving the rooms/environment, Sunday class layout and supplies, scheduling, policies and security etc. All things she has so much experience with!

Mindy Aaserud is in to pull in the creative ideas for activities and for ways we can support and equip families!

Sara Corothers is volunteering to act as a point person for the preschool class specifically, to help pull some good little curriculum together and support this area of our SunLand program..

Room for more, but it is a start!


Hey everybody, let's be encouraged in this. GOD is often very deliberate about not showing us the whole road -- and we can trust Him to lead us. Let us serve His family "not because we must, but because we are willing." (1 Peter 5:2)

  • Teresa Klassen

It Doesn't Just Happen

Thanks to all those who come earlier than most on a Sunday morning to serve others. This week thanks goes out to those on the hospitality/front-lines team who come early to prepare for our morning toast and coffee, and (like this past Sunday) for The Lord’s Supper.

We all know this doesn’t “just happen.” Those of you who serve in this way have made it a priority and do all this in a very unseen way. So unseen that one might not even think about you coming before the rest of us to set up and then clean up when everyone has had their share. Thanks for keeping inventory, thanks for shopping, thanks for standing in when others are away, thanks for setting your alarm earlier, thanks for showing up and carting everything down to where it needs to be, thanks for breaking bread before we do and pouring all the little cups, thanks for brewing coffee and for cleaning up all our crumbs, thanks for hauling everything back up, washing dishes, putting them away and turning out the lights — all without most people even knowing all this is going on.

The way you serve is a gift to the church and such an expression of love. Thank you for doing all this with consistency and humility, towel over your arm, caring for our needs. Thanks for making this welcoming for others (there is something about a cup in the hand that helps set people at ease). It’s a beautiful thing you do…

We want everyone to be involved in “family life” at SunRidge. If you are around SunRidge, find a place to serve alongside others; you can link up here: Where can I serve?

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 



Give An Account

Last week in this spot you saw photos of a mud-fight. This week you are looking at a photo of a Finance Team meeting in progress and though you might not think the two have much in common, they do.

I am guessing you don’t think about the Finance Team and what they do very often, but if it were not for the diligence of this team, it is unlikely that last week’s mud-fight would have happened. How cool is our Finance Team that they would help us steward our finances in such a way that this crazy, messy, hilarious event could happen? How great is it that they love our community enough to make sure there are funds in a Student Budget so that Jesus loving leaders can plan great events to disciple students?

Without a faith-filled Finance Team and their best efforts, we would have a tough time keeping our SunRidge vision and priorities alive.

This team meets and does their best to give an account to the Leadership Team and to our church of where things are at. They report and advise on adjustments when they see shortfalls (or windfalls!). They make sure we are practicing healthy stewardship and generosity. It isn’t just a straight forward role to serve in because there is both practical management of what we currently have and a faith that GOD will do more than we ask or think….or have.

If you haven’t prayed for this team before, take a moment to do so. Come to GOD with thanksgiving for the dedication of this crew and for the way they serve us. Pray they would have sharp eyes, honest pens, good ideas, joy in the assignment and most of all, ears that hear Jesus about what is ultimately His.

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 



In The Meantime

This is just a little Blog to remind you it is the week lovely Liv is getting married to Andrew. It has only been a few weeks since we said goodbye, but don’t you miss her already? Liv always walked around with such a sunshiny smile, joyful steps, always ready to laugh. Having spent quite a bit of time with her, there was something else I really loved (still love) about her: how quick her heart was moved by the things kids said and did. Liv had such a genuine love for all our little rascals. There were so many times she would text with something some little child said or did that was moving…or funny.

So what now, SunRidge? We can allow ourselves a little bit of wistfulness, but we have something in front of us that really matters!

  • Some months ago a letter went out to all our families to pray, pray, pray for a new Children’s Ministry Team leader.

  • All those who get the prayer letter have been praying.

  • Those in pre-service prayer have been praying.

  • Our SunRidge staff has been praying; Liv prayed for her replacement!

At the writing of this blog, I haven’t seen anyone on the horizon coming to save the day but I do know that Philippians 4:19 says “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” So how will He provide for this need? Is there something on our part left to do?

While we wait, there is a practical thing: 1 Peter 4:10 says, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” and for this I get the idea we are supposed to pitch in. This brings to mind an Old Testament story in 1 Chronicles 29 where people brought all their precious jewelry and gave it all together so they would have enough to build the temple. This reminds me of Acts 2 where people shared everything they had for the common good.

Maybe this is the time for that.

Maybe we are to be a group of people putting our talents in a box and seeing what we have to give our kids. What is in our smorgasbord of gifts? Maybe GOD is calling a new willingness out of us. A new heart of service.

Maybe the more we serve “the least of these” the lessons we learn will make us more ready for “the next.” What does the next leader have to lead, if not a team of people in the trenches, ready to be led.

One thing I know about GOD is that He does some of His best work “in the meantime”…while we wait.

May our church be pleasing in your sight, Lord Jesus, with an energy about us, an evident joy, to love and bless the young ones you have entrusted to us!

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 






The Things We Do (The Last One To Leave. Part 6)

Someone said something to me recently that I thought was SO beautiful and so true about servanthood that I decided to end my little “The Things We Do” series with what they brought to my attention. We were talking about serving in the church (the joy and the struggle of it — both are real), especially when you find yourself staying to the very end of an event or gathering. This person said, “What many people don’t understand is how often the best things happen right at the end when you are the last ones to leave.”

Did this ever trigger memories in me from the last 21 years at SunRidge!

How many times have I been a part of the small group of people who have made it to the very end of all the tidying up after an event and the best conversations happen right then? Or how many times has the funniest thing happened when someone among the few tired stragglers says or does something hilarious and it becomes legend? Or, when we have been left with the last of our comrades, how many times has someone said, “Let’s meet up somewhere for a drink.”

How many times have the “last people” leaned on a counter and talked another hour in the semi-dark? How many times have a few people recapped the whole evening and felt the warmth of a job well done?

It’s not always that way. Sometimes you are the only one left to lock up and you do it and you turn off the lights and you walk out to an empty parking lot. Sometimes everyone has scattered, or everyone has gathered somewhere that you are unaware of. It’s not like staying to the end and being “that guy” always feels amazing. Servanthood does not always feel amazing, in fact sometimes it is just very quiet.

Still, there are the golden moments that some of you have stayed to see when someone turns the music up loud and dances with the mop; I wouldn’t trade seeing that for the world.

I have not always been the one to stay to the end, but I understand it.

Often in the things we do, the best things happen when you are the last one to leave.

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Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

The Things We Do (With Our Gifts. Part 5)

The Canadian Blood Service has a slogan, “It’s In You To Give” and, had it not already been taken, I think that would be an excellent slogan for every Christ follower. It is in you to give because our God has generously given everyone a unique path, a unique gift, and a unique calling!

Sometimes we don’t give this enough consideration. Sometimes we don’t ask — “what is my path, my gift, my calling?” (even if that calling is just about today’s calling). Sometimes we don’t think what we can do is usable anywhere else, but I assure you…it is. It is because God has given everyone SOMETHING to use to do the things He wants done.

I was thinking about this recently when I was at the Lunch Program. My job that day was to transfer cartloads of food from one pantry to another. It helps to have “like items” all in one spot, so we put all the home-made canning in one place:

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Isn’t this beautiful to look at? I haven’t canned a single thing in my whole life, but I stood back and looked at this display and appreciated the work behind all of this; the love behind all of this. So you have the skills to can fruits and vegetables; what good is that gift? I submit this photo for your consideration. How beautiful are the hands that made these?

And then there are practical gifts. My mom used to say, “I don’t know what my gifts are” but she could take the most cluttered room, the most disgustingly dirty corner, the most tedious of tasks and stick with it until all was put in order. That’s a gift. Here is another example. Here is Kathy A. and all her “neat-genes” making this storage room fantastic (I don’t know how Mike got in the photo):

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That’s how God works. Some gifts sound beautiful, some gifts look beautiful, some use math, some taste amazing, some use a hammer, and some involve a pen. Some gifts teach us, some touch us, some change our surroundings or our mind. Some gifts call us to attention, some heal, some encourage, some lift us up before God. Some gifts renew our faith, some preach the Gospel in public, some have a way of reaching the ignored and unseen.

Some gifts are creative and improvising. Some can make something out of odd parts — take Nancy B. for example. Nancy B. runs the lunch program. She can take the most random of ingredients and turn them into something delicious and warm for those who need something delicious and warm in our community. Case in point:

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I know you can’t smell the photo, but that beef in that rich broth, those tender potatoes and that crunchy salad along with that hot bread putting with ice cream melting all over it, filled the whole dining room with the delicious tastes of “home.”

Using our gifts is a thing we do, because they were given to us by our heavenly Father to be used. What is your gift?

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

The Things We Do (With the Stuff We Have. Part 4)

In Part 1, 2, 3 of this little blog series we have been talking about the “things we do” not because we have to, but because we want to, as an expression of thankfulness for all God has done for us. Today, just a short note about stuff. It is a good season to talk about stuff, isn’t it? So for today I just want to highlight the stuff SunRidge has.

I don’t think many people would drive by our campus and say, “Wow, look at what you have. Your building is an architectural wonder!” The fact is, we have a barn for a building (used to be a tourist attraction called Butterfly World) with open rafters, a cement floor, and pretty simple furnishings. But this is really beside the point. We are so grateful for this campus. Any time something is improved on this old building, its a BIG improvement! And anything we add to our inventory of “stuff we can use for ministry” becomes WELL USED.

The thing is, whatever we have, a lot or a little, it is meant to be stewarded and used. We are borrowing everything from God, and He wants His stuff to express love and care to others. This brings Him joy and reflects His character to the watching world.

Recently our friends down at the Westbank United Church were undergoing a kitchen renovation. They lead a wonderful ministry downtown for those who are in tough situations — providing a daily lunch. We have been fortunate to be able to partner with them in this endeavour. The renovation which happened in October meant the kitchen was out of use…what was to be done?

We happen to own a large BBQ/Grill and so our guys met their guys and hauled over what we had for them to use.

Our BBQ on the job at the United Church!

Our BBQ on the job at the United Church!

It’s just a BBQ. It’s just a small thing. But these are the kinds of things that sometimes save the day; or at least brighten the day when it fills a need. This BBQ could have just sat in our shed all season, but instead it was used, as it should be used to do the thing we want to do: serve others in the name of Jesus.

Here’s another thing. A few years ago we were able to finally renovate our own kitchen at SunRidge. It went from a tiny inadequate staff-room to a bright, efficient, functional commercial kitchen! This was one of those HUGE IMPROVEMENTS we are still all appreciating. Not only does this kitchen serve our Out of School Care program (reaching out to 3 schools in our area), our monthly soup Sundays which serve to create community, our Community Christmas Dinner which serves a wonderful Christmas dinner to all kinds of people in our wider community…it is also a practical place for people to meet, to cook and wrap up meals for those in need!

Recently Jon & Steph B’s small group used the kitchen to do just that! They made meals for a couple with a new baby and soup for a young lady who just had surgery.

When we “do things” for others we use what we have been given and go from there. What has God given you? It doesn’t matter if it is little (think of the boy with loaves and fishes) or much (think of Zacchaeus) God has given us time, treasure and talent. The question is, how will we use those things to love others the way God has loved us?

May this always be the “thing we do,” SunRidge, not stockpile our stuff but use it for God’s glory to build up what is broken, bring healing to what is wounded, encourage those who are downcast, welcome in those who need a family, serve those Jesus is putting on our path.

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

The Things We Do (Families. Part 2)

Last week I wrote about what motivates us to “do things” (see part 1). Today I want to pick up from there and highlight some creative approaches that are going on through our Small Groups. For this blog I am going to highlight one group who is being creative with “who they have” and “what they have.”

Who They Have:

Colleen L. and Chelsey H. are leading a small group of mostly young families. Most of the adults in this group are just trying to catch their breath, maintain their sanity and survive the wildly unpredictable stage of life they are in.

What They Have:

Besides the adults, there are lot of little people who require supervision! The adults can’t easily leave the house and meet up with their small group. Meeting up requires a whole care strategy and a whole care strategy can be blown to bits by a cold, a tantrum, a call from the teacher, a coup d'é·tat…you get the idea.

These things sideline a lot of people, but I love that this group KEEPS TRYING. They have employed some great strategies so they can meet together: one week the guys watch the kids and the ladies meet un-interrupted. One week the ladies watch the kids and the guys meet uninterrupted. They plan for a family meet up where everyone gets together and just embrace the chaos! And somewhere along the way, the adults learn and grow and…it even rubs off on the kids:

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What does it look like to “serve” during these hectic years? “The things we do” look differently, but no one, in any stage of life, needs to be sidelined! There is always some way to be useful!

Talking to Colleen about this, she said, “We are a negative asset if we show up anywhere to help with all the kids!” so containment is key! Recently the small group got together in a house (with doors and locks and toys and …) where the kids could run and play and the adults could be productive. They baked a whole stack of Shepherd’s Pie that evening to give to the Lunch Program!

While all this cooking was going on, the guys sharpened knives for the Lunch program (and thanks also to Steve C., whatever they couldn’t get done that night was completed through West Kelowna Home Hardware donating their services).

There were kids underfoot, goldfish everywhere and shifts on/off to snuggle babies ‘cuz this is what you do when you want to “do things” for others out of your love for Jesus. Sometimes it takes some creativity!

What are you feeling prompted to do? Want to get involved in the lunch program? We partner with Westbank United Church to provide lunches daily to those in challenging situations in our city. Use this contact form to link up!

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

The Things We Do (Students. Part 1)

The thing about being a follower of Christ is that we don’t actually have to “do” anything to earn God’s love. The “Amazing Grace” of it is that Jesus reached out to us and showed us God’s love, with the ultimate expression of that love given when He died on the cross for us. In that amazing act of sacrifice He paid for our sin and fixed the impossible divide sin had caused between us and our heavenly Father.

When we “do” things as a church community it isn’t to earn some kind of spiritual points; we “do” things for others as a grateful response to what Jesus did for us. We “do” things because how could we not? God has filled our lives up with His love, and we want to pass on that goodness to others. SunRidge loves to “do” things because of this.

I want to spend the next few weeks highlighting some simple ways people have been “doing things” during this Fall season…we are inching towards Christmas and if this season highlights anything, it is giving and if there is one thing followers of Christ out to “do” really well, it is give.

As you know we have an awesome group of students at SunRidge. These grade 7-12’s and their leaders actively “do things.” They don’t just happen to “do things” — they actively seek out opportunities to love the community by serving.

Just recently they tackled two jobs around our campus. They raked up the piles of leaves around our property, and they finished up some much needed painting in our Out of School Care rooms and the lower bathroom. Here is some photo evidence:

Isn’t it encouraging to see “the young” setting an example by how they lean in to “doing things”? Our group of students are amazing! They have served in all kinds of ways in our city, on our campus, and even beyond our borders. The future is in GOOD HANDS with students like these.

And, I love this: the next day some of our big people showed up with trucks to cart away the loads of bagged leaves and one dad (Jon) brought his little guy out, starting him down the path of serving too! This made my day:

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May the “things we do” shine, not on ourselves to give us glory, but shine on Jesus who gave us everything and asks us to share that everything with others.

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

Get a Little Childish

I have a weekly catch-up with Walter Blackwood about Out Of School Care (OOSC) as he finds his way through his first year of being the Director of this program that is now 12 years old. It is always a good time, and I mean that. I love Walter’s heart for his role, extending love to these families in our care, leading our staff to passionately represent Jesus in this setting.

Walter is really getting into his role and embracing the child-like spirit. Check out his new shoes, a smashing success in OOSC last week!

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Every weekday we have up to 30 children spilling through our doors with all kinds of noise and silliness, stories and sorrows. It’s quite the little flock to shepherd, full of variety!

Here is one of the ways the staff work with all those wiggles. Periodically they roll some foam dice and everyone engages with a quick, active energy spender! There are rewards for doing this well (OOSC dollars) and these dollars are so coveted, kids will go to all lengths to win them.

If you look closely at the chart below, you will see that one girl ran on the spot for 40 minutes to beat out the competition. Another child did a 10 minute wall sit (have you ever tried a 10 minute wall sit?)

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Amid all the fun and games, Walter, Olivia, Julie, Holly, Alecia, and Matt throw themselves into KNOWING these kids and moms and dads so that they are there — like superheroes — on their ready for what is needed: a kind word, a prayer, a listening ear, guidance, mediation, brainstorming, encouragement, a challenge, comfort, approval and most of all, eyes to see them. Have you ever just needed to be seen in this big noisy world?

OOSC is going strong, but your prayers are needed. This past week Walt talked about two girls who are not getting along, each vying to get more attention than the other. How can the staff help these kids work together instead of against each other? We talked about kids who have questions about God and how can we handle this respectfully? We talked about someone in financial need and how we can help. We talked about sad kids, angry kids, kids that seem to get lost in the corners…there is always lots to talk about when you care.

In Matthew 18 Jesus called a little child over, and placed the child in the center of the circle of people. He said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

It is a privilege to love and lead the small ones…and to learn from them too, the way of God’s Kingdom. If you want to find out more about oosc or be a volunteer and get in on the joy use this link!

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen