serving

Never Short

This is the time of year, emerging from summer, when the calls come out inviting people to “get involved.” Getting involved in a church community isn’t simply to volunteer, it is actually the sharing of one’s Spirit-given gifts (given to share) with the church body. While this is true, a church often feels its missing parts as people sort out “sharing” in their lives.

Recently, putting some finishing touches on things for Sunday I was musing on this while listening to some inspiring worship music. I stopped and sat on the stairs to listen. I was thinking about how incredible the combination was of the many singers and the orchestra and what a luxury it must be to be able to assemble what is needed to create such a rich sound! Most churches don’t have that ability — we pour out our hearts with what we have, but there may be parts missing…

I allowed myself a little day-dreaming and thought about how one day we will never be short of worship leaders. One day we will have more than enough instrumentalists. One day we will turn out a sound richer than anything we have experienced thus far. Oh the acoustics! Imagine! Our pool of talent, instruments, staging, sound, will be mind-blowing!

Imagine heaven and the worship leaders from all over the world and from the heavens themselves (angels have been worshipping a lot longer than us) who will converge, putting their heads together to create and create new worship experiences.  Imagine the joy of those concerts! Imagine the celebration of the nations. Imagine the roar, the light-show, the way music will saturate everything and us in the Presence of GOD, the One who will be the guest of honour, always.

Imagine never having to ask someone to serve on this worship team, imagine the abundance of gifts freely offered, imagine the crowd waiting for the unveiling of the song they haven’t yet sung. Imagine the enthusiasm and the laughter and the JOY, how will it even stop? How will we move from that place?

 There will be a new kind of work going on in heaven and this will be one: musicians creating out of a place of GREAT WEALTH. There is something about a meaningful time of worship here on earth, but it is just a hint of what is to come. Can you imagine it?

 And music won’t be the only thing we will never run short on. We just won’t run short anywhere and for someone who has lived most of my life creatively patching together people and plans, simplifying, improvising and modifying and wondering how something will work out in the end…that seems like the most AMAZING thing to look forward to.

 May Your Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. Yes, I see bits of pieces of this new day here. Just in SunLand alone there are evidences of heaven on earth. Like this week when I walked into the SunLand room and there was a lock on a cupboard that wasn’t there before. Wayne was in, and this was the result of his labor – a small necessity that shouts out love for our kids. Lloyd was in. He worked with Walter on Friday morning to install chair rails so that we could keep on top of wall repair and make our rooms inviting (we can now paint more often, from the rail down). Bethany was in on her day off; she spent an hour recording a lesson for kids about how to pray. So plainly practical…but what we do in the Name of the Lord is not done in vain. Like a movie preview before it comes out, our service now is a Trailer of heaven.

 We bless the earth by practicing such service. Our service should be like a cup overflowing all its sides. GOD has given the Church worldwide everything it needs to bless others which means, if we all give ourselves to it, we should never run short.

Teresa Klassen

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

 



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.

pjimage.jpg
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:

lunch1.jpg

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):

lunch2.jpg

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:

lunch3.jpg

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:

IMG_4101.JPG

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:

IMG_4100.JPG

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

 

The Whole Bunch of Us

52831C55-C072-4BFD-9E44-5C02CFE5ECC1.JPG

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!

mechairblackwhite.png

Teresa Klassen