Serving Teams

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


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


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