SERVE Update 2019
This year over 250 youth, leaders and volunteers came together in Weyburn, Saskatchewan for SERVE 2019. SERVE is an event like no other. Imagine the best part of summer camp combined with the best part of a mission trip and you’ll begin to get a sense of why SERVE is so incredibly special. The kingdom building impact that this one week has on the host city and church along with all those who participate is profound and long lasting. It’s difficult to capture the deep impact of SERVE in a short article, but here are a couple of stories.
This year’s SERVE theme was “A Generous Revolution”, and to put what we were learning into practice, on Thursday afternoon everyone joined in on a city-wide food drive to support the Salvation Army. A pair of youth were going door to door asking for donations and approached a home that looked in shambles. There was junk scattered throughout the yard and it hadn’t been painted in a long time. The youth considered not even walking to the front door; assuming that the occupant wouldn’t be capable or interested in helping. But because they were instructed to go to every house, they knocked on the front door. No one answered. They knocked a second time and heard someone approaching the door. As it opened slowly before them was an elderly man in a wheel chair breathing heavily with the help of an oxygen tank. The youth were considering a quick “Sorry for bothering you” followed by a quick exit. But before they could get out the words the man said, “How can I help you?” The youth explained who they were and what they were doing. When finished the man smiled and said, “wait here”. He disappeared for a few minutes and when he returned there was a box filled to the brim with food balancing on his lap. The youth were shocked. This was by far the most generous anyone had been during their hours of collecting.
These two youth shared this story during one of the evening sessions and had this to say when reflecting on what had happened. “We thought that because someone had challenges, they wouldn’t or couldn’t be generous. We learned that God wants us to be generous always, no matter our situation because generosity isn’t based on our circumstances”.
The second story is a perfect example of the organic unexpected impact that SERVE makes on a community. Our hosts Calvary Baptist Community Church did not have a large enough sanctuary for us to hold our evening sessions there. We began reaching out to other Weyburn churches and found one that agreed to open their doors to us. During the week, the staff of that church observed what was happening with SERVE and were deeply moved. So much so that they rewrote the job posting for the youth pastor position they are trying to fill. The new job description places a strong emphasis on creating opportunities for youth in the church to regularly serve in their community in the name of Jesus.
The last story is just one of the countless similar stories shared by our youth pastors. I received a text message from a pastor who wanted to share that his youth were still talking about and reliving their SERVE experience more than a month afterward. God did a significant work in their lives and what they experienced at SERVE is changing the way they live and love at home. This lasting impact and life change is what true discipleship is all about. When we pour ourselves out for others in the name of Jesus, our heart becomes more and more like that of our generous Saviour. We are changed and God’s world is changed. Praise be to God.
SERVE 2020 is going to be hosted by Riverdale Baptist Church in Whitehorse, Yukon from July 5-11. For more information visit www.cbwc.ca/serve
How I Spent My Summer Vacation
By Louanne Haugan
Well… not how I spent my entire summer vacation, but a good part of it!
I love my work. I love being behind the scenes, cheering our churches and pastors on – telling the amazing stories of God at work in our communities. I love making sure the (seemingly) little things are taken care of, too, like ensuring our pastors and their families can afford dental work and prescriptions, and one day – retire with dignity. What I have missed though, is being on the front line of ministry – working alongside CBWC family members in the context of their missional community. So, when Leduc Community Baptist Church put out the call for volunteers for their week-long summer camp program, I thought… I’m in!
Leduc Community Baptist Church has been running their summer ministry, Zao Discovery Camp, for about 20 years. While other churches in the city have had to discontinue programs due to poor volunteerism, LCBC has managed to keep their camp running successfully. That would explain why both weeks of camp were 100% full only 36 hours after registration opened to the public. My mission: Grade 5-7 girls!
Girls today are awesome. Actually… kids today are awesome! The Imaginative Hope report, put out a few years ago, by our Canadian Baptist National Youth and Family Team described this generation as having the following qualities:
- This generation looks for what unifies rather than divide
- This generation is seeking loving and caring adults who believe in them
- This generation is capable and willing to lead
- This generation is curious and interested in spiritual things
- This generation is more aware of global issues than previous generations
I can honestly say that I found these qualities to be true and took great pleasure in watching them lived out in our group. For instance, there was great effort by the girls to ensure no one was marginalized and everyone got a fair turn at whatever we were doing. They respectfully let one another share personal stories and prayer concerns. The theme for the week was that each of us is created uniquely by God and intended for greatness. They were eager to share what they thought made each other special. It was a bit harder to get them to talk about themselves because they didn’t want to seem prideful! On the day of our “slurpee run” to the Mohawk store, a few of the girls knew a short cut through the neighbourhood and wanted to lead the way, so I let them. I’m not sure it was all that faster, but it was a much more interesting walk! My girls were strong, well-spoken, funny and fiercely kind – all well-equipped future leaders! We have much to look forward to.
One of my personal “take-aways” from the week was when some parents who aren’t part of a local church community went out of their way to thank me for loving on their girls all week and to say how amazing the week was for their children. In my head, I know that providing an urban summer camp experience is critical in cultivating the next generation of Christian leaders, and that it is also an excellent way to engage in mission in the context of community. These are two of our shared ministry priorities after all. But I needed to know it in my heart. I needed to be reminded that God’s love speaks in playing a good game of Ga-Ga ball, racing friends down a waterslide, canoeing in slug-infested bogs and going for slurpees. It’s found in lip sync battles, Fortnite dance moves and screaming at the top of our lungs. It’s found in showing up, in listening, in cheering one another on to be the superstar God created us to be.
I love my work. But I love who I am in Christ even more. Thank you, Leduc Community Baptist Church, for allowing me to rediscover God’s purpose for me this summer.
“For we are God’s handiwork created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
Mountain Standard Regional Newsletter
Thoughts from Dennis | Happenings & News
The CBWC is pleased to announce the hiring of Steve Simala-Grant as Director of Kurios: A CBWC Gap Year Experience—furthering the commitment to our ministry priorities: cultivating leadership, investing in relationship and engaging in mission.
Steve is passionate about discipleship of the next generation and brings more than 25 years of pastoral, teaching, business and leadership experience to this position, making him perfectly suited for heading up this new initiative.
“Growing young Christian disciples and leaders is where I’ve known both the greatest joy and seen the deepest fruitfulness in my ministry. Kurios excites me, and I feel a very strong call from the Holy Spirit to commit myself completely to this high call of cultivating leadership among the next generation. I find myself regularly dreaming about ways to help young people grow their love for Jesus, His Kingdom, and our lost world, in the context of this new gap year experience.” – Steve Simala-Grant
As director, Steve will continue to develop Kurios over the next year in preparation for its launch in September 2020. He will then shepherd the participants throughout their entire experience.
Steve is husband to Joanne (who would love to go to Disney World with him to see the fireworks) and father to Thomas (whom he believes he can still beat in an arm-wrestling match). Steve loves the outdoors including tent camping in -5oC, as well as snowshoeing 27km in a single day. He is also a collector of tools, both construction and kitchen (a favorite is his smoker in which he makes a mean brisket).
Steve will begin his work with the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada on September 1, 2019. We are all rejoicing that God has called him to this brand-new role and are excited to witness what God will do in and through him.
October is Clergy Appreciation
Did you know that since 1992 October has been established as National Clergy Appreciation Month? It’s a fantastic opportunity to intentionally show your pastor some love and appreciation! Read below for the Top 10 Ideas on how you might creatively express gratitude for the hard work and dedication of your pastor(s).
- Fill a mason jar with notes of encouragement written by people in your congregation. Be specific – how has your pastor blessed you or challenged you to grow? Give the jar to your pastor for those tough days of ministry leadership.
- If your pastor has a family with young kids, offer to pay for a babysitter of their choice so that they and their spouse can go out on a date. Better yet, include a gift card to their favourite restaurant!
- Invite them over for dinner with no agenda other than just to enjoy an evening together. Your challenge, should you choose to accept it: stay off the topic of all things related to church.
- Give them tickets to a fun local event in your city (i.e. zoo, symphony, theatre, movie passes, pool).
- Encourage your church to cover their expenses to come to the Banff 2019 Pastors and Spouses Conference. Give them the gift of an opportunity for rest and to be restored with engaging speakers and transformative worship, where they themselves do not need to be the speaker or worship leader!
- Find out who their favorite author is and surprise them with an Amazon or Kindle book delivered to their home or inbox.
- Write them a hand-written note of appreciation for who they are and how God has used them in your life and leave it on their desk or pulpit (or send it in the mail to them).
- And don’t forget your pastor’s spouse. They make many sacrifices in giving up their spouse to ministry opportunities. Express gratitude for the part they play in the teamwork of pastoring your local church.
- Take notes on Sunday and email your pastor on Tuesday to tell them you are still working through the notes you took from their sermon on Sunday.
- Pray for your pastor and their family—especially on Sundays—as those are the days that are sometimes the most challenging on a pastor or pastoral family. Later that week, call your pastor and tell them you’re praying for them, and ask for prayer requests.
What about the kids?
- Give them space to explore as they grow up and let them ask tough questions. Remember– they do not have to be perfect just because their parent is the pastor.
- Express gratitude to them for sharing their parents with the whole church.
- Remember their birthday and send them a card.
- If you know them, take them out for ice cream on a particularly busy ministry day for their parents or invite them over to hang out with your kids on a Saturday.
- If they are teens, show interest in their life and follow up after important milestones. You are their community!
Copyright © 2019 Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, All rights reserved.
Making Connections is the Monthly Newsletter of the CBWC.