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A $4 Death: Why Missional Community

I think her name was Jama. She was about five-foot-nothing, and her feet were wandering aimlessly. Her mind was focused on one thing: $4. She needed $4 for a big can of beer. She started by asking me for a cigarette, but I don’t smoke. So she moved right to the pitch: it’s only $4.

We walked to the Safeway, found some food, and checked out. Even while she was choosing what to eat, she told me, “it’s just $4.” But it’s not about the money. Following our feet from the Safeway to the C-Train, she tells me about the weekend she’s had, when she almost killed herself drinking a “two-six.” But she just needs $4.

Addiction is killing Jama.

In the meantime, I’ve spent the last ten months wondering how to define “a Christ-like disciple.” I spent my whole Summer reading about what it means to be missional (like Jesus), my whole Fall praying with friends about what it means to be Christ-like disciples at Skyview, and now most of my Winter thinking about what I’ve read and prayed. Jama has almost killed herself drinking just a few blocks from my office, where I’ve been reading and praying and thinking. . .

I’m still not sure what it means to be a Christ-like disciple. We don’t have any record of how Jesus interacted with drunk people, or any letters from Paul about facing a subculture of substance- abuse. I am sure that Jesus loves Jama. I have this weight in my gut that tells me Jesus’ love for Jama means something for us.

Our District pastors offered a definition of Christlike disciples at our annual assembly last year:

“A Christlike disciple is one whose encounter with Jesus has so captured them that they cooperate with the Holy Spirit in reordering their lives to more fully love God and others.”

Jama needs a community that has been so captured by Jesus that they will love her. That community might not have the resources to work through her addiction on their own strength, but every community that has been captured by Jesus’ love is haunted by the Holy presence of God: Paul writes to the Ephesian church that together they make up the temple of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2.21). This is the same “Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead,” the Spirit who is able to raise Jama out of addiction.

One Christian can buy Jama a samosa and walk her to the train station; one Christian can say, ‘Jesus loves you’; a Church filled with God’s Spirit can say together, ‘We have been raised with Christ, so you too can get up and walk!’

The vision for Missional Community at Skyview is not only a trendy title for discipleship groups; we look to Jesus as together we follow his teaching and his example of love for the world.

In brief, Missional Communities look

UP to God in a life of worship and Christian prayer,

IN to the community that God has made in Christ, and

OUT to the world that God has sent us to.

If you want to be part of a community like that, please write me at ryan@skyviewchurch.ca and I’ll put you in touch with one of the groups starting at Skyview!

Ryan Herbert, Associate Pastor of Missional Community 

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Mango and Chilli!

Mango & Chilli…

I have developed a unique friendship with my neighbour who is a self-professed atheist. As a Christian who happens to be a minister, it is a surprising and unusual friendship. Like mango and chilli, a strange pairing only until you have tasted it.[1] For many of us who follow Jesus the idea of having a friendship with those who do not share our worldview should not be that strange. Jesus lived relating to people from all walks of life. Yet, our world is growing more antagonistic toward unusual pairings. But what if, like mango and chilli, we fear what we have not as yet ‘tasted.’

For some reading this post, who at this point in time think they know where I’m heading, don’t stop reading. My friendship with my neighbour has not culminated in a conversion in either direction. He still holds an atheistic worldview and I still maintain my Christian faith; but we have both grown in our trust and respect for the other. Our conversations are not always about religion, we talk about sports, cancer, tattoos and he even helped me build a deck in my backyard this past summer. When his partner who was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago was undergoing treatment, my family and I provided some home cooked meals during her time of recovery. There are days he does not want to talk to me and there are days that I don’t feel like talking to him. Yet, our friendship continues and to my surprise, my affection for him has grown.

I have learned through my experiences of growing up in racially segregated South Africa, that keeping people apart from those unlike them, creates sufficient space to not think of that person as a person. Such distance leaves enough room to dehumanize people we don’t know, making them into whatever the prevailing culture or our fear says ‘they’ are. The space between us and the other is the place where prejudice, hatred, and discrimination has room to grow. Closing the gap between ourselves and people who do not share our faith through friendship is a needed grace; it has been for me. We need others as much as they need us!

In teaching his followers how to live Jesus said: “If you love only those who love you, what reward do you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same?  And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore, just as your heavenly Father is complete in showing love to everyone, so also you must be complete.”[2]

I encourage you to close the gap and get to know someone unlike you. Not easy to do, but worth it!

Stu Williams

 

[1] Check out the recipe for a mango salad with chilli powder here: https://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/mango-salad-chile-lime-salt

[2] Matthew 5:46-48 CEV

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What does my reaction to the events in Paris tell me about myself?

I am saddened by the events in Paris that occurred yesterday. I remember visiting that city and could not help but fall in love with its old world charm and be impressed by its rich history. I mourn with those in France today for their loss is great. What saddens me more is the fact that Paris is but one of many cities that in recent days (not weeks or months but days) was attacked by 'those' who indiscriminately bomb, burn and execute innocent people to advance their cause. These are people who intend to instil suspicion, hatred and fear and to promote divisiveness in a world already fractured by racism, economic disparity, sickness and the unprecedented exploitation of the vulnerable. 

Based on the nature of the comments and accusations flying about on social media platforms it would appear to me that 'those' seeking to terrorize and divide are succeeding in what they have planned to accomplish. Their terror extends beyond the brutality of their heinous and cowardly acts and as we rant and rave about whose to blame and what to do with those seeking asylum attempting to escape similar threats - we inadvertently give power to those who by violent acts advance their terror driven agenda.

It should deeply trouble those of us for whom the events of Paris have been unsettling while we remain oblivious and un-troubled by the recent bombings in Beirut and Baghdad just days earlier. It should trouble those of us who only pay attention and care when terror acts in our world threaten to potentially affect our way of life. It should trouble us that certain places receive intense media coverage during times of crisis and others do not - that certain people groups are considered less valuable - hence less media coverage, intervention or concern. It should trouble us that we care only selectively and only when it may affect us! 

What troubles me most, is that I am one of those for whom all that has been said above is convictingly true. I ask myself this day, honestly and humbly and I ask you: What does my reaction to Paris say about who I am as a human being?

 
 
 

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We Are Moving!

Change in Plans!

Good afternoon Skyview family.

To our great disappointment, we were notified on Friday, June 19th that Bearspaw Christian School was retracting their verbal agreement to offer us a lease at their property due to factors that they had not considered prior to making a commitment to lease.

Our board and pastoral staff immediately set to work finding an alternative meeting place. Thankfully we were able to re-open our file at the City of Calgary, in cooperation with the Calgary Board of Education, and secure a permit to rent the gymnasium and three classrooms at Simon’s Valley School, located at 375 Sandarac Dr NW, for the summer months. Our board will continue to work towards determining long term plans for the Fall.   

We still plan to enter this new chapter in our church’s history with a BBQ celebration on Sunday July 5th 2015, but we will be gathering instead at Shouldice Park. There is a separate announcement included in your bulletin with details regarding this event. 

Our first service at Simon’s Valley School will be on July 12th at 10:30 am. 

We realize that some may have concerns regarding the impact that this change in location will have upon our church family. Our staff and leadership team share this concern and understand that a move to a new location will not be ideal for everyone. Knowing that change is not without challenge we intend to do all we can to enable our people to make the transition well. It is our hope that no one who desires to remain a part of our church family will be missed in the transition and welcome hearing from you if you or someone you know will have any difficulty with this move. 

We understand that some may have questions as to why we are moving. Please feel free to contact us any time to ask these questions. 

I would like to offer a sincere word of thanks for your patience and prayers during this time of transition. May God continue to grant us courage and strength as we pursue that which he has called us to accomplish.

 

Pastor Stuart

On behalf of the church board

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What exactly does a pastor do?

Most pastors have had this question posed to him or her at one time or another during their career. I suspect that some, in particular those who are new to the church and her work, are simply at a loss as to what the work of a pastor entails beyond what they see on a Sunday morning.
 
Two factors contribute to me writing on this particular subject. First, as we continue to move ahead as a church we have given a considerable amount of time and effort to defining our vision and values as a community of faith. We have done this in order to make clear what we are called to do by God and to determine how we will set out to accomplish it. As a part of this process we re-evaluated the role of our church staff in order to align our roles with the clarity that has emerged from this process.
 
Second, it is a significant contributor to the health of our church to have our staff work not only toward the common goal for which the church exists, but to employ our gifts and strengths, as far as possible, toward that end.  It is important to clarify that, in a congregation like ours, the work of the church cannot be completed by the paid staff only. Healthy churches exist where strong lay ministry roles are fulfilled by people with a passion to serve and who possess the necessary gifts that fit various ministry roles.  In combination with the pastoral and administrative staff, the lay ministry team forms the foundation for leadership within a church community and together are able to pursue her vision while maintaining health.
 
Below is an overview of the roles and responsibilities of both pastors and that of our administrative assistant.

Senior Pastor (Stuart Williams):

  1. Preaching and teaching:

Preaching and teaching ministries include the following: prayer, research and study, writing and presentation. This extends to weekly sermons, weekly pre-service Bible study, weekly discipleship class, once a month board devotional, weekly staff meeting devotionals, and occasional request to preach and teach in other venues. 

  1. Pastoral care:

Pastoral care involves pre-marital counseling (6-8 sessions per couple), marital counsel (as needed), crisis counseling, hospitalization visits, follow up with new believers, visitation of seniors, mediation, spiritual direction, pastoral counsel, drop in care, officiating weddings & funerals. 

  1. Leadership development:

Leadership development includes: Quarterly meeting with all ministry leaders for training and development, bi-monthly meeting with respective ministry leaders; annual church board and ministry leaders retreat; one on one consultation with and mentorship of lay persons and leaders, & overseeing practicum and internship students preparing for ministry throughout an academic school year when requested. 

  1. Church administration:

Church administration includes oversight of all ministries of Skyview Church. This requires preparation for and scheduling of monthly church board meetings, review of church finances, overseeing the process of election of church board members & ministry leaders, the establishment and oversight of various sub-committees, annual reporting to the district assembly, oversight and administration pertaining to church staff, and the daily correspondence pertaining to the work of the church in general. 

  1. Continuing education:

Our denomination encourages all of its pastors to be lifelong learners. In order to do so I attend seminars, take seminary courses when possible, and commit to studying and research to keep growing in my understanding of pastoral leadership, organizational health, culture and mission.

Associate Pastor (Geoff DeJager):

  1. Children’s Ministry Coordinator/Pastor:

Children's Ministry includes leading and coordinating the children's ministry team, working towards a collective vision for our children's ministry. The ministry structure will remain the same with a lay-leadership team maintaining the primary classroom leadership.    

  1. Discipleship Programs/Initiatives:

Discipleship ministry includes overseeing and implementing programs and initiatives on a yearly basis based upon the overall discipleship plan of the church. This will include offerings in the areas of: a) Spiritual formation, b) Evangelism and Mission, c) Introduction to the church and its vision & values, and d) Spiritual leadership, etc. 

  1. Preaching and Weekly Service Planning/Leadership:

The Associate Pastor serves as a support role to the Senior Pastor, who provides overall leadership in this area. Roles include preaching when the Senior Pastor is away, to give a different perspective during a series, or to enable the Senior Pastor to focus elsewhere during a demanding week. The Associate Pastor will plan and coordinate the Intergenerational service every month that has a 5th Sunday throughout the year. 

  1. Pastoral Care: 

As the Sr. Pastor provides oversight of all care ministry within the church, the Associate Pastor will give priority to families with children as well as lay ministry workers within children’s ministry and their families. Where necessary the Associate Pastor will also be called upon to a) provide spiritual care to people in crisis, b) pastoral follow up on new visitors or members leaving, c) pastoral guidance through rites of passage such as baptism, membership, births, weddings and deaths, and d) leadership in our prayer ministry. 

  1. Continuing education/Spiritual reading/Soul Care:

As with the Sr. Pastor, this includes utilizing courses, workshops, or conference offerings, reading material, and other spiritual exercises/activities that foster professional and personal development.

Administrative Assistant (Melaina Graham):

The primary role of the administrative assistant is to be responsible for the general administrative duties pertaining to the ministry of the church. 

  1. Communication

One of the key functions of the administrative assistant is to ensure that information is passed along efficiently and accurately throughout the various ministry structures and leadership within the church and to the church constituency at large. This takes place via written and electronic communication, telephone, via social media, church website and our weekly worship bulletin and monthly newsletter. 

  1. Scheduling

As a church who rents space the task of requesting and ensuring that space is available for church events, meetings, and programs is done via the administrative assistant. In addition to requesting and booking meeting space, the admin assistant is also responsible for maintaining a church wide calendar to ensure that booking and programming conflicts are avoided and proper planning and scheduling of church related events take place. 

  1. Recording

The administrative assistant is also responsible for the recording of tithing and offering contributions, cheque writing and distribution, reconciling church Visa payments with invoices, and the annual distribution of tax receipts. The administrative assistant also serves as the recording person at the monthly church board meeting and is responsible for the gathering and distribution of respective ministry reports for these meetings. 

  1. General administrative task

On a weekly basis the administrative assistant ensures that a worship bulletin is prepared, printed and published. She also assists with the online submission of the annual pastors report to the denomination, the preparation and organization of our annual general meeting, preparation of ballots for election, photocopying and filing of information, and attends a weekly staff meeting. She also sends out cards and flowers on behalf of the church where needed. 

  1. Special Projects

Special projects include producing various printed materials for specific events, church directory updates, and responding to specific requests from the pastoral staff regarding sermon series information and promotion.
 
I encourage you to continue to pray us as staff. It is our sincere desire to lead well and serve the Lord faithfully through our respective roles. If you have any questions concerning the content of this article, please do not hesitate to contact me.
  

In Christ,
Pastor Stuart

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