Invite Them Back


When saying goodbye to a guest, it’s simple to say, ‘Thank you for being here. We’d love to have you come again!’

As an afterthought, we may regretfully express ‘Oh, I should have invited our guests back’. Let’s move this concept to the forefront of our minds. After welcoming guests, learning their names and engaging in conversation, we can also invite them to return. Guests may have sat through an announcement period or perused the bulletin listing upcoming events. Without a direct invitation, they won’t know that these events apply to them as well.

There are some churches that deliberately communicate their expectations after guests visit a specific number of times. They are given ultimatums of what commitment level is required in order to keep attending church. At Henderson Highway Church, we do not have restrictions on attendance for our attendees. We want people to meet Christ in and around our church. We do not have to coerce them into commitment or twist their arms to go deeper with Christ. He handles His business in the best way possible for each individual person.

What we can do is share information. We can demonstrate through word and action that Henderson Highway Church is a loving and supportive setting for their growth in Christ. We want to see our guests return because we love them.

Inviting them back implies they will continue to be welcome here. In addition to the worship service, there may be other events that suit their needs. We have prayer meetings on Wednesday nights, various small groups, children’s programming and more. Many of our events are open to all audiences. Those unfamiliar won’t know this unless we invite them to come.

Many people are looking for a place to belong, where they can connect with Jesus. Let’s make our church that place!

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This is part of our Practicing Hospitality series. Visit the introduction page to read the other articles in the series.

 

 

 

 

Opportunities for Giving

All throughout September, there are numerous giving opportunities for us to participate in. Listed below are the offering designations for the weekend of September 30:

North American Division Evangelism
Though the gospel message itself is priceless, there are costs associated with sharing the message. The funds raised will help to support the various methods in which to share the gospel.

You can contribute to this building project anytime online through the Adventist Giving site. Contributions can also be made at church, by indicating ‘NAD Evangelism’ on your cheques or offering envelopes.

Encounter Bible Program
This is a special offering for Adventist education within the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada. The Adventist Encounter Bible curriculum is being introduced across Canada this school year and needs our help.

“How excited I am to take this walk with God along with my students!” wrote one
teacher after the recent Encounter teacher training. We invite you to partner with us—schools, homes, and churches—to provide Bible resources that invite students to encounter Jesus.

That’s the goal of the new Adventist Encounter Bible curriculum. It is designed, not only to
give students content knowledge of the Bible, but to lead them into a personal relationship
with Jesus and inspire a passion to share Him with others.

Though the Bible is the only textbook, the program includes a wealth of resources that help make the teaching of Bible come alive for our children. These represent the best methods and freshest thoughts that Mrs. White was referring to. Please help us and our teachers to share Jesus with our children with these Bible resources in our Adventist schools. Thank you for your generous support!

You contribute to the Encounter Bible Program at any time online through the Adventist Giving site. Contributions can also be made anytime at church, by indicating ‘Encounter Bible Program’ on an envelope.


ADRA Canada Disasters/Famine Relief
This is a special offering, as determined by the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists. ADRA Canada (Adventist Development and Relief Agency) is working with ACS (Adventist Community Services) to bring much-needed assistance to areas devasted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and most recently, Maria. In addition to emergency supplies, ACS has also been providing emotional and spiritual support. The funds will provide urgently needed support to the relief and recovery efforts resulting from the hurricanes.

You can give to Hurricane Relief efforts this coming weekend at church. Please indicated ‘Hurricane Relief’ on the offering envelope. Cheques can be made payable to ‘ADRA Canada Hurricane Response’. Donations can also be made online at any time at ADRA Canada or by telephone 888 274 2372.

 

 

 

 

 

Please keep praying for these projects. Make giving a matter of prayer. God will always guide us appropriately.

 

Rule of Three

Challenge yourself to talk to people you don’t know well for the first three minutes after the service.

Our previous hospitality idea was the Circle of Ten, where we are encouraged to greet everyone who comes within a ten-foot range of us, multi-directionally. Greeting people can be kept simple: a smile, a handshake, a hello.

The Rule of Three goes one step further by engaging with others. This does not mean that you are limited to mingling with only three people.

Rather, the name of this hospitality idea is a reminder of time. We have approximately three minutes after the service to talk with our guests before they leave. Many people, when going someplace unfamiliar, aim to slip in and slip out. While more comfortable for the guest, it often means that we don’t even have the opportunity to realize that they were there. We would like to catch them before they slip out unnoticed.

Immediately after the service ends, beeline towards the new faces. They may have slipped in after our welcome time at the beginning of the service. Or they may have arrived long after the Greeters have left their posts. A final opportunity to welcome them comes at the conclusion of the service.

Everyone, old and young, who comes through our church doors has a story. We don’t know what led them to Henderson Highway Church for worship. However, we can ensure that they have an uplifting encounter with Christ. There are numerous chances for this during the music, the prayers, the giving, the praise, the children’s story, the message.

And through us.

 

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This is part of our Practicing Hospitality series. Visit the introduction page to read the other articles in the series.

 

 

 


 

Journey Through Cactusville–VBX 2017 Recap

Howdy Buckaroos & Cowpokes!

Just like that, Vacation Bible Xperience is over! We had a blast in Cactusville as we learned and experienced in a variety of ways how ‘kids are called to follow Jesus’.

The excitement started before Cactusville opened to the public. A group of volunteers met the evening before to transform our entire church into a western-ranch setting. Each day began with an opening Round-Up, which had songs, skits, and fun. There were themes for each day, expanding on how kids called to follow Jesus. A Cactusville Critter was introduced, with some basic information on their lives and how they too are called.

Tarantula Tammy was called to be different, like John the Baptist.
Prairie Dog Pete was called to be faithful, like Abraham.
Chuck the Chuckwalla was called to forgive, like Joseph.
Pack Mule Patty was called to serve, like Deborah.
Road Runner Roy was called to give, like Jesus.

The sub-themes were used for the entire three hours, throughout the various stations:

Sunset Canyon was the prayer room.
Chuckwagon Station filled hungry tummies with delicious snacks.
Trading Post was where creativity was explored through crafts.
Wild Horse Corral provided the space to run and play.
Campfire Stories was the interactive place to learn Bible stories.

By the week’s end, the deputies-in-training were familiar with the Golden Nugget, which is found in 2 Timothy 1:9 (NKJV):

{Jesus}…who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.

The Adventist VBX programs also include a special mission project each year. For 2017, the theme is ‘Operation Wheels‘. The children learned about five different refugee families of various nationalities, who now reside in Arizona, United States. Operation Wheels is working to purchase a bus. This vehicle will help to provide transportation for refugee families to attend school, adult education classes, work, worship and more.

Our children were eager to participate and came with coins jangling in their pockets each evening and raised $222.22 by the end of the week!

In addition to being fully deputized, the children also made a decision to follow Jesus. It was a blessing to watch their excitement as they chose Jesus for themselves. Many parents and children were grateful for their time in Cactusville and are eagerly anticipating VBX 2018.

A special THANK YOU to all the hard working volunteers. Thank you for your donations and loans of décor items, for the setup and take down crew, constructing the backdrop, leading the various stations, wrangling support (adult supervisors), audio-visual, registration and prayerful support. Though the target of this ministry is the children, we are all involved in the work.

An extra special THANK YOU to our faithful organizer, Sheryl!! She has been working for months to ensure that VBX was truly a blessing! We appreciate you, Sheryl!

Check out our slideshow of our week at Cactusville.

Circle of Ten

The church was packed as an usher found room for us to sit. We were on vacation and had heard it was Visitor’s Day at this particular church, so we decided to visit. We sat sandwiched between other worshippers, curious as to what would make their Visitor’s Day remarkable. The most memorable part of the experience was how we were greeted.

Nobody said hello. One woman attempted to grab my baby for a cuddle, without even so much as a smile and was unsuccessful. There were a few smiles exchanged. But in a facility full of hundreds of people, it was disappointing to see that no one would even greet us.

We can learn from the experiences of others. We can choose to do things differently at Henderson Highway Church. Each opportunity to smile, greet and interact with a guest is an opportunity for them to meet Jesus through us. A great way to ensure everyone gets noticed is to apply the ‘Circle of Ten’.

Let’s picture ourselves each standing in the middle of a 10-foot hula hoop. With a hoop that wide, those ten feet are bound to bump into someone else. In a full sanctuary, we will each bump into many someones. What if we got into the habit of greeting everyone who came within our hula hoop range? Look behind, in front, to the left and to the right. Those are the people to share a warm smile with, a handshake, a simple greeting.

The beauty of the ‘Circle of Ten’ is that everyone is working with the same range. The person next to you, the leader up front, the child in the parents’ room–we are all in the middle of a 10-foot hoop too. This creates overlap so that no one is isolated.

Let’s take time to greet everyone who comes within our circle, particularly those we don’t know well. This will ensure that they are noticed and welcomed.

 

 

 

 

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This is part of our Practicing Hospitality series. Visit the introduction page to read the other articles in the series.

Make the First Move


This point is often underrated because it’s a simple one.

Make the first move. Be the initiator.

Some business establishments seem to have this concept mastered. They want our dollars and our repeat business. One way to make the potential spending experience memorable is to value their clients. Staff are assigned to welcome everyone who comes on their premises. Whether they are a familiar face or not, everybody is greeted. Clients may even be asked if they need help finding a particular product or area for their needs. Then they are escorted or passed off to another staff member who can best assist them.

Ideally, the church setting operates in a similar manner. As Christians, we should be highly interested in everyone who comes through our church doors because this is a chance for them to meet Jesus and experience His love. We don’t know what may have impelled someone to visit our church. They may be coming due to tradition or because they were invited or for any reason in between. If we all make an effort to proactively greet everyone, whether they are familiar to us or not, it would brighten the atmosphere in our church.

Smiling is not a duty reserved only for the greeter team. We can all get into the habit of smiling at each other first. It does take courage to say ‘hello’. With practice, however, it will soon become natural. We may not know all the answers, but we can direct our guests to someone who is better equipped to assist them.

Let’s work on making the first move. We don’t need to wait or assume that anyone else is doing it. It is harmless and heartwarming for our guests and members to receive dozens of smiles.

 

 

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This is part of our Practicing Hospitality series. Visit the introduction page to read the other articles in the series.

 

EndItNow Campaign


Barcelona. Charlottesville. Winnipeg.

These are beautiful cities with rich histories. They are filled with amazing people who are living through fantastic and jaw-dropping stories. Yet, these cities have been in news headlines this week for reasons other than their beauty.

When we, as humans, choose to focus more on our differences rather than our similarities, boundaries get crossed. This often results in abuse and violence. When we view fellow humans as inferior for any reason, we are insulting God, the Creator of mankind.

Abuse is not God’s ideal for us, His creation. Yet, sadly, we are not immune to abuse or its effects, even among believers.

Abuse is nasty!

Everyone is affected, whether directly or indirectly, by various forms of abuse and its long lasting effects. To help combat this issue, the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists has created the enditnow campaign. They are working to empower local churches and their respective communities to break the cycle of abuses around them. In addition to destroying these devastating cycles, they aim to strengthen the good and help with the restoration process.

Our Women’s Ministry team will be leading out in worship on August 26. They will focus on EndItNow, which occurs annually on the fourth Saturday in August. In addition to raising awareness to the issues of abuse and violence, the team wants to provide local support and resources for our church and surrounding community in Winnipeg.

 

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There is a free pastors’ summit on abuse which will be live-streamed on Monday, September 11. This event, intended for adult audiences, is scheduled for 11:00 am to 3:30 pm. Though pastors are the target audience, the information will be useful for leaders regardless of your platform. Some of the presentations include: Child-to-Child Bullying, Misapplied Scriptures, Teen Dating Violence and more.

Look for the ‘Lost Look’


As children, we may have been taught who to look for if we were lost. There are people available who are able to assist those who need help.

In the church setting, things are different. Our guests may not know who is available to assist them. We need to proactively seek them out. Many people have a look of uncertainty when visiting some place new for the first time. Those of us who have been attending here for years have had time to get used to the facility and the people. Imagine what it feels like to walk through these doors for the very first time. As you enter the front doors of our church, you’re on a landing between two sets of stairs. Immediately, you’ve got to take action: do you go upstairs or downstairs?

If someone looks like they don’t know where to go, then they probably don’t. Let’s step out of our comfort zones and offer help. In this moment, we’re directing them to the right place or person. As an added challenge, don’t just tell them where to go. Show them. Walk with them to the appropriate location.

Think of the ‘lost look’ as an ice breaker. This is a moment to welcome them to our church and make a loving impression. We may be the first contact they have when they enter. We don’t have to be an official part of the Greeter Ministry in order to welcome someone to our church.

Our guests have a variety of reasons why they visit with us. Regardless of their reasons for coming, we can be consistent and intentional in caring for our guests. We can do our best to love everyone who comes through our doors because Jesus loves them. Caring for our guests is an active example of Jesus’ love.

Small interactions, when done in love, make lasting impressions.

 

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This is part of our Practicing Hospitality series. Visit the introduction page to read the other articles in the series.

Move to the Middle

The coveted seats at most performances are front and center. Many fans willingly spend their money for prime seating. Shows are attended with anticipation of being as close to the action as possible. The further away the seats, the less enjoyable the experience tends to be. Very rarely do people brag that their seats were in the farthest corner of the highest tier of a stadium or arena. ‘Nose-bleed’ section is the term commonly applied, suggesting that the experience from that high may be hazardous not only to the overall experience, but to our health.

Do we approach the church setting with enthusiasm? Imagine if we flocked for worship the same way we do for shows. What if we value the middle of the pews the same way we value arena seating? Treat the middle like premium seating for our worship experience. This would do a couple things.

First, it’s a sign that those who regularly attend our church are excited. They are happy to be there, eager to engage in worship. It gives an impression that Henderson Highway Church is the place to be.

Second, sitting towards the middle leaves visible space for others who need seating. It can be awkward visiting an unfamiliar location, uncertain if there’s room. Move to the middle so guests don’t have to walk over us. Trying to find a seat is part of what keeps newcomers away—it’s hard enough to come in and just sit down! Moving to the middle also leaves room for families with younger children, who may need to be in and out of the sanctuary and for those who may need to slip out of church early.

Let’s try moving towards the center. We will survive in our new location!
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This is part of our Practicing Hospitality series. Visit the introduction page to read the other articles in the series.

Everyone’s Favourite Word


How do you feel when someone calls you by name?

Everyone likes to hear their name. Imagine visiting a church and on the second visit, someone we met the previous week calls us by name. We would feel noticed, remembered, and welcome! Learning names shows our interest in guests. We are actively getting acquainted with them beyond what their faces look like.

It’s endearing to hear our names spoken. Bonus points to those who attempt to pronounce our name correctly! It’s a sign that they care about us. The things that are most precious to us receive the a higher level of care and attention. Some of us name our favourite things, for example. Our vehicles may have a name; our stray pets; our favourite piece of furniture or an appliance. We name them because they are valuable.

There are establishments in our city where the staff prioritizes learning their clients by name. We get that warm fuzzy feeling when someone who is a nearly a stranger greets us specifically with “Hi ___________! Good to see you!” Why do they bother to do this? Other than keeping their sales records climbing and earning positive feedback and high-rated customer service reviews, they don’t really need to learn their customers names.

In the church setting, however, our reason for learning names goes much deeper. Yes, we’d love to have our Sabbath Schools and worship services at an overflowing capacity. We’d love to see guests and regular church-goers alike buzzing with excitement when they enter our doors because of the love they feel in our facility. But there’s more. Anyone who enters our door for any occasion is valuable to God. They are one of His beloved creations. If God has called us all by name because we are His (Isaiah 43:1), then that’s the standard we should follow when caring for each other and our guests. In calling each other by name, we are showing a higher level of care of who is precious to God.

Let’s work on learning names. We may need to ask a guest to write their name for us or spell is out. It may mean having the guest repeat the pronunciation a few times in order to get the proper accents and emphasis in the correct spots. During the week, practice. Loving others is worth the effort.

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This is part of our Practicing Hospitality series. Visit the introduction page to read the other articles in the series.