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.

Smile Like You Mean It

There is a well-loved song that many churches use during their welcoming time. The lyrics are:

Smile
Everybody smile, everybody smile, everybody smile
Smile
Everybody smile, everybody smile, everybody smile

Let us greet somebody in Jesus’ name
Let us tell them that we love them in Jesus’ name
We’ll tell them we can work together in Jesus’ name
Everybody smile
Jesus loves you
Everybody smile
Jesus loves you

The Bible describes various interactions with Jesus. The commonality is that He was warm and friendly to everybody. There were times when He used many words, and times when a look or a touch was the sole interaction. Have you noticed how many times people complained about Jesus being unfriendly or grumpy? That He had a repelling scowl on His face that kept people away?

A smile is a sign that Jesus’ love is noticeably present. It does not imply that church is perfect or that its attendees are without struggles. However, a smile is a sign of hope. Despite what is happening to us, we choose to trust God and put our hope in Him.

One benefit of coming to church is the assembly of people. Regardless of why you choose to attend, no one comes for a negative experience. I have never heard anyone declare that they attend church intending to have a terrible time. We like to call ourselves ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’ in Christ. With God as the head of our family, we should strive to maintain a loving environment. One that is also attractive to our guests.

A simple way to get along is to smile. Smiles can be less threatening than a verbal greeting. A smile can be given in silence. It’s an ice-breaker that bridges gaps and warms hearts. A smile is affirmation for guests; we are happy that they’ve come to our church. A smile shows that the regular attendees are content where they are and want to let it be known. Guests feel more at ease when they see smiling people. A smile shows that we’ve put effort into our countenance. A universally understood sign, a smile shows acceptance and love.

A smile may be the one thing a person needs to feel welcome! Let’s practice to form a smiling habit. Before you verbally greet someone, may our smiles be the first impression they see.

You can always choose to resume your somber expressions when you get home.

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

 

 

 

Own the Building


This statement helps to shift our perspective. It’s easier to lay claim to a small part of the church building rather than the whole.

Where are some areas that we like to take ownership? Perhaps in the sanctuary. We can grow accustomed to sitting in particular sections week after week, year after year. We may feel disturbed if can’t get ‘our’ spot. In the more extreme instances, guests have been chased away from worship services because they unknowingly sat down in someone’s preferred place. Perhaps we like to own our ministry title or church office position. Though elected to serve for a term, we figure out how to do things just right, weaving service into our daily lives. As changes occur in the department, we may personalize hurt and confusion as our identities are shifted.

In the same way that we own certain areas, we may also disown areas. Perhaps the Sabbath School rooms go unnoticed because they don’t affect us directly. The office space, audio/visual booth, personal ministries room, janitorial supplies and more are areas that are not accessed by everyone each week. We may overlook them because they’re not a part of our weekly routine. Yet, they’re all a part of the whole.

We’re encouraged here to own the whole building. We could rephrase that to say own the property. Every part of this church belongs to us. We should invest in its upkeep, cheerfully tending to the needs of the church. When we invite people to our homes, we expend effort to making the place look nice. It takes a group effort to maintain our church facility.

 

Owning the church as ‘ours’ should go beyond agreeing with its theology and doctrine. The people–both guests and members–in it are ours, as well as the facility. We don’t have to be the original designer or an assigned caretaker to take care of God’s house. When we have the ability to help, let’s do it.

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

Practicing Hospitality


In June, we hosted a Guest Care workshop with Pastor Lynn Ripley. This session provided us with techniques to make our church more welcoming, especially for our guests. In addition to our own greeters and church family, some members from Transcona SDA Church joined us as well. Pastor Lynn kept the session fun and interactive. There was an opportunity for brainstorming and group discussion. It was evident as various people shared their perspectives, that this one church can present in a number of ways, depending on the personality of the guest. Pastor Lynn educated us on why guests are important and reminded us that guests are just like us. Jesus loves them too—they might not know this yet. In making their church experience warm and friendly, they will be more to return, giving them another interaction with Jesus.

The information presented was thorough. Our work, as a church, begins even before the event starts. Our facilities should be tidy and be inviting. Our parking lot, our signage inside and outside the building and more, all contribute to the guest experience. All of us can keep our eyes peeled for unfamiliar faces and help to guide them to the right place. At the end of the service, we should say farewell and invite them back to worship with us again. But we cannot stop there. There is necessity for a consistent follow-up process to thank our guests for worshiping with us. It shows them that we noticed them, that they were not overlooked.

Caring for our guests goes beyond the greeting station. We all have a role to play. Contact your department leader today to find out how your team can best care for guests. In the coming weeks, we’ll be exploring ideas on how to practice hospitality. The principles shared here, while designed for the church setting, can also be applied to our personal lives.

How can we give our guests the best of care?

Listed below are some ways that we can be intentional in practicing hospitality.

  1. Own the Building
  2. Smile Like You Mean It
  3. Everyone’s Favourite Word
  4. Move to the Middle
  5. Look for the ‘Lost Look’
  6. Make the First Move
  7. Circle of Ten
  8. Rule of Three
  9. Invite Them Back
  10. Be Willing to Walk

Conclusion–Clearing the Way For the Holy Spirit


We concluded our series this past Wednesday evening. After weighing the pros and cons of God’s ideal against an opposing ideal during the first eleven weeks, this final study outlined ‘Steps for Overcoming Sin’. The information was divided into three parts:

A) Be prepared. Fortify our relationship with Jesus. Temptations will come to us repeatedly. However, we have opportunity to get ready so that we are equipped to face temptation. We can live confidently when we know the God who promises to guide us step by step.

B) Resist Temptation. We do not have to give in to temptation when it comes. Jesus experienced temptation in all the same ways we are tempted today. He withstood every temptation. Every single one. Being on this side of Jesus’ life, we have His example to follow. The same enemy is constantly on the prowl, setting all manner of traps to catch God’s people. But God has promised–and delivered–on a way out of all temptation. We can resist it. We are not alone and we don’t have to rely on our own strength.

C) Reflect and learn from our experience. Keep track of both successes and failures daily. This is not to measure shortcomings, but to learn from the day and look for areas of improvement for tomorrow. We also learn by sharing. We need to tell our unique story. No one can explain how God moved in our lives better than us, because we experienced it firsthand. This does not mean that all the finite details must be exposed to every audience. Ask the Holy Spirit to show us when to share, how much to share and to which listening ear.

Our prayer time began with the commitment listed below. Why not jot this down on a card and place it where it can remind us of our choice:
Through God’s power, I will not ____________________________________(sin).
I claim God’s promise:  __________________________________________(scripture that matches your need).
Instead I will ___________________________________________________(opposite action to the sin).

We continue to pray for our church, that we would all respond to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Prayer meeting resumes Wednesday, July 12 at 7:00 pm.

STUDY GUIDE

Clearing the Way For the Holy Spirit, Part 11

‘God’s Blessings Versus Generational Sins’ is a topic that runs deep because it affects us all. Yet, there is hope for us all too. Our hope is in Jesus!

Jesus understands. He has literally been through everything.

Consider for a moment, what Jesus did. Would you leave the perfection of Heaven? Would you leave the perfection of Heaven to come down to an imperfect planet? Where the planet is inhabited by imperfect people who, through their choices, have wreaked havoc on God’s original ideal? And even after the mission was accomplished and successful, would you keep the scarred body forever?

But Jesus did! He didn’t arrive in some mysterious pod, similar to Superman. Jesus was born, so there was no contesting His humanity. In addition to His birth, Jesus inherited an human ancestry. His lineage is full of people who made choices that were opposite of God’s, which then paved the way for future generations. Jesus’ family did not give him the healthiest set up for life.

Yet, He didn’t wallow in it. There were no excuses. Jesus didn’t quit at the first sign of weakness and say, well my dad this or my mom that. He broke the cycle. He prayed for forgiveness for all those around Him, before Him and those to come in the future. After His ascent into Heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to guide us, so that we’d never be alone.

Despite what has happened in our past, we are empowered to live differently. Follow Jesus’ example–He did differently. There are issues we have inherited because of the sins and choices of our ancestors. However, we are not forced to repeat them. We can learn from them and choose differently otherwise. We can choose forgiveness. We can choose to seek help in destroying those strongholds that threaten to hold us back from a healthy life.

We were encouraged to spend time confessing from any generational strongholds, being specific as we released them to God. Let us also remember that God forgives immediately. And then He forgets, cleaning us as though it has never happened.

Our prayer time ended with this choice:
I choose my Father in Heaven to be my example in everything. I receive His inheritance and blessing through Jesus making my adoption into God’s family possible. I receive my Elder Brother Jesus as my Saviour and Lord so that His character might be in my heart and expressed through everything I say and do. I also give thanks for every good thing that my parents and ancestors have passed on to me.

We conclude this series next Wednesday, June 28 at 7:00 pm. The last part of clearing for the Holy Spirit includes ‘Steps for Overcoming Sin’.

STUDY GUIDE

Children’s Ministry Needs US!


Recently, a sister school in Canada accepted help from a volunteer who was unfit for the role. The public outrage that followed was discouraging. However, this situation could have been avoided had capable volunteers been available to assist. Private institutions and nonprofit organizations often do not have budgets for paid staff. They rely on God to inspire His people to donate their time and energy to support valid causes. When organizations have a list of willing volunteers who are able and prepared to serve, it prevents moments of desperation.

We are in a similar position at Henderson Highway.

We need help!

Our lower division Sabbath Schools need trustworthy adults to serve in various capacities. While these classes are not new to our church, the ever-changing needs of them are new. Here is a breakdown of the current staffing situations in our Sabbath Schools:

Beginners (newborn to 3 years)
This class is well supported. In addition to their church-appointed leaders, there are numerous parents and guardians who also help. Because the children are too young to attend class on their own, they are often accompanied by at least one adult.

Kindergarten (4-6 years)
The support decreases a bit, but generally tends to be decently staffed, mostly by church-appointed leaders. On occasion, there is additional support from a parent or guardian who accompanies their child to class. Usually, the parents prefer to escort them to the door and return for them after class.

Primary (7-9 years)
The support decreases again. Even the number of church-appointed leaders decreases. Over the last few years, the Children’s Ministry has shared staff between Kindergarten & Primary. Parental support is pretty much non-existent as the children are able to get to class on their own.

Juniors (10-12 years)
We’re at the bare minimum for church-appointed leadership in this class. There is no parental support.

Earliteens (13-15 years)
Due to lack of leadership, this class was dormant for a number of years. It was reinstated in Spring 2017 to meet the needs of the children and to prevent overcrowding in some classes. It’s too wide of an age gap to keep our teens grouped with the pre-teens. Yet, they’re not quite ready for the youth group either. They’re currently down to one church-appointed leader. This class is in jeopardy of being cancelled. Again.

Youth (16+)
There is an increase in leadership support, both from parents and non-parents. Our youth group plans social gatherings in addition to their Sabbath School class and often need addtional drivers to assist.

FAQ’s

Why not ask the parents? I don’t have kids that age or I’ve served my time already.
Parents are asked. We are very grateful for the parents and guardians who are able to help out wherever they’re comfortable. But it isn’t been enough to fill all the gaps. When the children reach a certain age, they may not be comfortable to participate openly & honestly if their parent is leading or assisting their class. Many parents are exhausted, particularly if they have served in Sabbath Schools from early childhood and onward. There are also some parents who choose to ‘follow’ their children; they will serve in a division as long as their child is a part of that class. Once they are promoted to the next level, the parent either moves as well, or they stop helping.

I’d love to help, but I’m not a teacher or I’m not good at leading.
That’s fine! If you’re good at sitting, we have the perfect position for you–a sitter. Literally, just sit. As part of our commitment to protecting children in our church, we’ve prefer to have two adults available in each class. One would be the leader, while the second adult would be a presence in the class.

Kids scare me.
Guess what? Kids might say the same thing about adults too! Why not seize this opportunity to get acquainted with our young people and start building relationships. You can still be a part of children’s ministry without directly interacting with children. The Sabbath School classrooms need decorating three to four times per year. Perhaps you have items to lend or donate for the upcoming VBX program. Maybe you have an idea that hasn’t been mentioned here yet. 

I have more questions.
Wonderful! Sheryl is eager to hear from you. Perhaps you have some great ideas as well.

Please continue to pray for this crucial ministry. We want our children to see Jesus to know Him, not just know about Him. We are preparing them for the Kingdom, for eternal life with God. Lessons learned in childhood will impact them for life, guiding them as they make decisions. God does amazing work with willing hearts.