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Sunday
Mar222015

Two Notes and an Applause

Jeff Bjorgan

Lead Pastor

Two things, nay, three things for you today: two notes and an applause.

Applause. I want to publically thank Leah Johnston and her team of volunteers for doing an incredible job putting together last week’s VBS. It was well organized, with lots of participation, and a great bunch of enthusiastic kids. I’m so pleased to see people taking initiative, catching a vision, and with a little bit of elbow grease, putting together something new and vibrant for the sake of the kingdom. May God bless all those who sacrificed some of their Spring break for such a great ministry. Make sure you take a moment to give these volunteers a high five for a job well done.

Note #1. We have a great resource for families and small groups that’s available for free called rightnowmedia. If you have ever needed a small group video study, or wanted to go watch some Christian media alongside your kids, we have access to thousands of resources that can be streamed online. The church subscribes to the organizations and then passes on the benefits to our members. The only thing you need is a user name and password and you can access the library. If you would like an invitation (or a new invitation) to join rightnowmedia, please send me an e-mail (jeff*rightnowmedia). To have a preview of the site, check out www.rightnowmedia.org.

Note #2. We are looking for volunteers to help “de-clutter” our present building as we prepare to move stuff into storage in the new section of the building. Also, we’re going to need some help painting the hallway near the offices. If you have some spare time and you like sorting through all sorts of junk, give Margo at the church a call and we’ll sign you up. Steve Johnston has also set up a volunteer list at the info desk for people who have different trades that they could offer as a service to the church. Many hands make light work... and it also helps make the project more affordable as we move towards our grand opening.

Sunday
Mar152015

Vacation Bible School

Jeff Bjorgan

Lead Pastor

Spring break has begun for most of our school aged children, and we’re excited to be able to offer a Vacation Bible School (VBS) during the hiatus from classrooms. As a child, I remember anticipating VBS with a fair bit of excitement. Growing up in a small town, many times VBS was organized by traveling children’s evangelists. There was an exotic nature to the event, where we got to connect with new people who were also Christians and were putting on an event just for us. To be honest, I’m guessing mom and dad insisted I went whether I wanted to or not. I may have grumbled through the first day. But then there were points to be awarded, contests to be won (boys vs. girls), and prizes to be collected. I remember having my eye on a plastic, red, Bible-shaped thingy that acted as a piggy bank, something that you might buy out of a dollar store today. I hadn’t seen anything like it. So I did my memory verses, I honed my Bible-sword drills, and I brought my offering pennies, and by Friday, I claimed my prize.

I may have even learned something too, in all of that. I had an inkling already that there was a God who loved me, but through VBS I would have learned that the church is bigger and broader and more colourful than what I saw in little old Invermere on a regular basis, that kids in my community who had never darkened a church door throughout the rest of the year did not look out of place in our pews, and that learning about God didn’t have to be dull.

When I grew up, I became a children’s pastor, a pastor who took his turn in putting on VBS. At Emmanuel we practice a form of VBS every summer when we do backyard kids clubs. Needless to say, I’m excited that we’re doing one this coming week.

In this light, I encourage us as a church to do a couple things:

  1. Pray for the week, that kids would be impacted by the gospel, that they would feel welcome and appreciated, and that they would grow in their relationship with Jesus.
  2. Come support the team, either by volunteering, helping clean up, or just by cheering people on.

It’s fun work, but hard work; the volunteers need our support. If you do a good job, there might just be a plastic Bible bank on a prize table at the end of the week with your name on it...

Sunday
Mar082015

AGM Update

Jeff Bjorgan

Lead Pastor

I wanted to give you highlights from our Annual General Meeting last Sunday. We had around 110 members attend and we discussed some of the vision of the church, the finances, and the building. We also elected two new board members. We welcomed Kelly Airth and Colleen Bauman to our leadership team as they begin to serve in their new 3 year terms.

We also passed a motion regarding our final building stage. As you know, we have communicated that the final stage will cost the church about $800,000. It has been the church’s conviction to match any dollar borrowed with a dollar raised. Thus, through our open door drive and other fundraising projects coming up, we’ve been aiming to raise $400,000. For us to move forward, we needed to go back to the congregation and pass a motion to borrow the other $400,000. After some thoughtful discussion and questions, the motion was passed and we’re able to continue the work we have started with the bridge financing in place.

It was communicated that monies that have come in for the building have actually exceeded the pledges, and that we are so far on budget after the first phase. Praise the Lord! However, it was recognized that the full $400,000 that is not being borrowed still needs to be raised for the project to be completed. So far the Open Door Drive has raised $64,000, which is fantastic, but means we still need to raise around $340,000 cash to complete the building. Although the Drive officially comes to an end, we will keep the graph of giving up in the foyer to help the congregation know where we are at.

Our God is a big God, and He has taken us through some amazing adventures! We trust that the funds will come in, and our faith goal of starting services in the new auditorium is the Labour Day weekend. We can’t do much without prayer, so I encourage the congregation to continue to intercede on behalf of our church, asking God to be our great provider. I am excited about the future, and am confident that God will continue to direct our path.

Sunday
Mar012015

Annual General Meeting

Jeff Bjorgan

Lead Pastor

Sunday night is our Annual General Meeting. As a non-profit society, a church is required by law to have a membership and to have a yearly meeting to allow membership to review fiscal information, vote on directors, and hear about the direction of the organization. As a church, it’s a great excuse to get together to celebrate what God has been doing in our midst, to reaffirm our unity under Christ, and to participate in discerning the direction and purposes of God for us.

This year’s meeting will be at 6 pm on March 1.  In past years we have sometimes met early for a potluck. This year we’ll simply aim to start on time, but with the promise of donuts and coffee. In order to encourage our members with children to come out, we will have a staffed nursery as well as workers to oversee the older kids in the chapel. There are youth that are fundraising for missions trips and they are more than happy to help us out in the childcare department. So aim to come! 

We are also voting to fill two positions on our church board. Martin Weilmeier and David Shaw have served faithfully. Martin has finished two terms on the board and is obligated to sit a year before allowing his name to be nominated again. Martin has served with enthusiasm and has been an integral part of our leadership team for 6 years. Not only has he added his voice to the major decisions of the church over the years, he continues to serve faithfully in the tech department, updating our website and recording our services. David Shaw has also served with enthusiasm and thoughtfulness, helping significantly with the initial designs of our building, co-chairing our search committee in the recent pastoral transition, and running both an usher team and a set-up team for years. We want to publically thank David and Martin for their tremendous contributions.

There are four people who have let their names stand for nomination, all members in good standing, all faithful servants and workers in the kingdom. These four people are Celena Titterington, Arte Overby, Colleen Bauman, and Kelly Airth. I want to thank them in advance for prayerfully considering (perhaps even with fear and trembling!) being a part of the process. May God bless you for it.

Sunday
Feb222015

Supporting and Going Without

Jeff Bjorgan

Lead Pastor

We are pleased to have Don Richmond, chaplain for the Westside Warriors, as our guest speaker today. Don has a heart to be a light for Jesus in the often difficult world of hockey. Don is one of our local missions partners and we are on the lookout as a church to continue to find ways to engage our community. What Don does matches our vision and goals well. One thing Don has done for a few years is Faith Night. It’s an opportunity to invite the churches out to a game to bring attention to the great work chaplaincy ministry is doing for the organization. The hockey game is often the highest attended game of the year, so the team management is quite encouraged by it. Make sure to chat with Don after the service about what he’s all up to.

We have also begun the season of Lent. Lent is a season between Ash Wednesday (which was this past week) and Easter Sunday which prepares our hearts for reflecting on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Often people take the season to contemplate their mortality (it is no longer we that live, but Christ that lives within me) and decide to go without something as a sign of saying we don’t want anything to get in the way of our relationship with God.

I encourage you to adopt a “Lent stance” over the next few weeks. Keep praying through “Seek God for the City” Booklets or apps, take time to reflect on your faith, and choose to work through something that you could go without in order to spend time with the Lord.