On January 10th, 2021, Pastor Kevin gave an update on a myriad of topics regarding the Attridge site. Check out this video, or read the transcript below to stay up to date.
Jan 2021 Attridge update
Before we conclude I want to take a bit of time to provide an update about the church. This comes as a response from people asking, “How’s the church doing?”
It’s an innocent enough question, and I appreciate the genuine care, but it is sometimes a challenge for me to respond to. One of the main challenges is determining who is meant by “church.” Typically, I’ll assume it means one of four things: a) it’s the people. You are the church – the people of God, “how are the people doing?” B) It’s the institution/ ministries/ corporate c) I sometimes hear people ask “how’s the staff?” (although staff are only part of the church) and D) Sometimes, it’s “How is the building?
So, I’ll try to answer all of these.
Because the church is the people – my response is usually – how are you doing? As you can imagine responses vary quite significantly.
So, from what I have heard from you – I say that our church is actually doing well:
We worship together weekly (even if it is online we are still united), we have vibrant ministries that have pivoted, we have small groups welcoming new people, we’ve baptized people, we’ve had people tell their stories of transformation. People have given joyfully, generously, sacrificially, and proportionally. We have seen new leaders take steps of faith. New people have connected with our church online. Overall, we have been transformed more into the image of Christ. Our church believes that God is good and we are putting our hope and trust in him.
But, we are concerned and struggling with change. We are concerned for one another – those who are in care homes or live alone, those who aren’t able to find ways to use their gifts (like hospitality). We’re concerned for those who struggle with the rules in place. We’re concerned for those who long for more music and want to see worship leaders sing without masks. There is concern for who have a heart for the most significantly impacted by the virus here in Saskatoon (like the Bridge), and around the world – especially Turkey, Guadalajara, and Panama.
We struggled (are still struggling) with, “What do we need to change? and “How much?” When do we change, and when do we just need to wait? Sometimes these struggles are based on pandemic guidelines sometimes these are based on the vision and values of the church. We, as an organization with ministries and events, have chosen to change too much for some, and not enough, or in the right places for others. But that’s getting into the corporate or institution of the church. The real question about change ultimately comes back to each of us. How did you change? Did you change enough and in the right areas? Did your small group change enough? In the right ways? Have you changed to become more like Christ?
Live stream and zoom have been a couple of changes ministries have made. The evaluative question is, will it bear fruit?
Personally, I’ve seen beauty and struggle/challenge as we’ve shifted online. My conclusion so far is that it’s too early to evaluate fully. We need to continue to grow and learn.
We are still using rented lights – equipment has been ordered and is on back order. We’re still needing more people to be trained to use the equipment.
For those who long for a full band we are still training people and waiting for equipment to be installed. We are working toward adding more worship leaders and musicians in the coming year.
Don has provided great leadership, in the area of worship, but certainly wasn’t hired for leading through a transition to live stream during a pandemic in his role as Transition Pastor. We are hoping to start the hiring for a worship pastor in the next month with the goal of having someone hired for summer 2021.
Speaking of staff- let me respond to the “How’s the staff?”
Staff has had to deal with a lot of change with our roles. We’ve shifted Spencer into a communications role, Chandra to oversee both Youth and Young Adults. Lizzie shifted into a jr high role. Delores went to half time and we brought on Ange Richards to work with her. We also welcomed Tyler Martin as an intern and Ashley Powers as a temp support for youth. We still have vacancies in our Sr high director, CM admin. And that’s just our ministry staff. Our admin staff welcomed Jason Bryans and Amber Letkeman. And we now have two maternity leaves to fill. Our staff has changed significantly and I’m proud of how they have adjusted.
Our staff has regular conversations about what the church could look like post-pandemic. We know we are not going back to the way things were. Things will be different. The challenge is that we are walking by faith – not knowing exactly what the future will look like. For many of you that may feel unsettling but it is how we are called to live. So, let me tell you what I do know (this is also a partial answer to how the corporate/institutional church is)
We will continue to focus on transformation in Jesus. Submitting to the MB confession of faith. Our 4 discipleship steps of Create Community, Experience and model Jesus’ love, train one another in obedience, and serve others and proclaim the gospel will continue to be accomplished in the 4 discipleship contexts of Family Ministry, Corporate Worship, Small Groups, and Missions.
We anticipate regathering in person as we are allowed by the government guidelines, but we will continue to use caution for the sake of the most vulnerable. We will continue to live stream services and grow in our online presence.
More specifically, Sunday morning we will livestream Family Experience for families at 9:00am and our intergenerational service at 11:00am. Both Sr & Jr youth begin this week on Tuesday and Friday evenings starting online and moving to in person when that is possible. Young adults have a livestream worship night tonight, and also various small group options to sign up for. Seniors plan to have services via livestream with the first one on Jan 21st and moving to in person when that is best. Mom’s ministry is discerning their semester and will get the details out when they know more. Worship and tech training on Wednesday evenings -with the FX singers also that evening. We currently have 26 Small Groups. Many will continue to meet online with some groups anticipating meeting in person in our facility once we hear an update from the government.
These events (and others – like the prayer summit, SOAR, Baptism/membership sessions) are typically available on Church Center. You can access it online or download an app. – or (if you struggle online) you can just contact the church.
Our facility (which is another way people could mean, “How is the church?”) is still used on a daily basis. Our staff work from home, as well as their offices. The office is open from 9-430, M-F. We have 3 preschool classes (M-Th) and two rental groups – LINC, Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada, and Grace Christian School (K-12), are operating within the school guidelines.
Church is also global. Globally we will continue to support our missions partners. Specifically, the needs of the Waunaan in panama. We will also be welcoming refugees soon and are looking for people to join the resettlement team as well as a rental home for a family of 9.
Connected with this – Our Advent Giving Project received $66,000 (goal was ambitious at $45,000).
Financially our worship/income was at 94% of what we budgeted since July. So, considering a pandemic – well done and thank you for your giving. 94% of our budgeted income is great in a pandemic year even though this is lower than where we are at usually. I know many made this sacrifice as an act of faith and I pray God blesses you for your generosity.