Moderator - Board of Elders
2022 - What a whirlwind!
Last April, Leanne and I had the incredible opportunity to participate in a study trip of the holy land. It was educational and eye opening and inspirational…a trip of the lifetime to say the least! One of the many lessons that stood out for me was standing at the Gates of Hades, a rocky barren escarpment with pagan temple ruins laying all around. It was a place where, two millennia ago, the residents of the region went to worship pagan gods and throw goat sacrifices into a cave filled with blood-soaked water.
I can imagine that it was a spiritually oppressive setting where empty religion combined with warped philosophical and cultural views of the day reigned. Yet it was there, in that place, that Jesus told his disciples that “upon this rock, I will build my Church and all the powers of hell will not conquer it” (Matt. 16:18). I wonder what his disciples thought. Really Jesus? Right here? In this place? This is where the kingdom of God is going to break through? If that’s what they were thinking, it’s a fair question. It's a question that disciples in 2023 still ask because it’s challenging to know if the church of Jesus Christ is being built and making a difference in our world…right here, right now…in this place…in Prince George…with the many challenges of our day swirling around us.
And are there challenges before the church, even Westwood Church? Absolutely! But we take comfort that it’s Jesus’ church and He is building it according to His plans, His power, and His people, even imperfect people. So what has God been doing among us and how has He been building? Let me make several reflections looking back at 2022 before talking about moving forward into the year ahead.
Reflections on 2022
So what's ahead in 2023?
Every Wednesday morning from 8:30 – 9 am, anyone is welcome to join a prayer gathering in the Prayer Room at church or join on Zoom. It is an integrated approach and very meaningful as those present lean into prayer for our church, our city, and God’s direction for us. Contact the church office if you would like to become more engaged in our prayer times, we welcome that!
Imagine the impact Westwood Church can have in five, ten, and twenty years in equipping next generation leaders in their followership of Jesus as they serve in education, medicine, business, and countless other areas including their local church!
I am of the opinion that while God has gifted some with a leadership gift, for most, leadership is developed over time. Specific to spiritual leadership, it begins with our discipleship. Are we following Jesus first and foremost? Are we leading ourselves well where discipline, integrity, humility, trustworthiness, and obedience to Jesus are all growing hallmarks of our character? Are we faithful in the little things entrusted to us? How are we stewarding the gifts and talents given uniquely by God to us? These are critical self-reflection questions for all of us on the pathway to the development of our leadership of others in the life of the church. Therefore, we desire to be intentional about coaching and mentoring others first in their discipleship so that they have a solid foundation on which to build their formation.
I want to give a big shout out to every Westwooder who is currently mentoring or discipling another person! Your ministry of encouragement, guidance, instruction, and prayer with another is invaluable! You may not know the full extent of your impact but you are making a difference so keep it up! To all our microChurch leaders, pastors, elders, and staff, let’s watch our lives and teaching first, even as we stay faithful in shepherding the sheep in our care. And as we do, we will not only grow ourselves but others as well. Let’s be on the lookout for those who are needing to take that next step and let’s continue to call out more people to grow in their spiritual leadership.
As I conclude my report, I want to say a big thanks to the team with which I work most closely. To our Board of Elders, who often feel like there’s more work than possible to do and not enough time, THANK YOU! You serve diligently at your day jobs and then you give of your time and talents to our church family. I appreciate each of you greatly! To our Pastoral and Administrative Team, each of you brings your unique gifts to the fore which enables our church family to pursue our mission with excellence and effectiveness. Each of you have persisted through a very challenging season and for that I say THANK YOU! And to each one who prays, supports, serves, encourages, gives, and blesses, THANK YOU! Let’s continue to fix our eyes on the only ONE who ultimately holds the plans and purposes for His church.
In the power of Jesus and His Spirit,
This past year the average unique viewers (each device connected is considered a unique viewer) on a Sunday morning averaged 101, even after in person services were allowed and mandates were lifted.
On average each service is viewed about 80 times after it has been posted to our YouTube channel, where we currently have 236 Subscribers.
One service this year that was impactful and viewed over 200 times after being posted to our website and Youtube channel, was when John Johnstone came to speak on November 27. He is a Multiply Missionaries and Educator, who serve among First Nations people groups in Western Canada.
If you are interested in film or broadcasting, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org!
microChurch & Go Ministries Pastor
I’m excited to share a story of what God did within our microChurches. Earlier this year Pastor Robin and I were facing a challenge. Our microChurches were getting quite full and it seemed every time we started a new one it would be filled quickly. It was clear that we needed more leaders to start up more microChurches, but we were unsure of how we would come up with these leaders. It was in this moment Pastor Robin suggested we should pray and see how the Lord would supply our need for leaders.
Within a day or two we heard that the Holy Spirit had laid it on the heart of one of our microChurches that they should multiply and create multiple microChurches, with various members from this microChurch being willing to lead. What a blessing!
Pastor Robin adds:
Please pray for:
- microChurches to continue to multiply when and where it will be fruitful to do so.
- microChurch leaders - both newer and older - to be well nourished and encouraged for the work before them. Of the shepherd/king David, the psalmist says, “He cared for them with a true heart and led them with skillful hands” (Psalm 78:72 NLT).
- The ongoing maturing of the groups themselves according to Romans 12:9-13:
“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honouring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.”
Worship Arts Ministries
Worship Arts Pastor
“For me it continues to be a privilege to be able to serve our Lord through music as I have done for over forty years.”
“How do I measure spiritual growth? I don’t have all the answers but I keep on being faithful to Him regardless what trials I face (and there have been some big ones). I love my Lord and am very grateful for his love and care for me”
“Participating in Westwood Worship Arts reminds me to focus on what is most important and to live with intention”
“Like in teaching (responding to student behaviors), I am learning that worship is not about us. It has made me more cognizant of how I'm reflecting God. He doesn't expect us to be perfect, just to have the right heart, try our best and be available”
microChurch & Go Ministries Pastor
Jesus has called his followers to GO and make disciples of all nations. The call is to do this both locally and to the ends of the earth. This is what our Go ministries at Westwood are all about; seeing the transforming power of the gospel change peoples lives as they come into a relationship with their Creator and choose to give their lives to him.
This year, for the focus of my Go report I would love to share the story of what God is doing both in our own city and with one of our ministry partners abroad.
Children's Ministry Leader
- Wisdom and direction for our leaders and teachers.
- Daily Vacation Bible School day camp and clear direction from the Holy Spirit.
- A sense of comradery with our ministry volunteers where each one will feel valued and appreciated, and where new friendships and lasting relationships will be developed.
- That children will experience community and a sense of belonging.
- Children’s Ministry Leadership Team (Twyla Morgan, Amy Dobson, Sarah Saunders, April Groot, and Craig Reimer) as they address the ever-changing needs of our children and their families, adapting with appropriate curriculums and programming.
From January - June 2022, we saw amazing things happening under the leadership of Pastor David Chelini. Discipleship and leadership development of our youth was keenly experienced! Pastor David’s connection with the students and love for them and desire for them to know Jesus better was evident in all his interactions with each one. As a group the Senior Youth had the opportunity to participate in a retreat with other students in BC. This was a highlight for many as they were able to build relationships outside of our regular weekly events. For Junior Youth, consistent relational interactions with Pastor David and their youth leaders have set a foundation for continued growth. Under Pastor David, our Youth Worship Team was created and students now have the chance to develop giftings of leadership, worship leading skills and musical ability all pointed to Jesus. We continue to develop our relationship with the MCC apartment residents. Summer’s focus was meeting students where they were at, checking in, and leaning into Jesus.
In August, we said goodbye to Pastor David, his wife, Becca and their son, Luca. This was a very difficult goodbye for the youth, the leaders, and David. He had developed a strong team to love on the students and for that, we are grateful. The Chelinis were a huge blessing and their departure was a great loss for our youth ministry.
Please join our Youth Ministry team in prayer as we pray:
- For each of our 25 Senior Youth and 30 Junior Youth students that they will grow in their identity in Christ and be empowered to take what they learn and know into the schools and places God has placed them for such a time as this.
- For our mostly volunteer youth leadership team as they step in to fill in the gaps, giving their lives to see students cared for and pointed to Jesus.
- For wisdom, grace, and understanding for the leadership team as decisions are made in the absence of a full time Youth Pastor.
- For the individual whom God has chosen to lead our Youth Ministry.
In His Grace,
On behalf of the Youth Ministry Team
Please join us in praying...
...for the new disciples of Jesus in our church family and ask God that more would respond to following Him.
...for our Board of Elders: Bob Gammer, Amy Dobson, Keith Warkentin, Lisa Sukau, Rob Larson, and Pastor Rob Dyck.
...that our church family pursues unity, love, grace and truth standing firm against the spiritual attack of the enemy.
...for strength , direction, and encouragement for our volunteer Youth Ministries team.
MEN ON A MISSION
Praise the LORD for the many people, who, under the direction of Del and Sylvia Reinheimer, provide well organized support to our church family with meals, home repairs, and moving help. In 2022, this meant providing meal trains for seven households in a difficult period, one household move, and one household repair.
Praise the LORD that this is just the tip of the iceberg of the reality of all the practical caring that goes on quietly every week in this church family, and through our microChurches.
Please pray for:
- All of our eyes to be open for needs around us, including and especially among seniors experiencing health limitations.
- For wisdom for Del, Sylvia, Pastor Robin and the other pastors, as Care Ministry activities often reveal broader needs to respond to.
- Very practically, that when moving help is needed, that there be provision for the team of strong, young muscles at the right time!
Library & Resource Centre
STRATEGIES IN PURSUIT OF THE MISSION
- Survey Westwood church family to gain understanding of what patrons are looking for.
- Audit of usage of library resources and culling of underused or outdated items,
- Update the library space so items and resources are more visible,
- Engage and equip people with a passion for library materials and operational processes to further serve the congregation,
- Promote new and relevant resources that encompasses a wide range of ages and interests,
- Source new resources that align with Westwood’s sermon series and grow the awareness of relevant materials,
- Host discipleship events such as the quarterly book brunch which reaches a new audience that blends people in various life stages fostering leadership development.
DISCIPLESHIP PRACTICES INCORPORATED WITHIN THE MISSION
- Facilitate book brunches that are collaborative and participatory, and foster learning with discipleship materials in a group setting,
- Expanding services as requested through ongoing surveys and engagement with Westwood attendees,
- Meet the resource needs of all Westwooders, from youngest to oldest and in any stage of life. Examples include Board Books for young children, Large Print books, Audiobooks, DVDs, Fiction, and an expanding teen, junior, and adult non-fiction collection.
God has abundantly provided for Westwood Church once again through his faithful people and we give him all the glory for that! A big thank you to our finance team: Kerri Warkentin, Dave Shauer, Shawn Greydanus, Rob Larson, Bob Gammer, and Pete Willms. Kerri Warkentin took the position of chairperson of the finance team in early 2023.
The biggest news is that we plan to pay off our mortgage in 2023! Westwood Church will be debt free and we are excited about the possibilities that this will give us going forward.
At the end of 2022 we had a surplus of $30,000 and this was mainly due to less wages being paid than expected. Our overall giving was slightly lower than in 2021 and our expenses were higher as we were operating in person for most of the year.
We are so thankful for the resources that God has given us and we want to continue to strive to use them for his purposes and glory.