Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
This fall and into 2021, ‘COVID 2.0’ showed the importance of that verse in the life of our church community. As 40+ fall groups began mostly meeting in-person, many expressed thankfulness to finally share life face-to-face. Some continued to meet online because of member’s compromised health, work schedules, or physical location. There were several seniors’ groups that began meeting online for the first time, allowing the blessing of technology to help them maintain relationships, teaching time and prayer. Adaptability and flexibility for all groups were key as sudden government restrictions quickly stopped the meeting of groups in-person, and then reinstated in-person groups a short while later. The perseverance and patience to continue doing life together and build each other up in Christ no matter what the circumstances, was truly evident in this season. The winter sermon series saw around a dozen groups being created or expanded to allow people to experience community. Several groups continued for more than the initial “Unfazed” sermon series. In spite of the unpredictability, God was still in control and His spirit was still moving in the lives of His people as they found new ways to be His hands and feet in the church, with their neighbours, and in Central Alberta.
Alpha this fall resumed in-person meeting of approximately 20 people, Winter Alpha ran fully online with 19 members, and Spring Alpha is in-person with 25 participants. Celebrate Recovery has run as a hybrid group, with capped attendance in-person, alongside online their online group. This set-up allowed the group to continue uninterrupted and allowed for an easy switch-over to a totally online format when restrictions deemed it necessary.
Throughout this year we have seen Zoom meetings be both a blessing and also frustrating for our group participants and our group facilitators. We are very grateful to those facilitators that took extra efforts to ensure genuine connection was able to happy despite the hurdles of the last year. This year was also a challenge from a staffing perspective. We had a complete year without a Community Life Pastor, since Pastor Jason left early Spring of 2020. Kimberly has been assisting community life throughout the year while Amanda was on maternity leave. Kimberly has done a great job learning the computer systems and support our group facilitators extremely well. Pastor Denise has also continued to be an extra support to the community life team and provided practical and spiritual guidance.
Pastor Denise has given leadership to the baptism process over this year and helped those taking this important step of faith. Denise has developed and taught the Foundations course this spring. Helping those new in faith to build a strong theological foundation for their faith journey. We are looking forward to many more people attending the Foundations course over the next year.
We are extremely grateful to have Pastor Jordan Cavanaugh joining Community Life this month (June 2021). He will give us leadership and be a great pastor shepherd for our group leadership in the years to come. Jordan has served well in our families ministries departments over many years, and will bring with him a heart for building authentic relationships throughout the entire community of CrossRoads.
As we anticipate coming out of COVID restrictions in the near future, we know that helping people reconnect into community at CrossRoads is a priority as a church and a real felt need among those who attend. This year, we are looking for many people to step into group facilitation and group participation.
- Pastor Shawn