Dear Church Family,
We are pleased to share with you that Geoff Heth has accepted our invitation to serve as Lead Pastor of the Evangelical Free Church of Lethbridge!
On Monday evening, 98% of the membership voted “Yes!” Geoff spent the past couple of days listening for God’s voice and in final consultation with family, mentors, and praying friends before contacting the Board with his acceptance on Wednesday evening.
Geoff will join our staff on February 1, 2019, with opportunities for connection through the coming months. Thank you for your trust and faithful prayers as we have journeyed through this process. Please continue to pray for Geoff and Janel and their family as they finish their schooling, wrap up commitments in Calgary, and begin a transition to life in Lethbridge.
We are thrilled to welcome the Heths to our church family and are excited to see what God has in store for us and our community in the coming years!
With Gratitude and Praise,
The EFCL Board
We wanted to make sure that you had a decent opportunity to “meet” Geoff Heth before the formal candidating weekend. Geoff is the Board’s preferred candidate to become our new Lead Pastor. To hear his heart, some of his passions, and some light hearted conversation as well with our Board Chairmain Rich Thiessen.
Getting to know Geoff:
Getting to know Geoff Part 2…the lighter side 🙂
We are pleased to introduce to you Geoff Heth, the Board’s preferred candidate for our new Lead Pastor. For the last 16 years, Geoff and his wife, Janel, have been part of a healthy church experience at RockPointe Church in Calgary, where his most recent position was Pastor of Community Engagement. Geoff has also served as the Site Pastor for their Bearspaw Extension and Adult Ministries Pastor. He has 25 years of pastoral experience and is presently in the final stage of completing his Doctor of Ministry with an emphasis in Leadership at Gordon–Conwell Theological Seminary. A great day for him would be going to a retreat centre with his journal and a Bible. Geoff loves both playing and watching sports, he likes a good work out, reading, travelling with his family, and supporting his wife’s hobbies.
Janel has served as the Worship Pastor at the Bearspaw site for the past seven years. She is currently finishing her education degree and her dream is to teach music in the public school system. Janel loves to run, play sports, camp, hike, garden, craft, and beat Geoff in a game of tennis or squash.
Geoff and Janel and have been married for 25 years and have four children they are very proud of: Madellyn, 23 years old, is in the final year of her pharmacy degree; Zachariah, 21, is currently at Minot University in his second to last year of a psychology/social work degree; Halle, 18, is presently serving with YWAM in Australia and will return in February; Rylie is 16 years old and in grade 11 in Calgary.
One of the Heths’ greatest joys in ministry is getting to work with a team of people to expand the Kingdom of God. Ephesians 4:11–14 speaks about the goal of leadership and gives the process of how a team should work together. “So Christ Himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Geoff has said that, “Working together to build up the body of Christ and seeing the transformation and growth that come to the body of Christ is so much fun to do together.”
Geoff and Janel look forward to learning more about EFCL, the community of Lethbridge and meeting many of you, saying, “We humbly seek God’s direction as we begin this journey together.”
Hello Efree Lethbridge!
Great news was announced last Sunday by Board of Directors Chairman, Rich Thiessen. We will summarize his announcement below, but you may also go back to the “media” section and find last weeks sermon (August 26th) where it was announced live after Josh Raine’s message.
In July, the Search Committee presented a preferred candidate for the position of Lead Pastor to the Board of Directors. The Board was pleased to interview Geoff Heth for the position on August 6. Geoff and his wife, Janel, also met with the staff and spent time with the Lead Team on August 7.
After prayerful consideration and discussion, the Board extended to Geoff a conditional offer of employment, subject to membership affirmation and confirmation of employment details, which he has accepted. There are conditions yet to be confirmed, including a candidating weekend (date TBA), where the congregation will have opportunity to meet the Heths and hear directly from Geoff. The candidating weekend would be quickly followed by a membership meeting, where members will be asked to vote on whether to call Geoff Heth to the position of Lead Pastor of EFCL. A vote of affirmation will require 75% in order to proceed. Geoff and Janel Heth, the Board, and the Search Committee request your prayers as we move into this next stage of the process.
Questions? Please contact the Board at email@example.com.
Please continue your prayers and fasting during this time as we pray for excitement, unity, timing, and above all God to draw us closer to Him and for us disciples to continue making disciples.
Thank you Church.
and protect you.
25 May the Lord smile on you
and be gracious to you.
26 May the Lord show you his favour
and give you his peace.’
Church, we have exciting news!
We have narrowed our search to one final candidate. What an amazing journey it has been to arrive to this current stage of the search process. God has been good and we have felt the Holy Spirit’s leading over the past 10 months, especially this last month which has brought us to where we are today. We have been brought to tears at times, deep prayer, and moments of laughter and joy. We firmly believe that God has provided us our new lead pastor to lead our local church into the days and years ahead. We also feel the need to report to everyone that will read this, that God is working through incredible leaders here in Canada. All of the candidates that had applied were excellent men of God and absolutely pursue Jesus in all they do. It has been an honour and joy to see the Canadian landscape have excellent men of God wanting to impact our world, our country, and specifically our city of Lethbridge.
What does a “Final Candidate” mean exactly?
– Reference checks have been completed for all the final lead pastor applicants we narrowed our search to.
– Once reference checks were completed, the Search Committee had a series of presentations and meetings with the board.
– Several meetings later and dialogue between the Search Committee and EFCL Board, we collectively decided to pursue one applicant
– Series of interviews have been conducted with the final applicant
Now we patiently and prayerfully wait. We now are trusting the next phase of this process to God and our EFCL board. They will be spending the days ahead finalizing logistics, a formal offer, transition from no current lead pastor (since Feb 2018) to a lead pastor, and timing, etc. No formal hire has been made yet and this part of the “search” is between the EFCL Board and the final candidate. If this person chooses to accept the offer from the Board, he would then choose an appropriate weekend with the board to have a “Candidating Weekend”. This is a weekend where the final candidate speaks to the congregation on Sunday morning and is a time to meet us as a church.
We are so excited that we are at this stage of the search and know that board, staff, and us as an entire congregation are as well. God has great things planned our EFCL and our beautiful city. We are so excited to see the next phase of Lethbridge and how we can continue to make disciples in the name of Jesus Christ. Please continue to pray over leadership and staff at this time as we know that the enemy would much rather hurt and derail God’s plans for our church. Please pray for plenty of unity, peace, wisdom and joy in the days ahead.
Thank you so much for your continued love, prayer and support.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
6 Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.
Thank you again for your continued prayer and support for the Efree Board and Search Committee. As we journey together towards a final candidate we continue to ask for your prayers and fasting as the Holy Spirit leads. We are very excited to be in this stage of the search and continue to feel God guiding and leading us. Please add praying for the Board and Search Committee on your prayer journal, fridge, chalk board, etc or in your mind as your pray regularly. God hears all our prayers and we praise Him for this.
We are excited to give you more updates in the days and weeks ahead!
Thank you so much church. We love you dearly and thank you for walking along with us, the board, and our amazing staff. Please be praying for all of us.
“I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God.” – Ephesians 1:16-17
Thank you everyone for your patience and respect during this “quiet phase”, where we process applications, and pray, pray, pray. As a search committee, we continue to feel God’s leading and presence at our meetings and in our personal lives and we attribute much of this to your continued prayers, support and encouragement. Thank you congregation, staff, board and fellow disciples for journeying with us.
We have been overwhelmed by the strength of the applicants that were received before the deadline of June 30th. We are so very blessed as a church to be in a position to receiving applications from phenomenal and godly men pursuing Jesus in all that they do. What an incredible journey we have had as a search committee watching God work and move in the hearts of these applicants to see who God has chosen for our local church. We have full confidence that the Lord knows exactly who we need and we humbly wait for this confirmation from Him.
We have been tasked by the board to review all applicants to a “short list”, and then present this short and formal list to them. During this time we will begin to contact references that were provided by the applicants and follow our search committee manual that has been well laid out by the E-Free national conference. This guide continues to be an incredible asset and allows to walk in faith and also act professional as a local church body. The reviewing and finalizing of the short list and contacting all references is labour intensive and emotionally demanding. Please pray for energy as the volunteer hours will be comparable to a full time job in the weeks ahead, but we are finding ourselves thriving as a team and experiencing pure joy during this phase.
We meet with the board next week to present this final short list and then will move in partnership with the board towards the end goal of interviews. References obviously will play a significant factor in who is interviewed and if multiple will be, or just one applicant. This where the communication, partnership and leadership will be critical between board and search committee. Please be praying for us.
At this time we do not feel it will be appropriate to indicate the number of applications received by the deadline of June 30th, nor do we feel it would be to proper to disclose how many applicants have made the shortlist. We truly want to honour everyone in the process and ensure they are protected, confidential and respected at every stage. We do feel comfortable saying we are blessed as a congregation to receive the applications that we have to date and are humbled by their desires to serve God. It is a beautiful thing when an applicant desires employment to lead our church and openly states in their resume that they want the best for our church whether it is them chosen or not. Incredible! This type of applicant and resume is not what you see every day. 🙂 The leaders that God has created in our wonderful country is astounding and He is doing good things here in Canada and beyond.
Lastly, we do not wish to deliver hard and fast dates on when the new lead pastor (whoever that is) will start. This will be a conversation that will be had with the board and the applicant(s) in the days to come. We have faith that it will come together in God’s perfect timing and that brings us great peace as we also wonder about a start date.
Thank you everyone for journeying with us. We love you and your prayers.
“Teach me knowledge and good judgement, for I trust your commands.” Pslam 119:66.
May 14, 2018
After many conversations by the Board, Lead Team, and Directors of E-Free West, and after much prayer and consideration, we have decided to wind down the E-Free West Sunday service.
E-Free West began four years ago with a group of people passionate about impacting West Lethbridge with the gospel. We have appreciated the obvious growing desire its members have for building intentional relationships with our westside neighbours. This congregation has been a welcoming home where many people have found encouragement and connection to God and His Church. Many of its members we may never have had the opportunity to reach through our south campus. Since the very beginnings of E-Free West, we have seen God at work in so many ways—from sorting out logistical details, providing leadership and volunteers, to changed lives and incredible discipleship. Those who have walked through our doors to engage in worship, small group, and community life at E-Free West have become a part of our church family.
This decision brings many emotions with it, and we look to the Lord for guidance, wisdom and strength in navigating through the transition. God’s Word gives us assurance that He is for us and for our city, even the midst of these disappointments. “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.” (Proverbs 18:10)
Please pray. Pray for those who call E-Free West home. Pray that they would continue to seek Christ and draw near to Him through this transition. Pray that they would find a place to land as part of a church family where they can continue to grow and also serve. Pray for the congregation as they continue to meet for worship for three more Sundays, serve their neighbours through the westside Clothing Exchange and Summer Day Camp, and explore other ways to build relationships with neighbours. Pray for wisdom, guidance, and peace for the Koops as they continue to shepherd the people under their care through this transition.
We and the congregation of E-Free West thank you for your prayers and support.
In His Service,
The Board of Directors and Lead Team
FAQs Regarding the Closure of the E-Free West Sunday Service
What is E-Free West?
• E-Free West is a satellite ministry of the Evangelical Free Church of Lethbridge that meets on the westside for Sunday worship services at 4 pm, with high involvement in community groups during the week.
• Beginning as an idea proposed by a core group of committed disciples with a passion for reaching their westside neighbours, the first step launched in January 2014 as “The Crossing” service at E-Free’s south campus. Running as an 11:00 am Sunday service in the gym for a year, the service ended in January 2015 to focus on discipleship training and strategy with a core leadership team, heading toward a westside service launch that fall with 100 committed people.
• In September 2015, E-Free West launched with Sunday services at 9:49 am at Columbia Assisted Living, led by Scott Currie, with attendance settling in around 75 (over 6 months). When Scott resigned to pursue further studies abroad, Allister and Danielle Koop, part of the core group since the proposal stage, were hired to share a part time role as Site
• Navigating the logistics and challenges of starting a new ministry, including a move to Westside Community Church in August 2017, E-Free West’s passion has remained strong for reaching the westside community. The Koops have been able to form strong relational bonds with the people of E-Free West and their leadership has been respected and appreciated.
What were the deciding factors in bringing the E-Free West Sunday service to a close?
• The availability of affordable and appropriate space has been a challenge for E-Free West from the start. The only facility that was available when the ministry launched on the westside was Columbia Assisted Living, a Senior’s Care facility. E-Free West made this facility work for a year and a half, however in the summer of 2017 circumstances necessitated a change of location. The only available venue, Westside Community Church, required a change in time to Sundays at 4 pm.
• With the shift in time and location, attendance that had been slowly declining suddenly dropped sharply in August and again at Christmas, falling below the critical mass required to keep the service viable. (Worship service attendance in 2018 has averaged less than 30.)
• Recognizing that the 4 pm service time was a significant challenge for both those in attendance as well as a many of those who had chosen to attend elsewhere, we attempted to find a venue that would allow for a morning service. However no appropriate, affordable location was found.
• Following ongoing conversations involving the Koops, Lead Team, and Board considering the vision of E-Free West and the support required to maintain and rebuild the ministry, and after much prayerful deliberation, leadership reached the conclusion that we do not have the financial or organizational support for a satellite service at this time without pulling resources from other key areas of our discipleship strategy.
What is the timeline and communication plan?
We are planning a 4-week wrap up of E-Free West, which began with a verbal announcement following the E-Free West service on May 13.
• Tuesday, May 1 – A special meeting was held to inform the E-Free West Leadership Team
• May 7-12 – Allister and Dani personally inform individual members of E-Free West
• Sunday, May 13 – Public announcement at the E-Free West service
• Monday, May 14 – Whole church informed by email including FAQs
• Tuesday, May 22 – Family Meeting for the E-Free West congregation
• Sunday, May 27 – Second to last service with Allister teaching
• Sunday, June 3 – E-Free West Celebration / Prayer and Worship Service
Do we have a different plan for reaching the west side of Lethbridge?
• While we do not have a strategic plan for engaging the westside specifically at this point, we have expressed a priority for increasing engagement and partnerships with the community across our entire city.
• We expect that discussion and planning around building relationships with those living on the westside will continue under the umbrella of Community Engagement.
• The core leadership team of E-Free West feels a calling to reach unchurched people on the westside and our prayer is that whether as a community group or individually, this team will continue to be active in ministering together among the westside community.
• The Koops have been asked to meet with the Bard and contribute a report, sharing from their perspective the unique needs of the West Side, opportunities for ministry, and lessons the church can learn from their experience at E-Free West to be more effective in ministry in the future.
Does this mean we won’t start other satellite ministries in the future?
• Not necessarily. While E-Free West did not grow as originally envisioned, God has been at work at E-Free West and our church as a whole through our experience on the westside. The work done there has been valuable—relationships formed (some that we would never have had opportunity to build through the services at the south campus), ministry experience gained, leadership and serving opportunities for a large percentage of the congregation, partnering with hosts, and growing as disciples determined to live intentionally for the kingdom, making the most of every opportunity to seek and serve their neighbours in their westside community.
• Since launching E-Free West, we have learned many things about satellite ministry, both from experience and from other churches. Reports on our experience and the lessons learned though E-Free West will be prepared for the board to help guide future conversations.
• If we felt God’s leading us toward another satellite ministry in the future, we would consider the opportunity, taking into account the lessons learned through our experience with E-Free West. We are encouraged to learn retrospectively but also think and dream about the future.
What about the individuals who call E-Free West home?
The Koops are contracted by the church through July 31, 2018. Following the wrap-up of E-Free West services on June 3, the Koops will use their remaining time on staff to continue pastoring their congregation through this transition, encouraging individuals to settle into other E-Free worship and ministry settings or other churches where they can continue to thrive and grow, and continuing the ministry to the westside though the westside Clothing Exchange (June 2) and the westside Summer Day Camp (July 9–13).
I have more questions, who can I talk to?
Please feel free to contact any Board or Lead Team member, or start a conversation by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Search Committee Update – May 5 2018
We made it!
We made it across the job description finish line!
The final version of the job description has been carefully crafted, reviewed, edited and prayed over many times. We as a church have officially launched our lead pastor position into the public eye after months of prayer, anticipation and excitement. As a search committee we thank you as a congregation and fellow disciples for your patience and support as we journeyed towards this phase. We are very excited to see who the Lord has prepared for us!
We truly believe the Holy Spirit has sculpted the job description as we came humbly before Him in prayer. With that as the foundation, the board, search committee, our former lead pastor Ian Lawson, district superintendent, staff (all were interviewed), and the congregational survey helped get us to this final draft. We are very thankful for the teamwork, collaboration, love and support that surrounded us as we did this work. What a joy it is to serve here at E-Free Lethbridge!
What happens now?
We have just sent out the job description to key contacts, leaders and influencers as of late this week, as well as posting it at Christian colleges and universities across Canada. The job description will also be posted to our website for public viewing and will be searchable worldwide as of May 6, 2018. It is prudent for us to share that this new phase we are now entering will be confidential, as we protect all applicants sending in resumes in the days and weeks ahead. Thank you for understanding and honouring this.
We want to encourage you all as a congregation to continue to use this “gap period” wisely, prayerfully, and productively. Believe it or not, it has only been 3 months since Ian’s last Sunday message to us! Thank you for your continued prayers, serving and volunteering, tithes and offering, and your commitment to the ministries that take place here from week to week. It is a joy watching us all continue to serve God and each other during this “gap period”. There are so many amazing things that continue to happen every week in and outside of the walls of E-Free Lethbridge. Please continue to pray for board, the staff and us as the search committee, as we still need your prayers. Thank you!
Many thank you’s to pass on:
- Thank you to the staff and board for persevering and leading well during this time. They have all done exceptionally well and have served with great amounts of joy and excitement. We have a great team that leads us and we are proud to call this church home!
- Thank you to the staff that helped us as a search committee in different areas of research, document preparation and editing, survey creation and completion, marketing, communication, and the list goes on and on. This is an additional task that was placed in front of you on top of regular day-to-day duties and you all helped willingly.
- Thank you, Congregation, for your love, support, and prayers. They were felt continuously and were more encouraging than you realize. Your prayers gave us strength and confidence that was not our own and we needed that! Thank you everyone!
Please continue to check the blog and bulletin for future announcements as we journey in the days ahead. We are excited to give you updates when possible!
Anyone from the church or community is welcome to choose free items to meet their needs.
South Campus Gym (4717 24 Ave. S): May 26 from 10 am–2 pm | E-Free West (480 McMaster Blvd W): June 2 from 10 am–2 pm
We are collecting donations of clean, gently-used men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing and shoes until Friday, May 18. No household items please.
Donation Locations & Times:
South Campus in Room 105 — Monday–Thursday 9-5, Friday 9-noon, or at Weekend Services
E-Free West — Monday–Friday 10-4 or Sundays at 4 pm
Contact Audra to help with sorting or on the weekend of the event (329.3125).
In January and February 2018, our congregation was invited to participate in a survey to help the Search Committee understand what our church looks like now, what our vision is for the future, to find the right Lead Pastor, and to provide useful information for the new Lead Pastor when he begins his ministry with us. Our deepest thanks to the 500 people who shared their feedback and comments with such thoughtful consideration. We are encouraged by your responses and comments, which will be used alongside other resources as we collaborate with the board to craft a job description. Thank you for praying with us as we continue to seek God’s guidance in the search for our new Lead Pastor.
Note: The following is a summary of the survey results and do not include analysis of the “Comments” section of the survey.
Overview of Survey Respondents
• 60% female and 40% male
• Country of Origin: Canada = 89%, with respondents also from: Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Philippines, Russia, United Kingdom, Zimbabwe
• 62% members and 38% non-members
• 83% felt membership was important
• 73% of respondents volunteered in church
• 47% of respondents volunteer in the community
Top Reasons Respondents Attend E-Free
• 74% feel that our church strengthens their faith
• 56% feel that our church strengthens their family, 35% felt it does to some extent
• 51% said they are being discipled in their walk with Christ, 42% say they are to some extent
Top things Our Congregation Feels Characterize Our Church
These are the top ten results. Respondents were asked to choose their top 5, so percentages reflect a summary of their five choices.
• 66% feel they are learning and growing as a result of the Biblical teaching, 30% say they are to some extent
• 74% feel confident in the staff led team, 21% say they are to some extent
• 66% are aware of opportunities to use their gifts in the church, 27% say they are to some extent
• 40% say they use their gifts at E-Free, 41% say they do to some extent
• 42% say E-Free is meeting needs in the community, 53% say we are to some extent
• 46% say they feel the name of our church reflects who we are, 41% say it does to some extent
Top Attributes Desired in the New Lead Pastor
• 36% feel the age of our new lead pastor doesn’t matter, 25% prefer age 30-45, 34% prefer age 46-55
• 55% feel the marital status of the new Lead Pastor does not matter, 44% prefer married with children
Have questions or comments? Feel free to contact Sid Bergsma, Search Committee Chairperson, or any member of the committee.
To view more survey results, click here.