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Search Update – July 12, 2018 – Short List

Posted on: July 13th, 2018 by Graham Reimer

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.

Job Description Complete!

Posted on: May 5th, 2018 by Graham Reimer

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!

Lead Pastor Job Description

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!

 

Thank you,

Search Committee

 

Lead Pastor Job Description

Don’t Quit

Posted on: July 6th, 2016 by E-Free Lethbridge

Just because I quit at this church, doesn’t mean you should too.

2 years ago, God started stirring in our hearts. And He helped us see that there was change coming on the horizon.  We did not know if that change was going to be a change here at E-Free, or if it meant somewhere else at the time.  We just knew something was coming.

Lethbridge is home. All of our family is here. We love our church family and so, when God began to open a door up in Edmonton, (even though it is the promise land of my beloved Oilers) we didn’t think much of it, but we opened our hearts up to the possibility. At that point though, we turned down the position in light of the transition and challenges that were facing our E-Free church family.  And several months later – when the door remained open, and the role began to change, including more of our dreams and vision, we went to see if this was where God might be directing our path.  Spoiler alert: it was.

Transition in church leadership is never easy.  For either side.

We have grown to love and appreciate so many in our congregation here.  We have been treated like family: prayed for, believed in, entrusted with great responsibility.  We have failed and had others help us pick up all the pieces.  This part of things sucks for us.

And we know it can suck for you too.  You have enjoyed us (most of you I think!) You have seen us grow. You have invested in us, hugged and held our kids, and now you have to watch us pack up and find a new home.  A friend of mine here at the church worded it well when he described it like breaking up with 1200 people all at the same time.  At least, we are leaving Lethbridge and you won’t have to see us with our new love at the grocery store!

It sucks for us, it sucks for you, but in the grand scheme of things it will actually be ok!

I had the privilege of sharing some of these thoughts with our youth ministry team, as we gathered for what would be my last celebration of a ministry year.  Our youth ministry is in a season of transition, that much is obvious.  We are welcoming a young new youth pastor, who will join the team with another fairly new youth pastor.  And there are loads of questions as to what it will be like? And I have to believe though it will be different, it can still be really good.

In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he writes to the church regarding some divisions that were taking place.  There were people within the church who were planting their flag of allegiance to the ministry workers and missionaries that they felt most connected to.  Rather than finding unity as one body, they were starting to splinter based on who they preferred as their pastor. And so some were stating “I follow Paul” while others “I follow Apollos”.  And so to help them correct their understanding, and see the bigger call that was upon their lives, Paul stated this in 1 Corinthians 3:5-7:

“After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us.  I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow.”

It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.

Translation: ministry workers are all entirely replaceable and interchangeable.  Why? Because it doesn’t matter who does the planting, or who does the watering, because it is God who makes growth and transformation happen.

E-Free will continue to plant and water.  To proclaim God’s great gospel, and to create environments where believers can be cared for, nurtured and supported.  Whoever joins the team will be charged with these 2 realities, because these are, at their very core, the great commission that Christ has called us all to.  And though the parts are interchangeable and replaceable, the work and ministry that God will do is a constant.

Will we like the new guy as much as the last guy? Well, probably not – we were pretty special.  Just kidding.  Of course you will, if you allow yourselves to love them as much as you loved us.  Keep in mind we had 7 years to earn that love and trust.  We came here young, inexperienced, and naïve as well!

But my genuine hope, and prayer, is that you will love, embrace, and serve alongside of the new guard with the same passion and vision that you did with us.  Because the mission remains the same, God’s work is not changing, and there are still so many teenagers in this city who need to know and experience God’s great gospel.

Thanks Church, we love you. – Brod.


Brody Jespersen is the outgoing Pastor of Youth Ministry at E-Free. In August, he will be joining the staff of Sherwood Park Alliance Church, in Sherwood Park, Alberta. He has shared his gifts of preaching, youth ministries and missions at E-Free for over 6 years.

Thinking Out Loud . . . about the church

Posted on: May 16th, 2016 by E-Free Lethbridge

May 16, 2016 – Pastor Ian Lawson, lead pastor

I’m amazed by the diversity of the church. There is no gathering of people with greater variety than the local church. She is made up of young and old; singles and families; poor and wealthy; highly educated and those who’ve not finished high school; employers and employees; students and professors; retirees and working; women and men; divorced and happily married (or unhappily married); babies and grandparents; socially awkward and popular. In our church, on any Sunday, we have a multitude of ethnicities, beyond the Mennonites and Dutch! It’s a remarkable gathering of unusual diversity.

Beyond demographics, there is more. Among us, there are various political ideologies: Liberals and NDPs and Conservatives. There is theological diversity on many topics: from hermeneutics, to women in leadership, to views on creation. Some are new followers of Christ, just beginning their faith journey, and others have walked with Christ for many years. Some came to Christ as adults and others as children. Some are mature in faith and others are weak.  There is no gathering that rivals the local church in its diverse perspectives and maturity.

What is it that brings such a gathering together? Diversity like that usually divides. But, we gather with a single purpose. We share in the worship of the King. It’s the object of our worship that unites us, as we give our attention and affections to the risen Christ. We gather together as a divergent people who follow our Savior, King Jesus.

The existence of the local church in all her complexities is nothing short of a miracle. Where else would such an eclectic gathering be found? The existence of the church stands as a testimony to something unusual, even miraculous. I continue to be amazed how the church of Jesus Christ is found in every culture of the world. Other world religions have dominance in a geographical region: Hinduism in India; Islam in Middle East; Buddhism in Far East. Not so with Christianity. We have roughly equal distribution in every continent. There are Christians in every country of the world, whether underground as in Saudi Arabia or very visible as in Korea. These realities about the church are a living apologetic for the Christian faith.

With this amazing diversity, God has chosen to use the church as His instrument for working in the world today. The Church is at the heart of Jesus’ mission: “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). I love the local church. I love our church. In spite of her imperfections and shortcomings, God has chosen to make the church his instrument of blessing in the world. We can have disagreements on matters of hermeneutics and theology, while sharing together the worship of our Lord Jesus Christ.

There are things about the local church that I don’t like. However, I find myself increasingly in love with the Church. Why? Very simply because Jesus is in love with the Church – “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). He even calls the church “his bride”. If Jesus loved the Church that much then we should too!

That’s what I’m thinking about,

Pastor Ian

 

Welcome to the Blog

Posted on: May 15th, 2016 by E-Free Lethbridge

Thanks for taking the time to join us at the new discipleship blog. We want this to be an opportunity for you to hear from staff, ministry leaders and pastor. We want it to be an encouragement to you as you seek to learn more about following Jesus, put that to action and become disciples that make disciples.

Please, use this blog. Share this blog. Interact with this blog and its writers.

And enjoy the first blog from our lead pastor, Ian Lawson.