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Think About the Children!

In a few short weeks we are making some big changes to our Sunday services at Cornerstone.  Because this is such a large change, I wanted to take an extra moment and explain specifically what this will mean for our young families at Cornerstone.  I will do my best to address any questions I think families may have, but please feel free to email me any questions to dawn@cornerstone-church.ca

What will Sunday mornings look like at Cornerstone for families?

Starting May 7th, we will be moving to having one worship service at 9:30am, followed by a Sunday school hour, for all ages, beginning at 11am.  Here is a breakdown of all the children’s programming available during those times.

Overall, our Worship service at 9:30 will now run like our current 2nd service does, while our Sunday school hour will run like our current 1st service does.  Since that sounds confusing, even to me, here is a rundown of what Sunday mornings will start to look like beginning in May.

9:30 am Worship Service – Programs up to Grade 1

Infant nursery – We will have a fully staffed nursery for all infants up to 24 months, available during the entire service.  Our volunteers will be up in the nursery, ready to serve your children by 9:15am so that you can easily make it into the sanctuary in time for the service.  This nursery time will entail play time and snack as well.

Toddler Nursery –   We will have a fully staffed nursery for toddlers, ages 2 & 3 years, available during the entire service.  These volunteers will also be ready to serve your children beginning at 9:15am and are excited to lead a time of play, bible stories, crafts and snack.  Recognizing that young families may only stay for this time on a Sunday morning we have included full Bible teaching curriculum into this nursery during the worship service.

Kids’ Church – Part way through the service, children ages 4 up to grade 1 will be dismissed for a teaching time upstairs in the CE wing.  This program will run the same way it did formerly during the 2nd service with a bible story, craft, games and playtime.  An adult is expected to come upstairs to sign their children in and out of this program.

Kids grade 2 and older – Children that are in grade 2 and up will stay with us in the service.  We understand that it could take time for kids to learn how to stay in the service the entire time….. We also know that every child will be prone to have one of “those days” where it will be harder for them to sit through the service.  We want all of our families to know that it is OK!  We understand that this is a learning process for us all.  We want all of our families to know that we are also committed to making our services as ‘generational friendly’ as possible with colouring sheets and fidget toys being available at the back of the sanctuary, our service components changing between singing, scripture, video, teaching, etc. and also our service time only being just over an hour.

In Between Services

Predominately this is a time for families to gather with the larger Church family in the common areas.

We are asking that parents do not bring their children upstairs to sign in their children until 10 minutes before the Sunday school hour (so at 10:50am).  This allows for our volunteers to have some time to visit with people and also gives us time to pray together as leaders before the teaching time begins.

Children and Youth Library – We do invite families to come up in between services to use our children and youth Library.  The library will be open every Sunday following the worship service.

11 am Sunday school hour

Infant Nursery – children 0-24 months – Adults will be able to sign in their child(ren) beginning at 10:50 on Sunday mornings.  There will be leaders in the nursery who are ready to play and pray with your children and we will also be providing snack (cheerios).

Toddler Nursery (Little Lambs) – For children 2 & 3 years old – This nursery will be ready to have an adult sign in their child beginning at 10:50am.  This hour will include a time of singing, bible story, crafts, snack (goldfish crackers) and playtime.

Pre-School Class (Cubs Corner) – For children ages 4 up to Kindergarten – Children can be signed in beginning at 10:50 and this hour will include a time of singing, bible story, crafts, games, snack (goldfish crackers) and playtime.

Promiseland – Grades 1- 4 – Beginning at 10:50, children can come up to the Big Space in the CE wing where we will have a time of singing, memory verses, offering, prayer and video bible story.  Then the kids will break out into their small groups for some activities, games, prayer, etc.  Those small groups will also have the opportunity to use the gym whenever some of the children’s energy needs to be worn off.

Servers In Training (S.I.T.) – Grades 5-7- This group can come up beginning at 10:45 and sign in for their helping roles for the day.  They will be given the opportunity to serve our younger children for the first 20 minutes or so and then will be able to separate into their own small group time.  This small group time may include a video bible story, discussion, activities, games, etc.  There will also be extra opportunities for this group at the end of their teaching hour because we are moving to one service.  Some examples would be setting up for potlucks/bbq’s, interviewing different servers in the church, running service projects, etc.

We recognize that this may mean some changes for families and you may have some questions that we haven’t addressed here.  Please contact me with any questions or concerns you may have and I will do my absolute best to address them.  We are very excited to see how God is going to work in the hearts of all His people at Cornerstone and we truly believe that moving to one service allows us to better function as the whole Body of the Church.

 

A CAP Spotlight

What makes a good befriender?

In my work with Christians Against Poverty, befriending is something I often talk about. For our clients, having a buddy to walk alongside them is hugely important in helping them stick to their plan to get out of debt. It’s also the most likely way they will encounter and accept the Good News about Jesus Christ and His ability to give them a true fresh start in life and for eternity. So… no pressure, but do you want to be a befriender?

This is also an area where I struggle to find volunteers. I think because there is no way to know what it will actually look like until we know who you’ll be matched up with. It takes some guts to sign up for a volunteer position when we can’t actually tell you what we want you to do! Since I can’t provide a list of tasks for you to take on, perhaps it will help if I give you a list of qualities that make good befriender:

A dedicated follower of Christ: Great befrienders are NOT people who have their lives all together, with perfect families and clean houses. They are people who look to Jesus through their mess and imperfection, and find Him willing and able to provide for our needs in every situation. And people who sometimes don’t see that provision until after the fact, like me.

 

An evangelist: WAIT! Keep reading. This does not mean that you must have the ‘Spiritual gift of Evangelism’ and that your joy in life comes from sharing the gospel with every person you meet, from the mail delivery person to the person behind you in line at the grocery store. It could mean that you’ve never actually shared your faith with anyone, but you recognize that Jesus asked everyone who follows Him to go and make disciples, and you want to start making a purposeful effort now to do that. I’m here to tell you I’ve been there, and I can give you some tools to get started.

Flexible: CAP clients have a wide variety of skills, backgrounds, and levels of exposure to and openness to faith. Some are amazingly capable of doing all of the tasks I set before them as part of our debt relief program, others need moral support and others need actual help. Some have been abused and are mentally and physically broken and alone, others have family and friends who are amazingly supportive and helpful. Some are already believers, actively involved in their churches, others would prefer for you to refer to God as ‘Mother Creator’ or not talk about Him at all. I’m learning to fix my eyes on Jesus, and without compromising my faith, just go with it. You can learn too!

Available and Boundaried: I suspect you know what available means, but let me explain what I mean when I say ‘boundaried.’ It means that your availability is defined. You can be contacted in the way(s) that you are comfortable with and at the times you say are okay. It means saying yes when you mean it, and no when you need to. It means creating space and time for a new person in your life, while preserving space and time for connecting with God, with your family, and for maintaining your other responsibilities. I have not, so far, had a client demand excessive amounts of time or contact from myself or a befriender, so please don’t let this definition cause you to fear that possibility. Placing boundaries in the beginning of a relationship helps the other person know how to treat you, so that your relationship can grow in a healthy way. This doesn’t mean the boundaries can’t move if a friendship develops. But it’s important to help you feel safe as you dive into the role of befriending without knowing who you’ll connect with or what your role may be in their life.

That’s it! No problem, right? If you’re looking at that list and thinking maybe that could be you, but you’re not sure how to do all those things – great! That’s EXACTLY what I’m here for! I’m organizing a training and information night for all current and potential befrienders, so you can come and learn how to do some of those things and discover what it might look like for you to change someone’s life, for REAL, and for the better. Details of time and place are coming soon and will be on the website: cornerstone-church.ca, and in the Cornerstone Church bulletin. You can also call or e-mail me directly for more details: 306-220-7907; lisa.hrycan@capcanada.org.

I also want to say that befrienders are the life and soul of what we do in our partnership with CAP. Without befrienders, it’s just debt counselling. I have 20 hours a week and many people who need help, so can’t change people’s lives in the small amount of time that I can give each one. But there are HUNDREDS of us, and as we allow the Holy Spirit to work through us, we can be the family that each person needs to draw them into a relationship with Jesus. And THAT changes people’s lives!

 

Why CAP?

Matthew 28:19-20
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

This verse is often referred to as The Great Commission. Jesus spoke these words to His 11 disciples. And the implication is that the command applies to all those who became disciples because of the faithful teaching of those 11 men. That includes all believers today, including you and me. But have you ever read those words and wondered how to do that? Me too!

…And then God led to me Christians Against Poverty (CAP)! This verse is one of the reasons that CAP exists. When John Kirkby, CAP’s founder, became a Christian in the mid-1990’s he became absolutely passionate about seeing others freed from the bondage of sin as he has been. Having recently fought his way out of the pit of debt, John couldn’t help but see the parallels in his life. As the burden of debt was lifted from his shoulders through budgeting and hard work, so Jesus had lifted his burden of sin, allowing him to experience life to the full, as Jesus spoke about in John 10:10.

Out of this experience, CAP was born, providing practical help in the form of free, personalized debt counselling to those who are overwhelmed by debt, alongside the saving truth of the gospel. The two fit together naturally. And the partnership between CAP and our local church provides opportunities for many of us to come alongside those who have been overwhelmed and share with them how the good news of the gospel has changed our lives and how it can change theirs. Each CAP client needs a befriender to share the truth that they are precious and valuable because they are created by God. As we do this, in word and in deed, we carry out the Great Commission.

If you think you’ve been floating along in your walk with God and not actively working out this commandment, our work with CAP provides an excellent opportunity to start! I’ll be here beside you to provide training and support, so together we can “…Spur one another on toward love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)

Contact Lisa Hrycan: lisa.hrycan@capcanada.org or 306-220-7907

The Choice is Yours

This past October I turned 70 and I want you to know that I was deeply offended by that. How can I be 70 when it seems like just yesterday that I turned 65 and began a career on the government payroll? And it seems like just a short while before that that I got married and we had our first baby. I must be getting somewhat older because that baby just turned 44 two days before my 70th birthday. I got a haircut this morning and I couldn’t believe all the grey hair that was on the cape my “hair dresser” wrapped around my neck. It seems to me like we no longer have barbers (does that make me old too). I think there must be a conspiracy of gigantic proportions bent on making me feel old. Well, it’s not going to work. David Myles has recorded a song that I love. The chorus says “I’m getting old, but I’m not old yet.” I have to admit that I am getting older but I won’t concede that I am old. That’s for other people.

I took a class in “spiritual gerontology” (that’s ministry to seniors for the uninitiated) from Dr. Richard Johnson in which he reminded us that our age is simply the number of times we have been around the sun. That’s all it is! Our age doesn’t have to define us. I had a grandmother who became old in her 40’s. She convinced herself that because she was a grandmother she must be old and so she became old. She spent around 50 years being old. If cancer or heart disease or dementia don’t kill me I will probably die of old age but I plan to continue to be alive for as many years as God sees fit to give me. I am a fan of the Canadian comedian Red Green who said “You can’t stay young forever, but you can remain immature indefinitely.” While I don’t aspire to perpetual immaturity I do want to live in a state of youthfulness. In Lamentations 3:22-23 we read “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Stop a minute and reread those words. God’s love and faithfulness will never grow old and because of that neither will I. Here’s another passage that I like to hang my hat on. Isaiah 40:30-31 “Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

In June I am going to be one of the retreat speakers for seniors at Nipawin Bible College and I will be looking at 12 keys to spiritual vitality. We will look at how we can live agelessly no matter how many times the spaceship “earth” has travelled around the sun while we were passengers. Being old or being young is a choice and I choose to be youthful. Join me.

New Year for Cornerstone Families

In our family ministries, January doesn’t really feel like a New Year to us.  If we’re honest, since we mostly follow the school year, September always has much more of a new feeling. BUT there are still some exciting things happening in our Family Ministries that I want to share with you.

To start, our youngest people we serve, our nursery and preschool programs, have all had mini ‘graduations’ this January.  For all the children that have turned 2 or 4 between October-January, they have the opportunity to move up to the next age group class.  For some, that comes with a sense of excitement and getting to be with the ‘big kids’ (or play with the big kids’ toys).  For some it means a new environment, with new leaders, and that can bring a sense of hesitation or uncertainty.  For that reason we leave the graduation decision up to the parents…. it is our goal that every child is in the best environment possible to learn about Jesus and to grow in their relationship with God and with His people, the Church.  Please take a moment to pray for all the children that are transitioning to new classrooms; that they would feel safe and be able to hear and know the Good News of Jesus. 

We also wanted to continue in our desire to help families grow together spiritually.  Our CE Team has been reading the book, Practical Family Ministry, together and have really found some great encouragement for families to take a step forward and be intentional in growing in their relationships to God.  As a mom of 3, working full-time, I understand how difficult making time for family devotions can be.  At certain times in our family’s life it has seemed impossible, but the importance of it has never changed.  Our CE Team discussed the concept of starting somewhere…. read a book (we have lots in our library), watch a show (Right Now Media  is amazing for kid’s shows and Bible studies!) or even just take an extra moment to say that prayer or have that quick chat about how God helped us today, or how He might want us to react to something that wasn’t so great in our day.

So in line with starting somewhere, we will have some bible study material available for our families in the lobby this Sunday. First, your family will go to Right Now Media and watch the first episode of ‘Theo’ Volume 1 – God’s Love.   If you aren’t signed up, we will have a sheet at the table… all we need is an email!

Theo

We have printed off the first lesson of the study for you, as well as a chart so you can record your progress. Remember this is about starting somewhere!  If it takes you 3 weeks to do 1 week, you still did more than if you hadn’t tried anything at all.  Don’t beat yourself  up…. trust that the Holy Spirit will take your family’s teaching time and multiply it for God’s Kingdom purposes.  If your family doesn’t enjoy this study, don’t fret, there are so many different options out there and I would love to personally chat with you and brainstorm some ideas that might work best for you!

Something that we are doing this year that is new to us, is a retreat we are co-leading with Pastor Michael and his Student Ministries Team.  March 17-19 we will be hosting an adolescence retreat called ‘Equipped: Creating Space for Crucial Conversations‘ that will be held at Ranger Lake Bible Camp.  We will have a table set up in the lobby at Cornerstone the next few Sundays or you can find the brochure here.  We are so excited to be able to offer this opportunity to our families.  And to stay in line with one of our core beliefs that parents are the spiritual leaders in their homes, Pastor Michael and I will merely be acting as facilitator for this retreat (except when I am in the role of mom there… eeeek!).  If you would like anymore information for this retreat, talk to Michael or I either in the lobby or during the work week.

There are many things that I could share that are on the horizon, but I don’t want to take over Cornerstone’s whole website!  If you filled out a survey that Cornerstone Family ministries sent out recently, please know that we heard you and are looking at how to better serve you all… whether it’s new spiritual parenting classes, more opportunities for community and relationship, resources or more.  If you haven’t filled out our survey yet and would like to, please contact me and I will send you the link.  It is anonymous and takes under 5 minutes to do, but it is valuable to our Team as we seek out how to be more effective and efficient in serving you all.

While it is true that January does not quite feel like a ‘new start’ for us in Family Ministry, you can definitely tell that we are not sitting idle.  We are striving to grow in our ability to disciple… and to be discipled.  We appreciate all of your prayers as we seek God’s leading in all the new endeavours we are discovering.