This summer, I took on the role of Gather Pastor here at CLA! Those of you who have been around awhile know what that means, but for those who are new, let me explain.
As part of our vision of joining God in transformation, we have four priorities. Gathering together is one of these priorities. We have 5 Sunday gatherings every week, two services in Langley and three others across our campuses in Maple Ridge, Sooke, and Recovery, respectively.
Sunday Gatherings are the primary way we gather as a church family to worship together, learn the Scriptures, pray for one another, and collectively create space to hear from the Spirit. It is in these moments together that we embody Jesus and His kingdom. Each Sunday, we learn from Scripture and discover God's ancient, unfolding story, allowing it to form us as followers of Jesus. But we always know that an hour-long Sunday morning service is not the substance of following Jesus, and there's so much more. The weekly gathering is a practice that followers of Jesus have committed to since the start of the church. Still, our gatherings always aim to lead us to greater discipleship pathways, Life Groups, and all that encompasses missional living.
A major percentage of my role as Gather Pastor is to oversee almost everything you hear, see, and experience during a Sunday service, both hands-on and through oversight of staff and key volunteers. This reaches across various teams, including first impressions, worship, production (lights & sound), and the order of service, or what we call 'Service Design' just to name a few. A multitude of volunteers come together as early as 6am on a Sunday to set up and prepare the space that God's church will soon occupy, all to proclaim the Gospel in word and song. It's incredible to watch the commitment of our volunteers to help us create spaces where we can encounter the presence of God. It brings me such joy.
In saying that, the role of the Gather Pastor does come with its challenges. CLA is a 5-generation church. It's beautiful! So many stories, so many different backgrounds, ethnicities, faith journeys, and.... if I can say it... personal preferences.
We hold several core convictions, one of which is that we are committed to being a contemporary church. In both worship & the word, we seek to engage and speak to all 5 generations, but with a bend towards our current cultural moment and a commitment to the next generation.
I am thankful for our pioneers. Those who came before us "kids" and were faithful throughout the years. So many have modelled well what it means to be a follower of Jesus, and there's so much to learn from their experience. We honour and celebrate you. Likewise, we're committed to what's ahead, and I'm desperate for their kids and grandkids to be reached and spiritually formed into lifelong followers of Jesus who have a core value of the weekly gathering.
An effort to design a Sunday service in which everyone loves every aspect can, at times, seem impossible in a church as diverse as CLA. Nevertheless, we do our best to create an atmosphere where all 5 generations can focus on Christ, His Gospel, and the Spirit's work in transforming us.
It's not always an easy role, but it's one that I'm incredibly passionate about. Weekly time spent with the gathered church was crucial in my spiritual formation and discipleship to Jesus. I'm thankful for the opportunity to partner with Pastor Derrick to try and create meaningful and spirit-led gatherings both mid-week and significantly on Sundays through the role of Gather Pastor.
I'll see you on Sunday! We will gather with hope and expectation to encounter the living God and see kingdom transformation, healing, freedom, and renewal.