In Fall 2017 we began our North Site congregation! This started with a 6 week gathering of a core group that will be the first stage of the new congregation. We are continuing to meet in 2018.

Our vision for North Site is to reach out in places where God is working but the church has not been present. We will be focusing on mission training and developing small missional communities at this time. We will be delaying public Sunday gathering until at least fall of 2018 and maybe longer. Throughout 2018 we will continue to be inviting people to consider engaging with this initative.

Please email Dale Dirksen (click name) if you are interested in joining this initiative or just have questions. We would like to see the core group grow over the next few months.

 

In case you wondered…

… we have invited Nathan McCorkindale to be our North Site pastor – he accepted. Please pray for Nathan and his family as they anticipate an August 15 start date with Forest Grove Community Church.

North Site Core Group

We hope to see our North Site core group grow. If you love the idea of our vision and want to be part of it, please contact Dale Dirksen for more about how to get involved. If you are are interested in discerning with us whether you might be a good fit for the leadership team, please click HERE for more information about the process or to download the discernment form.

North Site Pastoral Search

We have invited Nathan McCorkindale to candidate for the North Site pastor role. This will happen on March 4, 2018. He will speak at both Attridge services on that day and be available for a meeting with any FGCC people at 4PM that day as well. The congregations of FGCC will be invited to vote on the process to hire Nathan at the Congregation meeting the evening of March 4 (starts at 5:30PM with a chili supper). Click the HERE for more information about Nathan.

We are in the process of discerning a more specific vision for our North Site. Details are below.

We are also looking for people who might be interested in being part of the leadership team for our North Site. If you are interested in discerning with us whether you might be a good fit for the leadership team, please click HERE for more information about the process.

Our pastoral search team has been reviewing resumes and are in dialogue with applicants. We hope to have a recommendation to Staff and Council some time in November.

North Site Emerging Vision
We are developing a vision for what ministry at our North Site might look like. This will be in process for a while but some general components and implications are below. People interested in the leadership team should have a good understanding of this vision and be able to commit to it.

We anticipate that the focus of mission (outreach) for the North Site will be two-fold.

  1. The Silverwood Heights neighbourhood – this is a very large and quite affluent neighbourhood. People living there include long time Saskatoon residents, recently or soon to be retired people, an immigrant population and others. The overall income is quite high ($110,000 plus per household) and there are quite a few people who are nearing retirement age. There are schools in this neighbourhood but very few churches. Our North Site is located on a main road in this area of the city and has high visibility.
  2. The North Industrial Area – this is a place where thousands of Saskatoon residents work. We recognize that they do not necessarily live in the Silverwood Heights neighbourhood but we also recognize that they are willing to drive to work so driving to be part of community of faith would not be a barrier.

Initial implications for this two-fold focus will be related to evaluation of effectiveness of the North Site. In other words, we will evaluate regularly based on whether we are accomplishing the two objectives above. These areas of focus will impact how the North Site is unique as compared to Attridge and Broadway.

Some of the methodology that has been identified already:

  1. We anticipate that the North Site leadership team (10-15 people) and core launch team (20-30 people) will spend significant time learning to understand the two areas of focus above. This takes both time and presence. Because of this, we anticipate that Sunday Gathering may not happen until June 2017 or even later. We want to focus energy on discerning the community and being “present” realizing that Sunday gathering takes a lot of energy and can hinder that initial discerning process. There may be non-Sunday activity in the building, but this has not been discerned yet.
  2. We hope that part of outreach to the North Industrial area will be to offer chaplain services to businesses, have lunch time “Alpha” type opportunities in businesses, or other intentional connecting with both the pastoral leadership as well as lay leaders in the North Site. We envision this as “missionary” kind of work that will require training and time availability. We would like to have 3 or 4 people, in addition to the site pastor, who are trained and involved in chaplain ministry.
  3. We intentionally value “slow fruit,” especially as related to the Silverwood Heights neighbourhood. We are not looking for quick growth. We want the North Site congregation to be present in the neighbourhood, learn to initiate and maintain spiritual conversations, and use the North Site facility to meet needs of the community and of individuals. The focus of this site will not be to recruit people who are currently part of another community of faith, but to connect with people who are not part of any church. This means we won’t necessarily expect them to join with Sunday gathering, at least initially. Outreach will happen through relationships rather than by invitation to a gathering. This implies that members of this congregation will most likely need training/equipping on how to establish and maintain spiritual conversations and relationships.
  4. Because we want our North Site leadership team and launch team to give significant time to the above three points, when Sunday Gathering begins, the emphasis will be on simplicity. We don’t want our people to have Sunday involvement that is so demanding that they find it difficult to maintain the focus on building relationships outside of Sundays. We want to value what the church looks like when scattered as much as when gathered. This will impact Sunday approaches to music, teaching, and other general programming. They will be simple.
  5. The North Site leadership team will meet regularly for prayer and further discernment of this vision, beginning in January 2017. These meetings will include the Site Pastor, Executive Pastor and possibly others as requested. During this time, the leadership team will continue to gather with our Attridge and Broadway congregations on Sundays.

August 30, 2016

Here is a summary of the process we are in for site 3

Vision Discernment Team: this team of 8 people from staff and council will discern a more focused vision for the new congregation as well as its uniqueness from other FGCC congregations. A focus of outreach (people group), type of ministry (Sunday and other times), and use of facility will be part of this discernment. This team is had their first meeting on August 30 and expect to have a recommendation for Council on September 27. The team consists of: Rob Neufeld, Dwight Makaroff, Maryanne Berge, Tori Braun, Chandra Styles, Clint McDonald, Bruce Enns and Dale Dirksen.

Pastoral Search Team: this team of 8 people will do the pre-candidating search work. Their job is to match a person to the discerned vision and recommend that person to council and staff. We hope this team will begin meeting in early October and have a recommendation by the end of October. The team is: Colleen Foth, Lance Brown, Gerry Willms, Judy Wainman, Shaun Dyck, Bob Climenhaga, Bruce Enns and Dale Dirksen

Site Leadership Team: this is a team of 10-15 people who will meet monthly with the site pastor to help with the operation and ongoing implementation of the mission of the site. Members of this team are expected to be “all in” – their ministry, relationships, small group involvement, etc. will be centered in the new site and not other sites of FGCC. Married couples can both be part of this team. Once we have a clearer sense of vision, we will begin the process for discerning people for this team.

Candidating: a pastoral candidate who is recommended by the search team, affirmed by staff, council and the Site 3 leadership team, will speak at both current FGCC congregations. This will be followed by a congregation vote. We hope this will happen in late fall/early winter.

Congregation Launch: we anticipate that the launch of Silverwood Site will be gradual. A possible scenario might be: new pastor arrives in very late fall; new pastor meets regularly with the Site 3 leadership team for prayer and affirmation; (he or she will also be present at Attridge and Broadway for at least a couple of Sundays each); site 3 may launch publicly early in 2017.

Somewhere during this time, an appropriate name will be chosen for site 3. This may be related to the focus, mission, location or some other aspect of the site.

We want to share with you a letter we received from the Saskatchewan Conference of the Mennonite Brethren Church regarding Forest Grove Community Church starting a new work in the former site of Living Hope Church. The letter can be viewed below.

 


 

 

June 12, 2016

To my brothers and sisters in Christ at Living Hope Church and Forest Grove Community Church. I greet you with the words of Psalm 117:

“Praise the LORD, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples. For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD.”

I wish I could be with you in person. I would have deeply appreciated this historic moment. Trust that I am with you in spirit and by prayer.

As I write this letter, I am reflecting on the words found in Ecclesiastes: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven” (3:1). Today you will experience both mourning and rejoicing, an ending and a beginning.

In the midst of both, I trust you will look to the LORD and declare that in all things, O God, you are gracious and compassionate, full of loving-kindness. You are sovereign and your ways are right and true.

To the family of Living Hope Church, recall the souls you touched and transformed as you lived out and declared the Gospel. Remember the goodness of God in your midst as you gathered for worship, united for fellowship and scattered for ministry and outreach. As you close this chapter of your corporate faith journey, do so with eyes fixed on Jesus and hearts burning passionately for what is yet in store for you in your service to the King of Kings. Embrace your new relationship with Forest Grove Community Church as Christ embraced you.

To the family of Forest Grove Community Church, I encourage you to stand close with those from Living Hope Church who mourn today. Carry their heaviness as your own, embrace them with love as Christ embraced you. As you begin a new chapter of your ministry in this place, do so with humility, thankfulness and great hope. You too, fix your eyes on Jesus and keep your hearts burning passionately for the on-going mission of proclaiming the Gospel.

May God the Father be praised, Christ Jesus be proclaimed and the Holy Spirit be obeyed. Now, go because of love. Go with love. Go to love.

God bless the SKMB,

Rev. Philip A. Gunther
Moderator, SKMB

May 19, 2016

Dear Church Family,

Welcome to the beginning!

Our church made history last Sunday. With separate votes at our Broadway and Attridge locations, the members of Forest Grove Community Church strongly endorsed council’s recommendation to launch a third site.

We could have chosen a comfortable way or an easy way. Instead, I believe we have chosen a path of faith and a conviction of God’s collective leading to start a brand new congregation in the north end of Saskatoon. I am excited for what God has in store for us.

Our journey to this milestone began back in 2010 when we made a faith step to become a multi-site church – one church in multiple locations. For the past six years it has been exciting to see The Gathering at Broadway grow into a healthy, vibrant congregation.

During that time we discerned and waited for God’s leading on the next site. We now have the opportunity to multiply again at the existing Living Hope Church location at 102 Goerzen Street in Silverwood Heights.

The current congregation at Living Hope is ending well with a concluding celebration service on June 12 at 2 p.m. I am looking forward to sharing that time with them and encourage you to pray for the end of a chapter and the mixed emotions that these people are facing.

During a time of dormancy at that location, we will carefully prepare for a completely new work. Please also pray specifically and fervently for the following items during this important period:

  • We want people to commit themselves to this new congregation. Is God inviting you to be one of them?
  • The further refining of our common vision, mission, values and structure for this specific location and how they will be uniquely expressed.
  • We need wisdom in selecting a search committee to hire a new pastor to lead this congregation. Pray also for clarity on who God would lead to this position.
  • We need to discern the appropriate time to launch the new congregation in late fall or early next year.

I am encouraged that people have already indicated interest in joining this new congregation. I am also encouraged by the gifted pastoral candidates who have expressed interest in the Broadway position, and we are confident that we will have a similar response for the new Silverwood Heights location (north site) as well.

There is much work to be done but I find comfort and conviction in Jesus’ promise (and the reality) that we have the power of the Holy Spirit to be witnesses, telling people about Jesus everywhere – in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).

We truly are a covenant community that loves God, disciples one another and reaches out from the river to the ends of the earth.

Welcome to a new beginning for our church.

Bruce Signature

Bruce Enns, Lead Pastor
Forest Grove Community Church

 

May 11 Update

At our last meeting to discuss our 3rd site discernment with the congregations of Forest Grove Community Church, a number of great questions were raised. We have managed to compile answers to some of these questions, and wish to share them with you below.

What is the estimated annual operating costs for Site 3? (and what’s included in that?)

  • Including all hard costs (mortgage, utilities, maintenance, salary, benefits, snow removal, custodial supplies, security system, internet, ministry programming)
  • For 9 months: $103,000
  • For a full year: $133,000

What was the summary of the building inspection done?

  • We had a complete building inspection done on the Silverwood Church performed by the Commercial Building Inspector “All in One.” The building seems to be in pretty good condition for its age. Like any aging building, there are some maintenance items needed, but nothing major stood out to the inspector. The following is the summary from page 43 of the report:
    • The building shows well for its age. the main roof was fairly new but the trailers flat roof will need immediate repairs.
    • The staining in the front outside wood soffit most likely happen before the new shingles were installed.
    • The main building windows were sealed and fresh air to the building was not found, recommend budgeting for HRV system or fresh air intake to the furnaces air return from the outside, HVAC technician should be consulted and provide estimates.
    • All furnaces were in good working condition on the day of the inspection but recommend servicing older furnaces and A/C units by certified technician. Recommend replacing furnaces filters every 2 to 3 months.
    • The wood fascia will need some repairs in the near future.
    • Recommend keeping gutters and downspouts clean at all time.
    • Observed only one receptacle outside, recommend electrician to install additional plugs for staff block heaters.
    • Recommend motion sensor light outside by all exit doors for safety.

What is the process, reality of the title and relationship between us and the SKMB / CCMBC in regards to the property? What financial obligations are we taking on? Who then owns the property?

  • Living Hope has retained a lawyer to transfer title to the SK MB Conference. The SK MB Conference will transfer title to FGCC. We will “own” the property exactly as we “own” our Webster property, based on our bylaws. We will assume an approximate $198,000 mortgage. The SK MB Conference is coordinating this process, including the dissolution of the provincial incorporation of Living Hope and the initial transfer should be completed by the end of May

April 8, 2016

Why is everything changing?

changeHave you ever been in a phase of your life when everything seemed fairly unsettled? For some this can be a short season and for others it can be years of constant change. I have been struck by how often I’ve seen the word “shift” or “shifting” as a major theme in various reports and presentations in the past few months. One example as we look globally, is how massive groups of people from countries closed to the Gospel are re-locating to places where the Gospel can be proclaimed in freedom. Many are coming to a new faith in Jesus.

It feels like our church is entering a phase of ‘shifting’ right now. I sense that God is inviting us again to new opportunities – I believe unsettling us in a good way – as we discern our path forward. I know this can feel uncomfortable as there are a lot of things happening at once:

  • We are looking for a new pastor for our Broadway congregation.
  • We are making progress on plans for selling / developing our greenspace (the open area beside the parking lot at the Attridge site). More information on this will come at our June 5th congregation meeting.
  • We are discerning how to proceed with the invitation to start another congregation in Silverwood Heights.

What about the good old days?

Good Old DaysI find comfort in looking into our past and recognizing that our church (and our MB denomination) has been in situations like this before. In fact it’s part of our DNA! Historically, these unsettled times were opportunities to grow, transform and change. Some of these I shared at each of our sites a few weeks ago:

  • Why did our church run out of room after the first two years in our new building at Nutana during the 1960s and start discussions about expansion or moving.
  • Why did we build the Forest Grove facility with seating for more than 800 in the 1980s when our church had only 300 people?
  • Why did we become a multi-site church in 2010 and establish our second site at Broadway with a goal to add additional sites in the future?
  • Why are we reassessing our unique calling at Broadway while we search for a new pastor for that congregation?
  • Why are we considering the invitation from Living Hope Church and the Saskatchewan Mennonite Brethren Conference to take over the building and site in that location to begin a new work – a replant – in what would be our site three?

It’s all about transformation in Jesus. That the hope and the power of the Gospel of Jesus will transform individuals, families, workplaces, our city and beyond – all to the glory of God. It’s following Jesus’ call to sacrifice and multiply for the sake of others. Our predecessors knew, and we know, that we are called to be salt and light. We dare not lose our saltiness since how will we become salty again? (Mark 9:50) – “You must have the qualities of salt among yourselves and live in peace with each other.” There is a direct correlation between this unity in the church and saltiness. My prayer is that we will live both of these out as we discern the way forward together.

What’s next?

Many attended our March 13th meeting and I was so encouraged by the positive spirit of unity, the good discussions, and the passion for God’s kingdom work, that was expressed by people of many ages. There was significant support for continuing with our discernment of a new north site at Living Hope and some great questions from many of those who are feeling cautious about proceeding. We are planning to continue the dialogue with another information session on Sunday, April 17th immediately following both services (at Broadway and Attridge) where we will have further updates on the questions raised on March 13th. Then in similar fashion (immediately following both services) on Sunday, May 15th we will ask our church members to vote on the path forward. We continue to ask for your prayer, your discernment and your input.

We have tentatively planned for our next Prayer Summit to be on Sunday, May 1st. Please mark your calendars for this key time to pray together in our discernment. More information soon.

What about the issues people raised?

We have had some good initial discussions with a number of qualified and gifted potential candidates asking about the Broadway position. It will be exciting to see who God leads to this position, and also to the pastor position at the north site if we proceed with that as well. One of the benefits if we were to be discerning and hiring two site pastors in a similar time frame is the efficiencies of considering candidates fit for the uniqueness of each site as well as the orientation and training that needs to happen.

There are also numerous individuals and couples who have expressed strong interest in being part of the north site if we are to proceed. It is their story to tell others (not ours) once they are prepared to do so, but we are greatly encouraged by the response we’ve seen already.

We are aware of much of the history of the two churches previously in the Silverwood location. We are seeking to understand the leadership, spiritual, and structural issues that were there as best we can. But at the same time realize that this would be a completely new work after closure and months of dormancy.

As a multi-site church we already have one common vision, mission, values and structure. They are:

  • visiontransformation in Jesus Christ
  • to be a covenant community that loves God, disciples one another and reaches out from the river to the ends of the earth
  • Faith / Dependence / Relationships / Relevance
  • each congregation has unique structures and expressions of 1) Corporate Worship 2) Missions 3) Small Groups and 4) Family Ministries

Each of these would be further refined by the leadership group of the north site, council and staff, but there is already lots of clear vision in place.

I really appreciate all the expressions of support for our staff during this process and the concern for the additional workload it places on us. While there’s no question there will be more work, each new pastor brings enthusiasm, gifting and support that will be a blessing to all of us. And our current staff are committed and willing to serve the church in whatever ways are needed, working alongside and training others for the work of the ministry.

Where is our focus?

We serve an unchanging, faithful God who continually changes us. As we journey through these exciting times together, I want us to keep our eyes focused on Jesus and the incredible opportunity we have to be transformed more and more into His image as we walk in obedience and faith, bringing the message and hope of the Gospel to our city and beyond.

Blessings for the journey.

Bruce Signature

Bruce Enns
Lead Pastor
Forest Grove Community Church

We had a great Congregation meeting on March 13, where we had the opportunity to begin discerning the possibility of beginning a third congregation of Forest Grove Community Church in the community of Silverwood. A number of people had specific questions regarding this opportunity. Some of these concerns are addressed below.

  1.  If we are already engaging in a search for a new pastor for our Broadway Congregation, won’t a second pastoral search pull our attention away from the search for Broadway?
    • We believe it is possible to do two pastoral searches at the same time, in fact, this might actually be desirable. In both cases the role involves significant preaching (about 70% of Sundays), leadership, discipleship, equipping and some administration. In both cases we are looking for someone who is spiritually healthy, has a minimum of 5 years full time vocational ministry experience, a related ministry/theology degree, and proven leadership ability. The similarities of these two roles are probably greater then the differences.
    • By searching for both of these roles at the same time, we might find that someone who applied for one of the roles is actually a better fit for the other role. Searching for both roles concurrently actually provides many efficiencies in the process.
    • Hiring two candidates at a similar time may also allow us to coordinate their orientation and entry into ministry at Forest Grove Community Church.
  2. Is the location of this building in the best location in the city? Are there better neighborhoods to launch a new site in?
    • In our experience the location of the building is not as important as what happens in the building and the surrounding community.
    • Currently we see people drive across Saskatoon to engage in a specific congregation.
    • A very large percentage of the people who attend the Attridge congregation do not actually live in (or even close to) the community of Forest Grove.
    • We need to keep in mind that launching a congregation in Silverwood does not preclude the possibility of adding future sites in other parts of our city.
  3. What about baggage from the past congregations who met in that building? Haven’t two churches there already failed?
    • First, we wouldn’t say that Living Hope “failed.” They had an important and successful ministry in that building. We have talked to people whose lives were transformed for Jesus through the ministry of Living Hope. Ecclesiastes tells us that there is a time for everything. There are seasons to life. We must not assume (or say) that because the season of their ministry is over – their ministry has failed.
    • We also must not be afraid of failure. We want to make wise, informed decisions based on God’s leading of our congregation, but we are never guaranteed success (at least not by our standards) in everything we do. We are simply called to follow and be obedient. “Failure” isn’t a bad word.
    • We would also want to see a complete closure of the current church, including a three to six month waiting period before our launch of a new ministry in their building. We are not reviving something that was once there – we are planting a new work in that site.

April 17Join us for a congregation meeting on Sunday, April 17, immediately following the service at both sites. This will be a follow-up to the discussion at our March Congregation Meeting with more information and answers to questions raised at that meeting. There will not be a vote on April 17.

In preparation for this meeting we encourage you to download and read a copy of the UPDATED DISCERNMENT DOCUMENT . You can also pick up a printed copy of the document from the Welcome Centre.

We will also be meeting on Sunday, May 15 immediately after the service at both sites for a short recap of information as well as a vote as to whether we should proceed with this third congregation opportunity.

Bruce stated in a recent sermon that “God is always in the business of doing something new” – and lately this seems very evident for our church. At the recent Prayer Summit on January 24th, one of the items identified was a unique possibility for Site 3 that we prayed into that night, without giving any details, as we were not yet able to go public with this information. This past week, we have formally been invited by both Living Hope Church and the Sask MB Conference to establish a third site at the current location of Living Hope Church at 102 Goerzen Street in the north end of Saskatoon under the umbrella and ministry model of Forest Grove Community Church. We are humbled and excited about this possibility, recognizing the difficult journey this church has gone through in order to come to this place.

In June 2010 our church made a significant change to our strategic plan in how we would move forward as a church in the future. We made a faith step to become a multi-site church – as one church in multiple locations – as we felt God was leading us in this direction. For the past six years it has been exciting to see the growth and development of the Gathering at Broadway as our second site and the establishment of a healthy, vibrant congregation. We now have a significant and exciting opportunity to multiply again to the north end of the city, establishing a completely new congregation and unique vision in another location.

We will continue with various assessments of this opportunity in order to more fully understand the challenges and opportunities that this entails. At the March 13 congregation meeting (5:30 chili supper), council will be coming to the congregation with more information and provide an opportunity for discussion. Council plans to come back to the congregation for a decision in the coming months.

We would invite each of you to consider an expression of prayer and fasting for this season of Lent that will help you to focus on what really matters in this discernment. Even to set aside one meal per week for more intentional prayer and time in seeking God’s face and leading. We will provide a number of opportunities for questions and interactions in the weeks ahead leading up to the congregation meeting – on our website, through Facebook and other means. You are always able to contact council or the staff directly as well.

 

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV)