AT A GLANCE
Hello, Church Family by Pastor Aaron Adame
New Season by Dan Leischner, Elder Chairman
Why Host a Summer Vacation Bible School? by Allison Hartwell, VBS Director
Family Night by Kayla Mast, Children's Ministry Coordinator
Hello, Church Family
by Pastor Aaron Adame
Hello Canby CC,
Words fall short to describe how unbelievably grateful and humbled I am to have the opportunity to join your church family and serve the citizens of Canby as lead pastor. When I look back and see all God has done in leading me to discover Canby Christian, and all that has transpired since, I am in awe of His grace, power, plan and love.
This has been a huge step of faith for my wife and me. I must admit, there are moments where we are scared and nervous—we are sailing into uncharted waters, as they say. But there is also a great sense of adventure and anticipation for all that we know God is going to do. The ministry, the church, the people, the culture, the weather, and the obstacles will all be different. But God remains the same. The same God who led us through every other area of our lives is with us now—and that gives us great confidence and a hopeful expectation. After all, as the Apostle Paul said, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
We are definitely sad to have to say goodbye to the people here. Thankfully, technology will allow us to stay connected—but there is no substitute for being together. We will miss them terribly. But we are excited to make new friends that we believe God will bring into our lives as a result of our obedience to His calling.
My wife and I have learned a great many things along the road that led us here, and I would like to share just a few:
God has not called us to be comfortable. I think people naturally drift toward what is easy—we are like flowing water, searching for the paths of least resistance. But God calls us to something greater, something eternal, which is to follow Him with reckless abandonment. To settle for anything less is just that—settling.
The timing is never perfect. There is always a reason to wait on change. Wait until the kids get older. Wait until we’ve saved enough money. Wait until other people or our families are able to move with us. There is always a reason to delay. Michelle and I have learned that we can’t avoid change. So it is better to anticipate it, pray for it, and move on it when God opens the door.
Change is inevitable. Change is an unavoidable part of life. Change can be good or bad, and big change is never easy; nevertheless, change is what we need. God uses the ordinary changes in our lives to accomplish the gospel-like changes that our hearts need. The hope of the gospel is that we can change, and we have a God who can be trusted with the results.
Embrace the tension. The Bible is full of tension (God’s sovereignty vs. human responsibility and the already-not-yet of redemption, to name a couple). But there is a tension in the Christian life as well: being prepared and yet feeling completely over our heads. We are confident that God has prepared us for this specific work and season. While at the same time, we remain broken people, knowing that we have nothing to offer except the empty hands of faith. This tension keeps us humble and yet confident in God’s sustaining power.
We are excited for the journey ahead and all God is going to do in us and in Canby CC. He has grown our faith, and I am praying He grows yours as well.
Before I end this note, I would like to offer some much needed acknowledgements:
First and foremost, I want to thank the elders. I don’t know if I have ever met a group of men so dedicated to their church than the guys currently serving on the elder team. They have put in hours and hours of time toward this process. I am deeply indebted to them for their grace, hospitality, thoroughness, and above all, faith in God and trust in His Spirit. They have also demonstrated an admirable amount of humility and teach-ability. I look forward to working with them in the future and to see who else God will raise up to serve this church as an elder.
Secondly, I would also like to acknowledge the staff. Their perspective has been a real help to me in understanding what the life of Canby CC is like on a weekly basis. Certainly, as this process continued to move forward, I was interviewing Canby as much as the elders were interviewing me. And the staff was a huge help in helping me to discern God’s will for us to join your church family.
I want to also give a special thanks to Ken. He has graciously extended himself to me throughout this whole process by answering any and all questions and giving me a glimpse into life in Canby. It is rare to find a pastor who has served a church for as long as Ken has. I am mindful of Paul’s words to Timothy: “The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching” — NASB 1 Tim 5:17. I look forward to working with Ken and seeing how God will continue to use him in the future.
Finally, I would like to thank you—the members of Canby CC! It took a great deal of faith for my wife and me to consider Canby CC as a new home church. But we also recognize that it took a great deal of faith on your part as well. It didn’t take me long to discover during my time there that the members of Canby CC are a great group of people. You are hungry for the Word of God. You come to church eager to worship and fellowship with one another. You desire earnestly to reach your community and beyond. You give, serve, and love one another. You are willing to take great steps of faith—what more could a pastor want in a congregation? For those reasons and more, I can’t wait to be a part of what God is already doing in your fellowship at Canby CC.
P.S. For those who are curious as to our arrival, I would simply ask that you pray for God’s timing. We are trying to be there quickly. We need to sell our house and find a place to land once we get there. So, there are a few big steps and decisions ahead—but these are small matters for God. We appreciate the prayers, and we hope to see you soon.
Why Host a Summer Vacation Bible School?
by Allison Hartwell, VBS Director
Canby Christian Church has a long-standing history for many, many years of hosting a five-day summer Vacation Bible School (VBS) for preschool and elementary-aged kids. This is a big project that takes a lot of time, planning and volunteer help. Why do we do this and is it worth it?
Our church’s mission statement says, “We exist to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.” Vacation Bible School is a wonderful way to do this for the children in our community.
VBS is fun and creates lifelong memories for many kids. It serves many purposes. For those kids already in the church it provides fun discipleship, and for some kids VBS is their first introduction to Jesus. The kids learn Bible Stories; they memorize Bible verses and themes; they discuss in a small group setting with their peers and a godly mentor how they might apply these lessons to their daily lives; they learn songs that glorify God, and they raise money to help needy people around the world.
During this time, the children and teen and adult helpers alike are fellowshipping with each other as they serve, learn, and work side by side. The book of Acts speaks of the first members of the early church meeting together daily and how the Lord added to their number daily. VBS is a concentrated five-day period of our year where we can focus on training our children in the ways of the Lord and in so doing we build our own faith and our relationships with each other.
It takes dozens of volunteers to make VBS happen, and I feel pretty certain that the great majority of volunteers who have helped with VBS over the years would say that it was totally worth the annual offering of their time and energy. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me,” and that’s what we are doing in VBS. We are inviting the children to come to us as we point the way to the Lord.
What a blessing it is to be able to be used by the Lord in this way. Thank you for volunteering your time and talents towards this wonderful ministry, our Canby Christian VBS. It is taking place this year, July 24 through July 28, 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Please pray for this week and for the Lord to direct kids here who might not normally come. Pray about who you might invite. If you’d like to volunteer, we’d love to have you. We still need several small group leaders who will come and lead a group of approximately five children around through the stations. We also need additional helpers in the snack and craft stations. Please contact the church office or me if you can help.
by Dan Leischner, Elder Chairman
God has been in the process of preparing Canby Christian Church for something new: a new season of ministry and a renewed focus on our mission to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. There was a process that was started two years ago to bring about a number of changes to prepare us for where God wants to take us. It is amazing to look back upon all that has happened these past several months, and how God has brought us to where we are today: we will soon install a new lead pastor to lead the vision of CCC, and the elders are moving into a role that is focused on caring for the members of our church and upholding the doctrines of Scripture.
Long-time members of Canby Christian have seen many different seasons of ministry in our church. Many recall the vibrant bus ministry which brought hundreds of children on a Sunday morning. Others remember meaningful seasons of men’s ministry or women’s ministry, or discipleship, or purposeful community outreach. It is good to reflect on these experiences; they are powerful ‘Ebenezers’—memory markers that recall the help the Lord has given (see 1 Samuel 7 for details). These accounts remind us that we are part of a larger story and that God is ever for us, working powerfully with and through us as we are called to purposes specific to that season.
God never changes. His character and His Word are timeless. But He often accomplishes His purpose in in new ways (“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? Isaiah 43:19). With God, doing something new does not mean that the prior way was wrong—it certainly was what God was doing then. But since God gives lovingkindness to us now, looks to our needs and our growth now, He often calls us to follow Him into new territory where we must lean on Him to know the way.
Our new calling will be closely tied to this: we have a lead pastor joining our church body (‘Lead Pastor’ is not Senior Pastor; it is a new thing). Aaron Adame and his family will join an excellent church staff and become a part of the breadth and depth that is our Canby Christian family. The process of hiring Aaron Adame was elder-led and confirmed by the congregation through a vote that resulted in 80% of the participants agreeing that they wanted to extend an offer to Aaron to join us.
However, this also means that 20% of those who voted were not in agreement. Some voted against change, or even as a statement against the elders. Nevertheless, many of these people were very engaged; they cared enough to attend the meetings, ask questions, talk to elders individually, or write letters voicing their concerns.
As leaders, I can tell you, this encouraged us! Why? Because we are people in this body like all the rest. We want to be surrounded by independent thinkers who are passionate for this church. We walk in a role with responsibilities, but we are not handed the answers with the role—we must pray and research and discuss and pray some more before we act. It is healthy to have debate and allow for disagreements, to wrestle with important issues and consider all points of view before a decision is made. At elder meetings we have lively discussion and debate because each of us comes from different backgrounds and experiences.
In our differences, the Elder Team is just a small example of our larger church body, where there are married people with kids, single people, married people with no kids, divorced, retired, widowed, elderly, young adults and children. God has brought all of us together—with all our diverse experiences, skills, flaws, perspectives, and seasons of life to represent Him in our community. We are a family, and together we can move forward into what God is doing. Paul addresses how to follow God as a body of unique people in his letter to the Ephesians:
Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all (Eph. 4:1-6)
For those of you who prayed, considered, and invested yourselves in the candidate process for the sake of this church family, I thank you. I am grateful to walk with you as we follow our Lord. Pray with me that God will unify us as we look to future seasons of fruitful ministry together.
by Kayla Mast, Children's Ministry Coordinator
When we started Family Night, I was so excited! I have a deep passion for family. In our society today, I feel like we need to fight for the family. So, when we came up with the concept of Family Night, I was excited to have a place where we could encourage families to come together. This was a great concept, but when it came time to put it into action, we struggled a little.
A typical Family Night involves eating a meal together, having a short message that introduces the theme for the next month, letting the parents lead their family in an activity, and then allowing time for parents to talk while the kids watch a video. This worked some of the time.J
As time went on we learned what worked and what didn’t work. I have been so appreciative of all the families that have come out and participated and given us grace as we progressed. It has been a blessing to be able to get better acquainted with the parents and learn more about their family life.
Our whole concept in CCKids is to partner with the parents. I enjoy learning more about what that really means and the first step in partnering is getting to know the families. So, Family Night has been a great place to get to know each child and parent on a deeper level.
As I witness our families at CCC, I see Christ’s love everywhere. I see each parent’s love for their child and the deepdevotion they have for them, and it reminds me of Christ’s love for us. I see the child’s love for their parent and the way they want to be pleasing to their parent, and it reminds me of our love for Jesus and how we want to be pleasing to Him.
The unconditional love I see is so amazing! It is the unconditional love the parent has for their child, no matter how much they misbehave; and the unconditional love a child has for their parent that is so pure, knowing they are protected and safe. They love purely from the heart.
This kind of love between a parent and a child is the perfect picture of our relationship with Christ. This is what I see at Family Night, and I hope to inspire others to join us and come see Christ’s love in family form this fall as we start up again.