The Role of Elders & New Elder Process – an invitation

The Role of the Elders at WCV

In the Vineyard, Elders function as overseers who tend to the spiritual health and vision of the community.  They are a small group of seasoned leaders and followers of Jesus who gather regularly to prayerfully seek God’s direction and counsel for matters relating to church life and spiritual growth. There are two kinds of elders in Winnipeg Centre Vineyard – Pastoral Elders (typically paid staff members)* and Lay Elders (volunteers from the church community).

There are a number of examples of Elders’ roles in scripture including: leading the church [1 Tim 5:17; Titus 1:7; 1 Peter 5:1–2], teaching and preaching [1 Timothy 3:2; 2 Timothy 4:2; Titus 1:9], encouraging, challenging and protecting the church according to scripture [1 Timothy 4:13; 2 Timothy 3:13–17; Titus 1:9], visiting the sick and praying [James 5:14; Acts 6:4], and weighing issues of doctrine [Acts 15:6]. They are charged with the care of the community – to help, equip and lead.

In WCV, the Pastoral and Lay Elders work together, however the Pastoral Elders have the added responsibility of implementing the daily tasks associated with our vision. Currently the Elders are led by our Lead Pastor who is accountable to the whole leadership team (BOD & Elders).

The Pastoral and Lay Elders have the authority to tend to the needs and spiritual affairs arising from the vision of the church community. However, if their proposed actions will have an effect on the macro vision of the church or the legal, managerial, or financial affairs of the church community, they must obtain the approval of the Board of Directors before moving forward.

Current Pastoral Elders:

  • Andy (lead) & Beckie Wood
  • Violet Rademaker (non-paid)

Current Lay Elders:

  • Cornelius (BOD Chair) & Tania Martens (term ends Fall 2023)
  • Lindsay & Lois Ward (term ends Fall 2023)
  • Christy Chan (term ends Fall 2023)

*Note: Not all WCV staff members are automatically Pastoral Elders.

What we look for in Elders:

1. Biblical requirements for Eldership as explained in 1 Timothy 3 & Titus 1.

2. Walking out and dialoguing with our 15 Core Practices. Of particular note are: Devotion to Jesus (elders should be devoted to their walk with God), Circles of Sharing (a hallmark of eldership is hospitality) and Generosity (elders should be tithing to the local church).

3. A good fit with the current team and the season the Vineyard is in. While there are many people who generally qualify as elders, the current elders must prayerfully discern who is the best fit for right now.  What skills and gift mix will best suit the team that exists? Do we have a good representation of the voices of our community in our leadership (young, old, male, female, married, single, etc. )? This is not a popularity contest – it is a serious process to discern who God has prepared and gifted to serve the whole community at this time.

4. Already serving in ministry in some form in the church (worship, children, youth, house group, hospitality, etc.). Elders carry a pastoral heart for the community which must find expression.

5. Elders, while not always older, are all seasoned leaders and followers of Jesus.

6. Elders can be married couples, singles, or one partner in a marriage.

A few points to keep in mind:

  1. Leadership is servanthood. It’s not about ordering others around, but rather serving others (Luke 22:25-27). Being an elder isn’t a promotion. Rather, it’s a recognition of the way a person is currently serving and influencing our community.
  2. Leadership is action. It’s not about position or titles. While specific roles can be very helpful, true leadership is never about titles. If someone has a position of leadership, but doesn’t have anyone following, then they’re just going for a walk.

What Serving as a Lay Elder Looks Like:

While we normally choose elders who are already eldering in our community in some sort of fashion, there are several added responsibilities for those serving on the Eldership Team.

  1. Communication and Minutes. Elders are put on the email thread for weekly staff minutes, BOD minutes, and other church leadership news items. Elders should be reading these forms of communication to keep a pulse on what is going on. They should also ask questions, and add input as needed, as well as regularly pray for the workings of the church.
  2. Monthly Elder Meetings. The Pastoral and Lay Elders gather together once a month. The purposes of these meetings are two fold: a) to spend an time in worship and prayer, listening for what God is doing in our midst, and discern what He is inviting us to. b) Talking through spiritual needs in our community, and making plans for extending care.
  3. Leadership Team Gatherings.  The Elders, Pastoral staff, and Board of Directors will occasionally gather together to be face to face with one another as we seek God’s vision and direction, and collaborate in aligning our strategies to walk forward together. Additionally, there will be other opportunities to gather with other leaders in WCV for training, connection and envisioning. 
  4. Yearly Retreat. Once a year (typically May / June) the Elders go on a two day retreat with a focus of praying and seeking God together. During this time we reflect on the highs and lows of the last year, and begin to dream and envision the next year. We are not having a 2021 retreat due to Covid-19 limitations. 
  5. Regular Connection with Community. Elders need to commit to being available to serve and extend care to the community. This involves welcoming newcomers, gathering to pray for those in need, showing hospitality, and meeting with congregants to listen to questions, concerns or suggestions.

New Lay Elder Process:

New Lay Elders are nominated and selected through a several month process. The regular term for elders is three years. We want to be engaging in the process of bringing in new lay elders every few years as current elders step down. This creates a healthy rhythm in leadership.

Here is a detailed look at what the new Lay Elder Process looks like:

  1. Nomination and Discernment (March – April 15, 2021). During this time the community and the elder team nominate those they see are currently functioning as elders (even if they don’t have the position). Prayerfully ask, “who do I naturally look to for counsel, support, care, etc?”  Chances are, those are the people who are already functioning as elders. At the same time, the Pastoral and Lay Elders are prayerfully discerning if people qualify and are a good fit for the current team and season of life the church is in.
  2. Proposal & Mutual Consideration (April 15 – June 30, 2021). The Pastoral Elders will contact potential new elders and invite them to prayerfully consider. This is a period in which we see if this “seems good to us and the Holy Spirit”.
  3. Prospective Elder Period (Sept – Dec, 2021).  This is a (typically) three-month period during which prospective elders come to monthly elder meetings and are in communication with Pastoral Elders.  At the end of this period it’s determined if it is a fit.
  4. Membership Vote (2022 AGM – normally in the Spring). Those who are formal members of WCV are able to vote on the prospective new elders. If the new elder is ratified, this begins their 3-year term.  Bear in mind that this is a vote, not on who should become elders, but on whether those who’ve been identified via the above process are the right decision for the Vineyard at this time.

An Invitation:

We invite you to prayerfully consider who the Lord may be inviting to step into serving the community for the next season of our life together. We will be using the above criteria to prayerfully discern who to invite into this area of leadership and service. Please submit names to the office or Andy until April 15, 2021.

It’s Time to Soar…

SOAR Heartland 2021 is just around the corner! The Soar Heartland Team at Multiply are working diligently to prepare an unforgettable experience for every participant. Your days will be full of worship, teaching, equipping, team interaction and prayer – maybe some fun, too. A detailed schedule will be published closer to the date (March 26-30).

We do know that all sessions will be available through live steam and other platforms, however, we do not yet know some of the finer details that are dependant upon whatever restrictions will be in place at that time. We’re anticipating that we’ll be able to be in the same room for worship times but may need to spread out for workshops and outreach preparation. We’ll roll with it.

You can expect an experience that will help you to Grow in your faith, to Know more of God’s heart for you and our community, and an opportunity to Go and serve our community! The ‘going’ part will look a little different due to Covid, but we are going to focus on what we CAN do.

Soar Heartland is open to ALL ages, however, if you are under 12 years of age you’ll need an adult to accompany you!

Take a moment to hear the Penner family’s experience at Soar:

Important Information and Instructions:

  1. Soar Heartland will happen from Friday, March 26, through Tuesday, March 30.
  2. The WCV Soar Team will be led by Kelly and Lani Wiens. Normally all the church teams would gather together for this event but Covid restrictions make that impossible at this time. However, know that there are many other churches from around the province and some from across the water that will be meeting together online.
  3. Click the link below and complete the two-part application. Where it says church/team please fill in Winnipeg Centre Vineyard. CLICK FOR SOAR APPLICATION LINK
  4. Please note that an application form needs to be filled out for every member of your family with a unique email for each person. IF you have younger children that do not have their own email, please let me know and I’ll send a note to the Soar coordinator to let them know those numbers, you don’t need to fill out an application for them.
  5. I would like to know that you have applied, please drop me a note!
  6. The cost of Soar is covered by donations. For a family, the suggested donation is $120 and $90 for individuals (watch the newsletter for a link to do this or let me know and I’ll send it to you once I get it!). There is an option for meal delivery but we’ll talk about that closer to the day!

Ways to be involved in Soar Heartland 2021, whether you can be part of the in-person team or serving behind the scenes:

  1. Participant (fill out the application above)
  2. Prayer Partner (we’d love to have a prayer team during the whole process – contact Lani at lani@wcvchurch.ca)
  3. Prepare food for the participants (if we can do this, contact Lani if you’d like to help out with food)
  4. Pay for someone else to go (watch the newsletter for a link to do this or let me know and I’ll send it to you once I get it!)
  5. Production team (we may need a crew…)
  6. Possibilities team (prophetic intercession – bring on the ideas)

Contact Lani with any questions and to let me know how you will participate in Soar Heartland: lani@wcvchurch.ca or 306-859-7553 (cell)

Covid-19 Sunday Update

As you are likely aware, on Feb 12, 2021 some of the current Covid-19 restrictions are changing regarding church gatherings. The new orders will allow churches to gather to 10% capacity to a maximum of 50 people – while adhering to the normal protocols (hand-sanitizing, physical distancing, staying home of you’re sick, etc).

We are making a few changes that will begin Feb 21, 2021.

We will be opening up the building for a limited number of people to participate by joining the live-streaming service in-person on Sunday mornings. We will give priority to those who have no access to technology to watch the livestream from home. We will be in touch with those people to specifically invite them (since they most likely won’t be reading this post!). Additionally, those who are involved in the Mercy Boot Camp (either recipients or volunteers) will be able to join in the service in-person. We will keep a strict cap on the number of people in the building. Even though restrictions allow 50 people, we won’t be able to accommodate that many due to the updates with our live-streaming equipment. We are in the process of making changes to permanently install all our equipment, which will then allow more participants in our gatherings at 782 Main St and maintain the quality of our livestream.

Our general posture towards resuming in-person gatherings will be a gradual “ramp-up”. In the future we will have a registration process for those who want to gather in-person instead of participating online. This will be to ensure we always have enough space for the street community and others who don’t have livestream access. 

These changes will begin Feb 21.

Lent: Mondays of Prayer + Fasting

This year we are inviting the whole community to set aside every Monday in Lent (starting Feb 22) for Prayer and Fasting.

“Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.”

Hosea 10:12

Fasting is a form of prayer. When we fast we voluntarily set aside something for a time in order to intensify our attention to and awareness of God – this attention and awareness is prayer. The things we are most reluctant to set aside are the very things that probably get in the way of our life with God. It is a practical discipline that helps us realize that God – not food, Facebook friends, (fill in the blank) – is the real source of all pleasure, goodness and life.

The invitation during this season of prayer and fasting is to prepare for the new growth that God has planted in us. This means creating a welcoming space for the work of God amongst us and in our own hearts. We cannot do the work ourselves – this is the task of God’s Spirit. However, we do have a part to play by readying ourselves and welcoming the growth God wants to bring.

At the beginning of each week, we will be emailing the reflection and invitation for that Monday. You can follow along as you are led. If you’d prefer to see it all at once you can download all the weekly reflections in the link below. Also, there is a booklet entitled “Fasting Basics” which offers a thorough overview of everything fasting related.

Resources:

Here is a sermon entitled “Why We Fast: an invitation to fasting & feasting” which provides more insight into the spiritual discipline of fasting.

Grow, Know, Go…SOAR

You’re ready to DO something! Soar Heartland is an opportunity to Connect with God’s heart for the lost, Activate with outreach into our community and to Transform personally.

Take FIVE days (normally Soar runs for the full Spring break), join as an individual, a home group or as a family and engage with what God is doing right in our own back yard! View the following video to hear what Soar is all about.

This Friday (Jan 22) there will be an online pre-Soar worship gathering that you are welcome to attend to get a taste of what is coming. You can register for this FREE event by clicking HERE.

HOW TO ENGAGE:

Kelly and Lani Wiens are going to lead a team from Winnipeg Centre Vineyard and are looking for others to join them on this adventure. While youth are the main target, family teams, intergenerational groups, your home group…all are welcome to join the WCV team.

WHEN: March 26-30, 2021

WHERE: Live-streamed to our location (we’re really hoping we’ll be able to be in person at some level by this date), however, modifications are in place if this isn’t possible

COST (suggested donation): $90/individual, $120/family, if we are in person, there will be a delivered meal option of $75/person (4 lunches/4 suppers)

WHAT: check out this PDF to get an overview of what the program looks like copy the link below into your browser and view. As a group there will be worship, teaching, prayer ministry, learning and ministry outreach opportunities.

Interested? Questions? Feel free to comment below or email Lani.

Ending Poverty Together Workshop

We are excited to be hosting an event that will help provide some good foundation for our Activation towards those who are poor. Several WCVers participated in this workshop during the Belong Symposium in November and were impressed by the content high quality interactive delivery.

We have a long history of engaging in issues of poverty, working alongside the marginalized, and actively pursing justice in our community. We’re praying that this workshop will help rekindle this Core Practice of WCV.

Workshop facilitators from Food for the Hungry Canada will be leading us in this engaging and highly interactive workshop.

About this Event:

Have you ever been in this situation? A commercial shows you an image of a starving child in Africa and petitions that only you can help. Or someone living in homelessness approaches you on the sidewalk and asks for money. Or you suspect your neighbour is going into debt because of job loss during this COVID-19 pandemic. 

What do I do? Can I really make a difference? 

We invite you to join with others to explore the big questions about poverty and discuss tangible solutions.

Join us for a 3.5 hour interactive online workshop on Saturday, March 13th, 2021. 12:30pm – 4pm.

This online workshop will be interactive through a zoom link. Materials will be emailed to you for most effective participation.

>>Register here!<<

Space will be limited.

Core Connection Course

We are going to be hosting four evenings of storytelling and teaching designed to connect you with the heart, vision and practices of WCV. Sometimes we all need a reminder of why we’re here, what God wants to do among us and through us, and what kind of community we are becoming. These evenings will do just that.

They are for newcomers to the community, old-timers who’ve been around forever, and anyone in between.

Connect to:

  • Our Vision,
  • WCV’s Core Practices & Vineyard Values,
  • Where we’ve come from and where we’re going,
  • The kind of community God is calling us to become, 
  • Each other!

Four Thursday Evenings at 7pm.

Feb 11, 18, 25 & Mar 4.

Via Zoom (register to get the link).

Register here. Registered participants will receive a package in the mail.  Be sure to register early to allow time for snail mail!

 “You didn’t choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you.

John 15:16 (Msg)

Christmas Eve Service, 6pm (online)

We’re excited to be doing Christmas Eve online via Zoom this year. We’ve got some fun for all ages planned. We hope you can join us with your warm drink in hand, a candle ready to be lit, and hearts full of anticipation for the arrival of Jesus!

December 24, 6pm via Zoom.

Watch your email for the link to the Zoom meeting which will be sent out within 48 hours beforehand. If you don’t get emails from WCV, please contact the office to receive the Zoom link.

Transformed, Connected & Activated – the kind of people we want to become

God is neither confused nor disoriented in these troubled times. If there’s one thing we’ve learned during these last few years it is that God is both faithful and trustworthy. It just might be true that the Holy Spirit is most active in rough times – bringing comfort and strength to the weak and overwhelmed, offering wisdom to those who ask, guiding and nudging, speaking and empowering. God is here – with each of us wherever we are – even right now as you read this. God’s Kingdom is here – at hand – coming – delayed. All of it wrapped up and enacted by feeble hands and knocking knees (Isa 35:3). We’re praying that this reality would be planted deep down in each of our hearts and would produce a rich harvest of hope in due course. We are in this together and God is with us.

Colossians 1:9-12 is a good picture of what the Holy Spirit has been nudging us towards, namely: transformation, connection and activation.

“Since we first heard about you, we’ve kept you always in our prayers that you would receive the perfect knowledge of God’s pleasure over your lives, making you reservoirs of every kind of wisdom and spiritual understanding. We pray that you would walk in the ways of true righteousness, pleasing God in every good thing you do. Then you’ll become fruit-bearing branches, yielding to his life, and maturing in the rich experience of knowing God in his fullness! And we pray that you would be energized with all his explosive power from the realm of his magnificent glory, filling you with great hope.”

Col 1:9-12 (TPT)

Transformation

The primary calling of being a disciple of Jesus is to become more and more like Him in our thoughts, habits, and actions – learning to be like Him in every way. Paul says, “all the while you will grow as you learn to know God better and better” (Col 1:10). This is a life-long process of maturing into Christlikeness – of living more fully into our image-of-God-ness (Gen 1). This must be kept in the forefront. The paradox here is that when we strive for transformation, it becomes elusive. However, when we focus on Jesus – his life, relationships, thoughts, actions, etc. – we become more like Him. We become like what we worship and we reflect what we worship.

Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did. 

1 John 2:6

“When human beings give their heartfelt allegiance to and worship that which is not God, they progressively cease to reflect the image of God. One of the primary laws of human life is that you become like what you worship; what’s more, you reflect what you worship not only to the object itself but also outward to the world around. Those who worship money increasingly define themselves in terms of it and increasingly treat other people as creditors, debtors, partners, or customers rather than as human beings. Those who worship sex define themselves in terms of it (their preferences, their practices, their past histories) and increasingly treat other people as actual or potential sex objects. Those who worship power define themselves in terms of it and treat other people as either collaborators, competitors, or pawns. These and many other forms of idolatry combine in a thousand ways, all of them damaging to the image-bearing quality of the people concerned and of those whose lives they touch.”

N.T. Wright in Surprised by Hope

“You should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.” Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:1

Connection

Being together releases energy. Encouragement happens in community. Covid-19 has restricted relationships and thrust many into survival mode. We’re praying that the varied moments of connection that we do have will be like life-lines that will not just keep us afloat, but actually pull to safety those who feel overwhelmed. This is not a solitary activity. In the Colossian passage above Paul uses a plural “you” (Col 1:9-12). A simple text message to someone can be huge. A phone call, a hand-written note, a hot meal – small gestures like these communicate love and plant seeds of hope. Like Paul, we’re praying that we would all be strengthened with God’s power, have patience to endure, and be filled with energizing joy (selections of Colossians 1:9-12 NLT). The best path to this? Connection.

We are excited by the growth of Home Groups this year. There are also a number of Triads who are meeting regularly and sharing life together and a number of beautiful moments of connection have been catalyzed through CarePortal. These are all parts of the “fruit bearing branches” that comprise WCV. We believe God wants to increase these and actually infuse our community with energy through these growing relationships with each other, and those who are yet to be part of our church!

“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” 

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Activation

We believe this next year God will lead us into reaffirming who we are and why we are placed at 782 Main St. We don’t want to just do the same old things, but just a little better. There are new expressions of who we are that are going to find fresh legs in this next season. We want to find ways to notice the inner leadings of the Holy Spirit that will result in life and joy – not just another thing to do in an already busy life.

“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” 

Hebrews 10:24-25

As we lean into Jesus, we will be transformed. As we lean into each other, we will be energized and encouraged. As we follow the Spirit’s promptings we will be led outside of ourselves in service of others. Let hope be planted! Let your kingdom come!

Sunday In-Person Gatherings Suspended for the rest of 2020

We will continue to postpone in-person gatherings for the month of December.

WCV will continue to stream on Facebook Live every Sunday at 10am.

We will have measures in place to connect with our community folks who drop in on Sundays and are without technological means.

We encourage all House Groups to meet online. Please contact Andrew if you need assistance setting up a virtual meeting.

The office will remain open – please make appointments in advance if there is a need to physically drop by. All worship teams, speakers, and volunteers involved in creating virtual services are still permitted to use the building.

Stay connected (but safe) and see you online Sunday!

Advent & Christmas

Wait a minute… We’re talking about Advent and Christmas already?! Wasn’t it just yesterday we were walking around in sandals? In this year of incredible disruptions, we now find ourselves at the front end of the season of Advent. Of all the things we don’t know, one thing we know for sure is that this season won’t be like any of the other Christmases we’ve experienced. Yet, the core reason we celebrate remains unchanged. The challenge is to find ways to root ourselves in the beauty of the CHRISTmas season while living in the times we do.

What does it mean for us to wait for the Messiah in this season with many of our regular traditions stripped back? There will be no huge parties, no group celebrations or traditional fanfare and, most likely, no large extended family gatherings. That’s a lot of “no”s! What does it look like for us to say “yes” to Jesus and still prepare to celebrate his coming in a time like this? This year our guiding idea for Advent is “Getting Ready to Celebrate”.

Each Sunday there will be a theme leading us in progression to Christmas Eve – all aimed at helping us get ready to celebrate Jesus’ coming and presence among us: Invitation > Preparation > Waiting > Arrival. Along with each Sunday’s theme there will be an “engagement activity”. These will be fun and simple opportunities to explore the topic in a practical and creative way. Advent packages explaining these activities will be delivered before advent to every household with a child or youth – but this does’t preclude others from participating. As everyone does participate in the activity, we’re encouraging us all to take pictures and post to our Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag: #WCVadvent2020. Instructions will be given online every Sunday morning.

A Ham for everyone: Sadly, we’re not going to be able to gather together as we have in years past to enjoy each other’s company at our annual feast. However… we have purchased a whole hog-load of hams (say that fast 10 times!) and we’d like everyone in WCV to get one. The idea is simple: to bless everyone in the community and provide opportunities for connection. We are going to package up the hams along with some extra supplies for our Christmas Eve service this year. You can watch for these deliveries mid December.

Speaking of Christmas Eve, we’re working on plans and will update you as they are firmed up.

Lastly, if find yourself struggling this season, please don’t do so alone… reach out to your Home Group leader, a member of the Leadership Team, Andy at the office, or a trusted friend. If you know of someone who could use some extra groceries, please contact the office and we can make arrangements to share some food (we will give you an extra ham and you can add to it to make a meal). We are here to help.

Cover Photo by Cristian Escobar on Unsplash