This Thursday, June 18 at 6pm we will host our annual Ministry Team Appreciation Party! This is a night we set aside to honour and appreciate everyone who serves as part of the Westside body. In the past we’ve take everyone to a Canadians game, we’ve rented out venues in the city for some fine dining, when the ministry was smaller we took everyone on a “luxurious” cruise around burrard inlet and last year we put on a concert with Kings Kaleidoscope. In short - this is a big deal. We spend a lot of time and a lot of money on this each year because we really want to appreciate those who serve and celebrate what God has done through us this past year. But you might be wondering - isn’t the church supposed to be about serving the City, the poor and the less fortunate? Why would you spend thousands of dollars to have a party for yourself?
Quick answer: Celebrating as God’s people and honouring those who serve as part of the local church are biblical practices.
In the Old Testament there were a number of feasts and festivals that happened throughout the year. They were big deals that cost a lot of shekels. Some of the customs seem weird to us now - like walking to Jerusalem with your family and living in a booth for a week, but many of the customs would seem very familiar - eating good food, dancing, singing and hanging out.
The New testament is no different - Jesus celebrated at weddings, house parties and ceremonial celebrations. And one of the most joyful images we are given of heaven is that of a feast - a wedding supper between Jesus and his people. Revelation 19:9 says, “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb (Jesus).”
Here’s the thing - human beings naturally celebrate events and achievements they value. We have parties for birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, promotions, graduations, playoffs, academy awards and homecomings.
In the act of celebrating we are saying, “This is important in my life, that’s why I ordered a sushi platter, blew up some balloons and baked a cake. I don’t do that every day of the week. This is a big deal!”
And we are also saying,”These are the people who are important to me. I made a point of inviting them, and they took the time to RSVP, get a babysitter, put on a nice shirt and fight traffic to be here so we could celebrate together.
This is what communities do. This is what families do. It’s good to celebrate - especially when you celebrate those things which will endure into eternity.
And it’s also good to honour those who are a part of that enduring work. The Apostle Paul almost always ends his letters by mentioning the names of some of those who are serving with him. Romans is the greatest example of this. In the last chapter he commends no less than 28 people for their service to the church. He mentions Phoebe “a servant of the church at Cenchreae”, Prisca and Aquila who, “risked their necks for my life”, Urbanus, “a fellow worker in Christ”, Mary, “who has worked hard” and many other individuals. He also mentions groups of people like the “Family of Aristobulus” and the saints in a that region. He asks that they be greeted with the coming of his letter, but in highlighting them he makes a clear point - these are the people who are leading in the ministry. The list is not exhaustive, but it is intentional. It’s meant to show appreciation for people who are doing the work of the Lord.
There are many of these types of people within Westside. We have over 300 Ministry team members. You see many of them when you walk in the doors on a Sunday serving coffee, shaking hands and teaching the kids. But there are just as many that you don’t see, mentoring engaged couples, counselling, keeping track of giving and cleaning the building. There are also those who open their homes for Community Groups, prayer meetings and some who go to Cosco each week to get supplies. These are the saints doing the ministry at Westside. They are faithful, hard working and worthy of honour.
Like Paul, I am going to end by commending the leaders of our various ministry teams. These are the people who make sure things get done in their area of service each week no matter what. They lead the team, schedule and fill in when necessary. They are faithful and joyful and it is a pleasure to serve with them. As Community Group leaders they prepare for each CG night through study and prayer, they open their home, their lives and the hearts so that we will have a place to connect and grow. They are lights in neighbourhoods all over the City.
On behalf of the elders and staff I commend these leaders to you for their faithful service:
Cafe: Matt & Leah Mumford, Alex and Maylee Fontaine,
Connect: Grand & Kendra Wright, Adrienne Mak, Gabi Lange, Marie Spiro, Rick & Jemmy Braun, Gavin & Dawn Hamblin, Carlee Redekop
Facilities: Mark & Emily Frykberg, Justin Yap, Jay Haines
Hosts: Tracy Wong
Kids: Alisha Robie, Andrew Mintz, Kaycee Vandenberg, Geoff Dittrich, Laura Alderidge
Security: Clint Wickham
Sound: Brandon Dorsey
Stewarship: Lorelyn Meisner
Ushers: Jared & Ariana Bissky
Video Production: Josh Knepper, Ryan Schroeder
Community Group Leaders: Jer & Jodi Adrian, David & Christine Axelson, Jeremy & Meg Bachman, Errol & Sue Bates, Jordan Birch, Sean & Valerie Braacx, Rick & Jemmy Braun, Andrew Braun, David & Karla Bretherick, David & Melissa Broemeling, Peter & Laura Campa, Ken Chung, BJ & Jessica Chursinoff, Les & Kim Cole, Laura Colley, Nick & Andrew De Ridder, Sheena Falconer, Zach Fedora, Aaron Fedora, Ben & Michelle Gadd, James & Jocelyn Groot, David & Lindsay Guenter, Tiffany Haines, Peter & Twyla Hildebrand, Thomas Huryn, Kevin Hussey, Josh & Tami Knepper, Kenton & Jayme Lepp, Michael Lloyd, David & Jewels Lovely, Matt & Melissa Menzel, Sarah Miller, Terry & Laura Neufeld, Andrew & Laura North, Dave Olson, Curt & Jihan Otterbein, Thom Peters, Jen & Mike Por, Michelle Reimer, Aaron & Kveta Rose, Ryan & Juliana Schroeder, Nadine Schroeder, Scott & Jolee Shantz, Bryan & Kendra Sih, Jeff & Suzanne Therrien, Carllee Thiessen, Johnny & Lauren Van Dyck, Desirae & Joel Van Hove, Peter & Karen Volcz, Brittany Watson, Nate & Karen Whistler, Casey & Maryanne Wickham, Marc and Chars Willerton, Mark & Lauren Witten, Brian & Erin Yau, Jia Zheng
NORTH SHORE CAMPUS:
Cafe: Kelly Walden
Connect: Shelley Horsfield
Set up: Brad Hutchison
Tear Down: Marc Horsefield
Hosts: Cydney Bevilacqua
Kids: Alice Misa, Natalie Burns, Clara Croft
Security: Zach Burns
Sound: Jon Elrick
Stewardship: Kristina Hutchison
Ushers: Judy Heyworth
Worship: Ryan Howarth, Jordan Chong
Presentation: James Lalonde
Community Group Leaders: James & Nikki Bonney, Dale & Deanna Bracewell, Ryan & Leigh Ann Howart, John & Jeannie Lalonde, Brett & Lynette Theunissen, Lucas & Jenny Wong, Jordan Chong, Chelsey Childes, Bryan & Cydney Bevilacqua
Looking forward to a good party Thursday night!
Matt Glezos is on staff at Westside Church, where he is the Director of Ministry Development. Matt is married to Dawn and they have five boys.