"Supporting SKMB Churches and Camps in making disciples."

June 2023 - SKMB Newsletter Content

A Letter from Luke

May 18, 2023

I think summer is here. I am not sure we're allowed to say that before May long weekend, but I am saying it because the sunburn on the back of my head/neck has officially informed me that the summer has arrived. My guess for many of us is that with its arrival comes some vacation time. Like many of you, I look forward to taking some time off with my family and spending time at our favourite place, the lake.

For many of us, vacation is a chance to catch our breath after we have been running the race of ministry. For some of us, we come limping into the summer months after a gruelling season of ministry. For others, we come into the summer months weary and tired. Maybe you come into summer feeling good. No matter how you are entering summer, the reality is we all need a rest.

Here is my invitation to you as we head into summer. I want to invite you, heck; I want to give you the freedom to take a summer vacation and slow down. Would you join me in this? It will be challenging because we hate going slow. I know I do. From the slow grocery line to the slow drivers in front of me, which reveals how much sanctification I still need, slow is not my speed of choice.

Even in the summer, as the pace of ministry slows, I want to speed up. Instead of embracing the slow, I push against it, filling my time with planning and prep for the fall. Thinking, "I need to make the most of this time!" But what if the slow pace of ministry in the summer is actually a gift and an invitation to slow down is a gift from God?

Remember, our God is the one who created the sabbath and designated the day as holy. He is the one who commands us to rest one day a week, to come to a complete stop and put our tools down, close our computers, ignore our emails, and relax, knowing that we can rest in the reality that He is sovereign. We can rest because He isn't. In making the sabbath, he invites us to slow down.

So this summer, don't just settle for a great vacation, but discover a slow pace of life. Embrace the slow pace of ministry this summer. Don't believe the nagging pressure that you feel you need to run wild. Maybe John Mark Comer is right when he said, "There's more to life than an increase in speed. Life is right under our noses, waiting to be enjoyed."

I pray that we will discover this beautiful reality over the months ahead.

- Luke Etalamaki

A Note from the Moderator

As I was thinking about what to write for the newsletter my mind kept going back to the last part of the SKMB vision statement “We see a Church passionately in love with God, led by His Spirit on mission, bringing Jesus’ Gospel of redemption and restoration to the four corners of Saskatchewan”.  I then started thinking, what is needed to accomplish this.  There is a whole list of things that come to mind but for me one jumped to the forefront – people.  God chooses to use people to carry His message of redemption to the world, which includes the four corners of Saskatchewan.  

I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who are serving in some capacity in SKMB churches.  Thank you to our pastors and spouses, thank you to church leadership, committee members, worship teams, teachers, care providers, custodians, encouragers, prayer warriors etc.  Scripture tells us that it takes many parts working together for a body to function properly, no parts are not important or needed.  May God bless you richly in your service to Him in whatever capacity you are serving. 

If you’re not serving in some way, why not consider starting. I’ve often heard it said, “I don’t feel spiritual enough to serve”.  Scripture gives us many examples of imperfect people used by God to accomplish great things.  Do you love Jesus?  Then I believe you can be of service to Him. I have found in my life that I have experienced significant growth in my relationship with God when I was serving Him.  The need for volunteers is great, in the local church and at the conference level.  Many hands make the work lighter.  

My prayer for the SKMB is that our churches would be passionately in love with God, led by His Spirit on mission, bringing Jesus’ Gospel of redemption and restoration to the four corners of Saskatchewan.   

- Gord Schroeder
SKMB Moderator

Canada Summer Grants and Summer Interns

I have had the interesting position of being both summer intern and person hiring the summer intern via the Canadian summer grant. This opportunity has provided a few things. As the intern, it was my first real experience with ministry as a job opportunity, it ignited in me a desire to serve within the church in more than just a volunteer capacity. With the diminishing of candidates to fill staff roles within the church, the summer intern opportunity can be the perfect place for those ages 15-30 to test the waters. Under the direction of an experienced ministry person, they get the opportunity to experience the depth of ministry on a smaller scale.

Summer Interns are a great way to help to achieve summer ministry goals while giving regular ministry leaders and teachers a bit of a breather. In the realm of family ministry I could not do what I do in the summer without my intern. They handle a majority of the planning and operations of all the events we plan from VBS, to family gathering. They also provide support through prep and organization for the upcoming year. This enables me as the paid staff to beginning planning and preparing for what the fall brings and take holidays. While reliance on volunteers has always been a part of the church life, families are getting busier and busier and don’t always have the hours required to pull off the VBS or extra ministries.

For smaller churches who recognize the value of interns but are feeling overwhelmed by the extra costs of hiring an additional person, I hear you. The Canada Summer Jobs Grant program is a wonderful way to help cover these cost while providing the opportunity of ministry to our youth.

- Kristen Cowman
Children's Ministry Director
Parliament Community Church

Canada Summer Jobs provides Not-For-Profit organizations, including churches, the full wages for minimum wage plus half of employment related costs (vacation pay, EI, etc.).  Applications begin being accepted around January and grant recipients are notified at the end of April/early May.  For churches this is a very low cost way, if the grant is received, to extend summer ministry while developing young leaders.


Book Review - Rebuilding Beautiful

Rebuilding Beautiful: welcome what is, dare to dream again, and step bravely into what could be. Kayla Stoecklein. Nelson Books 2022.


Kayla's journey toward dealing with the unexpected loss of her husband, who was a pastor of a large church in California, is a powerful and moving story of grief, resilience, and hope. As a young widow left to raise three young boys alone, she shares her pain and insights on how she navigated through the darkest moments of her life.

Her fresh and honest writing style sets Kayla's book apart from others on grief and loss. She doesn't write from a theoretical point of view. Instead, she speaks from the heart and shares her journey with vulnerability and authenticity.

The book is divided into five categories: embrace, heal, explore, dream, and live. Each section offers practical advice, personal anecdotes, and reflective questions for readers to ponder. For example, Kayla invites readers to embrace their pain, give themselves permission to grieve and seek out support from others. She also shares how she found healing through talk therapy, journaling, and self-care practices.

In the explore section, Kayla encourages readers to explore their emotions, beliefs, and values. She shares how she found solace in her faith and questioned and wrestled with God during her darkest moments. She also encourages readers to explore new hobbies, interests, and relationships to discover new parts of themselves and find joy in life again.

The dream section is about setting goals and creating a new vision for the future. Kayla shares how she started to dream again, even amidst her pain and grief. She encourages readers to set small and achievable goals, to take risks, and to believe in themselves.

The final section, live, is about living life to the fullest. Kayla shares how she found new purpose and meaning in her life, even after losing her husband. She encourages readers to live in the present moment, to be open to new opportunities, and to never give up on their dreams.

One of the most poignant quotes from the book is found on page 38, “... stepping into a new life doesn’t mean leaving the pain behind. Instead, the pain moves forward with us, becoming a sacred part of who we are now. Our pain has granted us access to a deeper stream of humanity. We may have been naïve before, but now we are awakened to the paradox of existence. Life is both beautiful and terrible, wonderful and horrible, meaningful and mysterious – all tangled and twisted together.”

Kayla's book is a powerful testament to the human spirit and a valuable resource for those coping with loss or divorce. Her insights and advice are relatable and practical, and her personal story is inspiring and hopeful. Her unique perspective as a young widow of a pastor who died by suicide is heart-wrenching and insightful. This book is a reminder that even in the darkest moments of our lives, there is hope and healing to be found.

- David Simpson


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