One of the last things Jesus said to his disciples is known as the Great Commission: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:18-20).
Those are our marching orders. Our job is to make disciples. But none of us are supposed to do it alone. Instead, Jesus has established the Church—the community of God’s people. The Holy Spirit has given every believer a set of gifts that we are to use “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood [personhood], to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love” (Eph. 4:12-16).
At Parkland, we believe that our mission is to train every person to become accountable to their mandate of discipleship, and we summarize that mandate in three ways: love God, join in, and lead others.
Our job isn’t to put on an entertaining show. Our job isn’t to run flashy ministry programs. There’s nothing wrong with entertainment or good programming, but that’s not why we exist. We exist to make disciples who go and make disciples.
This ministry year, we’re going to lean hard into that task. And that means making some changes to the way we “do church.” Here's what you need to know about those changes so that you can be part of the journey that we’re on together.
Parkland Bible School
The first step in getting serious about discipleship training is to create a specific context for that training—one that allows for more interaction than the Sunday morning worship service. That context is something we’re calling Parkland Bible School. It’s going to happen every Sunday from 9:30-10:15.
Bible School, like the worship service, is an all-ages event. For the kids, we’re using curriculum from AWANA (check them out at awanacanada.ca).
The age brackets are Cubbies (age 3-5), Sparks, (K – grade 2), T&T (grades 3-6), and Trek (grades 7-9). We’ll also have childcare available for kids age 0-2.
For the adults, Pastor Mark will be running a class we’re calling Bible Basics. The point of BB is simple: to give you the skills you need to use your Bible and actually get something out of it.
In order to accommodate Bible School, we’ll be shifting our worship service start time to 10:30 beginning Sunday, September 9. We’ll continue to offer kids’ ministry programming during the service for kids up to grade 4.
Our Sunday lunches are our primary vehicle for community-building (and they’re really tasty!), so we’re excited to continue them this year. Remember, the goal isn’t to eat lunch with the same people every week: it’s to get to know people you wouldn’t normally get to know.
Eventually, our intention is to develop a small group ministry that will allow you to develop meaningful relationships even more deeply, but we’re not ready to go there just yet.
Worship and Prayer
We’ll also continue our weekly Thursday worship and prayer nights from 7-8 pm. We’ve seen amazing things happen through our willingness to pray into various situations, and we’ll continue to prioritize corporate prayer as a critical aspect of our life together.
We Need You
So, that’s the plan for this year. Here’s what we’re asking you to do.
First, we want you to commit to being part of our ministry programs. Come at 9:30 for Bible School. Stay after the service for lunch. Clear your Thursday night schedules. In other words, make your discipleship your priority.
Second, we need you to work hard, as many of you are already doing. If you’re not serving in some capacity at Parkland, now is the time to make the commitment. Whether it’s greeting people at the door, cooking food in the kitchen, running the sound board, or whatever else, there’s a spot for you to use your gifts to the glory of God and the good of his kingdom. Please talk to Candle to get signed up.
Third, we need you to pray. Pray for our church. Pray for our ministries. Pray that God would stir in the hearts of people to come and be part of Parkland. Pray for your neighbours. Pray for your unsaved family members. Pray for the people you work with.
This is an exciting time for Parkland, and I’m convinced that God will continue to honour our obedience to him as we magnify the name of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit.
To him alone be the glory.