Ramblings on Spiritual Formation from a Pastoral Nomad

Ramblings on Spiritual Formation from a Pastoral Nomad

Since 2005 I have enjoyed the calling to live a semi-nomadic lifestyle as a Transitional Pastor. One of the unique aspects of Transitional ministry is the experience of working with many congregations. To date I have worked with over 45 churches ranging from weekend retreats to transitional pastoral assignments that have lasted as long as two years.

I cannot say that I am a true nomad because I have a home base in Langley. Many of my transitional assignments have been in the Lower Mainland. This has allowed me to sleep in my own bed at night. But, from a pastoral perspective, it has been a nomadic journey because each assignment is a temporary role with a clear end date. A fundamental axiom of transitional ministry is that a transitional pastor is never a candidate for the pastoral position. And this is where the journey of spiritual formation begins.

Something my wife Ruth and I had to work through in order to do this work is to give up the benefits of having a church family that we could call home. Throughout our years of pastoral ministry, we enjoyed a wealth of ways to build many meaningful relationships. This is a built in benefit of the pastoral role; you are immersed in the life of a congregational family. Transitional ministry, being nomadic by nature, changes things. God has taught us, and continues to teach us, how to be “happy foster children” who enjoy, even embrace, moving from one family to another. We get to learn about each church’s unique ways, history, dreams, and disappointments. We walk alongside  knowing that we cannot and should not fully become part of the family.

What God has taught us is how to enjoy being part of the wider body of congregations that we serve. He has helped us discover how to enjoy relationships with people in the moment, while we are present in one congregation. There is something fascinating about sojourning with a group of people for a season, knowing you will move on. You get to see and observe things from a unique vantage point. For a person such as myself, who is incredibly curious, I consider it a gift to be able to explore my many questions “Why is this church the way it is?” “What makes this place tick?” “What kind of pastoral leader would be a good fit here in the future?” “How can we appropriately help to sort some things out?” There is incredible job satisfaction in seeing a church hire a new pastor from a posture of greater health and clarity of mission and vision.

The greatest sense of spiritual formation I have discovered is that God had been preparing us for many years to do this ministry. In fact, some of the most difficult experiences of pastoral ministry have been the most beneficial. This sense of being prepared has wonderfully affirmed our sense of calling to serve in transitional ministry. A scripture that has become especially relevant is Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” This sense of affirmation and calling is vital. There is some wear and tear due to the nomadic nature of the work and the challenging situations in which we often find ourselves. There are many days when that profound sense of knowing that we are doing what God has prepared us to do gives us the courage and energy for the work. And it makes our relationship with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit richer, deeper, better.

Gerry and Ruth’s home church is Mountainview Alliance. Gerry has served as a Transitional Pastor since 2005 and is the founder and director of Pathways Forward Transitional Ministry consulting.

For more information about Transitional Ministry visit pacificdistrict.ca/transitional-ministry and pathwaysforward.ca.

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Carmen Kinniburgh

District Children’s Ministry Partner

Children’s ministry involves developing leaders, discipling children and families, exercising creativity, with an emphasis on fun and building relationships that help others to experience God’s love as they are loved by people who know God’s love. Carmen has served in children’s ministries as a volunteer, coordinator, curriculum writer, camp speaker, and pastor. Her desire in ministry and life is to help others (whether they be children, youth, or adults) to hear God’s voice and to experience the freedom and fullness of love found in knowing Jesus and living kingdom lives. Whether your children’s ministry is led by volunteers or a pastoral leader, Carmen would love to connect, build networks, support, resource, pray with, and provide care in whatever areas are needed.

Carmen lives in Vernon with her husband, Jeremy, and their two teenage kids. She loves playing soccer, hiking, camping, and theatre. She and Jeremy have founded two new ministries called Threshold Initiatives and Contributing Pastor.

Terry Ann Opperman

Official Worker

David has served at Lakewood Alliance Church since the fall of 2002, first as an associate, then as Lead Pastor starting in November 2005. David has been on various committees including DEXCOM, District Nominating Committee, a few General Assembly Committees, and the Rules Committee for District Conference. David has an interest in church governance and seeing healthy leaders serving on healthy boards in order to better equip and serve the church.

David and Tara are in the process of launching their three young adult sons and enjoy seeing the trajectories their lives are taking. David enjoys woodwork and getting out cross-country skiing in the winter.

Steve Schneider

Lay Person

Steve is a layperson and a member of Peace Portal Alliance Church in Surrey. He has been married to his wife Brenda since 1984. They have two adult daughters. He is an engineer by background and holds an MBA from Heriot-Watt University. He works in the paper industry and is also the President of SGS Consulting Ltd. He has recently become a licensed worker in the CPD.

Steve has served in varied ways over the years but has more recently been focussed on church board work. He served on his first church board 36 years ago. Since that time, he has served on four different church boards and the District Executive Committee of the CPD. Over the last 12 years Steve has actively been teaching and consulting with church and not-for-profit boards within and outside of The Alliance Canada to help them develop healthy governance practices.

Keith Cheung

English Lead Pastor at Burnaby Alliance Church

Keith was also an active member at Westside Calgary Chinese Alliance Church before moving to Vancouver to begin full-time pastoral ministry. After a brief stint pastoring in a church from another denomination, Keith began serving as the English Lead Pastor at Burnaby Alliance Church in 2017 where he continues to serve today.

Keith is married to Cecelia (20 years this year!) and they are raising 2 beautiful daughters (11 and 6) who they adopted from Taiwan and Korea respectively. He loves, in no particular order, cooking and eating and conversations, the Saskatchewan Roughriders, road cycling, family reunions, and good movies and music.

Carol Goh

District Chaplains Committee Chair

carol@mycac.ca

Carol Goh has chaired the District Chaplains Committee and served on the Association for Alliance Chaplains (AAC) National Committee since 2018. She completed her Masters degree in Chaplaincy in Spiritual Care from Trinity Western Seminary and is the Neighborhood Chaplain and Pastor for Seniors at Chilliwack Alliance. As a chaplain, Carol invests in the neighborhood (parish) around the church through connecting with those who live, work, and go to school there. She intentionally supports the local public elementary school and other local organizations so that together they can weave together the fabric of care for the inhabitants. The Goh household includes her husband Andrew, their three teenage sons, Andrew’s mother, and their golden doodle.

David Driedger

Board Leadership Training Partner

dave@lakewoodalliance.com

David has served at Lakewood Alliance Church since the fall of 2002, first as an associate, then as Lead Pastor starting in November 2005. David has been on various committees including DEXCOM, District Nominating Committee, a few General Assembly Committees, and the Rules Committee for District Conference. David has an interest in church governance and seeing healthy leaders serving on healthy boards in order to better equip and serve the church.

David and Tara are in the process of launching their three young adult sons and enjoy seeing the trajectories their lives are taking. David enjoys woodwork and getting out cross-country skiing in the winter.

Daren Wride

Transitional Pastors Network Coordinator

dwride@shaw.ca

Daren Wride has been serving in transitional roles since 2011. He has been on the ground as Transitional Pastor in multiple churches around the province and has engaged as a Transitional Coach with several other churches. Prior to his transitional work, Daren pastored three churches in Alberta and BC for a total of nearly 20 years. Daren has also spent time in the professional speaking and internet marketing worlds and usually has a related project on the go.

Geoff Stewart

District Youth Ministry Partner

geoffs@peaceportalalliance.com

Youth ministry is among the most demanding ministries in the church from a relational standpoint, serving young people who are defining the ever changing culture we live in. Leading in youth ministry is best not done alone, and Geoff desires to help our youth pastors serve and encourage one another through the sharing of resources, wisdom, experience, and perspective. In the ever-changing world of today’s high school student, it is vital for us as youth pastors to be changing with them to understand the world they are navigating and share with them the life changing truth of the Gospel.

Geoff has been a youth pastor for 6 years at Peace Portal Alliance Church and volunteered for 10 years before that in the same church. He is passionate about seeing young people transformed by Jesus and becoming leaders in their school and community. He and his wife Lavonne live in South Surrey with their cats Norman and Puff Daddy.

Andy Lambkin

Team Lead - Property Development & Nest Housing Society

andy.lambkin@gmail.com

Andy wears two hats in the Canadian Pacific District. He serves as our New Venture implementer, helping new communities of faith emerge across our province, and he also leads the Nest housing Society, a non-profit affordable housing society working with local churches to utilize their land for social good while fulfilling critical ministry priorities. If you have questions about either of these areas, please reach out.

Personally, Andy is married to Jolie and they have four kids. Residing in North Vancouver, they call simplechurches, a network of house churches, their church home.

Carmen Kinniburgh

District Children’s Ministry Partner

jckinnib@telus.net

Children’s ministry involves developing leaders, discipling children and families, exercising creativity, with an emphasis on fun and building relationships that help others to experience God’s love as they are loved by people who know God’s love. Carmen has served in children’s ministries as a volunteer, coordinator, curriculum writer, camp speaker, and pastor. Her desire in ministry and life is to help others (whether they be children, youth, or adults) to hear God’s voice and to experience the freedom and fullness of love found in knowing Jesus and living kingdom lives. Whether your children’s ministry is led by volunteers or a pastoral leader, Carmen would love to connect, build networks, support, resource, pray with, and provide care in whatever areas are needed.

Carmen lives in Vernon with her husband, Jeremy, and their two teenage kids. She loves playing soccer, hiking, camping, and theatre. She and Jeremy have founded two new ministries called Threshold Initiatives and Contributing Pastor.