So…What is G2G?

Hanover Missionary Church, Groups To Go, G2G

With our new IDENTITY and PURPOSE defined and our new LOGO in place we thought it only appropriate that we revisit our life group branding.

G2G stands for GROUPS TO GO – playing off our purpose statement of GATHER AND GO –  and, though the title has changed, it still encapsulates all the things we believe about small groups (below is the definition as it appears on our website):

We aren’t designed to go it alone, especially when it comes to our spiritual growth! It’s about relationships – with God and others. A relational community can help you grow in your faith. We encourage both our attendees and all those we know to experience their purpose through belonging to a small group.

In G2G Groups (comprised of 8-12 people) friendships are developed and people are encouraged to live out their fullest potential. People in G2G Groups at HMC care for one another and build one another up so that we can reach out to others who need Jesus.
Our G2G Groups meet at different times and in many places. We have materials and resources available to help facilitate discussion pertinent to your group’s needs and stage in life. Alternatively, our church offers standard programs and materials each year that are used church-wide, and often connected with Sunday morning teaching and the current area of growth emphasis the church is promoting.

Last Sunday we rolled out our groups, introducing them at a display in the foyer. There are many different studies beginning very soon and we don’t want you to miss out!

Clipboards will still be out next Sunday for you to sign up. Take some time to read through the descriptions of each group (available here) and come knowing where you want to commit your time.  

It is our hope that everyone can be connected in a way that helps them grow and feel supported.

Thinking about starting/leading your own group? Great! Talk to Pastor Lyndsay and we’ll add you to the growing list of flourishing G2G groups!

Consider Yourself Called

by contributing writer Heidi Eastman

For the last few weeks, Pastor Amos has been asking for help in child and youth ministries.  Every area of ministry needs leadership.  And obviously, enough of us are not stepping up quickly.

I wonder how many are actually involved in any area of ministry?  And I wonder how many of the rest are too busy, too lazy, physically unable, or too burned out from helping in the past?

And I wonder how many people are thinking “I don’t feel called”?

For those of you involved: thank you!  

I am so thankful that I get welcomed every Sunday morning by happy faces greeting me at the door and others taking up the offering.  I am so thankful to have somewhere to take my kids on a Sunday morning so I can sit and hear a sermon.  I am thankful to have a team of musicians on the stage welcoming me in with song.  I am so thankful that our church is a place hurting people can find support and healing.  I am thankful for the lovely people who serve drinks in the foyer.  And I’m thankful for all those other volunteers who help make the church an environment I am proud to be a part of.

For those who don’t help: why not?

Too busy? I understand.  I am married to this one.  And if he were to suggest volunteering at the church with his current schedule, I would be the one to say no.  When you are so busy, the last thing you need is adding one more thing to your plate.  You need to take care of yourself and when this busy season ends, the church will appreciate your hard work in whatever area of ministry you decide to join.  But, before using this reason, honestly evaluate your life – are you actually too busy or is it just the first excuse that comes to mind?

Too lazy?  Just stop (or should that be start?).  Jump in.  Not every area of ministry involves hours of time.  For example, the nursery could use you.  Show up on your scheduled Sunday and play with babies.  You can sit in the comfy chairs (unless you have to bounce a crying baby) and read stories to babies if you choose.  It may not seem like a big deal to you but for the stay-at-home mom whose only break from her baby is the nursery, this ministry can be a life-saver.

Physically unable?  If you want to help but have physical limitations, ask the leadership if they can use you.  I expect if you are able to get into the building, the answer will be yes! A few years ago, one of the youth leaders was well into his 80’s.  He couldn’t play the crazy games, but he cheered on and encouraged the teens.  Perhaps seeing you there will inspire some of those kids.  Perhaps your physical limitations will open doors to relationships you never considered.

Burned out?  I’m sorry.  Sometimes we do have to take time out to care for ourselves and that’s okay.  Personally, I stayed in an area of ministry longer than was healthy for me but I found it hard to step out when I didn’t see other people stepping in.  I would love to see a church where there is such a strong volunteer base that when one of us needs a rest, we can do so guilt-free knowing that everything is covered.  Everything has a season and I think that applies to ministry as well.  Sometimes we just need rest, and we need to know the gaps are filled to make our time away refreshing.  I hope you find the rest you need and can rejoin us soon – motivated and enthusiastic.

You don’t feel called?  I have been involved in some area of ministry since I attended high school.  And guess what?  I don’t feel “called” to help – and I never have.

And I think that’s okay. 

And I think it might be normal.

This “called” word that gets tossed around in Christian circles gives us an easy excuse not to help.  If we say “but I don’t feel called,” other Christians don’t dare question us. 

But I am going to. 

What if being a Bible-believing-Jesus-loving-Christian is all the calling we need?

I believe God can use us without a clear calling.

But why would I help when I don’t feel called?  My current reasons include:

  1.     I love our church.
  2.     I feel most connected to other people when I am actively involved in something.
  3.     I want to set an example for my children of the importance of volunteerism.
  4.     My current job does not use my social work background, and I spent a lot of time (and money) learning those skills, and I don’t want to lose them.
  5.     My toddler needs to learn that the world will not end if Mommy is not home every single night.
  6.     But the bottom line is: I am a Bible-believing-Jesus-loving-Christian, and I think that is all the calling I need.

So please – honestly evaluate why you are not currently helping at the church. If you don’t have a good excuse then make a change and get involved.   It may surprise you to find that ministry will sometimes impact you just as much or more than those you are there to help.

1 Corinthians 12:27
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

Heidi Eastman lives in Neustadt with her husband, two daughters, and a beast of a dog. She has been an active part of the HMC congregation from the moment she was old enough to contribute. You can find her over at her own blog, My Sister Told Me To Start A Blog.  [Articles by Heidi]

Adding Your Voice To Sunday Mornings – Why We Read The Scriptures Aloud

Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of the prophesy, and blessed are those who hear and keep what is written in it…” Revelation 1:3a

Why We Read The Scriptures Aloud - Hanover Missionary Church

As we carry on in our chronological journey through the scriptures there has been an ongoing invitation to participate in the story through Life Groups, discussion questions, and personal challenges.  One more way of bringing the narrative to life is by sharing the Sunday morning reading of scripture among various voices in the pews.

“I see it as a new liturgy,” Pastor Jason said from the pulpit on November 23, 2014.  And while Hanover Missionary Church is not traditionally a liturgical church, there is something powerful to be said for actively participating in a service and not just being a consumer. 
The beauty of the liturgical tradition is that it carries a lot of back and forth and calls for active participation.  “Literally translated ‘liturgy‘ is ‘the work of the people‘,” Pastor Jason shared.  “In our context we have to be careful that everything isn’t driven from the front – that you become inactive participants in something that is largely being performed…and you are simply there as an observer.  We don’t want that.  We want you to be active participants and so, as you read the scriptures and as I share from my insight, from my perspective, from my readings, from my prayer, hopefully our messages jointly – our lips jointly – will be filled with messages from the Lord for each other.  There is power in the good news.  There is power in the scriptures and, as we share the Word of God together, there’s transformation that comes as it takes root in our hearts.”
Understanding the reasoning behind why we do things the way we do is just one more step in the journey towards becoming a strong family in Christ – a community actively pursuing God together.  And perhaps, through understanding, you will find yourself raising your hand to add your own voice to a Sunday morning service at HMC, making your experience richer, and the Word that much more powerful.

Alanna Rusnak shares her life with her husband, three children, and a cat she’s trying hard not to love.  She has attended HMC for her entire life and been on staff since 2003, currently fulfilling the role of Creative Communications.  You can find her over at her own blog, SelfBinding Retrospect.

Hemorrhaging Faith: Why Are They Leaving?

North America is facing a spiritual epidemic:

  • Only one in three Canadian young adults who attended church weekly as a child still do so today.
  • Of the young adults who no longer attend church, half have also stopped identifying themselves with the Christian tradition in which they were raised.


Why is this happening?  What is our role?  How can we stop it? states that ‘there are four primary toxins that keep young people from engaging with the church: hypocrisy, judgement, exclusivity, failure.’

Last Wednesday evening during our Family Ties program Pastor Jason facilitated a discussion surrounding this very issue.  Out of that discussion came a very practical way we might care for our young people: simple care packages, sent to wherever they are attending school, as a little reminder that we care.  It is a small step against a growing problem but necessary in establishing a much needed trust between the body of the church and it’s disappearing young people.

A group is rallying together to make this happen but they need your help! They are looking for donations of granola bars, mini chocolate bars, hot chocolate packages, gum, wrapped candy, or a cash donation to help cover the cost of packaging and postage.  Please consider making a contribution and dropping these off at the church office by Sunday, October 27.

If you’re interested in exploring this issue further, take a little time to read through the Faith Today article, Why They’re Leaving from their September/October 2012 publication.

The Joys & Tears of Youth Ministry

I remember it like a grainy film – that first night – like some tragic drama playing in painful slow motion.  Me, glued to the back floor of that room that helped to shape me through those years of molding up into the adult I’d become, eyes wide and terror gripped tight against my chest at the sight of all those crazy kids.  I was only a few years older but I felt our differences like a violent culture shock that spun me in a dizzying jet-lag and I knew I couldn’t do it.  I knew I couldn’t relate.  I knew I couldn’t make a difference.

I wanted to sink.  I didn’t know how to be relevant.  I didn’t understand how my presence could minister.  I felt angry with the youth pastor who had approached me – a young, brand new mom – and tricked me into agreeing to this nightmare.  I felt stupid and uncomfortable and peripheral.

I went home that night and cried, giant tears of ‘not good enough’ and ‘I have nothing to give’.  I wanted to quit.

“You’re not a quitter!” my husband reminded me.  And I wasn’t.  But I had this idea that I needed to be exactly what my old youth leader had been: loud, charismatic, bubbling up with scriptures appropriate to every single situation that presented itself.  That wasn’t who I was nor could I ever force myself to be that.  What then, was my calling?

And then, as I battened down the hatches of my self-deprecation it occurred to me in some obscure light-bulb kind of moment:  I didn’t have to be relevant.  I only had to be real.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Isaiah 40:29

I faced my second Friday night with lighter shoulders and a determination that helped me find my footing on the slippery slope of teenager chaos.  And I found myself smiling.  I realized there was joy in letting go of my own fears.  It become startlingly clear that all I needed to do was LOVE.  And by loving on these kids I was ministering into their lives in ways much deeper than I ever could with words.

And then, as weeks turned into months turned into years, something incredible happened – I was the one being blessed.  These kids had turned my ministry of love back on me and I soaked it up like a thirsty sponge.

This is the reason behind it all: to see the love of Christ reflected in the eyes and hearts of kids once thought too broken or worldly to change.  To see that love reaching out into a community darkened by a fallen world.  To watch your own heart soften to their hardness.  To watch that hardness dissolve.  To claim victory when a soul is won.  To celebrate together.  To cry together.  To see God’s hand in the little things.  What could ever be more rewarding?

There have been many favorite moments – memories that capture the essence of what this ministry means – but there is one, for me, that is set apart.  So simple, yet so drenched in the selfless purpose of what it all boils down to…

T-shirts are thrown from the main stage to promote the merchandise tent.  There’s a dive for it – like single girls going after a wedding bouquet.  Five guys and a boy about eight. The little boy gets knocked around and one of our youth wins the fight over the shirt. The boy goes back to his mother, crying, hurt and disappointed.  He sits in his chair, tears on his cheek, arms crossed, shoulders shaking.  When our guys realize he’s hurt they take the t-shirt and give it to the little boy.  He refuses to look at them, taking the shirt without raising his eyes, his mother saying thank you for him.  The shake of his shoulders stills. He unfolds the shirt carefully, checking out his prize, tracing the design with a finger.  A small smile starts to spread across his face.  He hugs his mother.  And I’m fighting back tears like a blubbering idiot and am so ridiculously proud of our guys that I want to hug them…for giving up the shirt they got grass-stains on their own by fighting over.


(This story was first shared here.)

There are moments that stretch you beyond what you thought you could bear.  There are days that leave you feeling breathless – like you could never go on.  There are words spoken that break you.  But never has there been a moment when I felt regret for the time I gave to this ministry.  Never (since that first night) did I think it was all for not.  It has made me better.  It has taught me patience, faith, grace.  It has taught me to love without limits.  How could you not want a piece of that?

And now there is a call.  Will you step beyond your boundaries?  Immerse yourself in something that, like it did me, scares you to death?  Will you give of yourself – even if it hurts?  Will you be Jesus to a youth?

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  Deuteronomy 31:8

  Alanna Rusnak shares her life with her husband, three children, and a cat she’s trying hard not to love.  She has attended HMC for her entire life and been on staff since 2003, currently fulfilling the role of Creative Communications.  You can find her over at her own blog, SelfBinding Retrospect.