This January, our latest featured 3W emerging leader Pastor George Lutzer of Edmonton, Canada joined us in Berlin and Rome. Pastor Lutzer helped us co-lead a 3W Seminar on "Organizing the Church." Pastor George's congregation has flourished under his leadership. It is the Church of God's fastest growing congregation in Canada. Gracepoint is a congregation of 500 people and is located in the suburbs of Edmonton, Canada that has an extremely healthy organizational approach.
3W: Your church has experienced quite a bit of growth over the past few years. How important has good organization been to that growth process?
Staying organized has been critical to our growth. Ensuring that our teams are all on the same page, pursuing the same goal as a unified whole, has been a challenge. But, we believe alignment is essential to being healthy and focused and we invest a good amount of effort to that end. Much like the various systems of our bodies work together, we endeavor to organize the various ministries of our church family to work in harmony. Clear communication within our teams and to those joining us on the journey is vital in this regard.
3W: How has your ministry team been able to develop such a strong sense of teamwork?
We meet weekly as a staff for Bible study, prayer, training and planning. A good portion of these weekly meetings is dedicated to sharing stories from our personal / family lives along with what we see God doing around us and in our respective ministries. We value openness, authenticity and diversity of perspective and opinion, and look forward to hearing from one another as we share the journey together.
3W: Your church built a beautiful new building and managed to do it without a church split or major resignation. That’s unusual. How did you make that work?
We never let building the facility become the mission. Regularly communicating to our church family that we were simply building a new “nest” because we had outgrown our previous one was key. We intentionally emphasized that it was because we were focused on reaching people for Christ that we needed to build – the building was entirely secondary to our mandate of making more and better Christ-followers. Additionally, the leadership of the church had the wisdom and foresight to create and empower a Building Steering Committee – they were responsible for research, design and development, raising funds, communication, and overseeing the construction process – as Lead Pastor, I consulted with them as needed, but invested my time and energy in equipping our people and preparing them for growth.
3W: How was your experience with Three Worlds and how do you think the Post-Christendom issues relate to Canada?
The experience with 3W was encouraging and enriching! Teaming up by way of sharing resources and experiences with the hope of blessing one another is a joy of mine, and working together with 3W afforded me that opportunity. I appreciate the vision, values and strategy of the 3W team as it dovetails nicely with our congregation’s journey. I hope to be able to continue to support 3W in its future endeavors.
In terms of post-Christendom: The city in which I live and serve is largely post-Christendom in its essence. There is very little Christian memory in our society not to mention that world has arrived at our doorstep as a result of our growing economy. Graciously and effectively re-presenting Christ and the hope He holds for all is at the heart of what we do as the church in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
3W: What were your impressions of the Church of God in Rome?
What a joy to get to know the church in Rome! The people were warm and loving with a real passion for Christ and worshipping Him. I feel that this highly relational community of faith is on the verge of experiencing something extraordinary as they focus their energies under Pastor Daniele Santoncito’s leadership.
3W: I thought you and the Kendalls made a great pairing for the 3W Seminar. What did you think?
Teaming up with the Kendalls was great - it was an honor and pleasure to be able to serve with them, learn from them and share the journey with them for a few days. Of all those who participated in the 3W seminar in Rome, I’m pretty certain I benefitted most. Getting to know Gary and Belinda while enjoying a cup of coffee or a plate of pasta was a real encouragement for me, and I’m hoping to stay in touch with them.
3W: You’ve been to Rome before, but did you have a favorite sightseeing moment this time around?
Strolling through old Rome and taking few moments to pause in the various piazzas again was enjoyable, but what really impacted me this time around was the time we spent in the Coliseum. Taking a closer look at the construction of this marvel of engineering and then stopping to reflect on some of the events that took place in the Coliseum was really moving. (My other favorite moment, though not a sightseeing moment, came when Patrick decided to go shopping for a pullover at a store located a stone’s throw from the Vatican during a rare snowstorm. It was a welcome relief from the slush we were marching through that afternoon – it hadn’t snowed in Rome since 1985 and we were right in the middle of it and quite ill-prepared for it! I’m glad Patrick got himself a lovely blue pull-over and can now, in his words, “Dress a little more like an adult.”