by Lily Cheng
Dear Spring Garden Family,
This will be my last month on the pastoral team at Spring Garden Church in the Community & Mission role where I have spent the last 7 months. Alan and I would like to thank our pastoral team and congregation for the care, friendship and support I received as I sought to serve, support our Co-Lead Pastors during this interim period and do the things God placed upon my heart. When I first started this journey, God gave me two words - “Ignite” and “Conduit.”
Because of the defined nature of my time at Spring Garden, I felt that igniting the congregation in caring for our surrounding community was the best approach. My hope is through initiatives like the Community Yard Sale, Easter Community Brunch and Egg Hunt, Yonge Street Tragedy Community Dinners, Lasagna for Single Moms and the Single Moms Mother’s Day Banquet, our congregation had the opportunity to see the blessing potential we hold when we open up our doors to our surrounding community. I pray you will carry the baton forward collectively as the church discerns next steps, not just for how the church is governed internally, but God’s purpose for us in loving our neighbours.
The second word Conduit was harder for me to understand, but as the above mentioned ministries unfolded, I realized that as a church, we have great potential to be a conduit of blessing. For both the Single Moms Mother’s Day Banquet and The Willowtree Summer Camp we were a conduit to bring resources from the greater community towards kingdom purposes to bless those in need in our community. It was exciting to see God bring the resources needed to make this all happen.
It is hard for me to believe this is now my last month in this role. My prayers for this month are about a positive transition for our church and for my family. Transitions for pastors are never easy because there is such a blurry line between friendship and ministry. Please pray for the Holy Spirit to guide me in how I care for those I love while also recognizing my season in this pastoral role has been completed.
Many of you have asked me, will my family continue at Spring Garden? This is something Alan and I are already praying about and will continue to pray until it is clear to us. We are grateful for how our family has been welcomed and how our children feel at home at Spring. It would be very natural and easy for us to continue. However, we want to go through an intentional discernment process together to make sure we are not simply doing what is easy, but honouring God’s desire for our family. For the first month or two we will be stepping away to seek clarity and for me to fully take off my “pastor” hat. I will however, continue to attend and serve in the ReFresh group.
The second question many are asking me is “What is next?” God has begun to show me a vision for what is next in my life of ministry. I will be working towards crystallizing this vision and look forward to sharing it with you in a future edition of Delve. In the meantime, I invite you to join me in praying for the following ministries God has placed in my hands and heart: North York Moms, Single Moms Toronto, Willowdale Church Coalition, the Willowtree Community and the Willowdale Action Group.
What do you do when you don’t know exactly where you are going? Ask God to show you the next steps. He may not give you the entire map or 5 year plan, but God is usually pretty good at telling you what to do next. It could be “wait”, it could be taking a few steps of obedience, it could be seeking advice from some wise counsel. When you don’t know what to do, do what you know. The simplest obedience is spending time in quiet reflection and listening with Jesus. This will be my posture as I contemplate the future. I hope you will join me in this beautiful invitation.
Some of you may be going through a season of transition right now. It is not easy to move forward when the future is unclear. But in my experience, it is seasons of transition that really deepen our walks with God and help us to grow faith muscles we never knew we had. If you are going through transition and would like to pray together, please email me and we can set up a time to meet: email@example.com.
Thanks again for the love and support I have received walking with you individually and collectively. I will be praying with you and for you as God reveals His exciting plans for this next season at our church.
Lily (and Alan, Carter & Freesia)