Message from Pastors Leon and Sally
2020 – what a year!
Thinking back, we are reminded of some of the big decisions we had to make last March, as the world began to shut down.
Do we close our doors? Do we lay off the staff? Do we hunker down and wait until it was safe to come out? The resounding answer that rose up in our spirits was……
*The images below were taken during the various stages of MB Health Orders in 2020 and were in compliance with the orders in effect at those times.
It was Pastors Leon & Sally’s vision and the brilliance of our staff and volunteers who brought to life this new way of doing church.
Whenever there is adversity, there is always opportunity. And we quickly switched focus and went online. We ramped up all of our virtual content.
Our passion to bring hope into people’s homes was our high priority. Building what would be a strong and necessary culture of “Faith over Fear.”
Church online and the Drive-In instantly became a lifeline for people. It gave them such hope and peace amidst the fear and uncertainty they saw everywhere else.
Sunday, March 15
Our first cancellation of "in-person" services
Sunday, March 29
First day of our
Drive-In Church services
Opened up our 725 Sanctuary for worship
Started our Saturday night Drive-In services
Started with three projector screens.
Upgraded to one massive LED screen.
That screen transformed Drive-In Church, allowing us to do multiple services on Sundays. But we couldn’t keep renting it for months and months. So we gave out the call, and the givers at Springs came through. Within months, we moved from renting to owning our own 30 ft. LED screen!
We are amazed by the givers at Springs. We have many stories of how people would drive to our property during the lockdown just so they could give. They could’ve easily donated online, but there was something special–something faith-filled–about driving onto our property and physically turning in their giving envelopes.
By creatively thinking of ways for people to stay connected and go deeper into God’s Word through these lock-downs, we created
SPRINGS ZOOM GROUPS
A Springs Zoom Group is a small community of people who connect weekly online. Because people are unique, every group is unique, and the intent of each one is to make great friendships, support one another, and grow in the Word as the groups discuss Pastor Leon’s Sunday message. We couldn’t let physical distance keep us from meeting and growing together as a church family.
First Zoom Group Meeting
ONLINE FAMILY PARTIES
When lockdowns started across all of our sites and we couldn’t gather in person, we hosted online parties for families to enjoy from their own home with games, worship, and Spirit Contemporary lessons.
These provided Bible based content for kids at every age through online platforms.
BIRTHDAY PARTIES & SCAVENGER HUNTS
Springs Kids hosted birthday parties for families providing toys, cooking supplies, and space for families to enjoy the outdoors.
We did scavenger hunts around the property on Canada Day and Halloween where kids would come to the property and search for special things like hand painted rocks and candy.
Our Calgary Springs Kids collected approx. 250 shoeboxes in December for Operation Christmas Child. Our shoebox event was such a success. We even had people from other churches bringing us their shoe boxes to help.
What a different year 2020 was.
We were in and out of youth because of restrictions but we were still able to bring out regular youth even in the midst of Covid-19.
In June, we were able to open the Friday night zone café for youth to gather. This is awesome, considering the fear and anxiety out there for covid, our youth weren’t phased by it.
When restrictions changed our youth groups moved online and saw hundreds of views each week.
With us not needing volunteers the same way it was very cool to see our youth volunteers in othear places helping the church wherever they could.
During this time we had a huge response from our teens saying how much they miss Youth and the interaction with each other and our volunteer leaders.
From the first cancellation of our “in-person” services on March 15th, our Music team volunteers came together and within two short weeks put together and recorded several worship sets to bring to our online services.
The Music Team, with the help of our Media Team, put together music that would impact people around the world. Everything was a new experience for our music volunteers as they navigated what was involved in taking our Springs Music Teams across the globe for the first time ever.
There was no stopping the flood of ideas, innovations and ways of doing things on every Springs team. Each department had to think, create and take action in directions that had never been utilized.
Psalm 23 “The Lord is My Shepherd” was our first ever multisite special number using 46 vocals and musicians from all of our locations. Watching this come together is still one of the highlights of 2020. All this happened while people were working from their homes and just the act of putting this song together kept the Music Team totally united and working with a purpose.
Since Psalm 23 the music team has continued to record worship and special music for Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Worship and Miracles online and drive-in events and of course Christmas.
Week in and week out our Calgary and Winnipeg worship teams produced worship sets to play for our online and Drive-In services. However, on June 14th, we made a huge change and went with LIVE worship from our Drive-In services! This was a first for Springs worship teams as we had never taken our worship live to an online stream before.
Summer was the best! With our cafés open, we were able to host patio events. On three of the patio evenings, the Music Team hosted Music on the Patio, bringing many people together.
Doing worship live at the Drive-In has been an experience that not a single volunteer would trade for anything! Through the wind, rain, and later very chilly temperatures the band and vocals continued to lead worship, often working to fight back tears as they led people in worship through car windows, arms raised high and loud horns honking out their “Amens”.
In October we opened our 725 Sanctuary for worship. For several weeks, here in Winnipeg, we had two worship teams each Sunday – one live for Drive-In worship and another in our 725 Sanctuary. Also, during this time, our Calgary team continued to produce worship sets for our Wednesday and future Sunday services. In December, Calgary was able to open up for services once again and the team there continues to grow and welcome new volunteers.
Christmas Eve was an epic experience as we did six Drive-In services. It was because of our amazing team of volunteers that we could do this on one of the coldest days in 2020!
A sense of working together, doing whatever it takes and sacrificing whatever is needed has kept our teams healthy and vibrant through 2020. Making music is the passion of each of our volunteers and what we have learned together and the experiences we have had have only proven to make us stronger.
For all of our volunteers, we know that coming into the church building has been a place that has helped them find a sense of belonging. Even coming into the building to volunteer, attend a rehearsal, meet someone for a coffee, look at the décor or use the washroom, the building reminds them of the hope that they have for the future. Truly the best is yet to come.
As restrictions were announced, our Service Teams worked hard to put in place systems to do church differently.
- We measured out parking lots to get the maximum car parking spaces
- We started Drive-In church only being able to use ten people to park cars – thanks to an amazing team we did it safely!
We started Indoor services allowing us to involve many volunteers from our greeter and usher teams.
We started Saturday Night services – our teams were eager to be involved and help pull off both Drive-In and 725 Lagimodiere services.
Our service teams are full of fun, energy and always ready to welcome you to the weekend services with a smile.
We would have had messy traffic jammed lots if it wasn’t for our incredible Service Team volunteers.
Our six coffee shops with their individual restaurant licenses, allowed us to do church in a new way and remain open. Again, only God could have known what our church needed in 2020 in order to stay healthy and strong.
Our goal throughout this season has been to find ways to bring people together and to create community when we are together. Being together and bringing joy and hope to people is making a difference in so many people’s lives. So as the government made changes that affected our ministry, we found new ways to continue to bring people together.
Some of the events we ran were Super Bowl, Family Fun Day, Hospitality Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast. These were great events for connecting people.
April was a very different month! All our Staff worked from home but we still wanted to connect with our amazing teams. Our Pastors and Department Heads spent hours each week on the phone, text or online making sure to connect and pray for our volunteers. We also created a volunteer appreciation video to stay connected to our teams.
Our café patios proved to be a perfect place to host volunteer hang out groups, and Zoom Groups on the patio while we were still closed inside. We quickly supplied heaters to keep everyone warm in the cool evenings. We also brought in food trucks every Friday night to add to the atmosphere and help those owners through a very slow summer.
We opened our outdoor patio each day from morning to evening and for the first time since we originally opened the cafés, we opened our doors to the public 7 days a week. Our Café Teams were a tremendous help in the outreach. Our indoor cafés opened to 25% capacity. People could now sit inside!
On our patios we hosted classroom time for SCA so the kids could meet in person and also hold the preschool graduation. We opened Toronto lounge to host our 20 Something events and Grade 5 and 6 events.
- With the increase of group size allowance and 50% indoor café capacity we were able to hold Canada Day celebration, puzzle nights, trivia night, live music on the patio, ladies nights, and men’s breakfasts.
- We started serving lunches during the week to encourage people to the café during the day. Friday nights continued to be our fun gathering nights with music, food trucks, and games for the kids…
- Throughout the summer, all our various departments hosted events on the patio to bring volunteers together creating a sense of togetherness despite current restrictions.
- Along with our Drive-In, our patios and cafés became the only place we could gather for Sunday services. We quickly equipped all our cafés with speakers and TV’s so people with small children or those without vehicles who couldn’t attend Drive-In could come to church in person in our cafés.
- We saw our awesome Build Team put together three picnic shelters with barbecues which we started using to host birthday parties for anyone who wanted to use our park space. It was an amazing way for our church family to invite guests to hang out in a safe fun environment. We heard many stories of people being blown away by what we provided for them. It was a special way to help families celebrate together in a time of isolation.
- We provided the space for families to host family gatherings, anniversaries and other fun groups (singles group, ladies motorcycle group…).
- Our Kids Department organized, Family Drop In’s where families could come to hang out with other families. Every week, we changed the theme of our main activities such as Foam Party, Safari Day, Water day, Paint Party and Rocket Launch. We had so many families say this was the highlight of their week. Our families had the opportunity to bring new families, to visit with grandparents or meet friends whom they hadn’t seen in a long time. It became a place of refuge for people with kids!
- MB Health Orders allowed us to open an indoor service at 725. Our Music Team gave us a live band on the stage at these services – it was great to worship together.
- We hosted an outdoor Halloween Scavenger Hunt with Mascots, Princesses, free hot chocolate and lots of candy. Despite the snow and cold wind, many excited families participated in our outdoor activity.
Our evening games and contest nights were a huge hit last summer!
We added Friday night drive-in movies
We also opened the Zone Café for our youth to gather in.
Our Acts of Kindness Ministry continually grew throughout 2020. We started this ministry in order to help those less fortunate and in need of furniture for their homes. Throughout the pandemic, there were so many people desperately in need. Thanks to the incredible amount of furniture we received from hotels, businesses, families, etc., we were able to deliver to 80 homes throughout the year. It is always such an amazing blessing to be able to bring comfort, joy and peace to people in need. Our Acts of Kindness ministry was able to do that in a HUGE way!
During the year we were able to send financial support to our incredible Missions – Watoto in Uganda and Love India in India.
We also put together over 50 gift bags with clothes, personal items gifts, snacks, etc for Moms and Youth in a women’s shelter in our city’s core area.
During the winter months, when so many people were not working because of the lock downs, we had groceries available daily to those who called and asked.
Winter Wonderland is a place that puts smiles on kids’ faces, that encourages the laughter of grandmas and grandpas, and brings peace to the broken and fearful.
Throughout the November and December months, our Build Team started building an amazing Winter wonderland with a lit-up walking trail, skating rinks and toboggan run. With the beautiful weather between Christmas and New Years, our evenings were filled with families skating and taking walks on the beautiful trail. Our desire was to create a place where joy and laughter could be heard again.
Throughout January and February, our classes ran as normal. We started our Days in the Sun (Spring Break Day camp) preparation and all our regular classes took place as planned.
Our team also prepped and helped run our Family Fun Day event.
March proved to be very different though. Due to the MB Health restrictions, students were sent home and had to take their courses online. They did incredible in staying caught up with assignments and keeping the team on the right track.
Our café patios proved to be a prefect place to host volunteer hang out groups, Zoom Groups on the patio while we were still closed inside. We quickly supplied heaters to keep everyone warm in the cool evenings. We also brought in food trucks every Friday night to add to the atmosphere and fun.
We were able to come back to class in person and start planning for grad. It was so good to be back!
In June, we were able to do Grad in our Zone Café with our students and some family!
September was the start of our new college year!
We were able to have all our courses live and can definitely see how it has impacted the team to be able to be at the building and do courses and applied aspects of the program.
In October, we were able to help with many different areas for the Winter Wonderland. It was great for us to be involved with such an impactful part of Springs Church.
Throughout the rest of the year, we were able to participate in many different ministry areas like evangelism, Inner City visitation and Foodbank, working in other areas such as our Springs Christian Academy chapels via video, Kids online services, Acts of Kindness.
In December, our team was excited to shop for the groceries and toys so they could prepare the Christmas Hampers for the many families who needed some extra help. Due to so many businesses shut down, we did the most hampers we have ever done in one year! What an experience it was for these students to get the Thank You from these families when they got to deliver them to their doorstep!
What an incredible year! Even through all the restrictions and shutdowns we were able to speak into these students lives and help guide them into their next season of life.
We started the New Year off with our regular in-class courses. However, in March, due to restrictions we had to stop our in-class Leadership Level 1, 2 & Biblical Studies 1, 2 classes. Video links were sent to each student each week. The students were amazing at staying caught up with their sessions.
Mid-April, we asked all our part-time students to set up a Zoom account and be prepared to attend a few of the classes online.
In May, we were able to have our first Biblical Studies class via Zoom. We also created a way to do exams online.
As the café patios were open in June, we were able to celebrate our Continuing Ed Grads with a Grad Get-Together on the Toronto Patio. It was a great finish to the year!
SPRINGS CHRISTIAN ACADEMY
learned, grown and gone above and beyond to offer a safe and fun education over this past year.
our school was able to put together packages and send them home immediately so we did not miss any school allowing for a seamless transition into on-line learning.
Our staff continued to go above and beyond to teach our students online from March – June.
our 2019-2020 year with virtual awards days, drop and pick up days outside, as well as a Drive-In Grade 12 Graduation celebration.
in-school learning for all Kindergarten – Grade 12 students the entire time, when most schools have had to go to a part time model due to space issues. We have always been able to spread out 6 feet apart.
all students to wear masks, we have not made that a mandate because we are able to maintain physical distancing.
weren’t offering remote learning to all grades, or were limiting who could use the option, we chose to offer it to all of our families to give them the option to learn from home. We believe it is important to allow parents to choose how their child is educated.
allowing our school to celebrate our students and build community.
a Drive-In Christmas concert with help from our high school students in the area of recording.