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Church Life

The Curse of Knowledge

Church in Burlington, The Curse of Knowledge

Recently I listened to a very engaging podcast about something called The Curse of Knowledge. Have you heard that term? The curse of knowledge occurs when we assume that the person we’re speaking with has the background or the context to understand the content of what we’re saying. They might understand the words that are spoken but are missing information to make it relevant and meaningful.

How does the curse of knowledge manifest itself in church life?

A guest arrives for the first time with kids in tow. Where do they go? Where do their kids go, and when?

The curse of knowledge is that I know where to go, and how to check my kids into the program. If I’m a bit late, I don’t worry —  the doors will still be open, and the kids don’t actually start their program until 10:15.

We all know that.

The kids are dismissed for their program downstairs. A newcomer wonders what is ‘downstairs’, and when will they get their kids back?

The curse of knowledge is that I have seen the classrooms and I have met all the teachers. I know they are trained and amazing, and that my kids will be waiting to be picked up after the service.

We all know that.

Communion is set at the front of the church; will I have to walk up and get it or will it be delivered and, if so, do I take it right away or do I hang onto it? 

The curse of knowledge is that we celebrate communion every month, and there is rarely any variance in how we do it. They pray and pass the plates, while I sit and receive. 

We all know that.

Every time you find yourself saying, “We all know that!”, the curse of knowledge is rearing its ugly head. And to guests, the curse of knowledge can be awkward, ambiguous, confusing, and unwelcoming.

One of the many things I love about our Frontline Ministry team is that they help to break the curse of knowledge by keeping an eye out for guests and helping them to pre-navigate any obstacles.

You came alone and don’t know where to sit? No problem! Let me get you settled near someone who I know to be friendly. Heck, you can even sit with me!

You brought kids? They’ll love it here! Let’s go to the welcome centre and get them registered, then we’ll give you a quick tour of the kids min area. Maybe introduce you to Tanya, the best Children’s Director ever.

You came early to get the lay of the land? So glad you did! Have a cup of coffee or tea, and let me introduce you to a few people.

You came late because you're feeling nervous and unsure? We understand, and we’re watching for the rules of engagement so that we don’t overwhelm you.

Isn’t it great that we have a team of ushers, greeters and welcome centre people who can help overcome the curse of knowledge?

Well, I have a secret to tell you…

You don’t have to serve in an official capacity in order to fight the curse.

That's right, each one of us can play a vital role in the guest experience by keeping your eyes open, being available, and modelling for them what a typical Sunday looks like.

So write your name on the friendship clip. Pour yourself a coffee. Introduce your kids to their kids so they can be dismissed together to their class. If you are a Sunday School teacher, introduce yourself to the parents even if you’re not serving that particular Sunday. The next time they come you might be serving, and how awesome it will be when the kids have already met you!

The curse of knowledge is inevitable to some degree, but we can all play a part in breaking down barriers and helping our guests feel welcomed, loved, and in-the-know.

See you Sunday! The service starts at 10am and free coffee is served at 9:30am. We all know that...

Candi Thorpe

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Object Lessons from My Kitchen

Oven MittsI’m kind of embarrassed to share this photo with you. We’ve recently been doing some home improvements, and updating our kitchen was first on the list. Aside from the big stuff, our collection of dishes and accessories needed some refreshing. My girls love to bake - as do I, and they had been suggesting for some time that we purchase some new oven mitts. There was actually a hole at the top of one where your fingers could come out. Once I purchased the new pair, I realized how old and worn out these oven mitts really were. They served us well, however, and helped to bring many great meals and baked goods form the oven.

At this point you are probably wondering why we are talking about some old oven mitts. Well as any Children’s Director would know – everything can be an object lesson for Sunday school! I began to think about those mitts and their function. Here’s a few thoughts...

They Protect

God is our protector and promises to help us through all our circumstances. We all face difficulties and challenges at some point in our lives. I can’t even imagine how many times God has protected me or my family from various troubles. Similar to the armour of God, I like the image of God coming between us and the valleys of life – a shield.

“You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.” Psalm 110:114

“But you Lord are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.” Psalm 3:3

They Cover

I like the comparison of God covering our lives and giving us His word and truths to live by. We can take comfort it knowing that the Creator of the universe has got everything “covered”.

“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” Psalm 91:4

“Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.” Proverbs 30:5

They Help

Those old worn oven mitts were helpful in getting the job done. Without them it would be very difficult to complete what was started. I know that we serve a great God who wants the best for us. He helps us more than we could ever imagine….or deserve.

“But those who hope in the lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

Tanya Chant, Director of Child and Family Ministry

tanya@calvaryburlington.ca

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Kids Min Update

It’s hard to believe it’s November already! Our CB Kids have had a busy fall.  In September our JK to Grade five started a new curriculum teaching them about the ‘Life of Jesus’. 

Beginning with his humble birth in a manger, our CB Kids have been learning that Jesus is a real person and how He can help them in their lives today. You may have seen our kids leaving Sunday school with manger crafts and glittery stars the past few weeks. It has been great to take our time learning about the Christmas story instead of rushing through it in December. 

We also had our CB kids back to school night and our Superhero night. We learned that God is with us everywhere, even at school, and that He can also use us in super ways. We had lots of fun and look forward to our Ugly Sweater night on Thursday, November 29th.  It will be a fun time of Christmas crafts, games and snacks. 

Our Children’s Ministry has also started practicing for our Christmas presentation happening on December 9th.  Even our little preschoolers have been working on a special poem. It’s always a busy start to pull out the costumes, choose the best poem and find the perfect song. In the end, it’s the message that is most important.  Our children have been learning that presenting the story of Jesus’ birth allows others to hear the amazing story of our King’s birth and the incredible gift that it is.

The song that we chose this year is called ‘Baby King’ by Jason Gray, and our children have been busy learning all the words. Here is just a little part of it:

Come now you don't have to fear anymore
There's never been a king quite like this one before
He knows its not easy to let down your guard
That it might take a baby to open your heart
And tenderly pull your defenses apart
Ring every bell, Shout out the message, all hail the coming of Jesus
Lord of us all, small and defenseless, power comes swaddled in meakness
Don't be afraid, He came as a baby King.

I know this season of celebration and family will pass in the blink of an eye.  Over the next several weeks we will all be in the thick of shopping, wrapping, baking, cleaning, and attending Christmas activities.  I hope too that we can find the Baby King in all the holiday happenings.

Tanya Chant, Family & Children's Director

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