The Free Methodist Church in Canada April 2005 - Volume 2 Issue 3
Reflecting the diversity of ministry expression within the Free Methodist family
COVER Getting a ‘D’ in Discipleship by Joe Schaefer
PAGE 2 Editor’s Desk Growth Ministries Three Things I Should Always Remember - and yet always forget by Jared Siebert
PAGE 3 It’s often a matter of time and love By Bishop Keith Elford General Conference update by Tanya Prinsep
PAGE 4 Passages The Nations on our Doorstep by Dan Sheffield
PAGE 5 Missionary update
PAGE 6 Camp dates
PAGE 7 Good Friends By Greg Pulham
PAGE 8 Student Ministries Includes Young Adults0008369.
aking disciples — it's at the heart of what we do. We worship, teach, fellowship, serve AND make disciples. BUT you cannot make disciples unless you are a disciple. The word disciple comes from the Latin word for “learner.” As disciples of Jesus we are learners of His ways. (Aren't we?) AND being a disciple involves following. We follow after Jesus and we walk in His ways (Don't we?) Some days I fear that too much of our faith is only theory. When are we going to take all those sermons, all those Sunday School classes, all those Bible studies, conferences, workshops and seminars and begin to live them? It's not what you know, it's what you do with what you know that counts. Being a disciple of Jesus is about life change. If your life does not line up with the teachings of Jesus then something's got to change and that something is you. The end result is that we are identifiable as followers of Jesus. In the Bible the followers of Jesus were rather ordinary men and women except that there was something about them that marked them as having been with Jesus. Is that true of you? Are we learners and followers after Christ? Something else I want to put right up front as we get started…Jesus made it clear that discipleship would not be easy. Roughly, “The world hates me, don't be surprised that it hates you also.” It won't be easy, but know this — Champions pay the price. Being a Disciple of Jesus requires a DECISION [Matthew 4:18-22; Matthew 9:9] When Jesus called His
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first disciple we see some very clear decisions being made. Peter, Andrew, James and John left behind nets and boats. Matthew walked away from his business. Life didn't end for these guys but it did take a definite turn in a new direction. Let me ask you a straightforward question. What is your intention? Is it your intention to follow Jesus? Following Jesus requires that you make a decision. You don't think you are a disciple. You don't hope you are a disciple. You don't guess you are a disciple. You KNOW you are a disciple because you have made a decision to follow Jesus. It is not someone else's decision — no one can make it for you — it's your decision. You are not drafted into the army of God — Jesus has no slaves, only volunteers.
Jesus invites, but you respond of your own free will. You must live with your decision and you must die by that decision — perhaps in the flesh (as a martyr). Certainly you will have to die to self-will, self-want, selfrights and self-determination. That's right, selfdetermination…when you become a disciple of Jesus … then, like Jesus, you choose (decide) to do the will of Him who sent you. Some days it's easy to live with that decision and some days are so hard you wonder if it's worth it all — but know this, Champions pay the price. Being a Disciple of Jesus requires DISCIPLINE
Matthew 26:41 — “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” Who hasn't been there? Any one of us who is honest will admit to this struggle, so you know… You cannot be a disciple unless you have discipline. You must have discipline in order to be a disciple. Specifically, I am talking about self-discipline (order, control, restraint). God determines the ways that His followers should go but then it is up to us to pick up our feet and go there. God does not pick you up and transport you against your will to church on Sunday; to the place of prayer; to the place of quiet devotion with Him; to the place of service — He shows you a need and you either get up and go, or sit in your lazy-boy chair. And so you must discipline: your flesh — to do or not to do; your mind to take captive disobedient thoughts and focus on the things of God; your tongue — to speak or not to speak. James 1:26 — “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.” Without self-discipline in your life your testimony is pathetic. You are only fooling yourself and your religion is a joke. An un-disciplined disciple is an embarrassment to his teacher How important is self-discipline / self-control? Your need for it is so great that God included it as one of the fruit that the Holy Spirit produces in your life. God makes self-discipline/control supernaturally available to you — make use of it. Is it hard? You betcha — some days it's real hard — some days your flesh just wont stay dead. But know this, Champions pay the price. As you begin to exercise selfdiscipline you are going to find out you have muscles you didn't know you had. continued on page 6
M O S A I C
A little further down the road A few months after welcoming Jesus into my life, I took part in a volunteer ministry program that my church
involved evangelism - helping the homeless,
od gave us an impossible job. The Changeless One, has asked us to hold His hand while we reach for the hand of the Always Changing Ones. Let’s be honest, it’s hard to keep a firm grip on both without getting our arms pulled off! The pressure of it all makes me want to crawl under my desk. Here’s what scares me: I can sometimes feel my grip loosening on one hand or the other. Lose my grip on the world and my faith becomes a private hobby (a mere shadow of God’s design). Lose my grip on God, and I have nothing of substance to offer the world. So what are we to do? How do we do the work of the church without getting sore shoulders and tired hands? Well, here are a few suggestions that come to mind as I sit here under my desk:
stocking shelves at food banks, visiting nursing
REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE
homes, downtown prayer walks, etc.
When I’m struggling with being no worldly good or not being heavenly minded enough, the Spirit will often remind me of who I am and help me get a grip. What He says (through the channels of Wife, Word, Worship, or Wisepersons) depends a lot on who I think I am at that point. Chances are I’ll have made one of two common mistakes: I’m trying to be God or I’m feeling/acting less than human. When I’m trying to be like God, I’ve probably fooled myself into thinking I’m more important than I am or else I’m taking responsibility for God sized tasks. When I’m feeling less than human, I tend to be focused on the success of others and on my failures. Less than human feels like “maybe I’m not as cut out for this kind of work as other people”. Acting less than human is doing the things I know are wrong. Either way I need to get a grip! Thinking too little or too much of myself affects how I hold hands. Interestingly enough, no matter what I’ve got going on inside my heart, the Spirit is whispering the words I need to hear. He does all things at the right time. He challenges my pride, convicts my sin, or encourages my discouragement. He’s really good at it!
was offering. Sixteen of us committed a year of our life to be discipled and serve the church. There was formal instruction in the morning (Monday to Friday) and then in the afternoon we would proceed to our various ministry departments. Most Saturdays
I look back on that year as one of the greatest in firmly establishing a solid foundation for my Christian walk. It was intense, at times very demanding, but extremely rewarding. It taught me a lot about trusting God and walking in faith - imagine surviving on $120 a month! It was an incredible opportunity that made me realize the value of "sitting at the feet" of individuals
REMEMBER WHO HE IS
who were willing to share of themselves. I saw
He not only helps me get a proper perspective on who I am but He whispers to me about who He is. You see God has been doing this whole “between two worlds” thing for a lot longer than I have. He knows what it feels like to be torn apart when embracing the world. The tension alone has brought Him to tears, fierce anger, regret, and shame at our adultery. He felt all of that and still, with unflinching courage, extended the first hand. How could I not respond to that? How could I not want to emulate that? When I remember this, my heart is full and I am convinced that HIS PLAN CAN’T FAIL! This helps me get a grip!
Jesus - modeled for me by mentors whom I saw praying with others, who showed me through their example how to trust God, and who took time to answer my many questions. Now, years later, I've been intentional about making a connection with a few girls at church. Young women who want to honour God with their lives and could use a friend to act as a spiritual sounding board - someone perhaps standing a little further down the road. Of course, this demands from me one of my most prize possessions . . . time! There is a huge time commitment in getting involved in someone's life. Some of the issues that I have helped them walk through have made me feel the weight of this responsibility and have made me realize again and again that total dependence on God is imperative. I still seek out opportunities to be mentored really, it's a road that never ends. Lisa Howden Managing Editor
To teach is to learn twice. Joseph Joubert
REMEMBER WHY YOU WORK Finally the Spirit reminds me of the reason I do the work of Christian in the first place: people need us. Every night we go to sleep with a belly full of Jesus in neighbourhoods where people are starving to death (spiritually and sometimes even physically). Every day we share highways with people who don’t know where they’re going (if they’re men they’re in even more trouble because they won’t stop to ask for directions). Every day we hang out in coffee shops with people getting a buzz from a drink that lasts only a few hours, when they could be drinking the kind of beverage that gives a life time of buzzing. Why do I get up in the morning? Why do I work so hard? Why do I still care so much about the church? I do it because it is through this kind of work that God introduces Himself to people and changes their lives. Because it is in, and through, and sometimes in spite of our churches that God is working out His Holy, The Spirit Awesome, Terrifying, Wonderful plan for the world, and quite frankly, I just want to play a reminds me part in it.
of the reason I do the work of Christian in the first place: people need us.
So as I emerge from beneath my desk to engage in the whole thing, for better or for worse, that we call the church, I hope you’ll join me in holding hands as we pray … Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation. But deliver us from evil. Amen! Jared Siebert is Director of Growth Ministries for The Free Methodist Church in Canada.
3 M O S A I C By
Bishop Keith Elford
o which comes first? The chicken or the egg? Or is that even the question? Isn’t the question, “What do we do with eggs and chickens once we have them?” That’s my way of entering into the ongoing dialogue about whether people believe first and then they can belong or whether they belong first and then they come to believe. Perhaps as in the foregoing, there may be another, better question. How do we engage with seekers at whatever point they are in their spiritual journey? I’ve been intrigued with the ministry that Joseph Moreau and Mike Garner are leading at Ecclesiax in the heavily arts-oriented Glebe neighborhood in Ottawa. They’ve got art on the walls of a gallery that they’ve developed in their building and they have welcomed the community to come and see…and talk. They have artists from the community looking in on the art and on what Ecclesiax is doing. Art books are handed out every week and people respond in the Sunday morning worship experience by drawing and sketching what they have heard and seen. Some of this is pretty awesome artwork and the written prayers are moving. Some have come not yet believing, but they experience a warm sense of belonging and they continue to come back. It is a matter of time…and love. A couple days ago, Jennifer Anderson sent me a late night email after getting in from the “Church on Rock" experiment that she and Larry Jones are doing in Niagara Falls. It’s a music based, youth focused church that meets on Friday nights. Around 30 teens are showing up — 80% of them community kids. Jenn writes, "Three young guys stopped in. They saw the sign for C.O.R. and thought it was a dance. They stayed anyways and we had a ball. I picked out a future leader from that trio. I know what a ripe harvest is looking like. I love them — rough edges and all!” And the teens keep coming back! It’s another case of a matter of time…and love. So do we believe before we can belong or how does this work? I would have weighed in on the believe-and-then-you-can-belong side until I reflected more deeply on my own experience. Raised in a Christian family, attending church from the time I was an infant, I sure had a real sense of belonging before I believed! This leads me to a working conclusion — that healthy congregations will always have kids, teens and adults dropping in every week who are in the process of deciding what to believe (or perhaps believe more deeply) based on a combination of the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in their lives and the authenticity of the belonging experience. So how does this work? I’ve been meditating on I Corinthians 13 which is a chapter about important gift-based ministries that the Lord Jesus has in mind for His church. And, you’re right — it’s the “Love Chapter” too. It’s about Christian character that is best defined as godly love. Have you noticed its list of spiritual gifts that function in a healthy church — speaking gifts (in known and unknown languages), prophecy, wisdom and discernment, knowledge, faith, mercy and social justice and even martyrdom. That has the makings of a very rich community life for deeply immersed, growing believers….. and for seeking cynics who are on
the journey toward believing . . . . and for everyone in between. But these ministries only work, the passage says, if they are covered, consumed and carried along by love. Paul is pretty blunt in his language. Talk Healthy (whether in known or ecstatic language) is just congregations blah, blah, blah, unless it is laced with love. will always have Having a prophetic edge, spiritual wisdom, discernment and knowledge and mountain kids, teens and moving faith will birth nothing unless it is adults dropping nourished by a humble, gracious, deep love for in every week God and who and what He cares about. Actually, if you read around in the epistles, you see that who are in the without love, subtle forms of spiritual elitism, process of intellectual snobbery and self-righteous bragging deciding what spring up among the supposedly spiritually gifted. Giving to the poor or even becoming a (figurative to believe . . . or literal) martyr to prove a point or to get affirmation or to salve guilt is likewise a dead end. So, this love, what is it like? I like the way The Message says it in I Corinthians 13:4-7) … Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn't always “Me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.
This is the kind of stuff that draws belongers toward being believers. So here’s the deal. Believing and belonging are two parts of the discipleship reality. Spiritual gift-based ministry and Christlike character are also two parts of the same reality. If you have one without the other, it is meaningless. Ministry without love can get cultic quickly. Love without an object and action is an oxymoron. Believing without belonging is unbiblical. Belonging without believing — well, often it’s just a matter of time…and of love.
t always amazes me how quickly time flies. (It also seems that the older you get, the faster it flies!) Preparations for the General Conference are going very well. The next few months will be quite busy as we put the final touches together and prepare to welcome you to the event. I thought that I would take the opportunity to remind you of a few items.
If you have not yet done so, it is important that you contact the hotel to book your room(s). Our deadline is April 26th. If you have not booked your room by that date, we cannot guarantee availability or the conference rate. You may book your hotel accommodations by calling 1.800.668.8800 and quoting 'The Free Methodist Church in Canada'. The conference rate is $117.00/night plus applicable taxes. If you have not sent in your travel equalization and/or your delegate credentials, please do so. In order to complete all of our final arrangements, these items need to be in place. As many of you know, there are many details involved in putting an event like this together; therefore the planning committee is asking all of you to please pray for us as we continue to work on these details and complete the preparations. If you have any questions about the conference or ways of getting involved, please feel free to contact Tanya Prinsep at firstname.lastname@example.org.
was recently part of a gathering of denominational leaders whose job descriptions focus on ethnic diversity in their fellowships. There were two common themes in the discussion: there are so many opportunities being placed in front of us to encourage church plants amongst peoples from all around the world and, such limited resources to respond to these congregations. On the resources side, limited finances are only one dimension of the challenge, there is also the need for sustainable models of church plants that will serve both first generation immigrants and then the multiple variations which arise in the second and third generations. Immigration realities Between 1991 and 2000 Canada welcomed 2.2 million immigrants, the highest number for any decade in the past century. This means approximately 6% of the Canadian population arrived in Canada in the 1990s. 58% of those immigrants came from Asia, 20% from Europe, 11% from the Caribbean, Central and South America and 8% from Africa. Immigrants from Mainland China (PRC) were the largest single nationality (197,000). Of those new immigrants during the 90s, the majority settled in the three urban agglomerations of Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, where about 33% of the Canadian population lives. In fact, 43% of new immigrants settled in Toronto; Vancouver received 18% and Montreal,14%. For the first time in our history, a visible minority group Chinese - surpassed the 1,000,000 mark, representing 3.5% of the Canadian population. All told, 18.4% of Canadians were born elsewhere (2001). The trends continue with 221,000 new immigrants in 2003. 97,000 settled in Toronto, 33,000 in Montreal and 30,000 in Vancouver. The next largest grouping settled in Calgary: 9,000. The largest groupings by country of origin were China (36,000), India (24,500), Pakistan (12,500), and Philippines (12,000). This rush of human data serves to indicate to us that if we are not seeing healthy churches developed amongst Canadian immigrants, we are missing a significant portion of our Canadian population. The data also informs us that our three largest urban centres need our attention in this regard. The Free Methodist Church and the nations In the last decade The Free Methodist Church in Canada has responded to outreach opportunities amongst new Canadians. While we have not specifically targeted any one ethnic community, we have sought to respond to requests from church-planters with vision and passion for ministry amongst their own people. Presently Free Methodists across Canada worship in at least 10 different languages other than English and French. As well as language-based ethnic congregations we also have a number of churches across the country who have consistently welcomed new Canadians into their midst, creating a multi-ethnic mix of peoples. We have nine churches across the country where more than 50% of the congregation are from visible minority groups. As we consider the need for developing intercultural ministries in Canada there are a number of challenges that have to be viewed through a realistic lens but with the eyes of faith. Socio-economic status Newcomers to Canada arrive in several categories, one being as immigrants, another as refugees. Immigrants must meet a whole set of criteria required by the Canadian government and this usually means they are well-educated and able to make a valid contribution to Canadian society. However, many such immigrants, while qualified, often have difficulty finding employment in their field of expertise, for a variety of reasons, and end up with low-paying jobs. Refugees, on the other hand, arrive in Canada because of catastrophic
conditions in their homeland, most often of a violent nature. They are welcomed in Canada for humanitarian reasons, rather than the criteria required of immigrants. In many cases refugees have limited educational qualifications or even sufficient work skills suited for industrial or technology-based employment. Recent immigrants have significant employment and financial hurdles. For instance, in 2001, 35% of immigrants, with less than 6 years in Canada, had a combined family income of 35,000 or less (StatsCan Low Income Measure LIM). This figure compares with 16% of the rest of the population in the low income category.
Over time, however, immigrants find employment, improve their skills, begin saving and become more financially stable and able to contribute. The desire for self-improvement and economic prosperity is a primary reason for many immigrants coming to Canada. This is their goal, but it takes time to achieve it. Many suggest that 10 years is a normal period of time required to "get on one's feet." Financial security may not arrive before the 20 year mark. Ministry amongst new immigrants and refugees, therefore, must recognize their limited economic capacity. Many live at, or below, the poverty line. This has implications for the development of financially sustainable congregations, certainly in the short-term. Many immigrants are open to change, new relationships, and considering the claims of the gospel during the first 2-4 years after arrival in Canada. But this is also their most difficult financial period, creating challenges for church plants working amongst them. Location Newcomers to Canada are primarily settling in Canada's largest urban centres, Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver (73% of new immigrants in the 1990s settled in one of these three cities). These are also centres with higher standards of living than smaller cities or rural areas, requiring the use of a higher percentage of a person's salary for basic living costs. Many immigrants are also viewed as the primary financial supporters for family members still located in their country of origin. Thus, less disposable income is available for tithing to their local church. At the same time, the cost of facilities in urban centres is high compared to smaller cities and rural areas. When the variables of immigrant location and relative financial costs are examined, it is apparent that church planting in such situations will require a different set of criteria
than, say, a middle-class suburb populated largely by long-term, European- stewardship of financial resources. background Canadians. "Ethnic" or Multicultural (homogeneous or heterogeneous) Generational differences Some of the challenges already mentioned lead us to examine the relative The first generation immigrant often struggles with linguistic and cultural value of ethnic and multicultural congregations. When is the ethnic, or adaptation. A community of like-minded people (like an ethnic church) is a mono-cultural, congregation a means of effective outreach, and when should place of welcome encouragement (but possibly of withdrawal) from the the multicultural model be pursued in an intentional manner? challenges of living in the dominant culture. When people of a particular cultural and linguistic background have The second generation immigrant (the child), however, is living as a little or no knowledge of the English language and the Canadian cultural third-culture person. That is, they are no longer comfortable in their parent's context, it would seem that the most effective means of sharing the Jesus culture, nor are they completely at ease in the dominant culture; they story is in the language and cultural forms that they best understand. represent a third, or hybrid, cultural perspective. The second generation It is also apparent that many Christians of diverse ethnicity, once they immigrant may be searching for the meaning of Christian faith, a faith that have learned English and are comfortable in the Canadian cultural does not look like the cultural retreat of the ethnic congregation he or she has environment, are seeking out churches that welcome all peoples and are grown up in. By the third generation often there is more cross-fertilization of conducted in English. They are looking for churches who will respect their ethnic and linguistic backgrounds creating a whole new set of variations. hybridized worldview. The saddest story is that of second generation Christians of diverse Changing locales and immigration patterns ethnicities, who no longer want to worship in the language and culture of Many immigrants will move from location to location as their financial their parents, but have not been introduced to, or assimilated, or welcomed situations improve. Areas that may be ethnic enclaves in 2005 may not have into, a multi-ethnic congregation, and therefore bankrupt their faith because the same composition ten or fifteen years from now. Ethnic congregations they cannot accept the culturally bound version encouraged by their parents. have a healthy life-expectancy of one generation, before the second and The challenges of the peoples who now make up our country, and third generations begin to seek out English-language, multi-ethnic increasingly our church family, are before us. Our responses to the congregations, or even leave the culturally-bound faith of their opportunity the Lord is placing in front of us will require wisdom, a steep parents. The exception to this principle is where there are multiple learning curve, and a willingness to share our resources in a manner that generations of fresh immigrants from a particular linguistic or encourages the development of healthy churches in our diverse ethnic background, such as we find with Cantonese and Mandarin- neighbourhoods. speaking Chinese. The combined reality of ever-changing ethnic neighbourhoods and the terminal nature of language-based Rev. Dan Sheffield is Director of Global and Intercultural Ministries for The Free churches would suggest that significant investment in a particular Methdoist Church in Canada location to aid a particular ethnic congregation is not the best Praise for a good meeting of the national Christian education committee. The theme for this year is "Equipping for Service" with the goal set to equip children, youth and adults to serve God, the church and the community. Pray that together the department heads and I, as the national director, will be able to realize this goal. New Births -- Biological and Spiritual Triplets were born to Free Methodist students at Kenya Highlands Bible College. The 3 boys arrived safely and are progressing well. They join two brothers, aged 5 yr and 2 1/2 years. Pray for father Aquinas as he completes his degree studies this term and for mother Catherine -- I don't have to tell you why. The same week that the triplets arrived a young man in my small group on campus asked to talk with me and another student in the group. Titus confessed his need for forgiveness, stating that he didn't know why he had come to KHBC but now realized that God had had a plan for him. Praise the Lord for spiritual rebirth for Titus. Titus had been assigned by the college as a Sunday School helper at our church plant at Kapsoit. The usually green hills of the Kenya Highlands had turned a dull gold because of drought. Praise the Lord that the rains have started and farmers can be assured that there will be a harvest. Debbie Hogeboom Lois Meredith is recovering from illness in Nairobi. Her
condition is being monitored by a local hospital. Please pray for her complete recovery. Lois Meredith After many years of great instability, the area along Lake Tanganyika wheremost of the FM Churches are located is relatively stable. It has been more than six years since I was able to travel there. As coordinator of health ministries of the FMC in DRC, I recently visited 6 of the 39 FM health centres in Eastern DRC plus Nundu Deaconess Hospital. On the same trip, I visited 15 of the 170 FM schools. There were several purposes for visiting those schools. During each visit, assistant Childcare coordinator, Abe, and I identified the students who are sponsored by International Child Care Ministries. Then as contact person for a new project funded by the Canadian Government via War Child Canada, I visited as many schools as possible which will be repaired in that project. There will be teacher training seminars, teaching materials supplied as well as ways of helping child soldiers reintegrate into the school system. The primary reason for the trip was to participate in the first of seven annual conferences to be held. On the one hand it was wonderful to be able to be down country in the actual area of the annual conference rather than in other safer areas. However, it was also sad since there were so many reminders all around us that the war had hit that area hard. Just 8.5 years ago that spot was the hub of the FMC in Zaire. It was the location of the national headquarters of the FMC. There was a beautiful church, a large district health centre, a primary school, 2 secondary schools, Myron F. Boyd Bible Institute, 3 missionary residences, etc. Now most of the structures were in ruins. The church has a hole in the roof after being hit by a rocket bomb several years ago when one armed group tried to hit the camp of another armed group stationed on the FM property. The health centre is starting to function again as are the schools. All but the Bible Institute, have received help to replace roofing, doors, windows, etc. Many of the residents of that area fled and are still living in refugee camps in Tanzania. However, others have started to return. None of the homes in the area were habitable and require a great deal of repair or total reconstruction. Gardens were totally destroyed. In spite of this rather gloomy picture, there is an air of optimism. The work of the church is continuing. People are coming to the Lord. Pastors are being ordained. Women groups are being formed and seeking ways to reach out to those around them, including through literacy classes. Four women are studying at the Bible Institute. Everyone is hoping for lasting peace but they know that there is only one real source. Their faith is active and well-placed. Continue to keep us in your prayers, will you? May God bless you. Linda Stryker
The “D” in Discipleship
Arlington Beach Camp and Conference Centre Inc. PO Box 15, Cymric, SK S0G 0Z0 Y 306.484.4460 W 306.484.2117 email@example.com www.arlingtonbeachcamp.com Youth Camp (Ages 8-10) July 4 - 8, 2005 Youth Camp (Ages 8-10) July 11 - 15, 2005 Family Camp July 17 - 24, 2005 Adult Canoe Trip August 1-6, 2005 Teen Canoe Trip August 9-14, 2005 Young Teen Camp July 24 - 30, 2005 Young Teen Camp August 14 - 20, 2005 Senior Teen Camp August 21 - 27, 2005 Canadian Pacific Ministries (Pine Grove Camp) 2651 Dick Road - Winfield, BC V4V 1L9 Y 250.766.2865 W 250.766.3265 V firstname.lastname@example.org Family Camp July 1 to July 7 (noon)
continued from cover Being a disciple of Jesus Christ requires DEDICATION
I define dedication as “stick-to-it-ness & singularity of purpose” Luke 9:57, 58 Lots of people say they want to follow Jesus, but frankly they lack the stick-to-it-ness required to keep going when the going gets tough. Jesus was saying this is not as easy as it looks. John 15:18-19 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” Jesus spoke those words at the last supper. In a very few hours an angry mob would arrest Him. In the next 24 hours Jesus would be savagely beaten and killed. The disciples would flee. But in less than 2 months those same disciples — full of the Holy Spirit would take on the whole world — Stephen would be the first to give his life, then James, then others. Being a disciple of Jesus Christ requires stick-to-it-ness. Dedication. We're supposed to take the message of Jesus to the world but we are still afraid to tell our friends. Sure, there is a fear factor involved, but that may not be the real problem. Let me talk to you about singularity of purpose…keep reading in Luke 9:59-62. “But first let me go bury my father.” This seems like a reasonable request. And it is, except that I am convinced that the father wasn't dead yet. If the father was dead what was this guy doing walking along the road passing the time of day with Jesus? He should have been at home attending to the needs of his family. Even by today's standards there are but a few busy days between a death and the funeral. The man's father may have been sick, even very sick, but I doubt he was dead. Jesus had invited the man, “Come follow me.” Really the man was saying, “Now is not a good time Jesus. Can I come back at a time when it is more convenient for me to follow you?” The devil and the world will never make it convenient for you to follow Jesus. “Let the dead bury their own dead.” These sound like calloused, insensitive even cruel words coming from Jesus. But don't you think it would be more cruel if He made out like this whole trip was going to be an easy ride when it really wasn't? “Let me go back and say goodbye to my family” — seems like another reasonable request. But again we hear, “I have other priorities.” Jesus was not asking this man to leave his family — He often sent people back to their friends and families as a witness. But there was something in this man that told Jesus there were some divided loyalties. This man had not fully made a decision yet. Perhaps this man was going to try to straddle the fence for a while — to go back and forth. This man lacked stick-to-it-ness and singularity of purpose ' DEDICATION. Jesus doesn't ask you to do things half way. He said this man with the divided loyalties was not fit for service in the kingdom of God. (Yikes!) Forget about negotiating terms with Jesus. It will never be allowed you. Jesus says that our love for Him must be
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so extreme that in comparison even our love for our family seems like hatred. It takes real dedication to be a disciple of Jesus, but remember this — disciples pay the price. Some days it's easy to follow Jesus — the sun is shining, the sky is blue, your friends are with you, what God has called you to suits you just fine right now. Then one day God calls you into prison ministry. By that I mean that as a follower of Jesus you are arrested for no reason in a south east Asian country and thrown into jail because God wants to save criminals too. Or you are doing street ministry in a bad part of town when a crazy man comes at you with a great big knife — do you stand for Jesus or do you cut and run? (I can introduce you to the three college students who stood firm.) It is easy to agree in principle to be a disciple of jesus, but it is the daily application of decision, discipline and dedication that really count. Rev. Joe Schaeffer is Senior Pastor at Uxbridge Free Methodist Church.
G O O D F R I E N DS by Greg Pulham
here is no greater praise can be given a friend than that his/her presence in your life has resulted in you knowing God better and loving Him more. I have been fortunate to have those kind of influential friends in my life. Sometimes those influential friends have been books. When asked to compile a list of books to recommend, I took from my shelves and held again some dear old friends. Those of you who have journeyed long in the faith and love to read will likely already be aware of the following treasures. But if you are looking for a friend that can help you to know God more intimately and love Him more deeply, I commend the following "old friends".
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis I was twenty-two years old and on my way to law school when I was first challenged to become a follower of Jesus. Yet as someone who fancied myself something of an academic, the whole faith in Jesus thing just didn't make much sense to me. Alan Retzman, then pastor of the Brantford church, introduced me to this friend that became one key element in my journey to faith. That becoming a Christian did not mean abandoning reason was a message I needed to hear. This well-thumbed old friend continues to offer truth that is powerful and deep, yet simple and inviting. The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer One of my seminary professors remarked that chapter one was worth the price of the book. It was an effective teaser, but he was right. Bonhoeffer begins, "Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of church. We are fighting today for costly grace." This old friend puts forward a timeless challenge to the easy life so many of us have made of following Jesus. But don't just read chapter one. Theology for the Community of God by Stanley Grenz This was the main textbook for my Systematic Theology course at seminary. It reads more like inspirational devotional material than a textbook. This old friend voices two firm convictions to which I must listen. The first is that sound theology will always translate into love and service. When God's law is written on our heart, the life of Christ will flow naturally and freely from us. The second is that God's purposes are all about the creation of community. We are called, empowered, and equipped to make God's future kingdom visible through the community we are part of today. This old friend has been deeply influential in my life. The writings of Victor Shepherd Dr. Victor Shepherd's work has become a good friend helping me to understand my identity as follower of Jesus. I visit him often at www.victorshepherd.com. He always speaks from a deep understanding of the Scriptures and of life. His clear message about Wesley and the Methodist ethos have convinced me that the movement called Free Methodism is a wonderful place to join God in his work. His chapter on the Incarnation in Making Sense of Christian Faith deepened my faith more than any other friend I have read.
A Cup of Coffee at the Soul Café by Leonard Sweet There is nothing that I have read by Leonard Sweet that has not moved me miles ahead on the journey. Yet of all his writing, I have taken this friend from the shelf because it is more than a roadmap for the journey, it is fuel. It is in this old friend that John Wesley's powerful prayer beginning "I am no longer my own, but Yours" becomes a platform for a postmodern confession of faith that begins "I am part of the Church of the Out-of-Control. I once was a control junkie, but now am an out-of-control disciple." I'm not a coffee drinker, but if this is what a cup of coffee can stir in your soul, I could easily learn. Reversed Thunder: The Revelation of John and the Praying Imagination by Eugene Peterson Eugene Peterson has given me many friends (too many to list) and it is hard to introduce you to one and not all of them. If you are looking for guidance through the book of the Revelation, this wonderful friend can help in a way that no commentary can. Revelation is God's "last word" to us on Scripture, the Church, worship and a variety of other subjects important to our life with Him. This friend speaks with rare insight delivered with a poetic quality so that itself becomes a revelation of Revelation. A New Kind of Christian by Brian McLaren There is a kind of friend who is invaluable because they will go on ahead when you don't quite know the way or are not quite sure if it is even permissible to go that way. These friends have a boldness fuelled by a passion for truth. They have the integrity to face the hard questions - questions that ultimately force a reconciling of what has been and what can be. After having gone ahead, this friend comes back and offers you a hand, saying in confident, yet humble tones, "This new path really is okay." If we dare take this friend's hand, we enter a more invigorated journey, where the scenery and people and activities are all more alive and compelling. Here is one such friend; just one of many Brian McLaren has given to me.
The Singer Trilogy by Calvin Miller The writings of Calvin Miller are a place to go to recharge my batteries, but this allegory of the New Testament supercharged my spirit. The troubadour wrestles with his calling, but finally cannot hold it in any longer. He breaks forth in song, to fill the world with the love-filled melodies of the "ancient star song." Discovering a life with Jesus should make each of us want to break forth in a new song each day. This friend has encouraged me to let my life sing, sing, SING! Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth by Walter Brueggemann I have just recently discovered the works of Walter Brueggemann. This special friend is a collection of prayers that first found voice to begin each day of Brueggemann's seminary classes. Just as these prayers "turned classroom into congregation", they have transformed my own prayer time. On every page, this friend speaks words that move me deeply, connecting me with God. Don't miss this wonderfilled treasure. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien Of all my friends, this is my favourite. Each time I journey with Frodo brings new insight to my own journey with God. I am moved to tears to see characters who reveal the contradiction of who I am and who I might be. And yet I am amazed to see a larger story of which God is the author and in which I am called to be ring-bearer of his good news. Although Tolkien would maintain that this was not a religious book, I sense he had such an understanding and love of the things of God that they could not help but overflow onto the pages and into the story told by this best friend. I have lots of good friends; these are just a few. And though I am a bit worried that I have offended some who haven't made this list, I'm always interested in meeting more. Maybe you have some friends I'd like to meet? Rev. Greg Pulham is Senior Pastor at Freedom Christian Community in Brantford, Ontario.
“QUOTE” What we become depends on what we read after all of the professors have finished with us. The greatest university of all is a collection of books. Thomas Carlyle (1795 - 1881)
Women’s Ministry Retreat On a beautiful winter weekend, 14 pastors wives came to the Wesley Acres Retreat Centre, to be ministered to under the speaking of Heather Moran and to find "Rest, Renewal and Restoration". In Matthew 11:28 the scripture reads, "Come unto Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest". With this in mind we all set out to connect with each other, share in each others lives and enjoy the time together. On Friday night each pastors wife was given a scarf which over the weekend became a symbol of being cloaked in love. Heather then brought in a suitcase of "baggage" that we as women sometimes carry around. With much laughter we saw the bottle of hairspray come out so that we can always plaster the smile on our face, the huge Bible so that we can always be seen as super spiritual, the trophy for the best mother award and finally the ropes that bind us in places we really dont want to be. We soon learned that this is not what God wants for us. On Saturday morning we were blessed by a beautiful pink sunrise over the lake and a delicious breakfast with a message on "busy-ness" It was a very moving time. "Life can feel very overwhelming at times when church is on your mind 24/7. Thank you for bringing me out of that for awhile" Mary Lou Mowchenko wrote after the weekend. We encourge you to remember your pastors wife in prayer, support her and love her! Submitted by Colleen ZavrelWomen's Ministries VP, Canada Women's Ministries
he keynote speaker, at the "Today's Teen Conference" that I and several other FM student leaders recently attended, caught my attention when he said that generally speaking evangelicals don't do so well when it comes to C&C and Young Adult Ministry. Often time we have great programs for junior and senior high youth and then drop the ball when it comes to continuing to nurture our students as they make the jump from the teenage years to young adult hood. He cited statistics outlining the significant numbers of youth that fall away from the church after leaving high school. Many of us are aware of the challenges of ministering to this demographic, but should we be satisfied as a church with doing this poorly? Our ministry to them should be more than "go for it … you're old enough to run your own programs" … instead we "older" adults could really extend a hand to help them along into the next stage of their lives. I think that would be a great thing! I would love to hear from churches with strong C&C / Young Adult ministries (what works for you?) as well as from churches that struggle with this ministry (what are your difficulties?). Check out the article below "Young Adults - Leaving Behind, Moving On" …perhaps that can get the conversation started. I recently was talking with some young adults who were interested in the possibility of linking our young adults ministries throughout the denomination. If you (young adults, pastors, C&C leaders etc.) would be interested in helping to make something like that happen … I would love to hear from you. Young adults are an awesome blessing to our churches …let's make sure we are doing all we can to support, encourage and develop them! I'm excited about where God might be leading us in terms of our ministry to young adults. Andrew Brown is the Director of Student Ministries for the Free Methodist Church in Canada. You can contact Andrew at 905-527-3289 / firstname.lastname@example.org
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Leaving Behind, Moving On Leaving behind and moving on - perhaps this their own spiritual gifts and call to ministry. best characterizes the young adult phase in life. YA groups facilitate the development of these The question is, once you've left your thriving gifts and foster the setting necessary for youth group, where do you go from there? exploring questions of faith. Today, many churches focus on the needs of O They provide an opportunity for fellowship with other believers experiencing the same youth in the church, with an emphasis on changes in life. YA groups are important to preparing them for spiritual maturity as an adult. facilitate healthy relationships that foster These ministries have proven to be effective accountability and Christian friendships. locally as well as nationally with a strong base of youth groups across Canada, and a support network to back them up. However, once WHO NEEDS A YA GROUP? students graduate from high school, there is often O Churches in communities that have colleges no programming in place to usher them into and/or universities. adulthood. O Churches with currently thriving youth In May of 2004, the Barrie Free Methodist groups that need a transitional group to adult Church developed a vision for a Young Adults ministries. (YA) ministry that would "Develop spiritually O Churches in communities with large disciplined, critically minded young adults with a numbers of young adults. passion to serve God, in an atmosphere of care and trust." Over the past year, this vision, along INGREDIENTS FOR A SUCCESSFUL with dedicated leadership and a supportive YA MINISTRY church body, has yielded a growing group of O An established need for a YA ministry. young adults. O Dedicated ministry leaders with an interest Our goal in forming this ministry was not and passion for this age group. only to nurture this age group, but also to O Support from church elders and pastoral provide a place for youth to transition to after staff. high school. O Strong base of prayer support. WHO IS A YOUNG ADULT? “Young adult” is not necessarily characterized as an age group. They are typically classified as: O College or university students O Young, un-married adults O Entering the workforce and establishing their first career WHY ARE YOUNG ADULT GROUPS IMPORTANT? O They create community for a group that is in need of nurturing. After high school, young adults face numerous new challenges and changes in their lives. They often leave home, start a new phase of schooling, begin full time careers, meet their future spouse, purchase their first home, and more. In addition, questions about faith are being explored. Without a supportive spiritual network that picks up where youth ministries end, young adults often leave the church looking for community and a place to belong. O They develop spiritual maturity and instil the value of servant-hood for the future leaders of the church. As young adults come to an understanding of personal faith, apart from the faith of their parents, they start to realize
A typical Wednesday evening for the BFMC YA group currently involves an informal interactive Bible study with coffee and snacks followed by a time of fellowship and sports in the gym. In addition to this study, there is a women's accountability group that meets weekly. We are currently exploring a new ministry format that will target people from all different levels of spirituality and connection to the church. We have been blessed with growing numbers in our group and want to see this trend continued in other churches across Canada. We believe that a strong network between the leaders and groups from other churches is essential for support and attaining common ministry goals. We would love to hear from you if you are currently active in a young adults ministry or exploring the possibility of starting a YA group. Please feel free to contact the BFMC young adults group email@example.com or the Student Ministries Director, Andrew Brown firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. "In Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others." Romans 12:5 (NIV)
by Ruth Ann Sutton, Young Adult Director at Barrie Free Methodist Church and Carl Robb, member of the Young Adults group at BFMC
Students! Young Adults! Youth Groups! Leaders! Join us for 24-7 Prayer at the FMCIC General Conference May 27th - 30th Come and take an hour prayer slot (or more) … rumour has it that the 3:00 a.m. - 4:00 a.m. prayer slot is the best ! [can you put in a happy face or winking face here] For more information or to book your prayer slot contact Andrew at Student Ministries