The Free Methodist Church in Canada December 2004 - Volume 2 Issue 1
Reflecting the diversity of ministry expression within the Free Methodist family
COVER Bathing, Un-Decorating, Praying and Ball Hockey: An Advent Journal by Cliff Fletcher
PAGE 2 Editor’s Desk Applying Lessons Learned: Refreshing the Wineskins by Alan Retzman
PAGE 3 Let Me Introduce You To Jared by Bishop Keith Elford
PAGE 4 Passages John Wesley Returns to Southern Saskatchewan by David Shepherd
PAGE 5 An Awesome Adventure Mature Study Team by Jennifer Anderson Prayer For General Conference by Greg Langille
PAGE 6 The Open Door Community Church by Kim Reid
PAGE 7 Student Ministries by Andrew Brown
PAGE 8 Puppets and Balloons In India by Doug Griffin Hyderabad, India A City of Extremes by Barry Taylor
MOSAIC 4315 Village Centre Court Mississauga, Ontario L4Z 1S2 Tel: 905-848-2600 Fax: 905-848-2603 www.fmc-canada.org For submissions: email@example.com Dan Sheffield, Editor-in-Chief Lisa Howden, Managing Editor and Production
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o Cliff, just write about how you are preparing for Christmas." "Christmas!" I thought mean thoughts toward my dear Ministry Centre friend Lisa, "I'm just trying to get through the summer, and then I'm going to get through fall, and then…". I really am usually the type that is on top of things, but this year has been a busy one (two kids in sports & school, dedicated our children's wing this past Sunday, building is now completed three years early, staffing, schooling, balding) so I'm not so much being proactive but reactive in the day-to-day work. Truthfully, I've been in survival mode, and hoping not to be voted off any of the islands I'm on! My journey in the past month has been to move from just surviving to breathing, living, having a handle on my days and even preparing for this Advent season. So if you allow me I'll open up my journal from the past month and invite you to make use of any of these lessons as you prepare for a meaningful Advent season (Please remember that these are journal entries, so not quite as 'polished' as an article should be. Also, I'll leave out the many entries bemoaning growing old and the prayers of repentance after yet another trip to the penalty box in ball hockey!). Journal entry in early September: "Reading Proverbs 1:7 where 'the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…'. Beginning here can be understood [as one commentator explained] as controlling principle. 'Fear of the Lord' is the controlling principle with regards to how I process and respond to life. It is to be the guard at the door of my warehouse (how I process life). Lord, as I consider the next few weeks and even the upcoming season, and all that is in my day-timer, let it all be in the context of the 'fear of the Lord' - the awe and wonder that the Lion of Judah, Creator of the Universe loves me, was born for me, has a plan for me. The Message says "soak yourself in the fear of the Lord". I like that. If my kids soak in the bath for one hour, then for at least one hour in that day I am guaranteed clean fresh kids! If only I could 'soak' in this… I'll meditate on 'fear of the Lord' as controlling principle today.
balanced with all the luggage he is carrying… That's me Father, way too often. Preoccupied with so much Cliff stuff, that I'm that airport man! That's the stuff of pride - me bigger than me because of all my stuff. So Father I'm praying un-luggage me, un-decorate me. As a church un-luggage us, un-decorate us… Journal entry in October: Big bruise on my shin - I'm quitting ball hockey…
Journal entry in October: Two amazing initiatives in the coming month that will usher Christmas season in for our I'd like this church: concert of prayer in a few weeks, and the "Breaking of Christmas Bread Service". Board felt that if we were going to coach season to start another church in the area of 2005 and not unity and restoration, then we had better check in here first. just finish Never been to a service like this, 2004. but apparently we are each given bread and freed up to walk around the room to share this bread with each other. If anything is up between anyone, right then and there they are to work it out. Someone joked that I'd need to have a big long French bread stick! Praying that's not true! I love Father, that this amazing church is taking this initiative!
Journal entry in early October: Lord I'm thinking quite a bit of Advent, and I'm wondering about "Undecorating Christmas" as a theme. "The sermon should be the pastor up-to-date" so Father start with "Undecorating me"… I love the definition of "pride" we have developed in our study in Proverbs: me preoccupied with me, good or bad or otherwise. The word picture we have used is of a man walking through a busy airport loaded down with luggage - one suitcase swung over each arm, two in each hand, one in his teeth - as a result of all he is lugging, he is bumping into people, annoying people, and because of all the luggage, not able to help a little old man who has Journal entry in October: I'd like this Christmas season just dropped one of his bags. Furthermore, people to start 2005 and not just finish 2004. I'd like it to be bumping into him annoy him because he is not quite continued on page 3 - journal
M O S A I C
2 Applying lessons learned:
Jesus is for everyone! I have a great vantage point from the platform of my church. When I help to lead worship I am facing the whole congregation. At times it is easy to get distracted, but for the most part it is helpful to know if the congregation is "with you" when you lead in worship. Recently, during an altar call I noticed two men approaching the platform. The first man walked slowly to the altar from one of the side aisles. He kept his head down. In his left hand he held several grocery bags filled with empty pop cans; in his right, his coat. He looked disheveled and tired as he stood there. The second man came down the middle aisle. He was dressed in a suit - he looked like a professional of some kind. His head was also bowed down; he looked like he might be
ow does one choose leaders in a foreign land, like Sri Lanka? We needed a "wineskin," to give a healthy structure to the growth of the Sri Lanka FMC. There was a challenge. Who will be the leaders? One Sri Lankan pastor, new to us, had only been at one retreat sponsored by the team from Canada. He started chipping away individually at Dan Sheffield and me, divide and conquer tactics: "You need a church registration. I HAVE a church registration. You may use mine for the Free Methodist Church. You need a to establish a bank account, I HAVE a bank account which I will turn over to you. Do you see how I can help you? So, let me join the inaugural Free Methodist Church in Sri Lanka."
“No one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost and the skins as well; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.” Mark 2:22 It would have been easy to say, “This pastor has so much to offer us, it would make things so much easier if we let him come in now instead of building relationship by attending three retreats, like the others who are to form the inaugural FMC of Sri Lanka." The retreats allowed us to build relationship, estabilsih credibility with the pastors and they with us. The team, Dan Sheffield and I talked, briefly, and said no to the offer of this pastor. That was a difficult decision, but a right one.
crying. Two men, two different life situations, standing at the same altar, both in need of God. I've been reading through Matthew and Luke's gospel accounts of the birth of Christ. In both we see visitors that came to see Him: Matthew writes about the Magi and their expensive gifts; in Luke we are told of the angels appearing to the shepherds. Privileged Magi and humble shepherds - both kneeling down and worshipping the Christ Child. There is a striking similarity to me as I think again of those two men at the altar. Drawing near to Jesus transcends socio-economic classes and cultural differences. It reminds me that we have all been called to worship Jesus, just as the wise men and the shepherds worshipped and praised God on that first Christmas. We've all been invited to draw near to Him and He continues to call us into His presence. The only requirement is acknowledging our desperate need of Him. I hope that this Christmas season and the New Year brings us, once again, to a place of wonder at God's incredible gift of love to us all.
There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ. Blaise Pascal French mathematician and philosopher (1623 - 1662)
Peace, Lisa Howden Managing Editor
WHICH CHARACTERISTIC OF LEADERSHIP IS MOST IMPORTANT? Later that day I was teaching about what is important to us as Free Methodist when we look for leaders. In preparing for this God confirmed the decision we made earlier. I told the group of Sri Lankan (through an interpreter) that there were five things that the FMCiC feel are important. These things reflect our vision and mission. They are: Harmony with the Free Methodist Church (Doctrine, ethos, DNA), Experience, Training and skills, Character, and Reputation. Then I asked a question: "Which of the five above is most important?" Their first answers were tell-the-teacher-what-he-wantsto-hear answers: "Harmony with the Free Methodist Church." "No, that's not it," I said. Those that we had been building relationship with for almost two years said, "Character is most important." "You are right," I said. The pastor who offered us a registration and a bank account didn't get the right answer. This is the passage God led me to: Don't look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful like …don't fall for that stuff. Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Don't be impressed…(with offers of registrations or bank accounts.) Look for character. Matt 7: 13-17 (Message) (Italics, mine.)
Having the gift of leadership is what God does for a leader. Character is what God does in a leader. This takes time. Dr. J. Robert Clinton, author of The Making of a Leader, writes, "Our greatest challenge as leaders is to develop a godly character." (p. 57)
HOW IMPORTANT IS HARMONY WITH THE FMCIC IN BUILDING LEADERS? I asked, "What do you think is second in importance?" "Harmony with the Free Methodist Chruch," said one or two. Some never learn. "No, reputation is second." We found out after the retreat from Pastor Lazarus, the newly elected Superintendent of the FMC Sri Lnaka, that there were at least nine Sri Lankan pastors of good character who stayed away from this retreat because they heard that this one pastor, offering a registration and bank account was going to be there. Pastor Lazarus reported, "He has a bad reputation." (We learned that he was unethical with money and inappropriate with women in his church.) God confirmed our decision again. Dan and I wondered what might have happened had we let this pastor, "despite his gifts," join this vulnerable new mission district. Had we associated with him quickly without learning who he was, we could have destroyed what God is doing in Sri Lanka. Character and reputation are first on any biblical list of characteristics for leadership. As early as Acts 2:42-47 we see having favour with all people (good reputation) was one of the marks of all members of the church, as well as leaders. The third in importance is harmony with the FMC. Not first or second. The fourth on the list is experience followed by training and skills. If we have a clear sense on the first three the last two are much easier to develop. A FRESH WINESKIN FOR DEVELOPING LEADERS IN CANADA What we learned was that these same characteristics are important to us in developing leaders in Canada. Whether you are called to youth ministry, chaplaincy, lay ministry, commissioned to a local church, planting a church, going oversees, or pastor a congregation, these five things are essential in building up leaders. continued on page 6
3 M O S A I C By
Bishop Keith Elford
here is someone I would like you to meet, because as of January 1, 2005, he will be joining the National Leadership Team of The Free Methodist Church in Canada as Director of Growth Ministries. His name is Jared Siebert. He is 30 years old, married to Kathy and they have a young son, Soren, 2 years old and another child due to arrive in March. Some of you will already know him as the young guy, who with his close friend, Al Doseger, co-planted the Next Church in Kingston, Ontario over the past seven years. More recently, he and Franceen Neufeld have also been co-planting a second congregation in the Colborne Street church called "Church in the Box." It is an intergenerational, chaordic (having both chaos and order), interactive approach that makes creative use of liturgy. Jared has also been an Assistant Superintendent, leading a network of church planters, while he himself has been developing leadership skills in a Parent Church Network, led by Angel Valentin. Director of Growth Ministries for The Free Methodist Church in Canada! So can he do it? Angel Valentin thinks so. He's ready to throw his full support behind Jared, and he'll tell you that though Jared is very gifted in many areas, he has demonstrated that he embraces the value of teamwork and has deep compassion for the hearts of people—especially the postmodern generation. This last quality was one of the key reasons the Search Team recommended Jared to the Board of Administration. As Glenn Gibson, who assisted the search process and who has observed Jared develop from his days as a student at Emmanuel Bible College, put it: "Jared is culturally bilingual." This means that he understands the language of the existing culture and the emerging culture, both inside and outside the church, is comfortable in both worlds and appreciates that God is at work in all kinds of expressions of church where there is a passion for Jesus and a heart for reaching out to the community. He recognizes the importance of revitalizing existing churches while facilitating the planting of new congregations. Jared grew up in a traditional evangelical home and affirms the foundation he was given. However, he also has his sights on the spiritually open emerging culture in Canada, and has both passion and experience to help recruit and coach leaders to enthusiastically enter that harvest field. Bruce Kellar, a second career pastor serving at Cloyne, Ontario, is a member of Jared's planter network. Bruce is planting a new congregation in nearby Flinton, and he will tell you that Jared is a lot of fun to work with, dedicated and serious about his calling, thoughtful and helpful with practical solutions to ministry challenges. Betty Humphrey, the chair of the national Board of
Administration, has watched a lot of the life of the church. She's ready for Jared's enthusiasm and youthful optimism and believes that he will bring real strength to the growth ministries area. He recognizes After hearing Jared share his heart before the BOA, Betty commented, "He recognizes the the enormous enormous task that has been entrusted to him, but he also knows the 'Source' of his help. We task that has need more young men and women to step up to been entrusted the challenge of leadership in the Church." In the beginning, it never occurred to Jared to to him, but he submit a résumé so why did he decide to step up and make himself available for this leadership also knows the challenge? He explains, "It was my (Next Church) partner, Al Doseger, telling me that he 'Source' of his had been praying for something like this for me help. for two years; my wife knowing in her spirit that this all made sense; the encouragement of Rad Zdero and Jason Johnston, Angel Valentin, Howard Olver, and others to consider this. Yet, as time passed, I felt I needed a little more ownership and 'God to heart' confirmation on all this. So in preparation for my interview, I spent four days on a solitude retreat asking God for direction, a proper attitude no matter the outcome, and that above all, I do his will. After that experience, I felt confident that God was behind this and that made it possible to say 'Yes.'" It is this call that now energizes Jared to respond to the big challenges in growth ministries in the FMCIC. He comments, "I'm pretty sure that we aren't facing any new challenges in growth ministries or in any other department. It's just the same old ones packaged. Here's the problem: God has a plan; the challenge is will we risk it all to follow him? It's the same challenge most of the people in the Bible faced when God presented his plan to them. At the time, the plan always seemed risky, even a bit backwards (eg., send a stutterer to be God's spokesman, have a coward serve as a general in God's army, send the holy God to die for sinful people, etc….). The situation is similar for us. We have a wet-behind-the-ears kid in the Growth Ministries chair. We're not exactly the biggest or the most powerful denomination in Canada. In 2004, we had two-thirds of the money we needed to meet the request of church planters in 2005. Yet through it all, we seem to have faith that God has a plan. The challenge for us is, Do we go along with his plan or not?" Glenn Gibson, Outreach Canada's church revitalization specialist, has signed a contract to be Jared's growth ministries mentor and coach for 2005. He has traveled Canada for the last seven years and has met a wide range of catalytic leaders from many different denominations. He is absolutely convinced that Jared is one of the up and coming church planting thinkers and practitioners in Canada with all the right stuff to take us into the next chapter of our history. I agree! Church, let's get to praying for Jared and Kathy. There are awesome days coming.
like punctuation rules in Spanish: the exclamation separately, but has never got tired of making mark at the beginning of the sentence, so that you them. It may be that He has the eternal know the intonation to use as you read it! appetite for infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than Journal entry in early November: I have listened to my children recite we." their Christmas musical 17 gazillion times! In the car, at bedtime, at supper-time, and lately in my dreams! I love that my kids are excited about Boy, does that sum up Christmas for me: the play, as both are in the choir. I love that they don't mind playing the planning, shopping, stressing about money, tape yet again! But it really must be true that God is more like them than wondering about a fresh way of describing Your like me in this way. G.K. Chesterton's words came to mind (from John birth, praying about new ways of coming at it so as not to bore the church! Ortberg's excellent book The Life You've Always Wanted page 65): When really, it is a story that is newer and fresher than a new day or daisy! This is freeing, Father. So maybe I'll just go right home tonight and blast "Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in that Christmas tape my kids are working to memorize - bring it on, again! spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and And the Christmas message: say it again, the same way, don't change a unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up word, for I do not want to be old anymore and fickle and stressed and… person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people Maybe Father I can just crawl up on to your lap and ask your Word to 'tell are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is me the Christmas story again.' strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says Merry Christmas from someone still preparing, but anticipating this every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do season to be an exclamation point for 2005! it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that Rev. Cliff Fletcher is Senior Pastor at Barrie Free Methodist Church. makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy
M O S A I C
Passages NATIONAL LEADERSHIP TEAM APPOINTMENT Jared Siebert, Director of Growth Ministries (NLT) January 1, 2005
APPOINTMENTS Carl Bull, Associate Pastor October 18, 2004 Cole Lake FMC, Cole Lake, ON Scott Woolhead, Pastor October 19, 2004 Timmins FMC, Timmins, ON Ryan Rear, Pastor October 8, 2004 Roblin and Grandview FMCs (MB)
NEW ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT Doug Wightman (replaces Fred Hubert)
ORDINATIONS Mike Szabo, October 31, 2004 Steve Cylka, January 16, 2005 Scott Woolhead, (approved)
MINISTERIAL CANDIDATES APPROVED Edgar Adams (Harrowsmith FMC, Harrowsmith, ON) Maureen Adams (Harrowsmith FMC, Harrowsmith, ON) Leonard Bruce (Peterborough FMC, Peterborough, ON) Amy Caswell (Calgary FMC, Calgary, AB) Angela Connell (Buchanan Park FMC, Hamilton, ON) Rob de Vlugt (Cornerstone Community Church, Almonte, ON) Dale Dirksen (House of ROC, Moose Jaw, SK) Normand Doucette (Mountain View, Clarenceville, QC) Vincent Makombo (St Henri FMC, Montreal, QC) Jeffrey Nault (Smiths Falls FMC, Smiths Falls, ON) Jody Pfeifer (Weyburn FMC, Weyburn, SK) Robert Rasmuson (First FMC, Moose Jaw, SK) Timothy Richards (London FMC, London, ON) Pierre Sanambe (Sherbrooke FMC, Sherbrooke, ON) Barbara Thompson (Cloyne FMC, Pineview)
Churches in Transition Caistor Centre FMC, Caistor Centre, ON Eastern Koinonia FMC, Toronto, ON Kelowna FMC, Kelowna, BC Killarney FMC, Killarney, MB Melfort FMC, Melfort, SK New Hope FMC, Bracebridge, ON O'Connor FMC, Kakabeka Falls, ON Richmond Hill Chinese FMC, Richmond Hill, ON Souris Valley Community Church, Estevan, SK Surrey FMC, Surrey, BC Wesley Chapel Japanese Church, Toronto, ON
Pastors in Transition David Barbour Germain Fortin Walter McIntyre Norman Shepstone Mike Smeltzer Dale Vinkle Eugene Whitehead
THE MANUAL updated and on CD
We will soon be releasing a CD with a new updated version of The Manual. This version will have revised paragraphs on pastoral evaluations and adjustments to several other paragraphs. On the CD, you will also find the new revised Updates to print and insert in your Manual. (We will also provide printed copies of these pages to those who ask.) We will be sending one CD to every church. If you would like more CDs, would you let me know how many? (They are free of charge.)
fter an absence of several years, John Wesley and his theology are coming back to the south of Canada's prairie province. Thanks to a partnership between the Free Methodist Church in Canada (FMCiC) and Briercrest College and Seminary, Prof. David Ashton, one of the bestknown names in Free Methodist education in Canada, will be in Caronport, SK, January 10-14 to teach a course on John Wesley and his theology to students from Saskatchewan and across Canada. While John Wesley and his theology are taught widely outside Saskatchewan, the closure of Aldersgate, the denomination's Canadian college, in 1995 seemed destined to ensure that it would not be taught again soon in Moose Jaw. Founded as Moose Jaw Bible College in 1940, and rechristened Aldersgate College in 1964, the school had offered several generations of Free Methodists from Saskatchewan and beyond an opportunity to train for ministry in an environment steeped in Wesleyan thought and theology. When David Ashton, professor of theology at the College left for Winnipeg and the Canadian Nazarene College, the teaching of Wesley and his theology essentially left with him. While a subsequent academic position at Rocky Mountain College in Calgary (1998 - 2004) allowed him to return to Saskatchewan occasionally to teach weekend courses on Wesley and his theology, Ashton's recent retirement might well have signalled the end of Wesley's sporadic presence in the province. Instead, however, a recent agreement between the Free Methodist Church in Canada and Briercrest College and Seminary means that, a decade after they departed southern Saskatchewan, Ashton and Wesley are coming back, much to the professor's delight. 'I must confess that having the opportunity to expand Wesley from a weekend to a full week is great because the weekend course left some important issues on the cutting floor. It will also be pleasant to return to one of my favourite places in the world where I spent 10 years teaching and raising a family.' While the study of theology sounds dry and dusty to some, Ashton argues that it's never been more important, 'Everyone is a theologian. Some of us do it badly, often with sad consequences. Others do it lopsidedly and explore only one side of complex issues. Good theology is listening to, and engaging with, those from the past and the present who are also interested in the great questions about the relationship between God and the world. I think "doing theology" is the greatest sport in the world, and everybody wins!' While there have been many thinkers and theologians down through the ages, Ashton is convinced that Wesley's theology remains vital and relevant for Free Methodists' today, 'In the Christian church in North America there is much more cross-pollination between the various denominations than ever before. This is a good thing. It has reduced sectarianism in significant ways. Nonetheless, it is good to visit the deep roots of one's own denomination, if for no other reason than to understand the perceptions and the practices of the churches in which we participate.' The Theology of John Wesley is one of four Foundational Courses required for credentialing in the FMCiC. FMCiC candidates for ministry and students from Briercrest considering ministry with the FMCiC can get all the Foundational Courses while at Briercrest. They are available by audit or credit, depending on the plans of each student's educational plan. Rev. Alan Retzman reports that he is very pleased with the fruitful relationship being developed between the school and the FMCiC. 'We once again have a place for training candidates for ministry in Saskatchewan.' According to Dr. David Shepherd, Dean of the Seminary at Briercrest, Wesley's return is good news for Briercrest as well. 'As an evangelical interdenominational Seminary serving the prairies and beyond, we want to offer our students the very best in evangelical theology from a variety of different traditions. To do that we need Wesley. and that's why we're glad to welcome both him and Prof. Ashton back to southern Saskatchewan.' After several years in the wilderness, the time is clearly ripe for Wesley's return to southern Saskatchewan. Indeed, given the appreciation for what he represents, it will hardly be surprising if this is only the first of many happy returns. Prof. David Ashton will be teaching The Theology of John Wesley from January 10-14. For more details contact Briercrest Seminary (firstname.lastname@example.org). David Shepherd is the Academic Dean and Associate Professor of Hebrew and Old Testament at Briercrest College and Seminary in Caronport, SK.
AT BRIERCREST SEMINARY IN JANUARY
WHO WAS JOHN WESLEY? Why are more and more Christians interested in re-discovering what this spiritual leader from the past has to offer the church today? It is increasingly clear that contemporary currents in ministry including the Church Growth, Small Group, and Charismatic movements have been shaped by Wesley's ideas about what it means to do theology and ministry. While the Theology of John Wesley course is required if you're moving toward commissioned or ordained ministry in the Free Methodist Church in Canada, it also offers interested lay people the chance to spend a week with Wesley in the company of Dr. Dave Ashton, a man who knows Wesley well. This coming January (10-14), thanks to a new partnership with Briercrest College and Seminary, Free Methodist students will not only be able to enjoy the benefits of an excellent library and support staff, they may also be able to take the Theology of John Wesley for College or Seminary credit. To find out more about joining John Wesley and Dave Ashton at Briercrest this January, please call Dr. David Shepherd (306-756-3325) or email him at email@example.com.
5 M O S A I C
GENERAL CONFERENCE IS COMING. This is a major event in the
BELIEVE IT OR NOT, General Conference 2005 is fast approaching.
life of the church. Besides the fact that it is our tri-annual family reunion,
Our General Conference focus is “Called to declare Jesus anywhere, anytime, in all kinds of ways!” Wow! What an awesome adventure! It is also a very empowering adventure. Ephesians 4:12 says, “prepare God's people (of any age) for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (NIV) With this on our minds as the Mature Study Team, we felt a great need to “light a fire” at General Conference 2005 to this end . ... Ephesians 2:10, “……work that we better get doing.” (MSG) The purpose of the Mature Study Team is to ignite people's passion to intentionally: O Identify the potential in people O Invest in them, so that they will be O Involved in fulfilling God's purpose for their lives.
it sets major policies for our denomination for the coming three years.
We need your help in “lighting the fire”! The team needs to hear from the body of Christ. Nothing is more life changing than the personal experience of empowering someone or being empowered to fulfill God's purpose. Our desire is to present “The Never Ending Story” at General Conference of empowering testimonies. We need you to begin right now! Please send us a VHS clip (3 minutes in length) answering the following questions: 1. Who saw and identified you? 2. How did they invest their time and resources in you? 3. In what ways did they involve you in fulfilling God's purpose for your life?
Why eagerly pray for GC 2005? Well, among other reasons think of the cost. The budgeted cost for GC is in excess of $105,000. That's a lot of coin! When making an investment of that magnitude we want to get the most return. I'm not thinking only in monetary terms, but this is simply to put it into perspective. I've been reflecting on the last General Conference and looking forward to General Conference in May 2005. As an event it was truly magnificent. The presence of God was so evident, wasn't it? We were knit together into a common purpose and worship. Greg Langille
General Conference Prayer Coordinator
I remember the Sunday night service as being particularly powerful. Our hearts were stirred as we worshiped together.
It was very encouraging and joyful. I still chuckle when I think about the delegate who said that they actually enjoyed General Conference! Imagine God can even help us enjoy General Conference! I honestly believe that the earnest prayer for GC has made a difference for us as a church in the last 2 and a half years. Most striking, of course, occurred when we added the words "and beyond" to our vision statement.
All tapes should be sent to: Arlington Woods Free Methodist Church Attention: Corey Peters 225 McClellan Road Nepean, ON K2H 8N5
There are new initiatives happening as a result of this simple change and the heartfelt prayer that went into the decision. There are other things, but this is one that quickly comes to mind. Recently, I was praying about next year's GC. I've been asking the Lord to guide us thematically in our praying. I believe He is saying that
Deadline for receiving testimonies is February 26, 2005. Please don't delay! Thanks so much for your participation. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, Jennifer Anderson, at 905-3567800 or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to seeing God's hand actively at work!
we need to pray that GC be a life changing event both individually and as a denomination. We desire the presence of the Lord as we did at last GC, but there is an effectiveness in His presence that comes when we ask for it. Individually who would not want to meet with Him and be renewed? What if there is something in our lives that we need to have pruned away so we can be more effective? Will any be there who does not have a specific need that must be answered either for themselves or family member or in the church? This can happen as we pray and seek His face beginning today. Some things we need to pray for specifically: that God will mightily use the inspirational speaker, Bishop Jose Ildo de Mello. Pray for the ministry of the worship leader and team. They have such an important ministry.
Attention Pastor’s Wives Canada East Women’s Missionary International Executive
INVITES YOU TO COME APART FOR . . .
Rest, Renewal & Restoration A Winter Retreat
Pray for love and
unity within the worship team. Let us expect that God will meet with His people.
When: January 28 & 29, 2005 Friday 5:30 pm check-in to Saturday 4pm snack Where: Wesley Acres Retreat Centre - Bloomfield, Ontario Why:
Come meet with God and friends in a casual setting where you can be ministered to.
Rev. Greg Langille is Senior
"Come unto Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matt. 11:28)
Pastor at Holt FMC and Prayer
Watch the mail for your registration form Plan now to register by January 6, 2005!
Concerence, May 27-30, 2005.
Coordinator for General
M O S A I C
IT ’S FUNNY SOMETIMES HOW GOD MOVES . have a community pot that someone takes home every week and brings it God often calls us to do something without showing us what He really wants. I think He knows that if He gave us the big picture in the beginning, we would run screaming from the room. The Open Door was borne out of a community that was built around On Rock Ministries, a para-church evangelical organization whose mission is to love youth and build relationship with them. Through that relationship they will come to know that our foundation is God and that He wants to be theirs as well. This ministry started out as "just" a drop-in centre. 13 years later, we have a music store, recording studio, soup kitchen (The Open Arms Café) and a food bank. The interesting thing is that underlying all of this, in caring for our volunteers and people in our ministry, we "became" a community. We spend a lot of time together, at the centre and in our home. We eat together, laugh and cry together, we fight and make up; we encourage and rebuke each other. We struggle together with what it means to follow Jesus authentically and love the world. As the ministry and relationships grew, we started to think that there needed to be a church that spoke more directly to us and the people we minister to. What we hadn't quite realized was that we were that church. I would say that we were a church about a year before we even knew it. One day in September 2003, some brethren friends called me up to invite me to a church planting congress in Vancouver. A day later, Jared Siebert called me and asked me if I would consider planting a church in Montreal. We started to ask God what He was doing. So, my wife Sylvia, a friend and co-worker, Sean and I went to Vancouver to this congress. It was there that things were confirmed for us that we need to move on the church plant. After a few quick meetings with Dan Sheffield and Jared, we were on our way. We held our first corporate service November 30, 2003. 27 people were there. We were excited about what God was going to do, and nervous because we had no idea what we were doing. We have church in The Vault, the drop-in centre operated by On Rock. So, church has a snack bar, pool hall feel. We start with lunch at 1pm. We
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Just hanging out
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back full the next week. Whatever they make is lunch. We add bread and juice to it and we have lunch for everyone. At 2pm, worship begins. Worship tends to be loud and fast. We have an open mic, so people can join the worship band and sing if they feel like it. We occasionally have one or two of our hard-core people join the band to do a little screaming as well. It is a great time of worship being expressed from within the community. Then we have teaching discussion time. I usually lead this, but, it is an open time where people can add their input, ask questions, share experiences, disagree, etc. It is kind of an organized chaos. The philosophy is that, in a community we learn from each other. No sermon illustration I come up with is going to match your personal experience, so share your life with us and let us learn. We are all learners and we can all teach as well. We close with a time of praying for each other. Twice a month, during the service, we send a team downtown to feed the homeless. As we gather for lunch people participate in making about 100 lunches. We then pray for the street run and send our team out to be an extension of the church to the homeless. At present we are about 50 people each Sunday. Our community is about 75 people in total. Sunday service is not the defining factor in who we are. That is just our celebration of God and who we are in Him. The defining factor for us is the community itself. It is our relationship with each other every day, that allows people to see our love for each other through good times and bad. By this will all people know that we are His disciples, because of our love for each other,…. and the world at large. As I said at the beginning, if God had shown us the big picture at the start, when He called us, we would probably have run screaming from the room. But, God in His wisdom and mercy, believes in "baby steps". He is faithful. Kim Reid is church planter at Open Door Community Church in Montreal, QC. Visit their website at the-open-door.org
P H O T O
Food preparation for the community
G A L L E R Y
Worship at Open Door
1st year anniversary - this is how they treat their pastor!
Refreshing the Wineskins
Continued from page 2
AN EXPERIMENTAL PLAN TO DEVELOP LEADERS HAS BEGUN Five churches and their pastors are going to be testing interview questions that MEGaP hopes to use in all local churches across Canada. We will present what we find at General Conference 2005. New wineskins are flexible and change shape. Developing leaders is important and will take on different shape over time. The purpose is to help the local church develop leaders. I've begun to ask the Lord to give us 40 churches in the next three years that will develop just one leader. If they develop one leader each year after that we will have a constant flow of leaders who will continue to equip the whole church for the needs and challenges God puts before us in the FMCiC for years to come.
Developing leaders with these five characteristics can be adapted to other cultures. We are developing a model to build leaders here and beyond our borders. That makes my heart beat faster. This is a God sized dream. Scripture says, us older ones will dream dreams (Acts 2:17.) It's the younger one who have visions. Dreamers and visionaries are in God's plan. At any age, the five characteristic will guide us in developing leaders. Rev. Alan Retzman is the Director of Personnel for The Free Methodist Church in Canada
ne thing I have heard over and over again from our young people and youth leaders is that they have a real desire to "connect" with each other. It is much deeper than just getting together in a big crowd (which is fun!); it has to do more with a desire for support, encouragement and opportunities to work together. With this in mind the first annual Acquire the Fire / Free Methodist Weekend was held on Oct. 22-24. Acquire the Fire (ATF) is a major provincial youth event held in Hamilton, Ontario and was the basis for a great opportunity to connect our Free Methodist youth and leaders. It turned out to be an awesome weekend of spiritual growth and in connecting with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Approximately 450 FM young people and youth leaders (from as far away as Sault Ste. Marie (~ 8 hours driving)) ended up gathering together for this event. Our sponsoring churches provided accommodation for more than 300 kids with the majority of those billeting in peoples homes. On the Friday night (after the ATF evening session) we packed out Buchanan Park FM Church with almost 350 youth for a late night meal and to take some more time to worship God together. On Saturday evening (between ATF sessions) we gathered once again for a time of fellowship and food. I was encouraged to hear that the weekend was a blessing to so many people … “The event was amazing…and our kids went away with a new excitement about their faith. It's awesome for our kids to see the ‘big picture’ and to realize that there are other youth out there.” Cindy Gibson - New Hope Methodist (Newmarket) “We just had two of our teens share on Sunday morning how God changed their lives through ATF. It was so powerful!” Pastor Brandon Shillington - Kingston West FM Church “Two of the teens that went with our youth group made faith decisions, many more expressed a desire to develop a closer walk with God. The Friday night FM worship service at Buchanan Park not only ministered to the 300 plus teens praising God until midnight but also to the surrounding neighbourhood. Many of the neighbours located within earshot of the church
were amazed (rather than annoyed) that this large group of teenagers would be so excited to worship God late on a Friday night.” Pastor Steven Feather Buchanan Park FM Church (Hamilton)
“When I was told that I was going to ATF I sighed and said "alright” … Prior to ATF my relationship with God was really bad, I despised God because of a lot of unhappiness in my life. I had been going through some bad times and felt ugly and rejected by society. On the Friday night however, the words from the speakers really hit home and I found myself wondering why I never really believed in Him. When the pastor called us down to pray… I cried ... because the words finally had meaning to me and I could look at God and myself in a new light. It was almost as though God had reached out, touched my shoulder and said," I love you, you're perfect, and beautiful!" Saturday after ATF I went home and asked Jesus into my heart. I re-watched the "Passion of the Christ" because I wanted to see it with a new perspective, and it made me realize again how much Jesus loved me. Later that night I spent 4 hours reading the entire book "Revolution in World Missions", it was a book that was given out at ATF. I was interested to learn about missions, to understand why they were important and what God was accomplishing through missionaries. I also spent time after that looking at and memorizing Psalm 23 … it is such an encouragement to me. The next Sunday morning (I hadn't had very much sleep) I came and told my friends and leaders that I had asked Jesus to be part of my life. Three weeks later I am more conscious of God than I have ever been before. I often realize when I do things wrong and then I ask for forgiveness. He has also put a desire in me to do what is right and good. I am definitely going to Acquire the Fire next year, and those who may not have a strong faith or that have doubts about Gods presence in their life should be encouraged to go and feel Gods greatness in their lives.
“We had 19 teens and 3 adults at the event. One of the teens made a first time commitment to Christ at the event on Friday night. All of our teens committed to following Christ in the battle, not just in the ‘social club’.” Pastor Rick Hamilton - Whitby FM Church “Our youth were amazed at how many youth attended Acquire the Fire....most had never attended such an event. Lives were changed a couple of youth gave their hearts to Jesus for the first time and others deepened their commitment. I guess if I am honest I have also come away changed. It was good to worship GOD together.” Pastor Dale Hawley - Frankford Community Church . . . these are just a few of the things that God did during our weekend. I have been communicating with some of our “west” youth leaders about the possibility of a similar event out west and we will continue work on that. I am looking forward to more of these connecting events in the future. Thanks to Pastor Maurice Vannest (Armadale) who is also the administrator for ATF Canada for all his work in helping this come together. Thanks as well to our Sponsoring churches (Buchanan Park, Burlington FM, Caistor Centre FM and Freedom Christian Community (Brantford)) for their amazing hospitality in proving accommodation and our Friday evening meal. Special thanks to Pastor Mark and Jennifer Earle, Pastor Steven and Karen Feather, Pastor Greg and Kelly Pulham, Lizelle VanWeesel, Paul Griffin and Amanda Grimes for all their help in planning and organizing this event.
Andrew Brown is Student Ministries Director for The Free Methodist Church in Canada and will be continuing in his role as President of Reach Forth (www.reachforth.net), a multidenominational evangelistic sports and youth ministry in Hamilton, ON.
THE FUTURE LOOKS GOOD Q u i c k f a c t s f r o m t h e Pe r s o n n e l d e p a r t m e n t
inistry opportunities expanded this summer as a four-person team from New Horizons Community Church in Sarnia made their way to India for two weeks. Led by licensed lay minister Rick Venne, the team of two women, one man, and a teen focused upon training church leaders in the use of both balloon-based story-telling and puppets for evangelism. Fund raising began a year ago as the daunting task of coming up with $13,000 was faced. Through a variety of events as varied as roofing a house to a Valentine Day's couples party, the goal was surpassed. Not only were plane tickets purchased, but thousands of balloons and several balloon pumps were obtained, and a dozen puppets with a puppet stage were acquired. Following training, these items were left behind for Indian nationals to use. The team began ministry in Hyderabad as a part of a Gateway City Initiative of the Free Methodist Church in Canada. Three Canadian Free Methodist churches Crossroads in Salmon Arm BC, Trulls Road in Courtice ON, and New Horizons in Sarnia ON - are partners together in reaching out to this gateway city. Hyderabad is a strategic city within India, being the home of six million people of whom 30% are Muslim and 70% Hindu. The superintendent of the Hyderabad Mission District of the Free Methodist Church in India, Dr. Narendra John, determined upon an outreach strategy that was churchbased, with non-churched people being invited to church buildings to view the programming. Hundreds of children came to the half-dozen venues, but the key emphasis was upon training the pastors and leaders to use the balloons and puppets so that they could carry the ministry farther after the team's departure. Following a 750-kilometre drive through the Indian countryside, the team deployed to a second city: Mumbai. Known in the West as Bombay, the city of Mumbai is the world's third largest city with 18 million people, and is projected to become the world's largest city around 2020 when the population is expected to reach 30 million. Here the emphasis changed significantly due to a different
strategy. West India Annual Conference superintendent Shirish Ahaley took advantage of several contacts within the school systems in the north end of Mumbai. The team then trained both children and adults from the Andheri Free Methodist Church to do the ministry under team supervision. Over the next three days, this Indian-Canadian team went into nine schools and presented the gospel to 5200 children. Around 90% of those children are from Muslim or Hindu homes. Team member Diane Lecours experienced a "God moment" through this trip. Prior to leaving Sarnia, Diane had seen a picture of women in India shown by a previous team on a Sunday morning as part of the weekly missions emphasis. She was struck at the sight of one of the women, and God etched her face in Diane's mind. Some time later, just prior to leaving, a woman in her cell group gave Diane a gold ring in obedience to direction from God, saying that it was to go to someone in India. Who that person was, she did not know. Diane however put two-and-two together and realized the ring was for the woman whose face she could not forget. It was late in the trip in the city of Mumbai at one of the Free Methodist churches that Diane suddenly saw standing in the crowd the very woman from the photo. For fear of losing her in the crowd, Diane asked her to stand still while she ran to where her purse was locked up. Bringing the ring to her, Diane then heard a beautiful story. The woman had recently lost all of her jewelry, a tragedy in India where the gifts of gold jewelry upon marriage constitute the only 'insurance policy' a woman has against potential widowhood or divorce. But she had trusted in God that He would take care of her. Imagine the light in her face when Diane presented her with the gold ring and told her the story of God's provision! The trip wasn't all work. The team managed to find time to ride camels, swim in the Arabian Sea, take photos of wild monkeys, and even locate the Pizza Hut in Mumbai. They returned exhausted but elated at what had transpired. The best news of all is that the superintendent of a school system with fifty additional schools in Mumbai has already requested that another joint Indian-Canadian puppet team come to his schools to share the gospel. Some may wonder why the Indians themselves don't go into those schools and provide the ministry. But that discounts the reality that there is something special about people coming from the other side of the world and providing ministry, and it is this presence that opens the door to venues that would otherwise be closed. After all, we're aware that a prophet is not welcome in his own hometown. Plans are being made to send another puppet ministry team in late summer 2006. Might you be interested in joining that team? And is your church ready to join the challenge of reaching to a gateway city of the world?
There was extreme commitment to Christ as I heard the story of one young boy in one of our churches who has been disowned by his family because of his faith in Jesus, which went against his family's Hindu practices. In addition to visiting the Free Methodist churches in Hyderabad, Doug and I spent time offering leadership training to 100 pastors for four days. These pastors were from districts and villages who seldom get that kind of encouragement and resource. This was an incredibly humbling experience to stand before a group of leaders, some of whom have planted 50 churches, and teach. Clearly both Doug and I felt that we were all students together of Jesus Christ. It is accurate to say that my time spent with our brothers and sisters in Christ in India has changed my life. We as a church have seen others now feeling a strong call to obey the "go" of Jesus. Our view of the church's mission and our role in the world, including our own community, has enlarged our hearts to see greater things that God can do. It is our desire to keep deepening our trust, through being obedient to Jesus. Let me encourage you to pray for our brothers and sisters in India and that God will keep pouring out His power on them. Pray that Jesus will reveal to you how you can be more obedient to him. When we are we will have the EXTREME commitment to Christ that brings extreme joy.
s I read through the gospels and hear Jesus call to all of his followers to "…go and make disciples of all nations…" I have appreciated that it isn't something done just "over there" but wherever we are placed. One of the natural outcomes of our relationship to Jesus should be a desire to let others know of this great news of God's love. We as a church over the past couple years have been saying, "Lord, we are sharing in our context, and seeking to do better, but where in the world would you have us to go?" In speaking with Dan Sheffield, he directed us to pray about places we hadn't thought of before - one of them was India. God kept drawing our hearts to India. Pastor Doug Griffin of New Horizons Community Church, extended an invitation for me to join him on a trip September 2 - 12, 2004 to connect with Dr. Narendra John and his wife Jaya as they work for the Free Methodist Church in the Hyderabad Mission District. As we the leadership prayed and discussed it we felt this was the way for us to further develop our "…and beyond" portion of our vision statement. It is impossible to put the experience into words. If there was one phrase that I could use todescribe Hyderabad I would have to say it is a city of EXTREMES; the extremes in economics - great wealth (held by just a few people) and then utter poverty. There was extreme driving, but that is a whole other article which I won't get into.
Rev. Doug Griffin in Senior Pastor at New Horizons FMC in Sarnia, ON.
Rev. Barry Taylor in Senior Pastor at Trulls Road FMC in Courtice, ON.
Published on Dec 21, 2004