Cliffs Notes – April 19, 2022

Belonging to the FMCiC (it’s Biblical and therefore, Essential): Part 3

A couple of weeks ago we asked, “What’s it mean for us to be a connected Church? What value is there in healthy denominationalism – Free Methodism in Canada?” Click here to read Part 1. Last week we asked “Why should I become a member?” Click here to read Part 2.
 
Over the years I have heard things like, “I don’t need to be a member of a church, because that’s not in the Bible”, or “I’m a member of the universal body of Christ, and I do not believe in institutional Church”, or “why would I need to stand up there in front of the church to become a member, when I already know it in my heart”. None of these comments, reasons, or excuses will stand against the test of Scripture. Today let’s answer these concerns drawing from Parts 1 & 2.
 
“I don’t need to be a member of a church, because that’s not in the Bible”

We dealt with this last week in “Part 2”: Jesus’ disciples publicly stood as members of His ecclesia; Bonhoeffer offers the Church a sobering reminder about cheap versus costly grace (costly grace being commitment/membership in Christ’s Church); there is a clear pattern in Acts that includes membership to a community (conversion, confession, community); all of Paul’s metaphors for the Church imply membership. Membership is in the Bible!


“I’m a member of the universal body of Christ, and I don’t believe in institutional church”.

When someone says something like this, I acknowledge that Church has not always reflected Jesus’ love and truth in this world (this is generally, when someone says something about the Crusades!). I acknowledge this, but explain that because of institutional Church we have hospitals, orphanages, universities and schools. We have shelters, foodbanks, crisis relief agencies. We have drug rehab programs, ministries to stop human trafficking, literacy programs, and so much more. I challenge them not to fall prey to poor logic and “cancel” the whole, because of some terrible historical sins.
Yes, I also acknowledge that they are a part of the universal Church, but again, membership in a local community is the visible commitment to the universal Church. We have no Biblical examples of followers of Jesus who were not visibly, publicly a member of a local ecclesia (“church”).


“Why would I need to stand up there in front of the church to become a member, when I already know it in my heart?”

Public commitment to the Kingdom was a value for Jesus. He said so actually, “whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father” (Matthew 10:32). You may be thinking that I have taken this passage out of context. I obviously disagree. Jesus was talking about public testimony, confession, witness here, and I would argue that membership is another way to make this kind of public testimony, confession or witness. Baptism is another example of a public confession. One cannot baptize one’s self, this would not be Biblical. It seemed in Acts that baptism is connected to membership, and this is certainly how the early Church practiced these things: baptism was also an entering into membership into the Church.
 
I wear a wedding ring. It was placed on my finger 30 years ago this May. It represents vows made and the covenant I entered. Am I still married if I lose the ring? For sure, but I would be sad. The ring, like baptism and membership, are public demonstrations of my journey with another. Baptism and membership are opportunities and steps of obedience to publicly declare that I belong to Christ and I belong to His Church. The local Church is the visible commitment to the universal Church.


 
One final thought about membership: membership is simply a part of discipleship. Membership should never have been an add-on to your faith. Years ago, I surveyed literally dozens of discipleship materials. These were generally 12-15 week discipleship classes (every once and a while I found a 1 year discipleship class) – as if Jesus-discipleship is best lived out in a 12-15 week class! How many sessions did Jesus have with His disciples anyway?! Almost without exception, being a member of a Church family was one of the last lessons in these discipleship materials, saying, without saying it, that membership in a local Church is just a step in your journey, rather than being the context within which we grow in Christ!
 
For Jesus, being a member (or partner) of the ecclesia (His “Church”) was simply a part of the discipleship relationship. Membership should simply be a natural part of how you grow in Christ – it should be your Church culture!

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN

Tuesdays: Cliff’s Notes
2nd Tuesday of each month: What’s Got You Thinking?
4th Thursday of each month: Church Health Thursday

ANNOUNCEMENTS
None this week

ORDINATION SERVICES
June 12 at 2:00 pm – Erika Mills – Blue Mountain FMC, Thornbury, ON
June 26 at 2:00 pm – Benjamin Platz – Next Church, Kingston, ON

NOTE:  Lorne Park Foundation sponsorships are still available for online registrations only
Tyndale University’s annual Wesley Studies Symposium on April 26:  “Sisters in the Spirit: Women in the Holiness and Pentecostal Traditions”: https://www.tyndale.ca/seminary/wesley-studies/annual-symposium
The Lorne Park Foundation (https://lornepark.org/) has generously offered to sponsor additional online registrations for this event.  This offer is open to both clergy and laypersons.  If you are interested, notify Susan DePlanché at [email protected] as soon as possible to be put on the list.  If you register through Susan, do not register through the Tyndale link.  This event is worth 6 hours toward Continuing Education Units (CEUs).

FOUNDATIONAL COURSES  http://www.fmcic.ca/foundational-courses/
Register online through the link above (Tuition payment is not required when registering for a course.  Payment is due 10 days before the course begins.)
Lay Ministers tracking for credentialed ministry and those transferring ordination credentials into the FMCIC need to take the following two courses for full credit – and if possible, the Heart course first and then Wesleyan Theology.

Heart of Canadian Free Methodism:
June 3-5, 2022 – Trulls Road FMC, Courtice, ON
November 4-6, 2022, – location TBA*

Wesleyan Theology:
November 4-6, 2022, – location TBA*

Also available:

Ministerial Candidates tracking for Commissioned or Ordained Minister are required to take the following two courses for full credit.  Those who are already commissioned or ordained are required to either audit these two courses for 1 Continuing Education Unit (CEU) each or take the two courses and complete the assignments for 3 CEUs each.

Culture and the Missional Church:
Date and location TBA*

Personal and Church Stewardship: 
5-week online course – Start Date TBA
(* These course locations are selected based on where the majority of the participants reside – so please register early!)

2022 SCHOLARSHIPS  http://www.fmcic.ca/scholarships/


LEADERSHIP SCHOLARSHIP PLAN (LSP):
The Leadership Scholarship Plan (LSP) provides financial assistance to candidates who are studying to meet the educational requirements for credentialed ministry, or for members of conference pursuing continuing education.

October 15 is the deadline to apply for LSP for any courses taken during the summer and/or fall semesters of 2022.  The 2022 application forms and instructions are now available to download from the link above.  Please use the application forms marked “rev 2022.”


SPECIAL SCHOLARSHIPS:
The Special Scholarships provide financial assistance to those who are members of a Free Methodist church pursuing post-secondary education to grow in their Christian faith, to those who are pursuing credentialed ministry, and to members of conference pursuing continuing education.

October 15 is the deadline to apply for the annual Special Scholarships for courses taken during the 2022 calendar year – apply online anytime from the link above.  Special Scholarships are awarded in late November/early December each year.

CONTINUING EDUCATION UNITS (CEUs)   https://www.fmcic.ca/introduction-to-continuing-education/
Ordained and Commissioned Ministers (except retirees) are to annually report hours acquired during each year for Continuing Education Units (CEUs).  Check the link above for information on CEUs, and a list of examples of many different types of life-long learning that can be applied as CEUs.

You can now send a report online anytime you have hours to submit for CEUs.  Here is the link:   https://fmcic.wufoo.com/forms/continuing-education-unit-ceu-report-form/

Note:  For those who attend the fall Minister’s Conferences or the spring Regional Gatherings, add 6 hours of CEU credit for each event when you send in your annual CEU report.

For those who took courses and/or did in-depth research and learning about how to make the changes required during the pandemic (ie how to live-stream services), add the number of those hours to your annual CEU report.

____________________________________________________________

CHURCHES IN TRANSITION
Interviewing

Hilton Beach, ON – St. Joseph Island FMC
Oshawa, ON – The Corner Church (Free Methodist / Church of the Nazarene)

Saskatoon, SK – Lakeview FMC
Thornbury, ON – Blue Mountain Community Church
Warkworth, ON – Warkworth FMC

Church Profiles available
Contact Davika Dotson in the  Leadership Development Office to request a church profile – [email protected] (deadline to apply in brackets)

Hamilton, ON – Rymal Road Community Church (full-time) [May 31]
Harrowsmith, ON – Harrowsmith FMC (full-time) [May 31]
New Westminster, BC – First FMC (full-time) [May 31]

Preparing Profiles
If you are interested in seeing the profile for any of these churches, please contact Davika in the Leadership Development Office [see above] and the profile will be emailed to you as soon as it becomes available.

Campbellford, ON – Campbellford FMC, (Rev. Jurgen Rausch-Transition Pastor)
Cloyne, ON – Pineview FMC
Dunnville, ON – Dunnville FMC
Frankford, ON – Frankford Community Church
Richmond Hill, ON – Richmond Hill Chinese & English FM Churches (Rev. Louis Leung – Interim Pastor)
Sarnia, ON – New Horizons Community Church (Rev. Mary Lee DeWitt-Transition Pastor)

EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
Pastor of Children and Their Families – Whitby FMC

Tearfund has a number of current openings for interns and students.  You can access their list of available positions here.

ajax-loader