Cliffs Notes: November 28, 2023

I listened to an interview with an US Sociologist, Professor and Pastor Ryan Burge. He was outlining recent research about Gen Z (individuals born after 1996). It was more of the same sad trajectory regarding Christianity. In the USA just under half of Gen Z are now in the “nones” category. This means that they identify as not being religious. A significant portion of those check “nothing in particular” on the survey, as opposed to identifying with their other survey options, “atheist”, or “not interested”! Let’s consider that choice, “nothing in particular”. Dr. Burge highlighted that “nothing in particular” seems to indicate that they are not committed atheists, and they are not committed to not being interested either (bet that you had to read my double negative phrase a couple of times!). Might there be some hope in their response?

They seem to be unconvinced more than uncommitted, or unfaithful or antagonistic towards Church. Holy Spirit is the One who convicts and convinces, but we are to participate in His work of convincing. How? First by being convinced ourselves that the Gospel, the Bible and Church family are beautiful and necessary. When we live this type of fully convinced life then others will pay attention.

When Gen Z’s who were raised in the Church, were asked why they no longer attend a Sunday service, the number 1 reason was because “they moved”! They moved away from home and their home church. The number 2 reason was that they did not find a church they “fit into”. This is a worthy conversation for our church leadership.

A. Are we preparing our children to leave with a hunger for Christ and His Church? Did we “convince” them that being a part of a Church family is necessary? Were they convinced by the love they saw, the love they were shown, the friendships they have, the experiences they leave with, the truth instilled in them, the journey with Father, Son and Holy Spirit that they have been on through their Church family?
B. Are we positioning ourselves to receive new students, and for that matter, new people?

Dr. Burge recommends that Gen Z are presented Christianity in an “intelligent cohesive way”. They are less interested in preachers who sound like used car salesmen, or who preach a Gospel which does not respond to poverty, politics, abortion, MAID, reconciliation, war and the many other world issues which cause our children great anxiety about the future and are tearing the world apart. Their question is, “Does Christianity really help me see and respond to life in a meaningful, or even redemptive way?”

The researchers found that relationships were the magic ingredient in Gen Z’s journey with God (“magic” is my word not theirs). It is in relationship, friendship, which Gen Z wants to hear this “intelligent cohesive” presentation of Christianity. It was not about great sermons but about great relationships. Older Christians investing in young people. Nothing new here! New Canadians are looking for the same: relationship! Somewhere to go after the warm welcome that they received at the Sunday service (remember when Church people had meals together in our homes after service on a Sunday?), and then invitations to coffee, sports, quilting, prayer meetings, movies, and so forth! Gen Z, new Canadians and me too, are all looking for a Church that befriends in the truest sense of the word Sundays and beyond.

Take a moment and prayerfully evaluate your investment in younger people. Do you do more than a warm hello on a Sunday? Do you make an effort to find time for coffee, or a walk, or a meal with others? How has our church trained or prepared for new people? How would a new Canadian or even a visitor feel walking into our Sunday morning Church doors?

If you are not sure, then invite a “secret shopper”, like a neighbour or friend unknown to your church family, to come for a visit. Ask them to evaluate the experience. Don’t tell them the time or what to dress like or what to expect. Let them find or discover all that, and then ask them questions like:

  • Website easy to navigate?
  • Signage around the building clear, like how to find the toilets, or children’s area
  • Were the best seats available (back seats by the way)?
  • Did you feel warmly greeted / welcomed? Tell us how?
  • Was it easy to participate in our service: songs, greeting, offering, message…?
  • Did you understand what we were doing and why?
  • Any awkward moments?
  • What was your experience with God in the service time?
  • What was it like leaving: did you feel “seen”?
  • Did you receive any follow up? Tell us about that?
  • Any other comments?
  • If you wanted to speak with someone or engage further in this church family, do you think that you would know how?
  • Did anyone invite you to something else: small group, coffee, a sport, youth group, Alpha, or the like?

This past weekend I was with our Athens Church, in the village of Athens Ontario. We worshiped together, and we had a very real time of prayer together. I was warmly welcomed and we had a wonderful meal with delicious homemade buns that melted in my mouth, so the buns did not count against the diet I continue to be on (just in case anyone counted)! Pastor Marcus joined the FM during COVID but in this short time, his church family has grown to really appreciate and love him and his family. It was so good to hear from several brand new members about how much they are thankful for their new church family. Thank you Athens!
Tuesdays: Cliff’s Notes
2nd Tuesday of each month: What’s Got You Thinking?
4th Thursday of each month: Church Health Thursday

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None this week

January 27, 2024 at 2:00 pm ET – Pastor Misa Mochinaga, Wesley Chapel Japanese Free Methodist Church, Scarborough, ON  

April 14, 2024 at 2:00 pm ET – Pastor Yves Anthonuel, Eglise Evangelique des Mille-Iles, Laval, QC
Date and time TBA – Pastor Josiah Piett, House of Freedom Free Methodist Church Plant, Niagara Falls, ON

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 7-9, 2024 – location TBA*

Wesleyan Theology:
June 7-9, 2024 – location TBA*

Also available:

    • Self-paced, up to 8 months to complete

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 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!)



[PLEASE NOTE:  The FMCiC preference for LSP is for students to attend one of the approved schools on this list. However, if you decide to apply to a non-approved school, you must first send a request to the Credentialing Coordinator to determine whether the committee will approve funding for you to study at a non-approved school. Along with your request, please include a written explanation as to why you are choosing to study at a non-approved institution. It is strongly recommended that you do this before paying tuition, and well in advance of the LSP deadline. The Credentialing Coordinator, along with the LSP committee, will consider each request individually and according to LSP policy.]

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.

February 15 is the next deadline to apply for LSP for any courses taken during the winter semester of 2024. The 2024 application forms and instructions will be available later this year to download from the link above.  Please use the application forms marked “rev 2024.”

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 2024 calendar year – apply online anytime from the link above.  Special Scholarships are awarded in late November/early December each year.

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.

Send a report online anytime you have hours to submit for CEUs:

Note:  For those who attend the fall Minister’s Conferences or the spring Regional Gatherings, attendance is now taken at these events so 6 hours of CEU credit for each event will automatically be recorded.


Bracebridge, ON – New Hope FM Church
Salmon Arm, BC – Lakeside Community Church

Church Profiles Available
To review the church profiles that are available, please go to our website at this link: church profiles or contact Davika Dotson in the Leadership Development Office – [email protected] [deadline to apply in brackets]

Brampton, ON – Bramalea FM Church (part-time) [December 5]
Brantford, ON – The Open Door Church (full-time) [November 28]
Sombra, ON – Zion FM Church (full-time) [November 28]

Preparing Profiles
Once these church profiles become available, they will be listed above as “Church Profiles available”  and also on our website at this link: church profiles

Belleville, ON – Belleville Centennial FM Church (Rev. Rodney Peterson retiring Aug 31/24)
Campbellford, ON – Campbellford FM Church (Rev. Leonard Bruce – Interim Pastor)
Cloyne, ON – Pineview FM Church
Dryden, ON – Dryden FM Church
Dunnville, ON – Dunnville FM Church
Frankford, ON – Frankford Community Church
Godfrey, ON – Cole Lake FM Church
Kingston, ON – Kingscourt FM Church

Marmora, ON – Marmora FM Church (Pastor Keith Deyo – Interim Pastor)

Mississauga, ON – Grace FM Church
Nepean, ON – Arlington Woods FM Church (Rev. Mike Hogeboom retiring May 31/24) 
Newmarket, ON – New Hope Methodist Church (Rev. Terry Gibson retiring Aug 31/24)
Orillia, ON – Church on the Hill (Pastor Velma Shewfelt – Interim Pastor)

Richmond Hill, ON – Richmond Hill FM Church (Rev. Louis Leung – Interim Pastor)
Seeley’s Bay, ON – Pine Grove Community Church

Tillsonburg, ON – Open Arms Church
Wallaceburg, ON – Charlemont FM Church


Part-time Worship Leader – New Hope Methodist Church