First Priority in 2022 Part 4:
I spoke in Ghana Sunday morning, and then I drove to Kingston to be with our Kingston West FM. A small contingent of FMCiC’ers zoomed in at 6:30 AM EST our time to celebrate Ghana FM becoming a PROVISIONAL ANNUAL CONFERENCE, which is only a couple of steps from becoming their own Conference! They have approximately 30 societies, and 3000 members. Their vision to becoming a General Conference includes 100 churches in the next few years, a “piggery” (to help fund church planting), a women’s college (please prayerfully consider supporting this wonderful venture), and every pastor planting at least one church. Praise God for what He is doing in Ghana, and thank you FMCiC for your support in helping this good thing happen (again please pray about your church’s involvement in supporting Ghana – contact the Intercultural Engagement Team if you would like to hear more).
I then spoke in Kingston West FM. Despite the nasty weather, there were still some who showed up in person to worship. I was greeted warmly on a snowy, blowy day. As I quieted my heart right before we started, they had Scripture (a series of verses) on the front screen. At first, I just read the verses, sort of like background music, because I was thinking of 100 other things; then Scripture began to do what Scripture does: minister. It wasn’t one verse that caught my attention, and helped me to get into a good worship space; rather, it was the meal of Scriptures! Like being arrested by a painting with vibrant colours, texture and a story to tell, these Scriptures, were speaking to me at many different levels! Thank you, Kingston West FM! Great segue for today’s notes.
We have already discussed in this series “evangelism”, which is our responsibility to tell others about Jesus; “discipleship”, which is the word that describes how every Jesus-follower should relate to each other and the world in terms of relationship building and growing in Jesus; and “prayer and worship”. These together, I have argued are our first priority this year. Local Churches need to develop strategic thinking and plans in order to fully live into these foundational elements of the Church. In fact, leaders have been asked to create a 3-5 Year Ministry Plan / Strategic Plan which incorporates all of the above, in order to inspire their church families and communities.
Now, you might be wondering, “Cliff, what about the priority of the Bible?!”
I refer you to Cliff’s Notes November 2, 2021 which reminded us of the absolute need we have to be in the Word of God daily. In fact, I would challenge you this year to take one step farther into Scripture than you are currently taking:
- If you are not reading the Bible daily then find a new rhythm, or schedule that gives you time in the Word daily (reading, listening or both). I highly recommend that you find someone to help you stay on target;
- If you are using a short devotional daily (like a “Daily Bread”), then try something more challenging like a 1 or 2-Year Bible. Read different versions. Find a reputable podcast that is a Bible reading resource. I have been using a Bible reading guide, including reading a passage in French;
- Pastor Mike (where I attend, and where Karlene is on staff) challenged me in a sermon, to listen to Scripture before bed. So, for the past month Karlene and I have been listening to BibleGateway reading at bedtime (we really wanted someone with an English accent or James Earle Jones, but this one is very fine);
- Karlene has just recommitted us to memorizing Scripture. I reluctantly write this because I am afraid that I may not stay as committed to this as she is;
- Make sure that each of the following are a part of your weekly Bible engagement: reading, journal (note keeping), studying, hearing, memorizing, meditating;
- Pastors, it’s never been more important to offer a diet of excellent Bible exegesis and relevant application, so I challenge you to move beyond topical sermons into Bible book studies. For 25 years, I practiced the following rhythm: Old Testament book (which might take a full year depending on the book), and then a New Testament book (which often took a full year). I would sometimes break during summers, and special events.
Finally, next week we will be releasing the 2022 FMCiC Prayer Initiative. There is material to engage daily and the event will be kicked off with an Ash Wednesday introductory recording. Another creative Lent experience is an invitation from Pastors Jason Tripp and Adam Kline’s “Lent Movie Experience” (click here to read more).
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN
2nd Tuesday of each month: What’s Got You Thinking?
4th Thursday of each month: Church Health Thursday
Message from Bishop Cliff: https://vimeo.com/
Coffee with Jared: https://vimeo.com/
Mystery Beverage with Marc: https://vimeo.com/
None this week
March 20 at 2:00 pm – Alyson Lauber – Lakeview FMC, Saskatoon, SK
June 12 at 2:00 pm – Erika Mills – Blue Mountain FMC, Thornbury, ON
Date and time TBA:
Benjamin Platz – Next Church, Kingston, ON
2022 FMCiC INTERNSHIP PROGRAM https://www.fmcic.ca/intern-prog/
The FMCiC Internship Program exists to build healthy leaders for The Free Methodist Church in Canada and beyond. We invite any local church interested in participating in the FMCiC internship program to review the detailed information on the website (see link above) and apply online.
The deadline to apply for a 2022 FMCiC-sponsored internship is FEBRUARY 28, 2022.
FOUNDATIONAL COURSES http://www.fmcic.ca/
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*
June 3-5, 2022 – location TBA*
November 4-6, 2022, – location TBA*
- Tyndale University: https://www.tyndale.ca/
- FMC-USA as a 7-week intensive online course: http://fmcusa.org/leadership/
courses/Wesleyan Theology [#74W] Dr. Robert Vaughan – start dates: Feb 22, Apr 19, June 7, Jul 26, Sep 13, Nov 1
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.”
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/
Ordained and Commissioned Ministers (except retirees) are to annually report Continuing Education Units (CEUs) acquired during each year. Check the link above for information on CEUs, the report form and a list of examples of many different types of life-long learning that can be applied as CEUs.
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.
NEW: 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
Harrowsmith, ON – Harrowsmith FMC
Hilton Beach, ON – St. Joseph Island FMC
Thornbury, ON – Blue Mountain Community Church
Church Profiles available
Contact Davika Dotson in the Leadership Development Office to request a church profile – [email protected] or 416-240-7845 (deadline to apply in brackets)
Oshawa, ON – The Corner Church (Free Methodist / Church of the Nazarene) [full-time] (Mar 29)
Saskatoon, SK – Lakeview FMC [full-time] (Feb 22)
Warkworth, ON – Warkworth FMC [full-time] (Mar 1)
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
Frankford, ON – Frankford Community Church
Hamilton, ON – Rymal Road Community Church
New Westminster, BC – First FMC
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)