CliffsNotes – January 5, 2021

What’s in store for 2021?

Clearly, the Church has to pay attention to what happened in 2020, and how we must shift accordingly in 2021. I like this definition from Goggle: shift is “a slight change in position, direction, or tendency”. As Methodists it should be in our corporate soul – the ability to shift in order to minister to the changing prevailing culture. Methodists shifted from Church buildings to fields. We shifted into rediscovering discipleship in small groups (class and band meetings). We shifted music, even using bar tunes to communicate Truth. Early Free Methodists shifted back into Jesus-thinking-and-behaving about God’s Word; His work, poverty, justice, and equity.

The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit. (Jesus: John 3:8)

Much to consider in this passage but for now, what is the quality mentioned here, that will be true of a Jesus follower? In the very least, a follower of Jesus is able to shift as necessary (as often and as much), with the Holy Spirit. I invite you to spend some more time with this passage in prayer and study.
Ask these questions: What is the opposite of shifting? What does a Church look like that is not open to shifting its methods or styles in order to bring Truth to our community? What causes us to resist shifting?

Please don’t read this and assume that I am speaking about doctrinal shifts – I am not. I am writing about missional shifts in attitudes, thinking, convenience, unbiblical traditions, etc. Shifting does not necessarily mean that we were all wrong and we need to move in a whole new direction; rather, it means that prevailing culture has changed and adjustments in our ministry plans need to be made. Shifting means that we prayerfully regroup, and ask the Holy Spirit “where would you have us go next, and what will that look like in terms of position, direction or tendency?” This is a brave prayer and not for the faint hearted. It is the prayer of Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:22-23, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”
How will the Church shift to disciple millennials who are currently saying that they do not plan to return to a Church building on a Sunday morning? How do we shift to evangelize, disciple, worship corporately, fellowship in this climate?

Some final thoughts:

  1. Shifting can feel daunting if you are already tired out, or weary. My question for you is how will you pursue healing, or rest, or become re-energized? Have you considered a therapist (your pastor can help, or pastors I can help)? What about spiritual direction? What creative outlet have you developed (art, dance, music, writing, woodworking, or whatever refuels you)? Is it time for a medical leave, or sabbatical?
  2. Shifting is easy for entrepreneur types.
    If you are one then please remember to be gentle on the non-entrepreneur types around you (1000 ideas can be overwhelming for your friends, but 1 big idea and time to implement can be energizing for your friends).
  3. Shifting without prayer and the accompanying confidence that you are hearing from Holy Spirit will only contribute to more tiredness in your Church.
    Healthy shifts should come from healthy prayer lives.
  4. Shifts should be a part of your ministry plan, not just random and disconnected initiatives to help kickstart mission.
    A vital ministry plan is a ‘working’ document which means that your leadership must continue to revisit it and adjust accordingly. A healthy ministry plan is essential to healthy Church: it inspires while it clarifies budget and direction.
  5. Perhaps you should consider creating a team to consider current trends and necessary shifts?



Church Health Thursdays – This Advent Season:
News & Stories Blog – Double Whammy –
New Leaf Learning Centre: January Learning Centre Book Club- with Andrew Stephens-Rennie –
Intercultural Engagement Team:
SCOD: Topics Worth Thinking About


None this week


Leonard Bruce – April 25, 2021, Warkworth FM Church, Warkworth, ON

Douglas Smith – May 2, 2021 at 2:00 pm, Fellowship of Joy, St. Williams, ON

Wilder Boutin – Centre Biblique Louange a L’Eternel, Montreal, QC – date and time TBA.


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:
*NEW* – 6-week course via Zoom starting Thursday, January 21, 7:30-9:30 pm EST

Wesleyan Theology:
Date and location TBA*
(also available online through FMC-USA:

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! )




February 15 is the deadline to apply for LSP for any courses taken during the winter semester of 2021.  The 2021 application forms and instructions will be available soon to download from the link above.  Please use the application forms marked “rev 2021.”


October 15 is the deadline to apply for the annual Special Scholarships for courses taken during the 2021 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 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.



Cedar Street Community Church, Simcoe, ON


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)

None at this time


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 FMC, Campbellford, ON (Rev. Jurgen Rausch-Transition Pastor)
Cornerstone FMC, Prince Albert, SK
Dunnville FMC, Dunnville, ON
First FM Church, New Westminster, BC
Harrowsmith FM Church, Harrowsmith, ON
Lakeland Community Church, Spiritwood, SK
New Hope FMC, Bracebridge, ON (Rev. Gary Denniss-Interim Pastor)
New Horizons Community Church, Sarnia, ON
Pineview FMC, Cloyne, ON
Richmond Hill Chinese & English FM Churches, Richmond Hill, ON (Rev. Louis Leung – Interim Pastor)
Trinity Christian Centre, Dresden, ON (Rev. Alan Adams-Interim Pastor)
Whitby FMC, Whitby, ON (Rev. Vic Stonehouse-Transition Pastor)


Executive Director – Arlington Beach Camp and Conference Centre
Angelic Treasures Christian Daycare Newmarket – SUPERVISOR