CliffsNotes – October 3, 2017

This past weekend Karlene and I celebrated the 50th anniversary of Queensway FM, in Niagara Falls – 50 years in their current building. Many past members came to visit and of course enjoy a potluck party after the service.  Pastor Marty and Chelsea Misener have been with Queensway for just over a year and Marty said that most of the time he ends his day thinking with much appreciation for his new church family that, “I get paid to do this!” Thank you Queensway church family for making your pastoral family feel this way!

Board members and delegates, ask the following questions:

  1. What does our pastoral family feel about us?
  2. Who asks our pastor about health and feelings?
  3. How can we become a church family that loves and supports each other more? What specific steps can we take? (Hint: you have a National Leadership Team that would love to help you become that kind of church – all it takes is a phone call!)

One of our pastors sent me an “excited” note about the ministry of Rev. Dr. Lawson Murray*, who had ministered in his church this past summer. Lawson, who happens to be an old friend of mine from seminary, is the President of Scripture Union Canada. I met with Lawson, to catch up and hear about his work. Recently, he had me write a series of devotionals for the daily online Bible reading guide theStory which has a large readership. Pastors, he is a great resource for you: teaching, preaching, materials… Below is Part 1 in a two part interview:

Cliff: Tell me about your findings regarding Bible Engagement and “church health?”

Lawson: Briefly stated, the Canadian Bible Engagement Study (an Angus Reid poll of +4000 Canadians) indicates a direct correlation between personal and communal engagement with the Bible and church health/growth. That is, church attendance and Bible engagement rise and fall together.

To elaborate, as members of a congregation strengthen their Bible reading, reflection and response to God’s Word, the spiritual formation factors that determine church health improve dramatically. So if the spiritual and numerical growth of a local church congregation is the objective then the single most important thing we should do is equip congregations to effectively study, contemplate, share, pray, memorize, sing, interpret and live out the Word.

The converse is also true. When personal and communal engagement with the Bible declines, there’s a corresponding decline in church health and attendance. The Willow Creek Reveal Study corroborates the link between Bible engagement and church health. Their conclusion after researching 1,000 churches; “If churches could do only one thing to help people at all levels of spiritual maturity grow in their relationship with Christ, their choice is clear. They would inspire, encourage, and equip their people to read the Bible – specifically, to reflect on Scripture for meaning in their lives. The numbers say most churches are missing the mark – because only one out of five congregants reflects on Scripture every day.”

Concerning Bible engagement and church health there are several key Bible engagement facts, gleaned from the Canadian Bible Engagement Study, which every pastor needs to know:

  • Bible engagement and church attendance are inextricably linked
  • People who read the Scriptures a few times a week will attend church frequently
  • Local churches that major on Bible engagement are more likely to grow
  • Bible engagement is the primary spiritual formation factor (by a 70 percentile over all other spiritual formation factors) that sustains and nourishes faith
  • Robust conversations about the Bible are strongly correlated with church health
  • Christians are built-up spiritually through conversations about the Scriptures
  • When confidence in the Bible is nurtured, church attendance is strengthened
  • If people don’t have confidence in the Bible, they won’t attend church
  • People who believe the Bible is relevant to life are more likely to attend church
  • People who believe the Bible is the “Word of God” are six times more likely to attend church weekly

There is a new video we released that gives information on Giving Streams. Click here to see the video:

*Lawson Murray is a Bible engagement advocate, ministry innovator, researcher, author of the bestselling children’s series Bible Beginners, managing editor for the daily online Bible reading guide theStory™, culture and children’s ministry consultant, conference speaker, adjunct seminary professor, international trainer and team leader for the Canadian Bible Engagement Study. He has served as a teacher, pastor, church planter, children/youth evangelist and sports ministry specialist. His doctoral thesis focused on Bible engagement in Canada and he publishes biweekly articles on Bible engagement in the jumpintotheword blog.


Lawson is the President of Scripture Union Canada, a multimedia hub of resources and real life experiences connecting children, youth and families with Jesus and His Story. He is also the National Director of Scripture Gift Mission (SGM) Canada, an agency that loves to create opportunities for the Bible’s life words to be shared and lived out.



Church Health Thursdays – 5 Types of Podcasts to Feed Your Soul and Mind:
News & Stories Blog – No Greater Love – Calgary Music Festival: New
the conneXion
– a Free Methodist theology blog: 3 Minute Theology 2.5: Knowing the Bible Inside Out:
New Leaf Podcast: Learning Party Talks – Greg Paul: New
Faith and Finances Website:
LifePlan Study Team Files

Queensway FM 50th Celebration

Do you know someone who would like to receive CliffsNotes? They can now sign up through the website at:


The next deadline is October 15, 2017 to apply for both the Leadership Scholarship Plan (LSP) for the summer and fall semesters of 2017, and for the Special Scholarships. More information is available at this link:


Heart of Canadian Free Methodism:
Nov 3-5, 2017 at Trulls Road FMC, Courtice, ON

Wesleyan Theology:
Nov 3-5, 2017 at First FMC, New Westminster, BC
(also available online through FMC-USA:

Personal and Church Stewardship
6-week online course – October 16, 2017

Culture and the Missional Church:
*NEW*  Course starts October 2, 2017

Advance online engagement:  Oct 2-26 / In-class: Oct 27-28 at Whitby FMC, Whitby, ON
(deadline to register – September 30)

Registration is online for all courses at this link: Those tracking for credentialed ministry should take the Heart course first and then Wesleyan Theology if possible.



  • Rev. Angel Valentin – appointed as Transitions Pastor at Athens FM Church, Athens, Ontario, effective September 27, 2017.
  • Rev. Bruce Kellar – appointment status changed from “Transition Pastor” to “Lead Pastor” at Frankford Community Church, Frankford, Ontario, effective October 1, 2017.
  • Centennial Chapel Free Methodist Church, Kamloops, BC – in transition (Vern Frudd retiring May 31/18).
  • Odessa Free Methodist Church, Odessa, Ontario – in transition.

Ordination and Commissioning

Dryden FMC, Dryden, ON
Warkworth FMC, Warkworth, ON

Church Profiles available

Contact Susan DePlanché  in the  Leadership Development Office to request a church profile – [email protected] or 289-228-1225

Harrowsmith FMC, Harrowsmith, ON –  Leadership Development Office receiving resumes until October 10
Rustle FMC, Kingston, ON – Leadership Development Office receiving resumes until October 17
Sault Ste Marie FMC, Sault Ste Marie, ON –  Leadership Development Office receiving resumes until October 17

Preparing Profiles

(If you are interested in seeing the profile for any of these churches, please contact Susan at the Leadership Development Office [[email protected] or 289-228-1225] and the profile will be emailed to you as soon as it becomes available.)

Athens FMC, Athens, ON (Angel Valentin-Transition Pastor)
Asbury FMC, Perth, ON
Caistor Centre FMC, Caistor Centre, ON (Mary Lee DeWitt-Transition Pastor)
Centennial Chapel FMC, Kamloops, BC
Cornerstone FMC, Prince Albert, SK – (Dyan Mouland-Transition Pastor)
Grapeview FMC, St. Catharines, ON
Marmora FMC, Marmora, ON
Melfort FMC, Melfort, SK
Odessa FMC, Odessa, ON
Tabernacle de la Grace, Montreal QC
Thunder Bay FMC, Thunder Bay, ON (Andre Korstanje retiring July 2018)

Functioning with approved local arrangements
Avonlea FMC, Avonlea SK
Campbell’s Bay FMC, Campbell’s Bay, QC (Orville White)
Church On The Hill, Orillia ON
Cordova Mines FM Fellowship, Cordova Mines, ON
Eglise Chrétienne Méthodiste Libre de Le Gardeur, QC (Duplan Auguste Lython)
Enterprise FMC, Enterprise, ON

Killarney FMC, Killarney, MB (Raymond Riglin)
Markham FMC, ON (K.K. Leung)
Pineview FMC, Cloyne, ON
Richmond Hill Chinese & English Churches, Richmond Hill, ON (K.K. Leung)
Roblin FMC, Roblin, MB (Heath Butler)
Surrey FMC, Surrey BC (Nathaniel Prakash)
theStory, Sarnia, ON
Timmins FMC, Timmins, ON (Lewis Byer)
Vennachar FMC, Vennachar, ON (Laurie Lemke)
Wesley Chapel Japanese FM Church, Toronto, ON (Misa Mochinaga)
Wyevale FMC, Wyevale, ON
Yarker FMC, Yarker, ON (Ken Babcock)


Glen Coates
Roxanne Goodyear
Kim Henderson
Dan Sheffield
Derek Spink
Grant Wolfe
Mary-Elsie Wolfe
Wesley Wood

Associate Pastor – Barrie FM Church
In-Program Supervisor – Little Blessings Nursery School, Whitby, ON
Associate Pastor – Trulls Road FM Church
Youth and Children Ministry Director – Verona Free Methodist Church