CliffsNotes – September 5, 2017

One of you pastor-types asked me if the August BOA meeting (my first official BOA since taking office) was “productive”. I asked Darryl to give you a teaser and now let me fill you in on some of the discussions and decisions we made. I’ll let you decide if the meeting was productive…

As it stands right now our system looks like this:

  • Starts with all of us / churches across Canada – our Conference;
  • Out of the General Conference comes MEGAP, SCOD, Nominating Committee and BOA (hoping you know our FM short forms!);
  • Out of the BOA comes Personnel, Management, and the National Leadership Team (which currently includes Bishop, Directors of Church Health, Church Planting and Finance);
  • Next, the Networks, who (Network Leaders) report directly to Mentors who in turn report to the Bishop. This system is meant to support pastors and help nurture churches. Picture a circle: churches lead to BOA, which leads to NLT that leads to Networks, that leads back to churches.

I have been wondering out loud in various meetings (LifePlan, NLT, Network Leaders, etc) if the FMCIC system is working. The answer has been “yes but it needs tweaking” – I have never heard (or used) the word “tweaking” as much as I have in the past few months. Here is the “tweaking” that the BOA is going to move ahead with, based on so much of your input.

As BOA was having this discussion we reminded each other that part of the FMCIC culture that we all value is our flexibility / our “build-design” willingness. “Design-build” is a construction term, but “build-design” has been our approach the past 20 plus years. We (the FMCIC) are open to new, and do not feel uncomfortable with not knowing all the details, but we are prepared to try, fail sometimes, learn, and rebuild…

In 1995 at a December General Conference meeting convened to vote on a “new paradigm” for the FMCIC, there was much debate and some of it heated. Finally, a wise delegate from the west stood up and explained that he had purchased all kinds of expensive equipment in his time, but he explained that one doesn’t really know how well it’ll work “until you get it into the field”.  Hearing this wisdom, someone else called for the vote and a 95% mandate was given to the BOA to move forward. Your current BOA is moving forward in this spirit, understanding that we have three years to “field test” before our next General Conference.

Our (BOA’s) first decision is to keep the NLT at its current size with the following necessary “tweaks”:

a)  Jared (who is not a “tweak”) is hiring part time Church Planting Coaches from across the country to help him coach church planters. Our planters will now be supported by their own ‘boards’, accountability partner, NLT, their Network, if required a therapist (paid for by FMCIC) and now a Church Planting Coach – our planters should be well resourced and supported. Jared and his Church Planting Coaches are in full build-design mode;

b)  Marc McAlister will now assume the role of Director of Leadership Development (a hybrid of Church Health and Personnel). In order for this new role to operate effectively we are:

1.  Supporting Susan Deplanche in her excellent work (administratively, and with compensation more in line with
the work she has been doing); and

2.  We are going to hire 5-7 Regional Coaches to work under Marc (“build-design”). This is not a new idea. I have heard recommendations over the years from wise pastors who are concerned about our system that FMCIC
create / hire “Super Mentors”, Abbots, Superintendents, etc. We thought about adding another NLT member, rather than 5-7 part time positions, but realized that adding one more NLT member who focused only on health would not be enough of a response to our Canadian geography and needs. However, 5-7 Regional Coaches (initially hired for one day per week) increases our capacity to support pastors and churches in our various regions.

Should this prove to be an effective design then we can always begin to add hours to their jobs. Regional Coaches will complement the Network system and strengthen Marc’s mandate to help nurture health in churches by increasing contact with our pastors, having a first line of contact for crisis, and being equipped with Church Health tools for our churches.

Network leaders (are pastors who volunteer to lead networks) have been responsible for Network meetings, monthly contact in between meetings, and could be first responders in crisis. Network leaders will now focus only on making the Network meetings highly productive (relationally and in terms of personal growth). Regional Coaches, Network Leaders and Mentors will all meet together at our January Mount Carmel Retreat to discuss communication, responsibilities, and so forth (build-design!).

With Regional Coaches in play our pastors will be equipped, resourced and supported with: accountability partners, healthy church board, NLT, Network, a therapist if needed, and now a Regional Coach. I’d suggest that our pastors will be well cared for, and given every opportunity to thrive in their ministry. My hunch is that if we can create a healthy culture for our pastors, then we will thrive as a movement.

c)   Astute readers are wondering about Missions right about now! Will we be hiring for the current vacant position?
More tweaking!
The BOA has decided to create several TEAMS, because we are not just missing a national Missions Director, but overseers for children, youth, and prayer. Are these not also essential to the furtherance of the Kingdom? Shouldn’t we hire for these too?

First a word about TEAMS. Currently BOA members are assigned to a sub-committee: Leadership, Missions, Church Health Church Planting, and Management. There is good accountability in these sub-committees, however these BOA members are not necessarily experts in any of these fields. NLT report and educate the sub-committees members.

Build-design: Each of the aforementioned TEAMS with the exception of Management that needs to be BOA members, will no longer be made up of BOA members, though each team will have a BOA liaison. Jared, Marc and I will build teams of experts (with some level of knowledge or expertise), skilled, and passionate about these ministry areas. For instance, Jared is now tasked to build a national team of a few members that will help him develop his ministry area. This team will meet regularly and report to the BOA annually. This team will create a 3-5 year Ministry Plan (including an annual budget) that once approved by the BOA will be the standard by which we will measure our effectiveness as a church planting church.

BOA has asked Marc to build a LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT TEAM and I will build a MISSIONS TEAM. I am working with Pastor Ken Roth to build a PRAYER TEAM – I will tell you more about this soon, but I’m excited to announce that the BOA has asked Ken to head up the national Prayer Team. When a potential leader(s) present themselves to me with a vision for a national Children’s Team then we’ll build that team. There is already a Youth Team in the embryonic stage.

Now back to the MISSIONS TEAM. Acts 1:8 is too often read as a checklist: “is my local church giving money to Judea, Samaria, and beyond? Then our bases are covered.” Perhaps it is not a checklist, but instead Acts 1:8 is about establishing a witness first in Jerusalem. When your witness is established at home then you are to move into Judea, etc. This in fact is how the book of Acts describes the story of the early church. In chapter 2 we read of the first 25 years (approximately) of the Jerusalem church. The writer of Acts first of all describes what happens in Jerusalem and then begins to tell the story of the church doing missions into other communities.

Is the witness of the FMCIC established in Canada? Have we accepted responsibility for our nation? If so, is it fruitful?
How do we re-boot mission activity here and beyond? Can short term mission trips help capture our young people’s (and not so young) imagination? Lakeview FM calls their short term youth trips “Discipleship Trips” – this is an excellent example of the potential of short term trips.

Do we have a sanctified imagination for our witness in Canada?
We have three people groups that FMCIC has very little witness in: Indigenous, Quebecois, and new to Canada. With corporate sanctified imaginations what could we (FMCIC) do to create a relationship with our Indigenous brothers and sisters?

Granted short term trips does not always help the mission country as much as we would like to think, but it can be used by God to stir up a passion (consider what has happened to Kingsview and their relationship with the Dominican Republic – a story worth hearing! Or Ghana and Barrie. Or Haiti. Sri Lanka. Etc.). Our one national missionary is retiring this coming year and it is obviously a time to reboot, reflect, LifePlan (I use the term “LifePlan” as a verb) with regards our mission strategy. In fact, there is already a potential leader(s) for this new team – they are praying about it.

d)  We have already hired someone very short term to help us create a Communication Plan, including prayerfully considering our vision and core values. And once this is in place we will be launching a hiring campaign on both sides of the border inviting potential pastors to consider our movement – I really do believe that our movement has an important place in Canada.

These are for the most part structural changes that the BOA has approved to “play test” or “build-design” before our next General Conference. Except PRAYER TEAM – the prayer team is foundational in terms of our structure but prayer is also content. “Content”, or vision-discernment is the BOA’s next task…

When the pastor asked me if the August BOA meeting was productive, I said that I think that we are off to a good start! I also think that the wise delegate from out west would approve of us getting this into the field.



Church Health Thursdays – Middle-Aged Women Face a Crisis of Discipleship:
The Little Big Picture Blog – A Day in the Life of a Military Chaplain:
the conneXion
– a Free Methodist theology blog: 3 Minute Theology 2.5: Knowing the Bible Inside Out:
New Leaf Podcast: Brandon Richardson – The Embassy -> Slate Church:
Faith and Finances Website:
LifePlan Study Team Files

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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 – start date TBA

Culture and the Missional Church:
Oct 27-29, 2017 – Whitby FMC, Whitby, ON

(*these locations will be selected based on where the majority of the participants reside – so please register early!)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.



  • Christopher Walls (ordained w/FMC-USA) has been appointed as Interim Pastor at Sault Ste Marie FM Church, Sault Ste Marie, ON

Ordination and Commissioning

Smiths Falls FMC, Smiths Falls, ON
Warkworth FMC, Warkworth, ON
Westdale Park FMC, Napanee, ON

Church Profiles available
(Contact Susan DePlanché at the Personnel Office to request a church profile –[email protected])

Dryden FMC, Dryden, ON – Personnel Office receiving resumes until September 5

Preparing Profiles
(If you are interested in seeing the profile for any of these churches, please contact Susan at the Personnel office [[email protected]] and the profile will be emailed to you as soon as it becomes available.)

Athens FMC, Athens, ON
Asbury FMC, Perth, ON
Caistor Centre FMC, Caistor Centre, ON (Mary Lee DeWitt-Transition Pastor)
Cornerstone FMC, Prince Albert, SK – (Dyan Mouland-Transition Pastor)
Grapeview FMC, St. Catharines, ON
Harrowsmith FMC, Harrowsmith, ON (Carl Bull – Transition Pastor)
Melfort FMC, Melfort, SK
Rustle FMC, Kingston, ON (Todd Stelmach-Interim Pastor)
Sault Ste. Marie FMC, Sault Ste. Marie, ON
Tabernacle de la Grace, Montreal QC

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
Frankford Community FMC, Frankford, ON (Bruce Kellar, Transition Pastor)
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)


William Crozier
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