Let me start with “soul friends”. It’s Christmas season and I am finding that I am experiencing both melancholy and deep gratitude. Like many of you, my family, as we move into Christmas week, is dealing with loss (my family lost my dad recently). The funny thing about loss is that it can feel like you are the first to go through it, and as if it is uncharted waters. Truth is, I’m not and it’s not, and the best truth is that there is God and His Church to love you through it – if you would allow them. This is why I’m feeling grateful: so many have supported my family and I.
God’s has gifted me with soul relations – men and women who have been woven into my soul. I have had to invite them there, with visits, play, chats, check ins, time, vulnerability, honesty, prayer… They have seen me at my worse and best and seem to still be in my corner at the end of each day. We need that.
I am wondering if you have resolved to love the Body of Christ enough to develop a list similar to the following (and BTW I am an introvert and naturally not very good at friendship):
- Family: My wife and now my adult kids; my large and loving extended family;
- Church families – people I run into frequently or seldom, who when we meet we pick up where we left off;
- “Brothers & sisters”: I speak regularly with men and women who have been in my life for years (high school, seminary, early ministry, recent…). These men and women pray for me and ask me tough questions. We laugh. They have served as Spiritual Directors and coaches as well as just significant friends;
- Mentors: I have been given the gift of a few women and men who have helped shape my ministry and continue to. Even this past Sunday, after I spoke at Trulls my mentor took a moment to talk to me about the message. It was so encouraging because he has known me a long time. He gave me my first fulltime job as a pastor and helped me to learn to preach (yes it’s his fault!). For the record had he been critical, I would have received that too from him – because he has earned the opportunity to speak correction into my life;
- Accountability partner (who is also a brother of 25 years);
- Network of pastors: the new goal is that a network would become a discipleship community;
- The Board of Administration and I have developed a process to help ensure “crucial conversation” and mutual growth. I love our BOA.
So you see, if you have an issue with me you will have to go through all these people! Well that’s how it feels anyway! I am grateful because I know that each one of these people is another Grace-gift from our Father, because apparently, I need all the love I can get! To be clear I have invited these friendships, been vulnerable and received their love. I have made the effort to call, email, checkin, visit, return calls in order to maintain connection (admittedly too often the tyranny of the urgent wins the day).
Something to work on in 2020 is the development of a similar list of soul relations… None of you should be lonely.
In my ongoing commitment to partner with other Christian organizations, I met with Canadian Youth Network. You will meet them at General Conference. I believe they could be a valuable resource to our churches that our looking for support in the development of youth ministry (training, vision, resources). Below is an invitation for you to consider, and maybe an important budget investment. I especially like that this is not a one-day conference, but a cohort:
Description: Implementa is a teaching cohort of a maximum of 10 students. It is designed for those currently in the trenches of youth ministry and structured to work within a variety of ministries. We come alongside youth workers in whatever ministry context that they are serving in and help them to implement a variety of ministry skills.
Cost: Courses are regularly $750, however, all first time applicants are entitled to “Get their feet wet” and try their first course for the extremely discounted rate of $400!
Courses: Philosophy of Youth Ministry, Calendaring, Building a Team, Practical Application, Preaching & Teaching to Youth and Teens, Spiritual Formation.
Course Descriptions: Here
Start Date: We are currently accepting registrations for Philosophy of Youth Ministry beginning Feb 24th 2020, running Monday evenings. All courses are remote and are available online.
Duration: Each course runs for 10 weeks, while the intensives are single day. In total there are 4 Courses and 2 Intensives to complete the Implementa Program. A certificate will be awarded at the end of each course and upon the full Implementa Cohort completion.
Who is it for?: The Implementa cohort is ideal for youth leaders (paid or volunteer) currently in ministry. It is especially useful for those new to ministry or those facing new ministry challenges. Even if you’ve been in ministry for a while and are looking to refresh your skills or gain some new perspective we still highly recommend the courses!
Questions?: Contact Joanne at: [email protected]
Merry Christmas my dear church family!
Church Health Thursdays – Are You a Light in The World?: https://fmcic.ca/are-you-a-light-in-the-world/
News & Stories Blog – First Response Bags: https://fmcic.ca/first-response-bags/
the conneXion – a Free Methodist theology blog: 3 Minute Theology 2.5: Knowing the Bible Inside Out: https://fmcic.ca/3-minute-theology-2-5-knowing-the-bible-inside-out/
New Leaf Network: The 2019 New Leaf Advent Reader – : https://www.newleafnetwork.ca/podcast/
Rev. David Ryttersgaard – appointed as Lead Pastor at Crossroads Free Methodist Church, Salmon Arm, BC, effective January 1, 2020
ORDINATION AND COMMISSIONING SERVICES
Rev. Todd Stelmach (Kingston, ON) – ordination service on February 2nd at 4 pm at Rustle Free Methodist Church, Kingston
FOUNDATIONAL COURSES https://fmcic.ca/foundational-courses/
Register online through the link above
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 5-7, 2020 – at Kingsview Free Methodist Church, Etobicoke, ON
November 6-8, 2020 – location TBA*
June 5-7, 2020 – location TBA*
November 6-8, 2020 – location TBA*
(also available online through FMC-USA: http://fmcusa.org/leadership/courses/)
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:
Ontario course date and location TBA*
Personal and Church Stewardship:
5-week online course (FRENCH) – start date – TBA
6-week online course (ENGLISH) – start date – June 1, 2020
(* These course locations are selected based on where the majority of the participants reside – so please register early! Note: Tuition payment is not required when registering for a course. Payment is due 10 days before the course begins.)
2020 SCHOLARSHIPS https://fmcic.ca/scholarships/
February 15 is the deadline to apply for the Leadership Scholarship Plan (LSP) for any courses taken during the winter semester of 2020. The 2020 application forms and instructions are now available to download from the link above.
October 15 is the deadline to apply for the annual Special Scholarships for courses taken during 2020 – apply online from the link above.
CONTINUING EDUCATION UNITS (CEUs) https://fmcic.ca/introduction-to-continuing-education/
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, add 6 hours of CEU credit when you send in your annual CEU report.
CHURCHES IN TRANSITION
Athens FMC, Athens, ON
Lakeland Community Church, Spiritwood, SK
Queensway FMC, Niagara Falls, ON
Church Profiles available
Contact Susan DePlanché in the Leadership Development Office to request a church profile – [email protected] or 289-228-1225 (deadline to apply in brackets)
None available at this time
(If you are interested in seeing the profile for any of these churches, please contact Susan in the Leadership Development Office [[email protected] or 289-228-1225] and the profile will be emailed to you as soon as it becomes available.)
Campbellford FMC, Campbellford, ON
Cedar Street Community Church, Simcoe, ON
Eyebrow FMC, Eyebrow, SK
First FM Church, New Westminster, BC
Pineview FMC, Cloyne, ON
Richmond Hill Chinese & English FM Churches, Richmond Hill, ON
Smiths Falls FMC, Smiths Falls, ON (Rev. Aaron Birtch – Transition Pastor)