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Faithful Leadership

in the

Summer Season

Pastor, our role as shepherds extends beyond the walls of our church buildings. You do not need to apologize for calling the flock to gather. The summer season brings with it a unique set of challenges as attendance dwindles due to vacations and the pull of travel sports. In such times, it is crucial to remember the wisdom found in Proverbs 10:5: "Those who gather crops on time are wise, but those who sleep through the harvest are a disgrace.”

The analogy of the harvest serves as a powerful reminder of the seasons in the life of a church. Just as a farmer diligently works to gather crops before they wither, we are called to lead our congregations faithfully, seizing every opportunity to nurture spiritual growth and community. The summer season may present unique challenges, but it also offers a chance to engage with our congregants in a different way. Rather than becoming disheartened, let us view this time as an opportunity to sow seeds of encouragement, to connect on a personal level, and to equip our church members to be ambassadors of faith in their various spheres of influence.

At one of the churches I pastored, I encouraged a family that was involved in travel baseball to offer a devotional and prayer to their team on Sunday mornings. I likened it to John Wesley going to the miners with the good news of Christ in his time. To their amazement, the team families responded favorably and took part. I offered guidance and resources to the parents so that the moment with the team and families would be meaningful and competent. A year later, one of the families that had taken part in the travel team devotionals that was without a church joined

ours, specifically because of the approach we took in the summer. 

There are NO throwaway seasons in the year for the people of Jesus Christ. Wisdom is revealed in recognizing the significance of each season. While the summer season may bring a decline in Sunday worship attendance, it does not diminish the importance of our role as spiritual leaders. Our commitment to cultivating a thriving church community is not contingent upon numbers but is rooted in our obedience to God's calling. Let us draw upon the wisdom imparted in Proverbs 10:5 to remain vigilant, faithful, and dedicated to serving our congregants, even when it may seem easier to step back or neglect our responsibilities.

On the Adventure with you,

Supt. Ben

Encounter (Church Planter Mentorship)

Friday, November 10-Saturday, November 11

Durley Camp & Retreat Center

ENCOUNTER is an in-person worship, prayer and training experience that teaches the strategies for multiplication. You will be equipped to plant a church and start a movement of churches in creative spaces and places. Encounter is followed by a coaching and mentoring journey designed to guide you in the five strategies for planting churches.

Registration is free. The cost to cover meals and lodging is $50, made payable to Gateway Conference, 1501 Chicago Drive, Greenville, IL 62246.

Click here to register

In Honor of Aunt Ruth

Women have had key roles in our denomination since the beginning.

By Bishop Matt Whitehead

Leading Edge | Light+Life Magazine Each summer when I was in junior high and early high school, I spent a week in Pennsylvania with my dad’s aunt, Ruth Whitehead. Aunt Ruth pastored four Free Methodist churches with her co-laborer, Rev. Sue Jackson, in the Oil City (now Keystone) Conference. Prior to her ministry in Pennsylvania, Ruth and her sister, Grace, were missionaries in the Kentucky mountains.

Aunt Ruth had the reputation of being a gifted preacher, pastor, and leader but she lacked one thing. She could not be an elder in the Free Methodist Church.

Aunt Ruth passed away in 1974, the same year that the General Conference made the decision to ordain women as elders in the Free Methodist Church. In the final years of her life, my dad, Rev. Leslie Whitehead, had a conversation with her about never being ordained elder. It was clear this was the source of some heartache for her. She told the story of being in prayer and pouring her heart out to the Lord about a church that would allow her to be a missionary and pastor but would not ordain her as an elder. In that moment, she sensed God speaking to her the words of Jesus, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit — fruit that will last —and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you” (John 15:16). In that moment, God confirmed not only her call to ministry but her value as a servant in God’s kingdom.

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Durley 2023 Summer Camp Schedule

June 26-29-Guide Camp (Grades 4-6)

July 5-7-Trailblazer Camp (Grades 2-4)

September 1-20-Senior Teen Weekend: Labor Day Retreat (Grades 9-12)

July 14-22, 2023-Cowden Family Camp

July 24-28, 2023- FMCUSA General Conference

November 10-11-Encounter (Church Planter Mentorship)

Click here for more information

The word MINISTRY written in vintage letterpress type

Superintendent's Schedule:

July 16-Come to Jesus,Columbia, MO

July 18-Cowden Camp

July 20-Missouri Affiliate meeting with Conference Representatives

July 24-28-General Conference

August 20-Membership Class, Dahlgren, IL

August 22-Joint BOA/MEGA Meeting, HIllsboro FMC

November 10-11-Encounter (Church Planter Mentorship)

Our Mission:




Gateway Conference - FMCUSA
1501 Chicago Drive, Greenville, IL 62246
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