I am taking my sabbatical October 1st through December 31st. I would appreciate your prayers that this time be spent seeking God's will and refreshing my soul. I plan to spend time with my beautiful wife, Coleen, and attend several conferences. The office will remain open during this time, so if you need anything, please contact Deb Baggett, Conference Administrator, and she will be able to help.
Here are some on-line articles that may interest you. The topics are varied and interesting.
"The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read."
Integrity, for those who are not familiar, is quite important. It is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.
People who have a strong sense of integrity are sadly a rare breed. However, there are still some people left in this world with integrity, and usually, they share the following 13 traits. READ MORE
The Books of 1st, 2nd & 3rd John
Comfortable Christianity often means a weak Christianity. In this study on John's three letters, Dr. Tony Evans challenges Christians who have grown comfortable and complacent in their faith. Fellowship with God is the essence of our faith, and Tony walks through 1, 2 & 3 John to paint a picture of love, obedience, and truth. In a world that hates Jesus, we are called to love Him and His people with a fierce love. READ MORE
A Reforming Catholic Confession
A "Mere Protestant" Statement of Faith to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. We believe t
hat there is one God, infinitely great and good, the creator and sustainer of all things visible and invisible, the one true source of light and life, who has life in himself and lives eternally in glorious light and sovereign love in three persons - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14) - co-equal in nature, majesty, and glory. READ MORE
Dear Church: I'm Gay
The religious conversation about LGBTQ issues often erupts into depersonalized debates about biblical passages or scientific studies. In Dear Church: I'm Gay, you'll follow the journey of real people who have wrestled with their faith, sexuality or gender, and you'll see that these issues aren't just about issues. They're about people. Real people. Beautiful people created in God's image. READ MORE
Two Things You're Not Designed For
There are two things you and I were never designed to experience: death and rejection.
That is why they both feel so foreign and hurt so much: they are utterly contrary to what we were made for. When God created the world, everything in it was "very good" (Gen. 1:31). Neither physical death nor the death of relationships were part of his perfect design. But when mankind fell into sin, both experiences invaded our lives. READ MORE
5 Signs Your Church Might Be Headed Toward Progressive Christianity
Several years ago, my husband and I began attending a local Evangelical, non-denominational church, and we loved it. We cherished the sense of community we found among the loving and authentic people we met there, and the intelligent, "outside the box" pastor who led our flock with thought-provoking and insightful sermons. Sadly, the church started going off the rails theologically, and after about a year and a half, we made the difficult decision to leave. Today that church is a self-titled "Progressive Christian Community." READ MORE
How The Church Today Is Getting Discipleship Wrong
One of the ways you know you're making progress is that you stop having the same discussion over and over again.
If you're discussing the same issues on your team or at home year after year, you're probably stuck. When it comes to much of the discussion around discipleship, I believe we're getting it wrong in the church.
Thank you FMC & River Conference for your gracious contributions to this effort.
TRC Hurricane Harvey Update
By Tom Greco and Dan Lincoln
On 25 August 2017 and for the next several days thereafter Hurricane Harvey pummeled the Gulf coast of Texas. The towns of Corpus Christi and Houston were severely damaged; Corpus Christi with rain and powerful CAT 4 - 170 + mph wind and Houston with historic flooding.
The River Conference has churches in the immediate areas and these churches and their communities were adversely affected by the hurricane. As Superintendent Jeffrey began planning for relief efforts, he received a call from a pastor in the Southern California FMC conference. Pastor Gary Ennis relayed that Mr.Dan
Lincoln, a former member and lay
leader in the Lake Elsinore FMC, was living in Texas and would like to help spearhead TRC relief efforts. Mr. Lincoln was quickly contacted and began coordinating relief efforts in Corpus Christi and Houston with the help of Pastor Macario Segura from the Rosenberg FMC, Pastor Jose Segura from the San Antonio FMC and Pastor James Ford with
Iglesia Evengelica in Corpus Christi.
Initial relief efforts focused on getting the affected communities food, water, clothing and helping coordinate with the Red Cross, FEMA and the State of Texas agencies who were coordinating relief and rescue efforts.
In the past 30 + days TRC has
provided food, bottled water, clothing and other supplies to families and communities near Beaumont, Rosenberg FMC, and Corpus Christi FMC. Many of those the River Conference helped did not attend or belong to either church.
Ms. Melinda Matzdorff was tasked by Superintendent Jeffrey to coordinate and oversee fund raising and financial accountability and Tom Greco was asked to coordinate work teams to help support the relief efforts. Deb Baggett was tasked to coordinate the operation and keep all parties in communication with each other. Superintendent Jeffery also
asked Scotty Priest and Travis Waits
of Journey Church Colorado to serve as our Spokesmen for TRC's Hurricane Harvey efforts. So, our team is in place and we are mobilizing.
Currently, the efforts are moving from relief to restoration. Realizing that our efforts will be minimal compared to the disaster these
communities suffered, TRC decided to focus on using the Rosenberg FMC and Iglesia Evangelica as local bases of operation for lodging, feeding and holding supplies. The River Conference selected and is now mobilizing teams in two areas 1) Repair two homes in Rosenberg and 2) Partnering with a local Christian contractor and a church group from New Braunfels, Texas, The Eagle Creek Trailer Park in East Bernard, Texas where 14 trailers had 3 feet of water inside their homes.
Our efforts in Corpus Christi are
focused on a large group of local
Pastors who are mobilizing to respond to the small communities around Corpus Christi. The team is joining with this group to mobilize ongoing restoration support.
Dan Lincoln is coordinating work teams to work every other Saturday to repair damaged homes. The River Conference has received over
$50,000 and much of these funds are going towards the relief efforts, not supporting lodging, food or transportation costs for the work teams. Once TRC completes its tasks in the Eagle Creek Trailer Park and Rosenberg, Dan will coordinate other efforts in selected communities.
You can help with your prayers, first and foremost. Second you can donate or raise funds from your church and surrounding communities and send them to The River Conference Treasurer. Please be sure to earmark the funds for Hurricane Harvey Support.
You may also consider sending teams down to Texas to help in the restoration effort. If this is a viable option for your church, please
contact Deb Baggett at the River Conference office with the following information:
*Number of workers who plan come from your church?
*Who will be the team leader? His/Her contact Info?
*Skill sets of workers (Construction experience, know how to use chain saws, drywall experience, general laborer, etc. Be as specific as you can)?
What date is the soonest you could arrive with your team?
Does your church insurance cover volunteer workers working perhaps in a different state or outside of your church?
What kind of tools or equipment will you bring?
Will you drive or fly to Texas? Will you need transportation upon arrival or will you rent vehicles?
Any special medical needs or concerns of your team members?
What supplies (medical, food, construction, clothing, etc.) will you bring or send forward? When will these supplies ship?
There are some expectations you should consider and discuss with yourteam. It is important for all workers to understand this is a disaster area. While we do not want to scare folks away, we think incoming teams need to be very realistic and cognizant of the environment as it stands right now:
The work areas are wet, muddy, smelly and hot. Mosquitoes are everywhere.
The work at this time is VERY physically demanding.
Plan to stay at least 3-4 days to maximize your efforts and expenses. TRC cannot pay or reimburse for lodging, transportation and food costs en route.
Living conditions during your work time could be very minimal and perhaps primitive...sleep in churches, cook and eat simple meals, portable latrines, and minimal shower facilities.
Plan to bring work clothes, sundry items, air mattress and/or cot, sleeping gear, personal drinking water containers, water cooler and ice chest for team
Plan to bring your own equipment, power and hand tools. A gas powered generator would be very helpful.
We will provide an update on our efforts in the next CURRENT.
Please continue to pray for Texas and our churches and teams who are being the hands and feet of Jesus.
The TRC Board of Directors approved a motion by the TRC Finance Team to raise the required apportionment percentage. Last year, TRC had the lowest apportionment in the denomination. That rate has been assessed by TRC's Board and Finance Team as fiscally unsustainable for a healthy conference. Beginning in
January 2018 the apportionment will be 9%. Beginning in
January 2019 it will be 10%. 10% is the average conference apportionment in FMC-USA.
Just for you! Have you seen our new look?!
Did you know that behind each weekly email you receive, there is an extensive resource library of many more articles, calculators and planning tools? Please click here to check out our new gift planning website:
fmfgiftplan.org. Visit our website to learn more about how you can leave a legacy of Stewardship Well Done through planned giving.
Are You Looking to Hire a Pastor?
TRC has a file of potential candidates for open pastoral positions within your church. These individuals have sent their resumes looking for positions within our conference churches. If you are looking for someone, please contact the office (firstname.lastname@example.org) or 720-305-1529. We will forward what we have for you to look at to see if they are a fit. Please note that we have not vetted these individuals, we are simply offering our "stash" of resume's to you for your consideration.
COMING EVENTS - TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES - INFORMATION
TRC Upcoming of Events
3-Oct-2017 MAC - Ministerial Appointment Committee Conference Call
10-Oct-2017 Ordination Team (MEG) Conference Call
11-Oct-2017 Finance Committee Conference Call
12-Oct-2017 Boise Pastors Gathering
17-Oct-2017 Denver Pastors & Spouse Dinner
18-Oct-2017 Board of Directors Conference Call
Leadership Summit is June 21-23, 2018 at Timberlake Church in Redmond, WA
HOW TO LAUNCH SMALL GROUPS THAT WILL TRANSFORM YOUR CHURCH...AND BEYOND!
WHAT YOU WILL LEARN:
How to Launch a Small Group Ministry
Why Small Groups Are Essential to Mutiplication and Church Health
Recruiting and Developing Small Group Leaders
Practical Essentials to Manage and Grow Your Small Group Ministries
We have been at the forefront of support for women clergy for the last twenty-five years providing encouragement, resources, networking and mentoring opportunities. Our bi-annual conference is a place where women in ministry and women students preparing for ministry can come together to support each other and hear women preachers and leaders from holiness denominations all over the country. The Free Methodist church is one of the founding denominational members of the WHWC and has continued as a vital partner to ensure support, encouragement and training for its women serving in ministry.
Super Early Registration (through 11/15) $265 (Regular), $240 (Student)
Registration for the 3rd National Prayer Summit opens October 1. Begin making plans now to come and bring a team from your church. Based on the overwhelming positive response to the first two summits, we are anticipating about 500 registrants!
Four Free Methodist Churches are now operating immigration legal clinics. At least one other is in the process of getting certified. While it is not getting any easier for an undocumented immigrant to gain legal status in the United States, it is certainly more important to do so, and many are desperate. As a result, our immigration legal clinics are keeping busy - helping "the stranger" - and building relationships to grow the kingdom.
Some of you minister to immigrants and may find the information below helpful.