Everywhere the river flows, it brings life
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May 2017

A monthly publication of
IMPORTANT INFORMATION
What you need to know
Dennis Jeffery, Superintendent 
  • Pastors and Delegates register today for TRC's Leadership Summit July 14-15 in Denver, Colorado.
  • Have you read Dr. Preston Sprinkle's People to Be Loved ? He is speaking at the Leadership Summit on Sexual Wholeness as vital to Discipleship.
  • Thanks to a generous gift  earmarked for church planting from Downriver Churcha 10-month old Spokane church plant, we have given $2,500 grants to five church plants.
  • Our African Refugee Church in Abilene, TX is sponsoring a new immigrant church in Houston.
  • Reserve your spot for TRC's upcoming Israel Trip, February 13, 2018.
"To bind up the brokenhearted" Jesus, Luke 4:18
At least half of your congregation has pain, fear, anger, or regret around sexuality issues in their life. Do they find hope and healing in your church?
Are children and teens equipped in your ministry to understand sexual morality and navigate in a God-honoring fashion the myriad sexual temptations and philosophies in our culture?

To develop healthy, mature, fruitful disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ in our culture we must be wise and intentional in healing and equipping our people in the core areas of gender and sexuality. Our culture is filling minds with unhealthy sexuality. We need to live in the liberating wonder of Jesus' grace and truth.

That is the conversation we are beginning at Leadership Summit. Come and bring your entire pastoral staff including Children and Youth Directors as well as other key leaders to maximize this opportunity to grow in wisdom and practice in this important yet sensitive issue.

Jesus healed folks brokenhearted by sexual issues, such as the woman with multiple husbands. If we do likewise, we will see God rebuild lives and families for His glory. That is noble and needed work.

See you at Leadership Summit.
We are so excited about this year's TRC's Leadership Summit. It begins at 1pm on Friday, July 14th and concludes at 3pm on Saturday, July 15th. We will be hosting the event on the beautiful campus of Colorado Christian University in Lakewood, Colorado. 

Meals
The following meals are included with your registration:
Friday's Dinner
Saturday's Breakfast
Saturday's Lunch
All other meals will be own your own.

Schedule
Friday, July 14, 2017
11:00 AM   Leadership Summit Check-In Begins
12:00 PM   Lunch on your own
1:00 PM     Leadership Summit
5:15 PM     Dinner together
7:00 PM     Evening Worship & Ordination Service
8:30 PM     Free Time

Saturday, July 15, 2017
8:00 AM    Breakfast together
9:00 AM    Worship & Devotional
9:30 AM    Annual Conference Session
12:30 PM   Lunch together
1:00 PM    Superintendent Search Discussion
1:45 PM    Prayer with District Leaders
2:30 PM    Communion
3:00 PM    Closing Blessing and Dismissal

Accommodations
Colorado Christian University is offering on-campus housing to TRC Leadership Summit attendees who need overnight accommodations. Each apartment has two bedrooms (with two twin beds in each room), one bathroom, and a full kitchen. The cost is $117/night per apartment. If you would like to share an apartment, please indicate that on your registration form. Accommodations are on a first come first serve basis and will fill up fast, so register today.
SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE
To apply for a Leadership Summit Scholarship, please email the Conference Administrator with your request. Scholarships are limited and will be awarded on a first come first serve basis. 

As of April 30, 2017, TRC churches have given 

$27,296 

to FMC World Missions! Keep it up. We are Meeting Human Needs through this giving. Thanks for your generosity.

NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM
Pastor Dave McGarrah
February 13-22, 2018
An exciting trip to Israel is being planned for all who are interested in traveling to the land that is closest to God's heart. This is a special trip for the pastors, leaders, and spouses of The River Conference. CLICK HERE and it will take you to the web site where you can get all the details, register, and make your deposit to secure your place on this bucket list trip. This is a spectacular value. Similar trips to Israel can cost over $4,000 per person. DON'T MISS OUT ON THIS WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITY.

Special Offer
The River Conference is offering the following discounts i f you register and put a $300 deposit down:
Deadline   
   Per Person Discount
Leadership Summit (July 15th)   
   $400
August 31, 2017   
   $300
November 1, 2017   
   $100
The $300 deposit will hold your seat and you can cover the balance over the next number of months. I, along with Superintendent Jeffery, are looking forward to traveling with you.
 
As the Jewish people say, "Next year in Jerusalem!"
CHURCH PLANTING REPORT
Building Healthy Churches that Plant Healthy Churches
By Ted Haggard
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A few weeks ago, Bishop Matt Thomas gathered several church planters, directors of 
c hurch planting, and district superintendents together in Indianapolis to discuss the church planting efforts currently going on within Free Methodism. As the newly appointed Director of Church Planting for the River Conference, I attended. 
 
Though I have been involved in church planting throughout my ministry career, I was curious to hear what we Free Methodists are currently doing in this area, what methods had been most effective for us, and what we hope to do in the future. I was delighted when Bishop Thomas expressed our freedom to use whatever methodology we felt was best, as long as we maintain six essentials. I'll discuss the first three in today's column:
 
1.  Our efforts need to be Christ-centered and Spirit-led. Bishop Thomas emphasized that our church planting efforts must both BE and OFFER the Good News of the Gospel in keeping with the Spirit of the New Testament. In other words, he did not want church planters to simply learn a method of church planting and perform the function without maintaining the core substance and purpose of the church plant. 
 
2.  Our efforts need to be fruitful and effective. We discussed that if our efforts were Christ-centered and Spirit-led, they would produce fruit and be effective in the hearts of minds of those within our reach. In other words, effectively reaching the lost with the Gospel by making disciples and producing leaders would provide necessary evidence of our Spirit-controlled work. We discussed prayer and fasting, gaining spiritual authority-which would give us access to the hearts of people, and the impartation of grace-the favor of God toward those we wished to serve with our church plants.
 
3.  Our efforts need to be theologically congruent. The third idea Bishop Thomas emphasized was theological congruency with our beliefs, covenants, mission and vision. These are the ideas that identify us as Free Methodists.

In order to explain why doing so is significant, I drew three concentric circles on the whiteboard to demonstrate what differentiates Christian denominations. I then pointed out that the center circle contains our core Christian absolutes-which are non-negotiable Christian truths; the second circle contains the various respected interpretations of Scripture within orthodox Christianity; and the third contains deductions from Scripture formed by combining various ideas from the Bible to form conclusions. Outside the three circles are additional elements that influence our ministries--our personal preferences, our subjective opinions, our cultural norms, and our feelings. We emphasized that all our members must have agreement in the absolutes, but beyond that, among our various members, we understand and respect our various acceptable interpretations and deductions, and have tolerance in the areas outside the circle. In planting a church, agreement is not necessary in every area, but certainly necessary in our essentials. We as Free Methodists are diverse in many areas, but in agreement in our core Wesleyan convictions. Our churches reflect the same. 
 
I'll cover the other three essentials next month.
EASTER REPORTS
Thanks to all the pastors who sent in their Easter Reports. Praise God for all of the success as we give Him the glory for bringing the fruit.
  • We had a wonderful Easter at West Valley Church, God moved in wonderful in ways! We had 502 in attendance. In Christ, Doug Roberts
  • We are praising God at River Church.  We had three services with a total of 251 in attendance.  1 baptism.  We are rejoicing for God's faithfulness. -Jeff Baxter
  • We had 509 people at Crossroads Fort Benning Chapel Easter Sunday service to include over 100 4-10 year-olds in Kids Church. Two weeks before Easter we had a husband and father by the name of Ty accept Christ and get baptized.  He was a self-proclaimed practicing Atheist for 20+ years and then showed up at our Chapel in early March and heard our series on Genesis. He picked up Mere Christianity by CS Lewis and after three weeks made a decision to follow Christ.  Blessings, MAJ, Anthony Randall
  • Easter worship attendance for Hemphill FMC was 18.- Matthew Mote, Hemphill
  • Our Easter attendance was 390. We baptized 5, 4 of those were new salvations (one was a very sweet 98 year old lady). We had a Good Friday service attended by just over 100 (102) and an Easter Egg Hunt attended by 400+. Timberview
  • Easter @CFMC Colville: 5 decision for Christ, 9 baptisms, 317 attendance
HE HAS RISEN ... HE HAS RISEN INDEED
CULTURAL PASTORS RETREAT

The Cultural Pastors retreat 2017 in Austin Texas was held April 28-29.  

They had a great time and came away with their hearts full and rejoicing in Gods goodness to his servants. TRC's  Cultural Diversity Team leaders are Dan Bonney, James Ford, Jose Segura, and Magda Ruano. We thank them for all of their efforts which made this weekend a blessed time for everyone who attended.
IMMIGRANT RESOURCES

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.  
TEN REASONS IT IS MORE DIFFICULT TO BE A PASTOR TODAY
By Thom S. Rainer

I can't tell pastors today how difficult it was when I was a pastor.

To the contrary, I have to be honest and tell them it is more difficult now.
All three of my sons went into vocational ministry after serving in the business world. One of them is in seminary administration and two of them are pastors. I never pushed them in that direction. I knew they could not make it unless they were certain God called them.

Yes, it is indeed more difficult to be a pastor today than earlier years. At least ten major issues led to these challenges.
  1. The advent of social mediaAs a consequence, private criticisms have become public forums. The fish bowl life of a pastor's family is now 24/7.
  2. Podcast pastorsWhen I was a pastor, there were only a few well-known television pastors as points of comparison to my inferiority. Today, church members have hundreds, if not thousands, of pastors on podcast they compare to their own pastors.
  3. Diminished respect for pastorsWhen I was a pastor, most people held my vocation in high esteem, even those not in church. Such is not the case today.
IMPORTANT CHANGES TO OUR PENSION PLAN
Letter from Larry Roberts, FMC Chief Operating Officer
Please read the letter concerning upcoming changes to the Free Methodist Church - USA Defined Benefit plan, effective January 1, 2018. 
 
If you have any questions or concerns about how these changes affect you or your church, please feel free to give us a call at 800.342.5531, or email either Larry Roberts or Willadean Duncan.
COMING EVENTS - TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES - INFORMATION
TRC Upcoming of Events

25-May    Ascension Day
29-May    Memorial Day
4-Jun       Pentecost Sunday
6-Jun       Ministerial Education & Guidance Board Quarterly Conference Call
7-Jun       Ministerial Education & Guidance P2P Team Conference Call
12-Jun     Ministerial Education & Guidance Restoration Team Conference Call
13-Jun     Ministerial Education & Guidance Ordination Team Conference Call
14-Jun     Finance Team Conference Call
Freedom Sunday Resources
Freedom Sunday is coming soon! Believe it or not, September 24 will be here before you know it, and we want you to be prepared. If you're looking for a little inspiration as you plan your service, check out these resources on our Freedom Sunday Website!
  • A sermon resource kit to help craft a Freedom Sunday sermon-everything from a sample sermon script to scriptures, stories, a call to action and PowerPoint slides
  • Sunday School materials and children's sermons
  • Small group discussion questions
  • Social media graphics and digital poster designs to promote Freedom Sunday in the coming months
Please use any or all of these free resources as you plan for and share about Freedom Sunday at your church!

Until All Are Free-Your friends at IJM
The 3rd National Prayer Summit

February 22-24, 2018 - Spring Arbor FMC


Theme: Prayer and Community Transformation

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!

Journey Church Build Update

We are so blessed to be a part of the growth of God's Kingdom. Journey Church, a TRC church in Colorado, is undertaking a building project. Here is an update. Your prayers are appreciated.

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Apportionment Changes

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.
Colorado TAG Intensive
St. James Church in Colorado Springs, pastored by Ted Haggard, one of our Free Methodist Pastors, will be hosting a four-week Colorado TAG Intensive for young people ages 18-24 in Colorado Springs. It's a Christian discipleship program for college age students with the addition of Colorado adventure. Last year the team hiked portions of the Colorado Trail, went white water rafting, climbing, camping, outdoor survival skills, enjoyed the hot springs, mountain biking, and much more -- all with an emphasis on growing in Christ and the importance of building a life-giving local church.
 
If you have any young people interested, please refer them to www.coloradoTAG.org or click on   Colorado Tag Intensive. Cost is $800. Host homes will be provided by church members.  

Act now the deadline for signing up is May 19, 2017.


The River Conference | 720.305.1529 | Email | theriverconference.org

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