October 2018
Volume 18, Issue 10
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EFCA History, Theology and Polity: November 2-3
Are you ready to pursue an EFCA ministry credential? Interested in a greater understanding of the EFCA? Considering placement in an EFCA church? Become familiar with the history, theology and polity of the Evangelical Free Church in this interactive seminar. There is no registration fee and some pre-reading is required. The seminar will be held at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, CA, on November 2-3. Details available here. Email EFCAWest@efca.org by October 22 to register.
Immigrant Pathway Institute: November 12-16
Immigrant Pathway Institute is a  40-hour trainingcovering a wide range of topics in immigration law and practice. The class is specifically designed to serve advocates working through churches and will cover topics such as the biblical ethics of immigration practice and how to mobilize a church to serve immigrants. Registration is $495 and the curriculum (approximately $300) must be purchased in advance.   A $125 per person discount is available to anyone who is a member of an EFCA church, and an additional $50 per person discount is available for 2 or more registering together.  Registration deadline is November 1 but it is recommended you register no later than October 15 th in order to receive the curriculum and complete the pre-reading requirements for the course. For additional details, click here. The Institute will be held in Concord, CA.
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Venezuelan Relief Through EFCA
The plight of the people of Venezuela does not receive as much publicity as suffering in other parts of the world, but that does not make it any less grievous. Read the letter from Alex Mandes, Alex Rivero, Ricardo Palmarin and Hugo Concha as they describe the situation in Venezuela and suggest ways you can pray and give. Pastor Abdy Pereira, president of the Association of EFC Venezuela, writes, "Dear brothers, it is of great consolation to us to know that our brothers and sisters throughout the world are praying for us, and their desire to help us fills us with joy and generates in us an act of thanksgiving to our God. We are sure that God is in control of this brief affliction through which we Venezuelans are passing, confident that those who love God will come to our aid. I consider it a great blessing that you can participate in our difficulties."
Something to Talk About: Uninvited Guests
"I want to suggest that there are two types of guests at churches – invited guests and uninvited guests, and that uninvited guests deserve special attention.... An uninvited guest is someone who just shows up or who may have been invited by someone, but no one accompanies them during their visit. They are not unwanted, but they are uninvited. And what we do with them is something to talk about ."
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Subtle Ways to Erode Trust as a Leader
High-profile leaders get noticed when they have betrayed trust, but Dan Reiland reminds all of us who lead that there are at least Seven Subtle Ways to Erode Trust as a Leader . " The people you lead will give generous amounts of grace for your flaws and weaknesses as long as you don’t break trust. You can make mistakes, execute an occasionally flawed decision, even fail in a big project as long as you maintain trust in your relationships. If you chip away at, or eventually break trust as a leader, the foundation of your influence starts to crumble. And grace for shortcomings begins to dry up."
Managing Expectations for a Sustainable Ministry
David Murry, Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Seminary, recently wrote a response to a question from an elder:

“We’re expecting a new pastor soon, after many years without one, and I’m worried that some in the congregation will be tempted to dump work on our new pastor. Can you guide us in how to support and protect our new pastor both from his own and others’ expectations, so that he will set off and continue at a sustainable pace ?” His answer applies not only to new pastors but to established pastors.
Where is Your Plimsoll Line?
Will Mancini writes: “Samuel Plimsoll was a 19th-century British politician and social reformer. His burning cause was the plight of merchant seamen. In his day hundreds of sailors were lost at sea each year. The reason? Unscrupulous owners were overloading their ships. Plimsoll said, “A great number of ships are . . . so overloaded that it is nearly impossible for them also to reach their destination if their voyage is at all rough.”

"Plimsoll was relentless in his efforts to protect the sailors. In 1873, he published Our Seamen . This book chronicled the problem of merchant shipping and offered a solution. Plimsoll put forth a compelling case. A Royal Commission was appointed to study the issue. Finally, in 1876, British Parliament established the Merchant Shipping Act, a government bill that required all ships to have a line painted around their hulls (a Plimsoll Line). 

"Why paint a line around the hull? As freight was being loaded onto the ship, the vessel naturally sank lower into the water. However, as the waterline reached the 'Plimsoll line,' the loading had to stop. Dockhands knew the ship could carry no more weight without imperiling the ship’s crew and cargo.

"Plimsoll’s argument was based on a simple premise: A ship has limits to the load it can carry. And leaders have limits too!”
Too Much May Result in Too Little
Too many programs. Too many events. Too many announcements. Eric Geiger helps church staff think through the implications of adding more and more things to the church calendar in his post Three Reasons Church Complexity Hurts Engagement . "People were much more likely to engage when there were less choices. People may have initially liked the flashy menu of options but engagement decreased as complexity increased . The same is true in a church. As complexity increases, engagement typically decreases."
The Unexpected Joy of Loving Your Neighbor
Kelly Minter writes about the joys and challenges of loving those who live near you. "Almost 10 years ago my life profoundly changed for the better. I took my first trip down the Amazon on a riverboat called the Discovery and nothing has been the same since...Perhaps the most significant realization for me is that while I was happy to help the poor in the Amazon, I’d neglected to reach out to the poor, hurting, lonely right in my own community ...Loving the poor for a week at a time with your family and best friends on an exquisite adventure is rather different from slogging through the complexities and choices that surround the suffering and needy who dwell in your own community."
Something to Think About
When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier. -- Roy E. Disney