Monday, October 31

Our Princess

From time to time you are just going to have to bear with me as I use this blog to brag on my kids, etc. This is one of those days! Hey, it helps you to know more about us and what's going on in our world.

Autumn is crazy about Princess's. This weekend the Disney Store in the Mall had a grand opening and Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty were there to help celebrate. Gayla stood in line with Autumn for half an hour to see Cinderella and for half an hour to see Sleeping Beauty.

Autumn's favorite is Tinker Bell. Cinderella told her that she knows Tinker Bell personally. Autumn was quite impressed to have her picture taken with someone who knows Tink! Fun days!

Wednesday, October 26


HolyNext is the name of the first spiritual formation retreat to be held at the World Headquarters of the Wesleyan Church, March 24-25, 2005. It is a "set apart weekend to take you to the next level in your journey with Jesus". 20 hours of deep, personal, spiritual renewal and refocusing.

A few days ago I sat in the Starbucks in Marion, Indiana with one of the retreat speakers, Keith Drury. Keith has been doing spiritual formation and writing on spiritual disciplines longer than I've been alive. ( Maybe not, but it still makes me feel young to say that! ) We were both stirred out of our seats to think of what might happen with this retreat. My goal is to see this begin in Indiana and then blaze across our denomination in the following months and years.

I'll write much more on this in the future, and I really hope to get some input and feedback from those of you reading this. In the meantime, think about what you would be looking for in a retreat that is specifically designed to give you a spiritual shot in the arm ( or kick in the rear ).

Monday, October 24

Senior Adults Focus Group

This is the group that met recently @ HQ to discuss ministry to senior adults. Left to right: Dr. Robert McIntyre, Dr. Ron Brannon, Jerry Brecheisen, Irma Bryan, Bill Bryan, me.

Friday, October 21

Young Adult Ministry

O.K. Dr. Barnes, I can finally say that I have been to the campus of Indiana Wesleyan University! I made my first trek to the beautiful campus in Marion on Wednesday. The purpose of my trip was to meet with a student focus group and a staff focus group on Young Adult Ministry. I was also able to take in a chapel service with a challenging message by the Chapel Dean, Steve Lennox.

If you are wondering what the Wesleyan Church is doing to minister to young adults, you cannot overlook the ministry that is taking place on our campuses. IWU alone will take 44 short term missions trips this year with their students!

Questions we were asking are:
How can we keep more young adults in our local churches. ( If a student attends one of our colleges they are more likely to stay connected to a Wesleyan church after college )
How can we prepare more young adults to lead local young adult ministry in their churches?
What can Head Quarters do to encourage more of our churches to reach out to young adults and provide meaningful ministry opportunities?

Are young adults staying in your church or leaving? Are you attracting any new young adults? Why or why not?

Senior Adult Ministry

This past Tuesday I hosted a Think Tank for Senior Adult Ministry for the Wesleyan Church. We looked at the origins of "Best Years Fellowship", where it is at today and where it needs to head in the future. The conversation was spirited, thoughtful and full of hope for the future of this vital area of ministry.

One thing that no one could ignore is the vast opportunity that we have in ministering to senior adults. Too often churches are carving their worship and programs around a younger generation with a "take it or leave attitude". Wise churches will find creative ways of reaching younger generations without alienating those who are 50+.

What to expect: Resources and ideas that will encourage every district and every church to have a ministry for senior adults that goes beyond fellowship and reaches out to their community and beyond.

What do you think about Senior ADult Ministry? Does your church have one? What do you think HQ can do for seniors?

Monday, October 17

Pastor Rod

Sorry for the blurred picture...I think I must have had too much caffeine! The picture was taken with my iPAQ 3700.

Pastor Rod was our children's pastor in Moncton. He was in town for "The Huddle", a children's workers conference sponsored by the Department of Childrens Ministry of the Wesleyan Church.

It was great to have pastor Rod stay with us in the Princess Suite ( Autumn's room ). He says he slept great even with Tinker Belle and Ariel watching over him!
The Huddle was a great success. It was pretty neat to see the energy of these pastors and volunteers and to sense their passion for kids. Was your church here? Did they know about it? What is your church doing to support, train and resource those who are leading our kids to be more like Christ?

Tuesday, October 11

Psalm 46

Earthquakes. Floods. War. Famine. These things have been happening for centuries. Still, it can sometimes feel as though there is an 'extra' amount of suffering going on in the world. As I write this, all of these things are very real in our world at this moment.

I was reminded today of Psalm 46, "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the sea..." So how do we watch the news or read the paper and not be afraid? I think part of our answer is in the Psalmist's words:
  • God is our refuge...we can take shelter in the shadow of the Almighty. He is our shield.
  • God is our strength...some things are just humanly impossible. That's why we pray for His strength. "Little ones to him belong, they are weak but he is strong".
  • An ever present help...where is God when the worst happens? He is there with us to help us.
  • In trouble...there will always be trouble and there will always be the promise that "God will never leave us or forsake us".

Take a few minutes today to pray for those who are suffering. Reflect on any 'trouble' that you have encountered. Was God with you? Were his promises true?

Friday, October 7

Heaven Week

For the past few years the Wesleyan Church has designated a week in the early fall as "Heaven Week". The concept is pretty simple: encourage every class, group and ministry, including the primary worship services, to give a clear presentation and invitation of the gospel.

We are in "Heaven Week" right now as a denomination. October 2 - 9

Although many of our churches don't take advantage of this promotion, we still have many hundreds of churches that do. Those who do Heaven Week will report of hundreds, maybe thousands of people accepting Christ as their Savior across the US and Canada. Many worshippers and teachers find heaven week the perfect opportunity to invite a friend, co-worker or relative to church. Like any program, it's not perfect. But, it will introduce a lot of people to salvation.

What do you think of Heaven Week? Do you have a better idea? Does your church participate?

Thursday, October 6

No Perfect People Allowed

Pastor John Burke was one of the plenary speakers @ the Willow Creek Small Group Conference a few weeks ago. The title of his message was "Shaped in the Chaos". He was merging ideas from his new book, "No Perfect People Allowed" with thoughts on community and healing through small groups.

Here are a few key thoughts from his message:
A messy group is normal
Your small group has healing potential
God is in the chaos
Humans hate cleaning up messes
Jesus' ministry was messy
Small Groups can offer:
A culture of grace, giving and acceptance
A culture of Acceptance
A culture of Authenticity

One last thought from John Burke, "Come as you are, but don't stay that way!"

What do you think? Have you read this book? Are your groups safe places for messy people?

Monday, October 3

Teacher Training Events

This past weekend I was in Western Pennsylvania ( Clearfield - Hyde) doing a Sunday School - Small Group Teacher Training Event: Teaching for Spiritual Transformation. This was the first such event they had done in many years so we were all pleased with the 75 people in attendance. I feel that anytime you can bring leaders together for learning, interaction and discussion it's a valuable experience. We discussed our Department's model for Spiritual Formation, emerging trends and changes to the way Sunday school is being done, and a variety of ideas to bring new life to your group ministry.

Are you a Sunday School teacher or small group leader?
Does your church or District provide you with learning opportunities?