General Conferences to Remember

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llm-sep14_history1Since the early years of Free Methodism, general conferences have played a key role in shaping the doctrine, structure and direction of the church. General conferences have been held every four years since 1862 except for three five-year and two six-year interludes. Here are a few important moments at past general conferences:

1862 

The denomination’s first general conference convenes Oct. 8–15 in St. Charles, Illinois, and then adjourns to meet again Nov. 4–6 in Buffalo, New York.

llm-sep14_history21882

Legislation creates the General Missionary Board to separate “foreign missions” from “home missions.”

1890

Delegates support simplicity in dress on principle of freeing resources to help the poor, but they warn against an “unscriptural spirit of judging … for things that are not clearly contrary to the Word of God.”

1955

llm-sep14_history3The general conference lifts the ban on choirs in public worship. It also allows the use of musical instruments by a majority vote of the local church. (General Conference 1943 approved instrumental music on a two-thirds vote of the local church.)

1974

Women are granted ordination as elders, more than eight decades after B.T. Roberts first pushed for their full ministerial status.

1995

The entry level for church membership changes to focus primarily on repentance, faith and baptism.

2011

Delegates approve a resolution inviting “every Free Methodist and every Free Methodist Church” to “pray and fast for the purposes of seeking God and pursuing God’s will,” “challenge each other to increased time for personal and corporate involvement in the Word of God,” “ask God and each other what it is God wants us to start doing and what it is God wants us to stop doing” and seriously consider the question: “What will we do as a result of what God is saying to us?”

Sources: “A Future With a History” by David L. McKenna (Light & Life Communications, 1997); “The ‘Free’-ing of Methodism” (fmcusa.org/uniquelyfm/history); “Five Resolutions from GC11” (fmchr.ch/gc11resolutions); “From Age to Age a Living Witness” by Leslie R. Marston (Light & Life Press, 1960).

This article originally appeared in the September edition of Light & Life Magazine, a publication of the Free Methodist Church. You can view the entire magazine here.

 



A Calling of Skilled Delegates

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First and foremost, General Conference 2015 is a gift from God and praise to God. It is all about focusing on God, not on our personal desires for the church. Where does God want His people to go? What vision can we cast for the future mission of our church? How can we best put our people to work for His purpose? How do we manage the denomination and its resources to the best of our ability?

While our bishops have the responsibility of guiding us into prayer, worship, vision casting and inspired service, there is also a great need to ensure that the business and structure of the church are aligned with what God is calling us to do. Here is where our delegates to GC15 have a responsibility to read, study, discuss and act on behalf of the church.

Christians who have the gift of administration are well-suited to represent the church at this gathering of leaders every four years. In between, the Free Methodist Church – USA Board of Administration is tasked with carrying out the responsibilities assigned to it by the general conference.

Choosing wise and gifted delegates is a call that God has given to every church in the FMCUSA. These people will have the responsibility of prayerfully choosing our bishops as well as the Board of Administration that will serve the church through to our next general conference in 2019. They will also have to come to agreement on key issues facing the church over the next four years.

Delegates need to have a broad understanding of the church throughout the United States and the world. They also need to have the wisdom to see who are the best seasoned leaders — as well as the best future leaders — for where God is calling us as a people to go and serve.

Hal Conklin is the chairman of the FMCUSA Board of Administration.

This article originally appeared in the September edition of Light & Life Magazine, a publication of the Free Methodist Church. You can view the entire magazine here.



A Great Gathering with Kingdom Purpose

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llm-sep14_featureOne of the grandest gatherings of Free Methodists in history will take place in Florida in 2015. It certainly will not be the biggest. I have attended some very large Free Methodist events in other countries. It will not even represent the largest body of Free Methodists to host a conference. There are far more Free Methodists in other countries.

But it may just be one of the most significant and diversely represented events in our 155-year history. July 13–16 in Orlando, Florida, is when and where we will host the 37th General Conference of the Free Methodist Church – USA.

Some of you reading this have attended more general conferences than the seven that I have had the privilege of attending. Others reading this are not sure what a general conference is and may not have heard of the Free Methodist Church though this article appears in our denomination’s  magazine. Whether you have attended a dozen or none, you may want to put this on your calendar and come. The fact that every Free Methodist is invited is one of the many reasons this conference holds great significance. General Conference 2015 is for everyone who loves God, loves people and desires to see more and better disciples in this world.

We will be gathering to worship God, celebrate what He has done and is doing in our ministry family, look forward together, resource both clergy and lay members to better serve God and reach the world, be inspired by incredible stories of transformation, meet and network with like-minded people, better understand our beliefs and commitments in this rapidly changing world, and transact some family business in the process.

Sounds like a lot? It is. Sounds like it is for more than a few elected leaders to enjoy? It is. In fact, it is our hope that at least one person from every Free Methodist church in the United States attends, and it is our hope that all leaders attend.

Why? 


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General Conference 2015

Let’s Meet at GC15

Other than a one-day visit in the 1990s to see relatives, I had never attended a general conference until 2011 despite being a Free Methodist for most of my life. I assumed general conference mainly consisted of boring business meetings.

As a new denominational employee, I expected to be busy during General Conference 2011, but I didn’t expect to have my perspective changed. I was moved by the worship. The speakers challenged me to think and act beyond my comfort zone. I met people from other countries, and one man shared how terrorists had targeted him because of his faith. Even the business meetings were fascinating. During those meetings, I learned of Free Methodists who are making profound differences in their communities.

I returned home with a new outlook. I began to weigh local church board discussions in light of the priorities and strategies discussed at general conference. I wished I had not been the only person from my congregation to experience this life-altering event.


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Boundaries and Decisions

For the next 8 Thursdays, we will be posting a series originally posted by Mark Oestreicher, longtime youth ministry guru and partner with The Youth Cartel.

This research-proven truth may surprise you: Parents are still the number one influence in the lives of their teenagers. Many parents assume that with adolescence, the peer group takes the top influencer slot; or media; or something or someone else.

Here’s another fact that may surprise you even more: Young teens still want and need boundaries. Maybe you’re not surprised by the thought that they need boundaries; but the fact that they want them seems counter-intuitive to their regular spoken and unspoken demands for independence. Of course, unless uttered in sarcasm, you’ll never actually hear your student say, “Please, Mom, I want less freedom!”


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Groups for All Ages

Children’s Ministries

kidZone returns on Wednesday, September 3, but if you hear someone talking about Rescue 911, do not be alarmed. That’s just our theme for the opening month as we discuss Jesus and His rescue mission on the planet Earth.  We meet every Wednesday. The action begins in the fellowship hall at 6:30 and ends at 7:45 p.m.

 

Youth Ministries


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New Kiddie Kollege Staff Member

Meet our new Pre-K Teacher!
Melissa Matthews

My name is Melissa Matthews and I cannot tell you how excited I am about the opportunity to get to know each and every one of the children in my class as we learn & grow together, all while striving to hide God’s Word in our hearts. As children have always been a calling and ministry of mine, know that this position has truly been an answer to prayer as I have been seeking to have a Gospel influence on a larger scale. I am looking forward to having a fantastic school year, and one way to start it off right is letting you know a little about me.

With an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, I am praying I serve you well, for there is much passion beyond my education. As you may know, this is my first year as an official teacher at Kiddie Kollege. I am still considered a newlywed, recently celebrating 2 years and was blessed with 4 stepchildren that I love & care deeply for as if they were my own. I have been surrounded by children my entire life through a variety of ways. I have spent a great deal of time in childcare; working with and taking care of children as oldest sibling of 6, babysitter, and nanny, while also serving in my church and a handful of public schools. I feel that teachers are a vital part of a child’s learning experience, and I find it to be my responsibility to make sure it is an impactful one. Every child has the capacity to gain knowledge while applying God’s Word, and it excites me to know that I can take part in this process. What a great gift to give! I am planning and anticipating a year filled with much excitement, lots of learning, and many fruitful challenges. I’ll be looking forward to working together to invest in Kingdom work!

 

 



It’s Never the Wrong Time to Read

 Recent additions to the wide variety of choices at your WLFMC library are now available to be checked out.
“Celery Night Fever”, a new Veggies Tales DVD will delight the younger set as well as the delightful book entitled The Day the Crayons Quit. An intriguing book for older children is Hatchet, the amazing tale of how a young boy survived in bleak circumstances as he used his ingenuity and skills to succeed. An autobiography by Lily Isaacs, part of The Isaacs musical group who are frequently featured on Gaither presentations, reveals the trauma of her mother’s experiences of survival as a victim of the Holocaust. As Lily recognizes that Jesus is truly the Messiah, against her parents’ wishes and all her early training in an observant Jewish household, we follow the changes that enter her life in ways that are extremely challenging. Don’t miss reading this stirring account.
With hunting season nearly here, Great Hunting Stories is just the book for those who are interested in that sport as Steve Chapman shares his favorite hunting episodes. Reaching out to the Muslim community with the Gospel and the amazing results as God moves in lives in unique ways is featured in The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken. You will be amazed and encouraged as you read about the life-changing encounters related here. More outstanding current Christian fiction is also available, including Davis Bunn’s poignant The Sign Painter. Stop by the library on Sundays before and/or after services, or drop in during regular office hours each weekday to see what appeals to you in the well-stocked shelves for all ages.

 



Secrets

by Rick Nier

There is a secret in the book of Revelation. It’s not my secret, mind you. I’m just as in the dark as you are. But there is a secret. As if it wasn’t enough to attempt to comprehend what everything written down means, there is a secret that is being kept from us.

It’s found in


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Bored With Church and God

For the next 8 Thursdays, we will be posting a series originally posted by Mark Oestreicher, longtime youth ministry guru and partner with The Youth Cartel.

When your kid was 9, he loved going to church, loved his Sunday school class, and seemed to have a real relationship with God.

But now, as a young teen, he seems bored. Maybe he’s even expressed this: “Church is boring; I don’t want to go.”

This is a natural occurrence in the lives of young teens. But the reasoning behind this boredom isn’t the same for every child. Here are a few possibilities:


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