NEO Team Update 10-29-20
Jesus Is Building His Church
Mark Bane, USA/Canada Director of Evangelism/New Starts
It seems the topic of most conversations, news shows, articles and books in the past eight months have been COVID-19 related, and for good reason. As I was praying this morning for our church and your leadership, I was directed to a passage. Occasionally I read various translations to get a comprehensive view of perspectives on a text. This one from the Jerusalem Bible helped today and I pray it encourages you as well. Matthew 16:18b, “I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it.” JB
A few thoughts that encouraged me as I read:
- He will build His Church: Although these are challenging times, there have been much worse times and He built His Church in those times. Tertullian reminded the Church, “the blood of the Martyrs was the seed of the Church.” He is building His Church now as well.
-Your leadership has resulted in registering 86 new churches during the worst days for the Church in our lifetime. Jesus is building His Church!
-Your concern for urban and ethnic minorities (because of the heightened racial unrest) has been encouraging in these days. I believe the result will again be the building of His Church in areas we might have otherwise overlooked. Jesus is building His Church!
-Many districts requesting evangelism and church planting training emphasizes that the mission is burning in your hearts even in the midst of the challenging times. Jesus is building His Church!
-Studies on USA churches are showing things are not as bad as some thought for the church. The “Lake Institute on Faith and Giving” study (you can access it through the link here) reports some encouraging trends. Jesus is building His Church in the United States!
-After an extensive conversation with Ian Fitzpatrick, he confirms, “key findings in the Lake Institute study (that apply) are basically consistent with the Canadian Church, with one exception. The Canadian Nazarenes report only about a 3% decline in giving over this pandemic.” Praise God, Jesus is building His Church in Canada!
- All the powers of darkness will not be able to hold her back, regardless how severe.
-Conversations with Christians are including more time of prayer than ever before. Intensified prayer can only bring the Spirit closer and expand His kingdom. Jesus is building His Church!
-We are receiving more and more requests for House Church Planting. I believe this is a result of the COVID-19 lock downs and leaders are finding more and more ways to build His kingdom in safer spaces. Jesus is building His Church!
I believe the Genesis 50:20 principle is working in the midst of the pandemic, as it did in Joseph’s day. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” NIV
Jesus is building His Church!
Jesus is Building His Church among Hispanics in NEO
Dave McKellips, District Superintendent
Last Saturday evening I met with our Hispanic Pastors to provide mutual encouragement and support. The challenges during this pandemic are real – our Hispanic community has faced a higher level of coronavirus sickness and financial loss during this season than the population as a whole. The pastors were honest about times of discouragement and attack. Attendance and giving have been down. But there was also a spirit of praise and expectation. Roca de Salvacion reported 12 baptisms during this season and Fe y Esperanza reported 6. And new people are being reached. Thanks be to God who is building His Church!
We have an amazing group of Hispanic pastors. Let’s remember them in prayer during this season:
- Otoniel Dannemann, Hispanic Coordinator and Tulsa Fuente de Vida
- Deniys Paz, Broken Arrow Iglesia
- Nain and Yanira Canceres, Claremore El Buen Pastor
- Fabian Correa, Owasso Silver Creek Iglesia and Cielos Abiertos
- Clemente and Maria-Luisa Montoya, Fe y Esperanza
- Arturo Amaro, Tulsa Gethsemane
- Yalmi and Norma Izaguirre, Tulsa Roca de Salvacion
- Jorge Arellano, Tulsa Central Hispanic
The Organic Outreach Team invites you to a free web-based gathering with church and outreach leaders from around the world. Fan the Flames! Increasing the Outreach Temperature in Your Life, Leaders, and Church will be held on Nov. 5, 9am. We live in rapidly changing times and everyone is feeling the weight of all that is happening in our world. The goal of this gathering is to refresh your soul, encourage your leaders, and strengthen your church so that you can reach out with God’s love in fresh and powerful ways. Register here
Four Free Downloadable Discipleship Resources for Local Churches
The Discipleship Place has launched four new small group courses. As you go through the course material (text or videos), you can share comments with others going through that same course.
If your church would like to embed these courses on your existing website, contact us, and we can help you make this a reality. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to email DiscipleshipPlace@nazarene.org
Women’s Discipleship App Developing Personal Growth in Women and Teens
A couple of years ago, the Women’s Discipleship & Ministries council discussed resources to encourage women in their spiritual growth and development. Before long, we created the NazWomen app by working with The Discipleship Place and Back to the Bible. Now, women can read devotionals with life-applications through our easy-to-access app. Read more
Click here to learn more about the Nazarene Connect app.
Click here for a link to instructions for downloading NazWomen app.
Click here to hear a testimony of how one day’s scripture from the app affected one woman’s life.
Looking ahead to the 2021 VBS – The Journey of Grace!
In 2021, the Church of the Nazarene’s VBS will invite children to follow in the footsteps of a girl named Grace as she embarks on a journey that is open to everyone but few are brave enough to take. More information will follow in the next edition of SDMI Connections!
FREE Online Conference | 10:00 am – 2:30 pm (CST)
How and when do we talk with youth and children about race in our church settings? How can church leaders and volunteers facilitate healthy listening and conversations about diversity, racism, or racial injustice? Join us as experts share tools and approaches to effectively address these topics in children’s and youth ministry – as well as for the church at large – as part of affirming God’s love. REGISTER
This event is made possible thanks to the Latham Fund for the Church’s Ministry to Early Childhood at Nazarene Theological Seminary. The series was created in honor of Joy and Mary Latham, long-time participants in discipleship education for the Nazarene denomination. It is designed to help clergy and other Christian workers understand the importance of the first few years in relation to the later life of the individual, to discover how foundations of faith are laid in these years, and to plan ways to enlist and equip local church laity for ministry to and with young children.
SNU Sneak Peek. We want to help all NEO students to visit SNU and find out about college affordability, student success and support, and student life and leadership. But you also may know someone who can’t make it to an in-person preview. If so, SNU is hosting a virtual preview on Thursday, November 12. Register here!