For the past several months, leaders across the United States and Canada have met to carefully consider the ministry challenges we face as a region. Some of these challenges seem giant-sized, but we have carefully chosen our own stones in the form of five, key strategies. Let me share them with you.
Intentional Leadership Development
The future of our work in the region will be determined by the quality of leaders developed today. We want to grow leaders who will be passionate about the church’s mission to make Christlike disciples.
Dan Copp, director of Clergy Development, influences the effectiveness of this strategy and will work with the region’s Course of Study Advisory Committee to validate ordination requirements. Clergy Development is also involved in many training initiatives to prepare 14,000 clergy across the region.
Vibrant Church Renewal
Recently, Bill Wiesman, director of Evangelism Ministries, convened a group of pastors asking how they facilitated growth in churches that had previously been weak or dying. From the preliminary study, we have discovered several commonalities:
1. Growing churches are powered by prayer. When pastors asked God to transform the lives of specific persons, work they could not do, God began to do amazing things.
2. Growing churches exegete their communities. Pastors studied the community to learn what the needs were and then developed ministries to address those needs.
3. Growing churches embrace their stories. Rather than re-write a church’s story, pastors honored a church’s history and helped them fulfill their reason for being.
4. Growing churches engage their communities. Pastors sought ways to contribute to community needs (through schools, ethnic groups, the addicted, etc.). Gradually, their communities realized the church was there to give, not take.
5. Growing churches created a culture for reaching people. Churches gave up their personal preferences to reach new people and share the Spirit-filled life.
Clear and Coherent Theological Identity
As any good leader knows, you accomplish more with a team than you do by yourself. With this in mind, the USA/Canada Regional Office desires to facilitate conversations between our educational institutions, our district superintendents, our ministers, and our laity, so that we can work together more effectively to reach our world with the Wesleyan-Holiness message.
Passionate Missional Outreach
This strategy includes two major emphases: reaching the needy and the new people among us. Oliver Phillips, director of Mission Support, is working with 19 different ethnic Strategic Readiness Teams to reach new people groups in our region. Across the region, we have many strong ethnic churches providing significant leadership.
Multi-faceted New Church Development
Starting new congregations is the best way to reach people for Christ. Across our region, churches and districts are working to start new works, some of which include satellite congregations, ethnic specific churches, multi-congregational churches, and home churches.
It is good to remember David won his challenge with Goliath because ultimately he trusted God. We can only conquer our challenges if we understand our greatest need is not a strategy, but a saturation of the Spirit of God. Initiatives are important, but what we need the most is the inspiration of the indwelling Spirit. Thousands of Nazarenes in the United States and Canada are praying for God to send renewal and revival to our 5,000 churches. Let’s go out and meet this challenge together!
Pleased with the Prospects,
USA/Canada Regional Director