I'm encouraged! Here are a few great ideas which may bless your own effectiveness in ministry.
Honoring heroes. Following the tragic loss of the Columbia space shuttle, Sligo Church included these two new verses, written by J. E. Volonte, for the hymn, "Eternal Father, Strong to Save" (The Navy Hymn).
(1) O Spirit, Whom the Father sent To spread abroad the firmament; O wind of heaven, by Thy might Save all who dare the eagle's flight, And keep them by Thy watchful care From every peril in the air.
(2) Eternal Father, King of birth, Who didst create the heaven and earth, And bid the planets and the sun Their own appointed orbits run; O hear us when we seek Thy grace For those who soar through outer space.
And speaking of heroes. Rick Husband, dedicated Christian and captain of the Columbia Space Shuttle, prerecorded 34 individual video family devotionals, for his two children to use during his scheduled 17-day absence. He promised to conduct personally their next study when he came back home. That's a promise he'll now keep in the kingdom!
Sex Education Curriculum. The first Adventist framework for sexuality education has been released by the CC Family Ministries Department. Karen Flowers, co-director, states, "Sexuality education is no longer a luxury; it's a matter of life or death due to the HIV/AIDS crisis. The local church has a responsibility to use its avenues to convey these issues—not to bypass parents, but to help them." Topics range from marriage and parenting to interpersonal relationships and biblical foundations. See Ministerial Resource Center www.ministerialassociation.com.
Ordination honor guard. While the ministers await on the platform to participate in the ordination service, pastoral couples in Chile are flanked by unordained pastors holding their Bibles aloft as a sign of affirmation and, no doubt, anticipation of their own future ordination.
PK Magazine. The first issue of Increase, a new monthly journal for pastors' kids, has been issued by pastoral couple Libny and Sara Dubreuze with the goal of providing information and motivation for PKs to use their experiences to benefit others. Lewis Hendershot, president of the Florida Conference, says, "As a preacher's kid myself, I understand the challenges that are faced by many pastors' children who live their lives in glass houses. Any attempt at encouraging and being redemptive toward PKs has my complete endorsement." Information at www.tagnet.org/increasepk.
Dads take daughters on date. Family ministry leaders in the Orlando Central Adventist Church organized a date for dads and their daughters as a way of promoting positive communication and emphasizing the importance of a father's presence. "Daughters need to know they should be treated at all times like a good father would treat them—like a princess." Other resources, including a Covenant of Purity and Protection, have been developed by Randy and Lisa Wilson of the Focus on the Family organization. This covenant, printed on a beautiful certificate and signed by fathers, witnessed by their daughters, at a special father/daughter banquet or ball, states: "/, (daughter's name)'s father, choose before Cod to cover my daughter as her authority and protection in the area of purity. I will be pure in my own life as a man, husband, and father. I will be a man of integrity and accountability as I lead, guide, and pray over my daughter and as the high priest in my home. This covering will be used by God to influence generations to come." (www.generationsoflight.com).
Come over to Sweden and help us! Church Planters X-Change '02, a week-long training conference hosted by Trans European Division, brought leaders, coaches, and about 120 core group members and future planters together to focus on planting new congregations in post-Christian, postmodernist Europe. Attendees heard Australian pastors Wayne Krause (pictured) and Phil Brown share systematic principles and mentoring insights of how they are doing it in Victoria and New South Wales.
We'll stay with you! The first permanent Breathe-Free stop smoking clinic has been opened in Cebu, Central Philippines. Leaders say, "We're not going away; we're here to stay. So those who face ongoing challenges resisting tobacco can return for ongoing support to the same site where they first received help."
Students dedicated. Churches in Moldova host a special dedication at the beginning of the school term for students of all ages, kindergarten through university. This feature includes recognition by name of each students' new venture, a small gift, and a special prayer for success and faithfulness.
Korean pastors to Japan. Five pastoral couples from Korea have made a long-term mission commitment to establishing new churches in unentered territories of Japan. Along with their children, each couple has committed a minimum of six years (including one year of language study to Japan), as if paying back the debt of the gospel that Korea received from Japan about TOO years ago.
Increase Sabbath School attendance. Gracie Culpepper of Atlanta North Church reports their attendance has climbed from 30 to nearly 300 by the World Sabbath concept of using one program per month to emphasize various areas of mission emphasis including Mission Spotlight, World News and Prayer Projects, features about specific target areas, and guests who emphasize a mission specialty. Build anticipation and learn how to present this exciting program by ordering a World Sabbath Kit for US$25.00 which includes a video, instruction book, sample programs, and folder paks. Call Southern Union Church Ministries, 1-404-299-1832, ext. 442.
Skipping church? You'll be noticed! Absent members in Beltsville, Maryland (USA), receive a copy of the church bulletin with a note stating, "We missed having you in worship this past Sabbath. It is our hope that this bulletin will help you stay connected with what is happening at your home church. God's blessings to you. We look forward to seeing you next Sabbath."
Adventist Reconciliation Services, founded and directed by veteran Ministerial Secretary and Christian Conciliator, Charles R. Brown, offers a peace-making ministry designed to assist people in responding to conflict in a biblical manner. For information concerning available help for individuals, businesses, churches, conferences, and supporting ministries, contact www.adventistreconciliation.org.
Straight talk to streetwalkers. Members of Chicago's St. Sabina's Church are out on the street offering prostitutes money for their time—so they can talk about God. Pastor Michael Pfleger, says, "We have to be willing to try radically new ways to reach people." He told his members, "Instead of wasting money on going to a church banquet, let's take the $20 banquet ticket, go find the prostitutes and drug dealers and say, 'We're going to buy your time. We want to sit down and talk about God's love for you.'"
Choose Life! Real Hope for Real People, a new CD resource joint venture of Ingathering and AWR, provides a useful gift for those facing uncertainty and high stress. I recently gave a copy to each person in a group from different religious backgrounds and invited them to enjoy the short, easy-to-use segments as stress-reducing messages to help bring focus, energy, and hope to their lives. A bonus section, "What Christians Believe," offers an introduction to Christian and Adventist thought. (Toll free: 1-888-425-7760)
Cowboy Commandments. Pastor Shannon Moreland says the Ten Commandments posted on the wall of Cross Trails Church, Fairlie, Texas (USA) are delivered with a cowboy twang in the vernacular of his attenders at the recently planted cowboy church: "Just one God. Put nothin' before God. Watch yer mouth. Git yourself to meeting. Honor yer Ma and Pa. No killin'. No foolin' around with another fellow's gal. Don't take what ain't yers. No tellin' tales or gossipin'. Don't be hankerin' for yer buddy's stuff."
Credentials for Local Elders. In view of increased security at hospitals and other public places where elders may represent their local congregation, the Greater New York Conference has prepared personalized identification credentials designed by Pastor Rohann D. Wellington. The card's reverse states, "This card may only be used as an Official Identification in the fulfillment of your duties as an elder in the local church. If for any reason you are not able to fulfill your role, this card must be returned to the conference. Volunteer card—not an employee."
Best of the best—at best prices! Note the special inventory reduction pricing of resources for effective ministry on the back cover of this issue. Cathy Payne, Ministerial Resource Center coordinator, has provided abundant resources at these one-time prices.