Big Voice, Little Voice, No Voice, One Voice Part 1
If you are a Christian then you are a part of universal Body of Christ which includes all other believers across time and space. You are not a bench warmer on the God-team, or an extra in the God-movie, or the crew member in an original Star Trek episode wearing a red uniform (it meant that you were going to die in that episode!), or any other metaphor that does not reflect Paul the Apostle’s words, “now you (plural) are the body of Christ, and each of you is part of it” (1 Corinthians 12:27). The body of Christ has a voice, and you have been uniquely gifted to be an important contributor to our corporate voice. Paul has much to say about what it means for us to be this valuable and connected, but for today (and next week) I’d like to remind you of your voice locally, nationally and internationally.
We have all heard the phrase, “use your voice”, or something similar. People seem to be using this phrase a lot lately. What do we mean by “voice”? The dictionary defines it this way, “a. the sound produced in a person’s larynx and uttered through the mouth, as speech or song; b. a particular opinion or attitude expressed”. Obviously, we are interested in the latter.
Take some time to answer the following question: What is Jesus’ voice? He expresses a particular opinion or attitude, He definitely has something to say, so what is it? Note, that as you answer, any voice worth listening to is comprised of both true words and right action. You do not have a credible voice if you do not back up your words with holy action. Some of the voices that I am most inspired by (beyond Jesus and Bible characters) are Francis, John Wesley, William Wilberforce, Harriet Tubman, Chuck Colson, Mother Theresa, Gregory Boyle, to name a few. These are men and women who I read about because they used their voice for those who could not use theirs because their voices had been silenced, abused, beaten, stolen or ignored. These men and women I list above sound a lot like Jesus! What’s Jesus’ voice? Read Psalm 29, Hebrews 4:12, Luke 4:18.
Now, His voice is rich, deep, wide and powerful. Churches have unique “parts” (1 Cor 12:27) to contribute (1). The second question I’d like you to answer is what is the voice of The Free Methodist Church in Canada. What is our musical part in the Kingdom choir? If your local church looks, sounds and feels like every other church then perhaps you have strayed from your FM roots? We should celebrate in this season the missionary sending denominations, the evangelism focused churches, the churches not afraid to get their hands dirty in political issues in Canada, the worship centres, the churches crying out for reform (literally), and those who roll up their sleeves and feed the hungry. We should be “spurring” each other forward, challenging each other from our areas of strength. What is the FMCIC’s area of strength and calling? Generic evangelicalism is not a viable option in this new season, nor does it account for God’s desire to uniquely lead us.
1 This is a positive spin on Denominationalism: perhaps the most redemptive path forward is to view the broken body of Christ, denominations and independent churches, as now being a part of the whole. For instance, we should see the Free Methodist Church as having a unique calling and opportunity in Kingdom work.
Lastly, who are you in the Kingdom, what’s your voice in this season? You are first of all not defined by what you can do, or, already do. We are human beings not doings. Remember that you are a child of God, beloved, fearfully and wonderfully made, holy, a priest, free, an essential member of the body of Christ… so much Biblically more! Once you have taken time to remember your essential nature in Christ, how has He gifted you, impassioned you, called you? What is your voice in this new season?
Church Health Thursdays – Agree to Disagree: https://www.fmcic.ca/agree-to-disagree/
News & Stories Blog – Speaking Words of Comfort – https://www.fmcic.ca/speaking-words-of-comfort/
the conneXion – a Free Methodist theology blog: 3 Minute Theology 2.5: Knowing the Bible Inside Out: https://www.fmcic.ca/3-minute-theology-2-5-knowing-the-bible-inside-out/
New Leaf Network: The 2019 New Leaf Advent Reader – : https://www.newleafnetwindork.ca/podcast/
FM VIDEOS: https://www.fmcic.ca/category/fm-video-blog/
None at this time
ORDINATION AND COMMISSIONING SERVICES
Leonard Bruce – Warkworth, ON – ordination service date TBA
Dani Harris – The Corner Church, Oshawa, ON – ordination service date TBA
Douglas Smith – Fellowship of Joy, St. Williams, ON – ordination service date TBA
FOUNDATIONAL COURSES https://www.fmcic.ca/foundational-courses/
Register online through the link above
Lay Ministers tracking for credentialed ministry and those transferring ordination credentials into the FMCIC need to take the following two courses for full credit – and if possible, the Heart course first and then Wesleyan Theology.
Heart of Canadian Free Methodism:
November 6-8, 2020 – location TBA*
November 6-8, 2020 – Ontario location TBA*
(also available online through FMC-USA: http://fmcusa.org/leadership/courses/)
Ministerial Candidates tracking for Commissioned or Ordained Minister are required to take the following two courses for full credit. Those who are already commissioned or ordained are required to either audit these two courses for 1 Continuing Education Unit (CEU) each or take the two courses and complete the assignments for 3 CEUs each.
Culture and the Missional Church:
Course starts October 13 (deadline to register – October 5)
Part One: Oct 13-Nov 5 – advance online engagement
Part Two: Nov 6-7 – two-day in-person class – Trulls Road FMC, Courtice, ON
Personal and Church Stewardship: (NOTE: TUITION WAIVED FOR THIS ONLINE COURSE)
5-week online course (ENGLISH) – Fall 2020-date TBA – Please register to be put on the waiting list. If we receive enough registrations, we will run this course online again this fall.
(* These course locations are selected based on where the majority of the participants reside – so please register early! Note: Tuition payment is not required when registering for a course. Payment is due 10 days before the course begins.)
2020 SCHOLARSHIPS https://www.fmcic.ca/scholarships/
October 15 is the deadline to apply for the Leadership Scholarship Plan (LSP) for any courses taken during the summer and/or fall semesters of 2020. The 2020 application forms and instructions are now available to download from the link above.
October 15 is the deadline to apply for the annual Special Scholarships for courses taken during 2020 – apply online from the link above.
CONTINUING EDUCATION UNITS (CEUs) https://www.fmcic.ca/introduction-to-continuing-education/
Ordained and Commissioned Ministers (except retirees) are to annually report Continuing Education Units (CEUs) acquired during each year. Check the link above for information on CEUs, the report form and a list of examples of many different types of life-long learning that can be applied as CEUs.
Note: For those who attend the fall Minister’s Conferences or the spring Regional Gatherings, add 6 hours of CEU credit for each event when you send in your annual CEU report.
CHURCHES IN TRANSITION
Lakeland Community Church, Spiritwood, SK
Church Profiles available
Contact Davika Dotson in the Leadership Development Office to request a church profile – [email protected] or 416-240-7845 (deadline to apply in brackets)
None available at this time
(If you are interested in seeing the profile for any of these churches, please contact Davika in the Leadership Development Office [see above] and the profile will be emailed to you as soon as it becomes available.)
Campbellford FMC, Campbellford, ON
Cedar Street Community Church, Simcoe, ON
Cornerstone FMC, Prince Albert, SK
Dunnville FMC, Dunnville, ON
First FM Church, New Westminster, BC (Rev. Vern Frudd – Transition Pastor)
New Hope FMC, Bracebridge, ON
Pineview FMC, Cloyne, ON
Richmond Hill Chinese & English FM Churches, Richmond Hill, ON (Rev. Louis Leung – Interim Pastor)
Trinity Christian Centre, Dresden, ON
Whitby FMC, Whitby, ON (Rev. Vic Stonehouse-Transition Pastor)
Youth and Worship Pastor – Weyburn FM Church
Associate Pastor: Youth, Young Adults & Social Media – Barrie Free Methodist Church
Office Administrator – Westdale Park FM Church
Ministry Intern – Maple Grove Christian Retreat