Good News from the Field: November 2017 Edition



Mountain View Alliance Church raises $30k for neighboring non-Alliance church plant

When word came to Mountain View Alliance Church (Snohomish, Washington) that a church plant in the city was embarking on a costly but needed roofing project, Mountain View acted generously. The church raised $30,000 for the new plant, fully half of the money needed for the roof! A beautiful example of embracing and supporting our brothers and sisters doing Kingdom work.

North Sound Network making waves

The North Sound Network is already showing some of the benefits that arise when area churches join forces and work together.

The churches have created a pulpit exchange that allows for greater awareness and integration between their churches. They are also taking their first trip to visit their shared global partner in Ukraine. And during their recent network retreat, the pastors developed plans for a leadership pipeline to raise up new leaders and church planters.

The North Sound Network is comprised of six Alliance Northwest churches: Smokey Point Community Church (Jim Johnson), Northside Community Church (Ted Swinburne), Madison Community Church (Peter Vincent), Mountain View Community Church (Tim Young), Brookview Community Church (Jason Huguenin), and International Bible Christian Fellowship (Romualdo Sente Jr.).

Three pastors pass Ordination interviews

In late October, Joel To (Associate Pastor at Missio Community in Portland, Oregon), Josh Droke (Associate Pastor at East Hills Alliance Church in Kelso, Washington), and Steve Davis (Pastor at Glenfair Church in Gresham, Oregon) completed the final step in becoming ordained within the Alliance. Congratulations to you three!

Good News from the Field: October 2017 Edition



Successful starts for two Alliance NW church plants beginning weekly gatherings

New Ground Alliance Church in Clarkston, Washington (lead planter Bill Creutzberg), held their first weekly gathering in late September and one hundred people attended. The church is particularly excited that there were thirty kids in their youth ministry. New Ground Alliance Church is a church planting project from the East Side Network (Paul Smith, Crosspoint Alliance Church; Rod Cosgrove, Garland Avenue Alliance Church; Terry Gugger, Orofino Community Church).

The Living Room in Central Point, Oregon (lead planter Dan Gregory), held their first weekly gathering on October 1, after core team meetings and neighborhood BBQ events. They welcomed 79 people through its doors (64 adults and 15 littles). The Living Room is a church planting project from the Southern Oregon Network (Brian Crawford, Alliance Community Church; Lee Gregory, The Medford Neighborhood Church; Nathan Goble, Roseburg Alliance Church; Jeff Paschall, Journey Roseburg; Tim Skelly, Green Community Church; Glen Zimmerman, Eugene C&MA Church; Pieter Theron, South Umpqua Community Church; Joe Skladany, Veneta Alliance Church).

Four Alliance NW church leaders pass their ordination/consecration interviews

Yared Endrias, lead pastor and planter at House of the Living God in Seattle, Washington, recently passed his ordination interview and has been ordained. He becomes the first Ethiopian ordained within the Alliance NW. Additionally, Michelle Unwin, Jennifer Roth, and Ashley Dalen passed their consecration interviews and will be consecrated. Congratulations Yared, Michelle, Jennifer, and Ashley!

Hood River Alliance Church raises $3,000 from “Missions Golf”

A group of golfers led by Dan Armstrong, an elder at Hood River Alliance Church, began Alliance Missions Golf last year as a way to have fun, share the Gospel, and raise money for the Global Commission Fund. This season, they gave $3,000 as a group to the GCF. Nice work, guys!

Cle Elum Alliance Church provides support for neighbors affected by the Jolly Mountain Fire

Cle Elum Alliance Church (Ron Jackson, Lead Pastor) recently found itself in the midst of the tragic forest fires that made their way across the NW this summer. Responding to the needs around them, the church helped evacuees in moving their belongings and transporting RVs and extra vehicles; provided housing in the form of RV hook ups, rooms, and small apartments; provided space for animal boarding including horse stables and pastures; and helped store evacuees’ boxes and vehicles. Thanks for being the church to your community, Cle Elum!

National Office News Updates



Alliance Church-Planting Leaders Webinar

From Dave Reynolds, Church Multiplication National Team Leader

WHAT: A one-hour Webinar with Exponential’s Dave Ferguson on “The Five Best Practices of a Hero-Maker,” available at no cost to the Alliance family

WHEN: Tuesday, November 21, 11 a.m. (Central Standard Time) and 10 a.m. (Mountain Standard Time)

RSVP: E-mail Dave Reynolds, reynoldsd@cmalliance.org, by Thursday, November 16

Help our family affected by the northern California forest fires

More than 5,000 homes were destroyed in the northern California fires—3,000 in Santa Rosa alone. To learn about “Adopt a Family” opportunities, contact the Central Pacific District at servicecenter@cpdistrict.org.

Watch the new 2017 Alliance Year-End Offering Video

Alliance Peacemaking Level 2 Conflict Coaching Training at Smokey Point, Feb 27-28

This is a two-day live training open to anyone who has taken the Level 1 Resolving Everyday Conflict training. Alliance Peacemaking strongly recommends it for anyone in a leadership position within the church.

Registration is $275 with $25 discount if registered before the end of the year.  To register, visit: https://cma.ungerboeck.com/prod/emc00/register.aspxOrgCode=10&EvtID=5967&AppCode=REG&CC=117110218000

2017 National Hispanic Education Summit and Nyack Scholars Symposium

WHAT: This event brings together university and faith leaders throughout the nation to present scholarly research and discussion to help successfully recruit, retain, and graduate Hispanic university and college students. The keynote speaker is Dr. Carlos Camp, president of Ashland University. All interested Alliance leaders are invited to participate.

WHEN & WHERE: Education Summit – November 8 at Nyack’s Manhattan (New York) campus
Scholars Symposium – November 9 at Nyack’s Rockland campus

COST: FREE if you register

Register and learn more. Address, map, and list of workshops are accessible at the registration link. For questions, contact Dr. Vilma Balmaceda, director for the Center for Scholarship and Global Engagement and political science professor at Nyack College, Seminary, and Graduate Schools, vilma.balmaceda@nyack.edu.

 

Older (but still relevant) stories from C&MA:

CAMA still needs our help with hurricane relief efforts

Between Harvey, Irma, Maria, and the earthquakes in Mexico, our brothers and sisters elsewhere in North America have had a difficult season, some losing their homes or even loved ones. CAMA Services, the relief wing of the Alliance, has boots on the ground in each of these locations and is administrating relief efforts.

We are already seeing positive signs in these locations, thanks to the generosity of churches within the Alliance NW as well as other districts:

  • In Houston, CAMA expects to see 150 homes restored by the local churches for those affected by Harvey
  • In Cuba, 140 families are receiving food and assistance because of our donations to the Irma relief efforts
  • In Puerto Rico, CAMA is working to quickly organize relief, depending on our donations and the 63 Alliance churches there
  • In Mexico, the Disaster Relief Fund has enabled CAMA to come alongside the Mexican church and provide hundreds of supplies and care packages

Will you continue to pray and support these efforts? Donations toward the CAMA Disaster Relief Fund will go directly to assist these efforts. To learn more and donate, click here.

If you had Global Staff come to your church, please fill out this survey

Below is the link for you to evaluate the Global Staff that shared at your church this year.  Please take a few minutes to fill it out; this helps improve systems and procedures for future tours. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/5RJQGKG

 

Church Electronic Transfer of Funds

From Ken Baldes, vice president for Operations/treasurer

I’m pleased to let you know that your churches can now electronically remit their Great Commission Fund, CAMA, and other Alliance ministries funds to the National Office. During August and September, 27 C&MA churches beta tested the system, successfully transferring a total of $135,000 to the National Office.

Here is a user guide for churches wishing to take advantage of this new capability that eliminates checks and postage costs.

For questions, contact Tom Gannaway in our Technology Group at (719) 265-2078 or gannawayt@cmalliance.org.

 

Wireless System Frequency Change

Changes are in place to the 600MHz frequency spectrum to remove 614-698MHz frequencies from use by wireless systems. As a result, churches must plan to replace their wireless systems in this range by the end of 2017. The attached document provides helpful information.

 

Save with Alliance Purchasing Program

The National Office has negotiated special group pricing with several companies that may benefit your church—including Dell, Microsoft, Staples, T-Mobile, Xerox, and Stewardship Payroll Service. Two new partnerships with Arria Live Media and Sennheiser Electronic GmBH & Co. (Sennheiser) provide churches with low-cost, high-quality products for their audio needs. Please see the attached file for more information.

For more information on these special rates, contact Kris Rickert.

“Every Challenge Has an Opportunity in it”: Field Notes with Dominic Kan from Missio



The following is the first in a series of conversations with Alliance NW Lead Pastors, taking a closer look at the lived experiences of pastors across the Northwest and celebrating what’s been happening in and through their churches. We’re calling them Field Notes.

Dominic Kan has been the Lead Pastor of Missio, a church that began as a Portland Metro Network plant, for the past three and a half years. This span in the life of Missio has been marked by change in many different forms, all of which he points to as opportunities to encourage, disciple, and commission the church.

For example, Missio rents an elementary school auditorium to meet in, and has done so since it began weekly gatherings back in 2012. “We never settled into a mindset of ‘We made it,'” says Kan, “because we never settled into a particular space.” This has meant more opportunities for people to take ownership and serve, as the church needs to be unpacked and packed each week. It has also meant the ability to develop relationships with the school and its Principal, serving and ministering to them as a constant presence at the school over the years.

The transient nature of being a “church in a box” also mirrors the lived reality of many of the people whom Missio reaches, in a part of town that includes Lewis & Clark College, OHSU Teaching Hospital, and a local community college campus. Being a church in an area where people come and go every two to four years as they complete schooling has been a “very refining, but very encouraging” experience, says Kan.

Recognizing that this rhythm of moving would be a theme for Missio’s community – as well as a way that God would be working through those who leave – the church started a “sending service” for those graduating or taking jobs in new cities. This year, there were six couples that Missio got to pray over, thank for their service, and “commission” to be missionaries in their new locations. What could have gone unmentioned instead became a way to continue the discipleship of those who were leaving, as well encourage the rest of the Missio community who got to witness it.

One person from Missio who has left Portland to serve elsewhere is KaoXu Chang, sent by the church to work with Envision in Bangkok, Thailand, where she has been involved in planting a church for Thai national students and ex-pats. (One thing Bangkok has in common with Portland is its transient population.) In late August, Missio sent a team to Bangkok to provide planting support by hosting a retreat for the Envision team there. “We wanted to be a church plant that plants churches;” Kan said. “This partnership with Bangkok is part of that for us as we participate in the work of making disciples over there.”

As a multi-ethnic church now involved in helping plant churches cross-culturally, Missio stands as an example of the way that God is engaged in using each church’s unique circumstances – its location, population, and giftings – to facilitate His kingdom work in surprising ways.

News on National Office Health Plan



The National Office is now allowing all churches to participate in their health plan (it’s no longer dependent on the whole district’s participation). 2016 Plans have been finalized and are now available. View plans here. If you have any questions, contact Julie. An informational webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, November 4 at 9:00 am. Register now.

Good News from the Field: September 2017 Edition



Two More Churches Extend Calls to Lead Pastors

Kodiak Bible Chapel in Kodiak, Alaska has called Randy Cook to be their pastor. Randy & Jen Cook have been pastoring in Indiana and will be moving to Kodiak in mid-September.

Valley Church in Renton, Washington has called Charles Smith to be their pastor. He has been an Alliance pastor in Houston, TX for many years.  Currently, Charles is serving as the point person helping CAMA Services set up a base of operations in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.  Obviously their departure from Houston may be delayed but he and Leslie are scheduled to arrive in Renton mid to late September.

Hope Church begins monthly gatherings in Oak Harbor

Hope Church had its first monthly gathering in August at the Oak Harbor Senior Center. Lead Pastor Matthew Erikson and team are excited for what God is allowing to happen in Oak Harbor through their plant. For previous news about Hope Church, click here.

Five Church Plants Attend Bootcamp

Church planting teams from Salem, Central Point, and Tacoma, as well as attendees from California and Arizona, descended on East Park Church in Vancouver, Washington in late August for NW Church Planting’s Bootcamp workshop.

Micah Dodson teaches on the Discipleship Square

Anchor Church team from Tacoma, Washington

Responding to God’s Invitation to be Intentional about Succession



I am grateful for the godly legacy of my parents.  As some of you are aware, my dad died a month ago, and it was one year ago July when my mom passed.  So, within the span of just one year I have lost both parents.

At the ages of 86 and 90, neither was a surprise.  There were plenty of signs that the inevitable would come at some point in the not-too-distant future.  It wasn’t a matter of if but when.  And as I reflect on this recent journey, one of the many things I am grateful for is the time we spent in advance to prepare.  What a difference it has made.

This story of legacy and succession is not only a part of every family, it is also a part of the story of every congregation.  Succession is an inevitable reality in your life as a leader and in your journey together as a congregation; therefore, it’s worth giving it significant consideration in advance.

In fact, one of the beautiful signs of a healthy leadership team is the ability to openly dialogue on this topic without it being threatening or creating a climate of anxiety.  It does not serve our congregations well to ignore the inevitability of succession or live in denial of its reality.

Perhaps in some way the following story is theirs to tell, but let me give you a brief glimpse into what recently unfolded at Arbor Heights Community Church in West Seattle. Ken Ross came to Arbor Heights over a decade ago to be the Lead Pastor.  Several years into the process, he began intentionally looking for who God might raise up to be his successor.  Eventually, a young man began attending the church who demonstrated the capacity and calling toward pastoral ministry.  As Ken discipled him, they began exploring this possibility together.  In time, this led to an open dialogue with the leadership team. This man was John Lindow, the current Lead Pastor of Arbor Heights.

As Ken’s departure began to take on more clarity, he contacted our office to invite us into the process.  As we came alongside the leadership of the church to coach them through the transition, God used the process to confirm His calling on John’s life to become the next pastor.  He was installed as Lead Pastor at Arbor Heights this past April.

This is a beautiful example of a leader responding to God’s invitation to be intentional about succession—looking for who God is raising up, investing in them, carrying the conversation forward—all for the sake of being faithful in creating an opportunity for a healthy handoff from his leadership to the next.

How open are you to the conversation about succession?  How intentional are you about planning for the inevitable?  Is there anyone in close proximity to you whom God may be calling to pastoral leadership?  What will succession look like for you and your church?  We’d love to have a conversation with you about succession.

If you would like to talk more about planning for succession, email me at dennis@alliancenw.org. Planning early can create a beautiful story for your church.

 

Does Visiting Your Website Turn People Away from Visiting Your Church?



A newcomer’s first experience with a church is often through its website, and first impressions are important! Visitors will make assumptions about a church’s target audience, priorities, and personality from its website, and may decide that the church isn’t “for them” before even entering the doors.

Part of this first impression has to do with how the website works with mobile devices, so here are 5 things to think about when assessing your church’s site and its approach toward mobile access:

        1. Mobile usage of the web is now more common than desktop usage–so it’s important to make sure that our web presence works well when accessed from phones and tablets.
        2. You probably could guess that Google’s influence in directing visitors to websites is huge, but did you know that 3/4 of all search traffic is directed through Google? Google uses algorithms to decide which sites deserve top billing in their results, and this means that it’s important to optimize websites for the search engine that a large majority of people will use.
        3. One easy way to bump a church’s site in Google’s search results is by making it mobile-friendly. Google has said that mobile-friendly websites will receive a boost in Google’s search results. So, for example, if someone searches for “churches in the Tri-Cities, WA”, church websites that play well with mobile devices will be listed higher in the results than websites that aren’t mobile-friendly.
        4. Check to see if your church’s site passes the Google Mobile Friendly access test. The quick test gives a clear thumbs up or down in a matter of seconds, and can highlight any problems that it might see for follow up.
        5.  If your site didn’t “pass”, there is surely a solution that can be implemented without costing an arm and a leg. The Alliance Northwest website is on a WordPress platform, and one of the benefits of WordPress is its mobile optimization. If you’d like to know more about why Wordpress is a good fit for church websites, here’s a handy article.
        6. And here’s a bonus tip: right now, the C&MA is covering the setup fees associated with creating a custom app for your church. Read more about that here.

          Happy optimizing!

          Inspiration for this article provided by unSeminary

11 ‘Rules for Your Thumbs’ for Church Leaders & Influencers Using Social Media



Social media can be a powerful ministry tool, but it can be a double-edged sword, just like our tongues. In 3 Simple Rules of Social Media, Eric Seiberling reminds us of John Wesley’s recommendations for Christians seeking to live a faithful life: Do no harm. Do good. Stay in love with God.
These are particularly relevant in the parallel world of social media, a world that takes every twiddle of our thumbs and makes them public and everlasting. The potential for encouragement, affirmation, and getting the word out is great, but social media also gives all who hold leadership positions in the church – pastors, volunteer workers, small group leaders –an open mic and little guidance for how it should be used.
Here are a few practical implications from Wesley’s recommendations to keep in mind before clicking Post. These may be good to personally ruminate on, and/or become part of how staff and lay-leaders are trained as emissaries of the church’s mission.
  1. Reflect on your relationship with social media: How does it help you stay in love with God? How does it hinder you? How can you use it to further the Kingdom?
  2. Be an encouraging presence in an online world that can often feel anxiety-inducing and negative.
  3. Remember that your audience is much wider than those involved in the post or conversation, and context is often missing for those who read what you post. Kendall Corner writes: “Think of your web space less like your living room and more like your front yard.” Assume that anything on Facebook could be read by anyone at anytime.
  4. Your church’s social media presence should be separate from your own. If you’re managing both, keep in mind which “hat” you’re wearing when you think about what to post, and where.
  5. That said, your personal online presence still represents your church to those encountering you in social media. Tailor your online self to reflect what you would like people to think of your church. (This is true for lead pastors as well as anyone in a position of leadership or influence in the church.)
  6. Ask the questions: Is this post winsome? Does it show Christ’s love, or is it to make myself look good? Could it do harm to the reputation of Christ, the church, or another person? Could it leave others feeling excluded?
  7. Liking a post means endorsing it, and it attaches your name to it for those who are your online friends or followers. Before you Like a post or article, make sure its content is something you would be comfortable saying yourself on a Sunday morning, or saying to anyone who could see it online.
  8. Social media is a two-way street: people will be eager to hear from you, see your family pictures, etc., but you should also focus on affirming others by leaving encouraging messages and Likes on their family pictures and posts. This builds a real connection between you and those who choose to be connected with you online.
  9. Stay above-board and beyond reproach in your interactions with others and keep things public (rather than private messages) as much as possible. Stay away from private messaging conversations with people of the opposite sex or youth to avoid situations that appear compromising or imply untoward intentions.
  10. When in doubt, ask the opinion of someone you trust to vet the content of your post before you press Post.
  11. You will never regret taking the high road — and sometimes that means saying nothing at all.
Additional reading: