Come Apart…or Go to Pieces

By Marco Bianco

As a corporate chaplain I spend a good deal of my time visiting with my corporate employee constituents week in and week out. Personal weekly interactions highlight a plethora of situational and circumstantial challenges, which often intertwine with the perpetual work-and-life balancing act.

Sadly, I meet and speak with many workers who are so often immersed in their present predicaments that they lose sight of the need to step back and displace themselves from ‘the issue.’

An impromptu segue between dialogue provides me the opportunity to ask them, “What about your ‘Me time’?” I’m amazed that many of these sincere and conscientious employees are so spread thin in their commitments with family, work, and social events that they often sacrifice their personal well-being to keep everything else all together.

To a large extent, a healthy corporate culture is dependent on the personal and emotional well-being of each and every employee within the enterprise. “Me time” is a critical component to establishing an essential balance for one’s well-being.

I always encourage my employee constituents to be intentional in their pursuit of personal time as a critical element of dealing with the stressors in life. I want them to connect with and engage their ‘sweet spot’ activity to give them an outlet where they can de-stress and dis-engage from the treadmill of the work-and-life balance.

Ministers and missionaries have the same needs as the employees I work with. To maintain emotional and spiritual balance, you must schedule an intentional “Me time” appointment with yourself! What activities do you enjoy? What helps you unwind? Make it happen.

Is it reading a good book? Taking a walk or jog? Perhaps a hot salt water bath? Whatever it is, make an intentional decision to make that appointment with yourself — at least twice a week. You will be amazed at how it will help your outlook and disposition.

Refuel your passion for life and gain an upper hand in working through your toughest challenges. Be intentional and make some time with yourself this week.

—Marco Bianco works as a
chaplain through Outreach Canada
and serves at a trucking company
in Kitchener, Ontario.

Teaching in Uganda

Bryan Johnson, associate pastor at Pursuit NW, returned recently from ministry in Uganda where he taught two 3-credit Bible courses at Yesu Akwagala Bible College in addition to speaking several times elsewhere and meeting with church leaders. YABC in Kampala is a work of Uganda Christian Outreach Ministries, which is connected with World Outreach Ministry Foundation in Seattle, an FCA-affiliated parachurch organization.

Johnson and a few others were invited by the Ugandan leadership to be guest lecturers during the school year, serving as partners in developing “World Changers.” The school draws a significant percentage of international students, so a broader geographical impact is being made through the school, primarily in East Africa.

The school’s 17th graduation ceremony is planned for June 29. Yesu Akwagala Bible College’s mission is to support and develop “emerging servant leaders through the life changing Gospel of Jesus Christ to be agents of change in the community.”

Johnson is scheduled to leave July 11 for two weeks in Liberia, West Africa. “I will be teaching in the Bible school in Greenville, Sinoe County (Osborn Arnes Christian College),” he says. He will also assist his son, Russell, who will be preaching at two Youth Conferences sponsored by the Fellowship of Christian Assemblies (Liberia), one in the capital city of Monrovia, the other “down country” in the city of Greenville. That is where Bryan and his wife, Anna, lived more than 35 years ago.

Bryan Johnson with his Pastoral Epistle students at the Yesu Akwagala Bible College in Kampala, Uganda.

Additional students who participated in the Book of Revelation class.

 

Passing the Baton

All Nations Family of Churches Transitions to a New Era

Pastor Jim Olson, along with pastors and elders of the ANFC, pray for Pastor Sam Snyder and Pastor Justin Byakweli.

The All Nations Family of Churches, eight multicultural and multilingual congregations that formed out of Bethel Christian Fellowship in Saint Paul, Minnesota, witnessed a major shift in direction as they gathered for their annual combined outdoor service and picnic on June 2nd.  This group of FCA churches, which have been led for a number of years by Pastor Jim Olson, is transitioning leadership as they step into the next season of their ministry together.

Jim, who stepped away from pastoral ministry a couple of years ago to minister as President of the Pilgrim Center for Reconciliation, passed the baton of leadership to Sam Snyder and Justin Byakweli. Sam is Pastor of Cross Culture Community Church in Minneapolis and current president of the USA Fellowship of Christian Assemblies National Board. Justin is Pastor of the International Christian Fellowship in St. Paul. Both of the new leaders were selected by the All Nations Family of Churches joint pastoral and elder team.

During the commissioning service and the messages by the two new appointees given in response, English was translated publicly into three other languages. The ANFC consists of congregations who worship in English, Haitian Creole, Hmong, Nepali, Oromo, Karen, French, and Swahili. Many of the members are refugees and immigrants who have settled in the Twin Cities’ area in recent years. The churches and leadership share relationships, resources, some facilities space, and a unified vision.

At their recent leadership retreat, the diverse group of leaders focused on a growing clarity of their calling for the future: To Manifest the Kingdom of God as they Mature, Mobilize, and Multiply life-giving and joy-filled churches that are houses of prayer for all nations.

Pastor Justin Byakweli sharing about the call to Mature together as individuals, as churches, and as a Family of Churches.

Pastor Sam Snyder sharing about the call to Mobilize and Multiply as individuals and as churches.

Special Honor for Davies

Bob Davies, along with several other veterans of the U.S. armed forces, was honored the Veterans Service Award by California State Senator Jeff Stone in May. The award is based on both military service and the contributions made in the veteran’s community after returning to civilian life.

Davies serves as CEO of Community Outreach Ministry, which is affiliated with the FCA. The Wildomar, California, organization helps at-risk children break family cycles of poverty, illiteracy, drugs, gangs, and incarceration. Davies and his wife, Mona, work to give “kids a second chance to be winners and champions,” through a variety of outreaches, camping, mentoring, and seasonal Christmas programs.

Born in England, Davies also lived in Canada before ending up in California. He was drafted in 1966, joined the Air Force, and was assigned to Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines as an aircraft technician. He spent nearly a year and a half deployed to Vietnam during the TET Offensive in 1968.

California State Senator Jeff Stone, Bob Davies, and Rev. Dr. Mona Davies at the award ceremony.

Inspiration in Chicago and Vancouver

Ministers Rev’d Up and Focalized

Hearts and Spirits Renewed for Advancing the Kingdom!

John Sprecher

by John Sprecher, Lead Elder for US FCA

Late April and early May are “convention season” for the North American FCA. I had the distinct privilege of attending the US convention in Orland Park, (Chicago) Illinois and the Canadian conference in Richmond, (Vancouver) British Columbia. Combined attendance at the two conferences was about 500.

The highlight of both meetings was the opportunity to worship, learn, and pray together. Our annual gatherings are always marked with the joy of seeing old friends, meeting new brothers and sisters, and expanding the networking that makes our fellowship work.

Mike McCartney

Pastor Mike McCartney teamed Christian Hills Church and other area congregations for a wonderful job hosting the “All things Chicago” event with special food and decor to carry out the theme. The convention, called Rev’d Up, was based on Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Links to video or audio from the plenary sessions are available on the fcaministers.com website (https://www.fcaministers.com/resources/convention-audio/) if you want to hear the sessions again or were unable to attend.

Jim Reimer

Pastor Jim Reimer from Nelson, British Columbia led the Canadian team. It’s always a great challenge to host a conference that is not near a large church, but the local Vancouver team did a great job with the logistics. The theme was “Focalize: Refocusing our vision in an ever changing world.”

Workshops and plenary sessions addressed some of the great challenges of the day, including reaching a post-Christian culture, addressing the LGBTQ issues, abortion, and immigration. We left with a fresh perspective on the love of the Father for his creation and the incredible power of redemption through Jesus Christ.

Both gatherings were infused with excitement for the upcoming international convention in San Diego, California, April 27-30, 2020. The theme will be “The Promise Still Stands.” Information and registration is available now at www.fcaconvention.com. Make plans to be there with your whole ministry team and expect to be refreshed and renewed.