2020 Convention: US Ministers Plan Dialogue and Discussion

When the Fellowship elders met in San Diego last November, they prayed for God’s direction regarding the ministries shared by FCA members — not just for the next decade but beyond. God gave them inspiration and vision, also prompting them to issue a special call to ministers across the U.S.

As a result, they are inviting all U.S. ministers attending the international convention next month to join with them for an extra session prior to the official start of the convention on April 27. The invitation includes two distinct opportunities for ministers:
…..(1) A prayer and worship gathering on Sunday, April 26 beginning at 7 p.m.
…..(2) A meeting for dialogue and discussion on Monday, April 27 beginning at 1:30 p.m.

Both the prayer and the discussion time are open to all ministers attending the convention. You will have the chance to hear about recent developments and strategies — as well as be able to join in the conversation with the U.S. national board and regional elders.

Fellowship elders, who are ministry leaders from various geographical regions of the FCA, hope the dialogue and discussion will further refine the ministry and direction of the Fellowship. They are eager to hear what God is birthing in the hearts and spirits of pastors across the country, and they want to provide the opportunity for participants to identify core ministry values that unite our unique Fellowship.

“This is a chance to provide feedback about key characteristics of what it means to be an ‘FCA church,’ or an ‘FCA minister,” writes Sam Snyder, pastor of Cross Culture Community Church in Minneapolis and current president of the FCA Board. He notes that as a Fellowship we already have, “shared beliefs and practices about what is most important in what we do in ministry — and how we do it.” He anticipates the time in San Diego will expand and articulate the things we already share.

FCA leaders expect the pre-convention gathering of ministers will also help gauge “the pulse” of the Fellowship for the future. Recalling that the FCA was birthed nearly a century ago (in 1922) at a fellowship gathering in St. Paul, Minnesota, Snyder observes that further defining “why we do what we do and the way we do it” will help the ministers and churches of the FCA as they seek to move forward into the next 100 years of ministry together.


John Lewis Named Pastor of Grace Church

John and Angie Lewis

Grace Church of New Glarus, Wisconsin, a small, rural town south of Madison with just over 2,000 people, has named John Lewis as their new lead pastor. For nearly 20 years, John has served the church as its youth pastor, working under the ministry of Pastor Roger Olsen who recently went to be with the Lord.

Grace Church of New Glarus was started in 1992 by a small group of believers. A year later Roger Olsen was called to come and pastor the small congregation of about 50. His faithful ministry and God’s grace over the past 26 years has seen the church grow to around 250 attenders on Sunday mornings. Roger’s steady manner and easy-going personality helped shape the church into a solid work . Even today the congregation, though often crowded, still meets in the renovated but unpretentious storefront building from its early days.

In 1993, while while working on his Master’s Degree at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan, John Lewis came to know the Lord at a Billy Graham crusade. He soon connected with the Marquette Gospel Tabernacle (now Waters Edge Church) where he was baptized by Pastor Ron Drake. After finishing his studies in Marquette, John felt a strong call to the ministry and in 1995 began attending Christian Life College in Mount Prospect, Illinois.

After graduating in 1999, he did a six-month internship at the Duluth Gospel Tabernacle under the direction of pastors Dean Bjorlin and Rolf Fure. After his internship, John began calling pastors in the FCA directory, which is how he connected with Pastor Roger Olsen in New Glarus. John began his work as youth pastor at Grace Church on April 19, 2000. John and his wife of 17 years, Angie, have two children, Alayna (15) and Noah (14).

John is now looking for a youth pastor to join him in ministering to the families of New Glarus. “Our congregation is a close-knit family with a wide age range,” he notes, from young singles, to young families, to seniors. “We are also multi-cultural,” he adds, “with a charismatic worship style and a strong emphasis on preaching God’s Word.” The church values the congregational testimonies and use of spiritual gifts as well. The Wednesday evening youth meeting averages 35 to 40 students (grades 6 through 12).

If you ask John about the church’s goals, he will offer several emphases: reaching the lost, connecting believers as family, helping them grow in faith, in serving their gifts, and impacting their world for Christ. “One of our biggest challenges at the moment is space,” John observes. “The sanctuary can get pretty tight some Sundays.” The church is in conversation about purchasing land in town to put up a new building.

Applicants for the youth pastor position may send introductions and resumes to:

Pastor John Lewis
Grace Church
P.O. Box 430, 416 2nd Street
New Glarus, WI 53574
OR email: John@gracechurchng.org
OR call: 608-558-2858

Further details about the job description are available by clicking HERE.


Gaining Strength and Health

Derek Forseth

Derek Forseth, pastor of Philadelphia Church, Seattle is now improving after seven weeks in the ICU.

It was Christmas Day that Derek went to the hospital Emergency Room knowing something was not quite “right.” The doctors admitted him because of heart problems, but he has not been able to return home since that day. Some of what Derek has gone through since then is recounted on his CaringBridge page, which you can view by clicking HERE. You can also leave messages there.

After tests and meetings with top Seattle cardiologists, Derek was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. A single bypass surgery on January 9, 2020 was changed to a triple bypass, but still his heart wasn’t strong enough to pump on its own. As a result, another surgery followed five days later to put in a Left Ventricular Assist Device.

A week, however, Derek contracted an E. coli infection in his chest surrounding his heart and lungs. Repeated surgeries followed to “wash out” the infection from his chest cavity. Once the infection was under control, the doctors wired his chest bone back together on February 3, but more surgeries were required to reconnect muscles and skin. All total, Derek has undergone 13 surgical procedures since Christmas.

“It’s been a time of extremes for our family,” says Krista, noting that they have gone through valleys and shadows as well as looking to the mountains. They have been “hearing updates full of doubt and the unknown,” she says, but also have been “leaning in to our God who brings us peace and hope.”

Yesterday (Friday, February 21), on his 56th birthday, Derek and his wife, Krista, were especially grateful. Derek is alert and communicating (by mouthing words, due to a tracheotomy). He started physical therapy on his birthday, and the nursing staff even took him outside in the beautiful Seattle sun as a birthday present. He loved it!

The family asks for your continued prayers:
• for Derek’s physical therapy to help regain muscle strength;
• for continued healing and of his lungs so the trach can be removed;
• for peace and strength for Krista and their kids;
• for Philadelphia Church during Derek’s absence;
• for the church leadership team.

“This is a time for God to shine in and through us,” says Krista. “We believe in the power of prayer! Thank you for partnering with us.”

Heal Our Land, O Lord!

by Roger Armbruster

[Editor’s note: This plea from Canadian pastor and elder, Roger Armbruster, speaks not only to Canadian concerns but also to matters pertaining to all people—wherever reconciliation and healing of relationships are needed.]

I think it is time for me to speak up. I do not pretend to have the final word on what is the way forward for the pathway to reconciliation between the First Peoples of the Land and other People Groups in Canada, but it is clear to me that the present-day crisis requires that Canadians can no longer ignore the First Nations issues. The issues revolve squarely around the entitlement to land and its development or non-development of natural resources in either a responsible or an irresponsible manner.

Where is the prophetic voice of the church in all of this? Sadly, too many in the church have been waiting to go to heaven and meanwhile have little to nothing to say now about land issues, about who owns the land, or about the healing of the land from a biblical perspective. The one empirically proven fact is that the world of Nature is incapable of being God and is in need of healing. Hence the need to look beyond the natural and into the supernatural realm for answers.

My perspective is that no man or woman has ownership of the land. Rather, the Creator of heaven and earth is the Owner and Possessor of heaven and earth and has placed human beings in different parts of the earth as stewards and managers of his property, his good earth, and his natural resources. (Genesis 1:1; 14:19; Leviticus 25:23; 1 Chronicles 29:11, 12; Psalm 24:1; 1 Corinthians 10:26, 28.)

Deuteronomy 32:8 and Acts 17:24-29 make clear that the Creator of heaven and earth placed different nations in different parts of the earth. He established their boundaries so men and women would seek his face from within those boundaries and find him, because he is not far from each and every one of us, and because it is in him that we live and move and have our breath.

Therefore, the Indigenous peoples of every piece of land and property on planet earth were entrusted with the task of stewarding the earth on his behalf and finding him within their own territory so that (after the Tower of Babel), they would also reconnect with other nations from whom they had become alienated and estranged and find God, so that true reconciliation between all people groups could take place.

This coming together of the nations who had been confused and scattered at Babel was reversed at Pentecost (Acts 2:7-12) and will culminate at the end of time when the people of every tribe and nation will be of one accord, each worshiping the Creator in their own ethnicity and their own heart language. (Revelation 5:9, 10; 7:9, 10.)

Healing the Land in Salluit

Within the context of the nation-state of Canada (now comprised of many nations, languages, and ethnicities), the Inuit, First Nations, and Metis have a critical role to play in the healing of the land. They have giftings and graces we all need in order to be healed, but before the reconciliation can happen, there needs to be unity between indigenous churches to speak with one prophetic voice. That voice will draw a clear distinction between the biblical healing of the land with the worship of the Creator and the promotion of environmentalism as a religion, and the worship of the creation.

The early missionaries taught us to receive Christ in order to go to heaven after we die, but they did not teach us to redeem the land or to see the healing of the land, rooted in the healing of human relationships. People and land are inseparably connected.

If you wonder how to differentiate between the biblical healing of the land vs. environmentalism as a religion, please take a look at the comparison below which I prepared some 10 years ago after doing a number of “healing the land” processes in Canada’s far North.

I would appreciate any comment or feedback you might have, whether you are Inuit, First Nations, Metis, or Caucasion—or any other people group. This is the time for the Church, the Ekklesia, the House of Prayer for all nations to arise!

Roger Armbruster is pastor of Maranatha in Niverville, Manitoba.

NOTE: An academic analysis of Armbruster’s “Canada Awakening Ministries” was done in 2010 by two university professors (Frédéric Laugrand and Jarich Oosten) recognized the relevance of healing the land as it relates much better to indigenous peoples than secular scientists lacking a spiritual dimension. You may review the study HERE.

Tribute to Roger Olsen

by Tom Flaherty

“Even if I am poured out as an offering on the altar of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.” —Philippians 2:17

Roger Olsen

Roger Olsen passed from this life Thursday morning, January 30, 2020, to be with Jesus.

He was a father to me — and really to anyone who knew him. I don’t know that I’ve ever met someone who was more concerned about the spiritual welfare of others and who thought nothing of sacrificing to help them in any way he could.

I was privileged to be with Roger and Sandra in the hospital the day before he died. I got to hear one last time from the heart of this man who has guided me through my entire ministry. He wanted to know how I was doing! He talked about his children and his grandchildren with tears in his eyes, so proud of who they are, and so concerned about everyone’s walk with Jesus.

He talked about Grace Church (where he was pastor for years in New Glarus, Wisconsin) and how happy he was with Pastor John Lewis and Don Wickstrum. He had words of encouragement for me and for City Church. I was able to assure him that even as his family was carrying on his legacy, so was I, one of his many spiritual sons.

Roger showed us how to love people. He always had a book or a CD/DVD to share and it was always a gift to me, or to the group that was meeting. Almost every time we talked he told me he was proud of me and that he loved me. Whenever I left Roger, I wanted to be a better pastor and a better Christian.

Roger modeled for us how to follow Jesus. He was always excited about the new thing God was doing and saw the grace of God wherever it appeared. In our monthly FCA meetings I would always look forward to what Roger would say because it was always insightful, yet clothed with the humility he unconsciously walked in.

I am sad for all of us but rejoice for my father and friend. He suffered for many years physically, yet stayed for us. He has now gone to his great reward; he finished his race strong. Help us, dear Lord, to do the same. Thank you, Jesus, for Roger.

Thank you, Roger, for loving me and believing in me. Thank you for pouring out your life, so that our faith would be stronger. We love you!

Tom Flaherty is pastor of City Church in Madison, Wisconsin.

Note: There will be a Celebration of Life honoring Pastor Roger Olsen, 3:30 p.m. Sunday, February 9th at City Church, 4909 East Buckeye Road, Madison, following a time of Visitation which begins at 2:00 p.m.