From July 29-31, 2022 we joined together in God’s presence to celebrate His goodness and conclude our 150th year celebration. Overall, the reports we received from this past summers’ Ministry Conference were overwhelmingly positive. Those who attended spoke of new hope for the future, while affirming a clear sense of God’s presence during each of our sessions.
From the pastors’ time at the ballpark Thursday evening, to the opening session Friday evening, through the representatives session on Saturday afternoon, to the concluding session on Sunday morning, God was present and faithful. We are hoping and praying that many of you identified your “One Thing” and if not are continuing to seek God’s direction for the next season of life and ministry across EFC-MAYM.
So, where do we go from here? Our Leadership Team is going to continue to process that question as we gather for our Fall Leadership Team Retreat in September. I am hoping that each of you will do the same, as individuals and churches. What do you need to declare as God’s plan for your future? What intentional steps do you need to take to move in that direction?
We believe God is not done with Evangelical Friends in Mid-America, and therefore, Tony and I believe there are (3) areas we must focus our efforts in the upcoming days:
- Providing resources to foster healthy pastoral families and churches
- Increasing collaboration among our churches for student ministries, global missions, church planting and wider efforts among Evangelical Friends Church-North America (and worldwide)
- Church Planting
All three of these areas are crucial to the future growth and effectiveness of our ministry partnership, as EFC-MAYM. Tony and Stacey Wheeler play a key role in promoting health among pastoral families and churches due to their passion, experience and training.
Together we have collaborated in significant ways over the years to plant churches locally and globally, as well as reach and disciple the next generation of student leaders as they prepare for the challenges they will face. In addition, we must affirm and facilitate our partnership with the other (6) Yearly Meetings that make up EFC-NA for the purposes of future ministry and mutual accountability. We are better together!
Finally, WE MUST PLANT CHURCHES. EFC-MAYM has invested significant time and energy in planting churches during recent years. And, we have some success stories. However, we MUST invest increased time and money in identifying the right church planters (gifted and called), as well as the right locations where it seems God is opening a door for us. This is not so different than the Luke 10 initiative EFM has engaged in recently from a global perspective. The future of our movement depends upon this.
So, that’s it folks. Knowing where we need to go seems clear. Developing strategic initiatives to get there, under the leading of the Holy Spirit, will be a crucial next step. We are hoping and praying for healing and health for you and your church, so together we can reach out in ways we have not done since the early days of Friends in England (1652), and Friends in Mid-America (1872). Lord, help us!
Our leadership team is blessed to serve together on your behalf. May God’s Kingdom come to EFC-MAYM as it is in heaven!
Thayne Thompson, DMIN
Lead Superintendent, EFC-MAYM