Not by Might, Nor by Power…

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By Larry Short

“So he [the angel] said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” (Zechariah 4:6)

I wanted to take the opportunity to thank Elim for allowing me to serve once more on the Elder Board. It’s a privilege and responsibility I don’t take lightly. And in the intervening several years I’ve been off, I’ve truly missed being a part of this group of men who love our church and are sold-out for Jesus!

Quite a few new folks have joined our ranks at Elim in the past few years, so I thought I’d take my “first” Last Word to introduce myself and my wife Darlene to those who may not know us yet. I’m a journalist/writer by education (Biola U is my alma mater and I spent the first decade or so after graduation in a freelance magazine and book writing career). But I also have a technology background, so after this I helped my employer (for the past 22 years), World Vision, to start and manage its internet, intranet, email, and social media programs. Currently I serve as a Digital Media Manager on the Public Engagement and Social Media team there in Federal Way.

Darlene is a Puyallup school nurse and we have two grown children, Nathan and Amanda. Nathan is a tech geek married to Zeiger schoolteacher Becky (Steve and Cheryl Weller’s oldest daughter), and Amanda is married to Mike Teeter. Together Mike and Mandy are raising our first granddaughter in Pennsylvania. (They met at and still work for REI.)

Darlene and I have loved Elim ever since we first set foot in it, 21 years ago. We’ve served in a variety of capacities but for the past 14 years have led a group of young adults called Pulse. Darlene also counts offering, and I play on the worship team and assist our communications team with our digital tools.

By way of hobbies, Darlene is a voracious reader and I love cycling and wild mushroom hunting, as well as writing. We also spend a lot of time flying, either to Pennsylvania or to Southern California to visit Darlene’s 96-year-old mom.

I introduced this post with Zechariah 4:6. It’s my life verse not because I’m good at doing what it says, but because I’m a very “Type A” person who has a tendency to push hard to try and get things done in my own power, rather than to rely on God’s Spirit. God has convicted me of these tendencies over the years, so a number of years ago I adopted Zech. 4:6 as my life’s verse to remind myself that the only truly good things that happen in my life come about not because of any skill, strength, or brilliance I might think I have; but rather, because of “Christ in me, the hope of glory.” Every day I want to ask Him to fill me with His Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13) and to be in control of what happens.

We live this Christian life together, so I would ask you to help me rely more consistently on Jesus, in addition to praying this prayer yourself every morning: God, please grant us the gift of your Holy Spirit today, and work in each of us to accomplish Your purposes. Amen!

 

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Sabbatical

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By Dan Amos and Pastor Martin

As we engage in ministry there are ebbs and flows, seasons of work and seasons of rest — because, let’s face it, ministry is hard work. Elders are only allowed to serve in their role for six years, and then they must take a break for at least one year. Most of us will serve in a role within the body for a time and then step back for a time while another volunteer steps in to carry the load.

The periods of rest and renewal are more difficult for the full-time ministry worker, when times of professional growth have to be crammed into a 24/7 commitment. This is the practical basis for offering a sabbatical to our ministerial staff. We ask them to step back for a time and experience renewal in their relationship with the Father and pursue personal spiritual growth.

Jesus modeled this behavior during His public ministry by getting away from the crowds and concentrating on His relationship with the Father. Perhaps when He sent the disciples out to experience ministry on their own He experienced a longer period of spiritual refreshment.

The Elder Board began seriously pursuing the sabbatical model over the last couple of years. Our goal is to give our pastors this break every six years. Pastor Martin has been faithfully leading and shepherding us for 19 years without this opportunity. Pastor Brian has also been asked to begin planning for his own sabbatical next year.

We are asking Martin to take this break with specific professional and spiritual goals. We are convinced this is good for him and good for all of us at Elim. The Evangelical Free Church declares that taking sabbaticals is a “positive trend reflecting increased awareness of a series of work/rest cycles found in the scriptures. Observing them is a healthy practice that assures sustainability in ministry.”

Martin will be away from Elim from May 1 through July 31, 2013. Pastor Brian and others will fill the pulpit during this time. Brian will lead the staff and day-to-day ministries, while being supported by a host of people, including the Elders and all of us at Elim. We ask for your prayers for Martin and Kim as he is away from us and for the staff and Elders as they fill in.

Elim is experiencing a time of health and growth, and it is my prayer that we put into practice what Martin has modeled for us. We trust we will welcome him home in August healthier and stronger than when he left.

From Pastor Martin:

The big question is, what will I do on this sabbatical? In addition to getting some rest and some much appreciated “wind therapy,” I will go through some life coach training which deals with the integration of the spiritual, relational, professional, and personal dimensions of a person’s life. This training will be a benefit to my ongoing ministry at Elim as well as to other consulting opportunities that may cross my path in the future.

Second, I will seek out a pastoral prayer mentor. It has been my desire to deepen my prayer life and to better shepherd Elim toward becoming a “house of prayer.” There are a couple of opportunities that I will explore to find the person who will best equip me to fulfill this vision.

Third, I will visit some churches which have a clear strategy for discipleship. I want to continue to sharpen my strategic understanding for growing passionate, persevering followers of Jesus. This is our mandate; therefore, it must be our mission.

Fourth, I will immerse myself in reading the Gospel of Mark multiple times in preparation for preaching this Gospel beginning October 6.

One final question must be answered: “Do I plan on staying at Elim after I return from this sabbatical?” The answer is yes. I have no plans for leaving and have no intention of using this time to look for other ministry opportunities. Kim and I love this body and we look forward to having many more years of growing disciples at Elim.

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Take It for Granite

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By Dan Amos

So on Sunday, we as a body extended a call to Nate to come and be an associate pastor at Elim. It would be nice to pause and take a deep breath and relax, but there’s too much to do. Maybe one of the most important things for me is to put my time into relationships.

Nate is going to help us out in some time-intensive and skill-required areas, namely children’s ministry and worship. But people don’t stay connected by either one of those things. They may leave if those things are absent, but what draws people in and keeps them connected is that “renewal with God and one another.”

Honestly, I haven’t done really well at the “one anothers” lately. I’ve been busy. I needed to do such and such. Blah, blah, blah. What I really need to do is connect. No one can connect with everyone, but everyone has to connect with someone. It’s a lonely world out there and we were not created to be alone.

And connection — relationship — doesn’t happen by accident. It’s an intentional act that says you are important to me and I care. We often take our relationships for granted. I need to take them for granite: like granite in a foundation, relationships need to be foundational in my life. It starts with God and flows out through other people.

I’m looking forward to the Champneys family moving here, potentially before the first of the year. When they get here I want to welcome them in to a healthy body full of vibrant, caring relationships.

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Nate Champneys Answers Important Questions!

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By Senior Pastor Martin Schlomer and Nate Champneys

This Sunday is a very important day in the life of Elim EFC. By now, everyone has heard that we are candidating Nate Champneys for the position of Associate Pastor. This full-time position will specialize in leading the Worship Arts and Children’s Ministries. While we have been discussing this position for more than three months, people continue to ask great questions. On Tuesday, a member asked some general questions regarding Nate’s background and training. In an effort to do our best at getting information out to the congregation, this edition of the Last Word is dedicated to allowing Nate to answer these specific questions. In addition, Nate’s resume will be posted on the Elim’s website.

1) Are you in complete agreement with Elim’s doctrinal statement? If not, are there any areas of reservation? I am in complete agreement. I started attending Elim when I was 16 years old. I learned a lot of my basic doctrine from Elim’s youth ministry program. I then attended New Tribes Bible Institute (NTBI), and their doctrinal statement is very similar to the Evangelical Free Church doctrinal statement.

2) How did you come to faith in Christ and why do you want to serve in full-time ministry? God captured my heart at a very young age. I was just 6 when I understood my need for Him and made the decision to trust Jesus to forgive my sin. My dad prayed with me every night when I was young and on a particular night he and I had a very important conversation. He explained to me the problem of sin, who Jesus was, and how He died to pay for my sin. The Gospel is simple, and at 6, I fully understood it. Since that moment I always wanted to be in ministry.

If you look at my drawings as a child, it was of airplanes, but on the side of every airplane was the name “Mission Aviation Fellowship.” I always dreamed about being a missionary pilot. As I grew into a teen I thought I might pursue youth ministry. Since I wasn’t sure, Brian Sharpe recommended I go to NTBI.

I graduated NTBI in 2006, returned home to Washington and started serving at Elim. At NTBI I was surrounded by people who were passionate about the Gospel, yet this was in stark contrast to much of the American church. Because of this, I graduated NTBI with a very negative view of the Church. However, over the next five years at Elim, God moved in my heart and gave me a desire to serve His Church. He developed my gifts with worship and youth ministry and my heart for His Church, but as a family we were not yet ready to be in full-time ministry. God used circumstances with my career in insurance to work in the hearts of both my wife and I to bring us into full-time ministry.  It has been a long road, but both Beck and I can see how God prepared us for ministry. We both have a desire to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the Church and the un-churched.

3) In your walk with God, what do you do to maintain spiritual vitality and health? As far as an official “quiet time,” I probably average four to five times a week of focused time with God. In addition there are other times during the week when, as I plan my sets, I have some of my most meaningful times with God. Worship is a safe and rejuvenating place for me.

During my quiet times I usually go to the park or just park my car somewhere. Because of my ADD, I have a hard time staying focused if I am anywhere near distractions. I have found my car to be the best place to focus. I also spend time with God after everyone is in bed so the distractions are minimal. Lastly, I listen to a lot of sermons. I have never been a big reader and learn a lot more from the spoken word. I listen to Mark Driscoll, Francis Chan, and Greg Kockl, to name a few.

4) Where did you receive your formal ministry training? Did your education provide specific training in the ministry areas of worship and children?  Do you have any additional experience that would qualify you for the potential ministry responsibilities at Elim? I have an Associate of Arts degree from Pierce College and an Associate of Arts degree in Biblical Studies from New Tribes Bible Institute. These degrees are not specific to worship and children. However, my biblical training gave me a good foundation in theology and hermeneutical study of the Scripture.

Regarding preparations for leading children’s ministry, most of my “education and training” has been hands-on. I was in AWANA from kindergarten to sixth grade. AWANA taught me the discipline of memorizing Scripture. Starting when I was 11, every summer my dad took me on a mission trip to Utah to do street evangelism to Mormons. This pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped establish an understanding of my own faith. When I was in junior high I attended Child Evangelism Fellowship’s “Christian Youth in Action” camp and learned how to teach 5-Day Clubs, which I continued to do throughout high school.

While serving in Munster I was the primary creator/ instigator of our new children’s church ministry that is just about to kick off. I saw the need for children’s ministry during the sermon and started meeting with other churches’ children’s leaders to come up with the foundation for this ministry. I then handed off my “brainchild” to the ministry leaders who are now running with it.

Regarding preparations for leading worship ministry, I started leading worship in high school with the youth band at Elim. Brian Sharpe fostered that gift throughout high school and had me lead worship for youth group. As I grew into an adult I continued to grow this gift. I started leading more often for church services and started leading the junior high program. When “The Gathering” service started at Elim, I was a primary leader.

My point in all of this is not to brag about myself but to help you understand that although I have only held a position in full-time ministry for one and a half years, I have been in ministry my whole life. Proverbs 16:9 says, “a man plans his course but Lord establishes his steps.” I look back at my life and I see that as I have sought Him, he has been preparing me to lead His Church.

5) Can you organize and lead choirs, bands, and small music groups? My primary experience is in developing and leading worship teams and developing musicians.

6) What experience do you have in training worship ministry staff and children’s ministry staff? As a worship leader, there are a lot of opportunities to train volunteers in music and worship. My first such experience was at Elim. I started working with some junior high students and teaching them how to play worship music. Those students are still leading today.

In the children’s area of ministry, my experience has focused on recruiting and training junior high leadership.

7) After you returned from New Tribes Bible Institute, in what ministry areas did you serve at Elim? I served as a worship leader and as a junior high youth leader. When the planning team was put together for “The Gathering” service, I served on this team and was also in charge of planning and leading worship. I have also preached and been involved with community group and men’s ministry.

8) In your current ministry position, what are your responsibilities? When I was hired at Munster Church, they had never had a full-time worship leader before. They had no idea what my position would turn into. My primary job is to plan and lead services, but because I am gifted technologically I have also been in charge of all video projection, sound, and technology. I replaced the entire sound system, the phone system, and church network.

My secondary role is to lead the junior high program and raise up and train junior high leaders. When I got to Munster, we had about five students total and usually three would show up. After seven months, I started making some strategic changes. We went from five total students to 25 total students.

9) Why are you interested in leaving after one year? I wouldn’t say that I am “interested in leaving” as that implies that I sought out leaving. When Becky and I left Washington three years ago, we imagined that we would come back after three years or so. We never planned on staying in Chicago. However, when God called us to leave American Income Life Insurance Company and pursue ministry we realized that our original timetable might not be realistic, and I came to the realization that we might never return to Washington.

When Elim decided to create this position, I never imagined being considered. I don’t think that my wife and I would consider leaving Munster Church under any other circumstance than this. We have always considered Elim to be our “home church.” Even in conversations with people in Indiana, we referred to Elim as our “home church.” I am absolutely blessed to have served at Munster and harbor no ill will against them. They too are happy to have served with me and wish me the best in my ministry.

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Ministry Description

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By Senior Pastor Martin Schlomer

November 6 marks the beginning of a very important week in the life and history of Elim! We will candidate Nate Champneys for Elim’s second full-time associate pastor position. As the Champneys are here for the week of November 6-11, we’ll fill their time with opportunities for you to meet Nate and Becky and hear Nate’s heart and vision for Worship and Children’s ministries. The schedule of events is in the e-newsletter, but you can also find it posted on Elim’s website as well as on the information board in the fellowship room.

A very important part of this process will be to understand the responsibilities of this new position. I, along with the Elders, have spent a lot of time prayerfully thinking through what is needed in the areas of Worship Arts and Children’s ministries, and we have created a ministry description that answers the question, “What will Nate do if we call him to this position?”

Please review this description. It will be very helpful as we walk this path together.

God’s blessings,
Martin

MINISTRY DESCRIPTION:
Associate Pastor to Lead Worship Arts

JOB SUMMARY: With heart and passion, oversee the Worship Arts and Children’s ministries by providing vision, leadership, creativity, and volunteer development so that these ministries fulfill the mission, vision, and discipleship process of Elim EFC.

HOURS: 45 hours per week.

RESPONSIBILITIES:
Managerial Responsibilities – With heart and passion, oversee the Worship Arts and Children’s ministries and volunteers by providing vision, leadership, creativity, volunteer recruitment, and development so that these ministries fulfill the mission, vision, and discipleship process of Elim EFC. The specific areas of managerial oversight include:

  1. Worship leaders, instrumentalists, and vocalists
  2. Sound ministry technicians
  3. Presentation ministry volunteers
  4. Children’s ministries from nursery through 5th grade
  5. Administrators for Children’s and Worship Arts ministries

Task Responsibilities – Take direct responsibility for the fulfillment of the following ministry tasks:

Worship Arts ministry

  1. Develop and implement a mission, vision, and process (MVP) for Elim’s Worship Arts ministry that accomplishes Elim’s MVP.
  2. Establish ministry goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely) at the beginning of each year that will accomplish MVP.
  3. Review each worship service to make sure it accomplishes our vision and purpose for the Worship Arts ministry.
  4. Work closely with the Senior Pastor to ensure our vision for the service is being accomplished.
  5. Lead worship services (potentially multiple weekly services) 2-3 times a month.
  6. Recruit and train developing worship leaders, musicians, and vocalists.
  7. Attend rehearsals as required to coach volunteers and troubleshoot problems.
  8. Train, evaluate, and encourage all personnel on a quarterly basis in the ministry so that encouraging, praiseworthy ministry results.
  9. Work with the worship administrator to develop a quarterly schedule for musicians, vocalists, sound personnel, and presentation personnel for all worship and special services. Finalize and disseminate this schedule one month prior to the start of the quarter.
  10. Lead and work closely with the sound and presentation ministries’ leaders to ensure cohesive communication and unity among all participants.
  11. Be competent in all aspects of the sound system and presentation software.
  12. Order necessary slides and other materials for worship services.
  13. Incorporate new music into worship on a monthly basis.
  14. Oversee the setup of Communion.
  15. Creatively incorporate appropriate worship elements for the theme of the service, in addition to music (video, prayer, special music, readings, ensembles).
  16. Attend weekly staff meetings, monthly Ministry Leadership Team meetings and all Elder Board meetings.
  17. Incorporate an average of at least one hymn per service in accordance with our worship style.
  18. Network with other worship pastors/leaders in the Puyallup area for encouragement and development.
  19. Other duties as directed by the Elder Board and Senior Pastor.

Children’s ministries

  1. Develop and implement a mission, vision, and process (MVP) for Elim’s Children’s ministries that accomplishes Elim’s MVP.
  2. Establish ministry goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely) at the beginning of each year that will accomplish MVP.
  3. Recruit teachers and helpers for Discipleland.
  4. Train and evaluate Discipleland volunteers twice a year.
  5. Work with the church administrator to develop a quarterly schedule for Discipleland teachers and helpers. Finalize and disseminate this schedule one month prior to the start of the quarter.
  6. Work with the church administrator to order curriculum for all Discipleland classes.
  7. Ensure adequate supplies in children’s rooms.
  8. Work with custodians to make sure the rooms are set up and organized.
  9. Oversee the AWANA ministry by working closely with the commander(s) to make sure the ministry accomplishes its mission, vision, and purpose.
  10. Develop and oversee a creative strategy to reach out to children through a summer ministry outreach like soccer camp, sports camp, etc.
  11. Work with church administrator and communications team to reach out and communicate with parents regarding Children’s ministries.
  12. Network with other children’s pastors/leaders in the Puyallup area for encouragement and development.
  13. Develop and administer a process for securely accepting and releasing children to designated guardians.
  14. Other duties as directed by the Elder Board and Senior Pastor.

ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT
This position comes with a part-time worship administrator as well as administrative support for Children’s ministries from the part-time church administrator.

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My Sabbatical and Decision

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by Cheryl Weller

I’m so grateful to God and how He provides for us, not only for our physical needs, but for our emotional needs as well. I didn’t know I needed a sabbatical, but He knew. I didn’t know I needed time for my family and my dear friend, but He knew. I didn’t know what to expect from the time off, but He knew.

So many times we feel like we need to know “Why?” before we step out, or before we go forward, or before we change. I’m thankful for the Elders and my family here at Elim for graciously giving me the time off recently. Let me share with you what God showed me during that time.

While on my sabbatical, Martin and the Elders challenged me to look at what I really wanted do in the next three to five years, and what that would look like for me as Children’s Director. I was able to meet with Steven Johnson, Cindy Waple and Frances Amos for some coaching and processing. Over the last couple of years I have been struggling with my role as Children’s Director – not feeling like I could really do anything more or anything new! Children’s ministry is very dear to my heart, but like parents realize when our children grow older, we have to let them go.

I look at children’s ministry here at Elim like a child that I have raised over the last 17 years, and now it is time for me to let it go. It’s time for someone else to come in and take children’s ministry to a new level, with new ideas and new dreams. I’m excited about that, and like a proud parent, I’m ready to let go and let this ministry grow. I have hopes that bringing Nate Champneys on as Worship/Children’s Associate Pastor will bring lots of excitement and new blood. This excites me!

With the new changes that the elders are doing within the staff to make sure we are all working within our gifting and wiring they have offered me a position on the staff as Church Administrator. I love working here at Elim and it is a blessing for me to be able to continue doing something I love to do … administrate!

God knew I needed a change and He brought that about through the Elders and through you, my church family. I love this family here at Elim and I’m honored to be able to serve you as I serve my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

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