EFCA Crisis Response

Kevin Watterson joins Darin along with Glen Schrieber (Southeast District Superintendent) and John Secrest (pastor in Naples, FL) to share the history and heartbeat of EFCA’s Crisis Response ministry. Kevin got involved through a trip to NOLA following Katrina in 2005, eventually joining the CR team. Glen shares the potential and power of partnership among EFCA churches as God’s family serves each other and reaches the community together. John brings us into the devastation of Hurricane Ian in southwest Florida and the opportunity it could be for his church and many others to multiply transformational churches!

Podcast: https://efcanetwork.podbean.com/e/efca-crisis-response-history-and-ministry/

Global Fingerprints

Global Fingerprints founder, Greg Norwine, shares the story and vision of the EFCA child sponsorship program and GF Coordinator for the Philippines, Maria Cariaga, shares how the ministry is working in Manila. Now in 11 countries, with 5,000 children sponsored, GF is one of the great stories God is writing in the EFCA family! https://sponsorship.globalfingerprints.org/

Podcast episode: https://efcanetwork.podbean.com/e/global-fingerprints-overview-philippines-focus/

TEDS – the EFCA Seminary

Podcast: https://efcanetwork.podbean.com/e/teds-the-efca-seminary/

Credentialing – why and how

The foundation and fuel of our movement is theological truth. As leaders in the EFCA we are commissioned to “guard the deposit” entrusted to us. Why is credentialing important? How has it helped you? How have you seen it serve the movement and beyond? The Network Board has a discussion with Dr. Greg Strand, our Director of Theology and Credentialing. We conclude with a brief description of how the licensing and ordination process works. What is your next step? How can you encourage someone else?

PODCAST: https://efcanetwork.podbean.com/e/credentialing-why-and-how-with-greg-strand/

Network Podcast is Online

Network Board members share some of our favorite EFCA programs and ministries that we plan to highlight in our new Podcast this fall. Check it out here: https://efcanetwork.podbean.com/

Simply download the Podbean app and look up The EFCA Network. We just posted the 15 minute promo video and the first ministry highlight – focused on Global Fingerprints.

Greg Norwine, founder of Global Fingerprints and Maria Cariaga, Director of GF in Manila, Philippines

Please contact us to share your favorite EFCA ministry or idea!

Chinese Credentialing

Article by Chi Eng Yuan

When God called us, Chi Eng and Kar-Shan, to serve Him as the itinerant pastors of the Association of North American Chinese Evangelical Free Churches between 2013 and 2018, we have found that the pastors, the lay leaders, the congregation of most Chinese Evangelical Free Churches did not know well the statement of faith of EFCA and its ethos. The need to understand the statement of faith in Chinese has been crucial. 

The first project was to ask permission and to find qualified people to translate Evangelical Convictions and Gospel Truth by Greg Strand, the Director of Biblical Theology and Credentialing for the EFCA, which started in 2016. Furthermore, when a wave of new pastors took the role of shepherding the flocks, we were asked by new pastors and lay leaders of Chinese EF churches about the process of being credentialed from getting a ministry license to a certificate of ordination in the Evangelical Free Churches of America. Since all documents are in English, the need to translate those documents into Chinese has been raised.

Since our retirement in 2020, God gave us a new vision to encourage pastors and to walk with them along the ministry journey, and we could “change the tires” to serve Him as volunteers. God answered our prayers in His Way and in His Timing. ANACEFC board appointed us on Jan 19, 2020, as the Liaison officers of ANACEFC with the Evangelical Free Church of America. The Evangelical Free Churches of America Network (Ministerial Association of EFCA) also invited Chi Eng to be its board member and appointed him officially on Feb 6, 2020.

Read the full article and Chinese EFC newsletter here.

The New Guy

by Kerry Doyal, District Superintendent Allegheny District

Thank God for the Last Guy

Great Guy

Gifted Guy

Godly Guy

I ain’t the Last Guy

That is hard for many

 –  disappointing, discouraging, disorienting 

 –  I don’t. I can’t. I haven’t. I won’t. 

God bless them. Sincerely. 

Hard times for many

Adjustments, disappointments

Only so much I can do, be for them 

Change is hard, hurtful 

I ain’t the last guy

I am the next guy

 – the new guy

 – the now guy

I will not try to imitate

Will not seek to emasculate

Will not not be who God made me

Will not avoid my gifts, strengthens, 

 – even when different

 – even when inferior

 – even when surpassing

It’s His place, His work, His church

He has brought me here

They called me here

 – some with deep regret now

 – others with ambivalence 

 – others with delight 

I am not vilified by this

I am not vindicated by this

I am neither victim nor victor

I am the New Guy

I am to serve according to His gifts, calling

Thank you, God for the Last Guy

Thank you, God, for letting me be the Next Guy 

The Road to Recovery

Pastor James Petersen, ReachGlobal Director of Personnel for Missionaries

The Long Road from Ministry Injury to Recovery

How God uses others to lead us to spiritual healing (from the EFCA blog)

As I left the church building, I was physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausted. I resigned my position as senior pastor and didn’t know if I’d ever serve as a pastor again. Though all parties involved carried out my departure honorably—and I was departing of my own accord—I had a bitter taste in my mouth and a cynical attitude in my heart.

For three years, I had found myself in the center of a church conflict that was both painful and damaging. It was personal at times, and my family and I were injured. I witnessed people whom I loved and served turn against me, unfairly accuse me and question my integrity. It was a small and murmuring constituency, but over time, their behavior—unchecked by the elders—escalated, increasing my stress and moving me toward burnout.As pastors, we know that, sometimes, pain will be directed at us and result in pain for us.TWEET

In his book, Clergy Self-Care, Roy M. Oswald distinguishes between these two forces—stress and burnout. Stress results in loss of perception, loss of options, fatigue, depression and illness. Burnout follows stress and results in exhaustion, cynicism, disillusionment and self-deprecation.

Amid that stress and burnout, I had a sense of God’s presence and peace, but the exhaustion, cynicism and self-deprecation remained. The church graciously provided me a season of salary and benefits, for which my family and I will always be grateful, but financial stability couldn’t resolve those lingering effects. I needed to face the injury and find healing.

During the year that followed, I stepped away from pastoral ministry. In this time, God gradually brought me to a place of forgiveness and hope that allowed me to return to serving as a pastor once again.

Click here to continue reading about the Recovery Shepherds the Lord brought to James.

Counseling Cohort

Four EFCA Pastors in central Florida have been meeting via zoom for several months, guided by a counselor with The Rest Initiative. Check out this 3 minute testimonial and consider contacting your District leadership to set up a similar cohort in your area!

Burnout

Rev. Dr. Chi Eng Yuan

In the last forty years burnout among pastors has become epidemic. And research reveals a cause-and-effect relationship between burnout and leaving the ministry. Gary McIntosh, in It Only Hurts on Monday, cites the results of a survey of pastors who had recently left the ministry and concluded that 40% experienced a form of burnout.

“Emotional exhaustion was recognized as fatigue caused by extensive interaction with others, depersonalization was characterized by development of an uncaring and cynical attitude toward others, and lack of personal accomplishment was indicated by deterioration of self-confidence and decreased personal satisfaction with one’s achievement.”

Maslach Burnout Inventory Manual, Christina Maslach

As a Chinese pastor of Hong Kong Evangelical Free Churches, I am especially interested in the causes of burnout among pastors. (Survey results from 2006-2007 North Am. Chinese EFCs):

  • 40% – unrealistic expectations for pastoral performance
  • 21% – congregational politics
  • 17% – spiritual dryness
  • 17% – lack of friendship
  • 17% – being unfit / staying too long
  • 11% – incompatibility

“I just can’t hold it together anymore. I’m disappointed with a lot of things that happened in the church.”

Chinese EFC Pastor, 2006 survey

Burnout can produce a profound and lasting depression.

“Under continued pressure the protective and regulatory mechanisms become disturbed and the emergency system of the body uses up its reserves. Consequently, the person becomes less flexible, more guarded and sensitive, and depression ensues. In such cases the depression is both a protective mechanism and a reaction to the increased possibility of loss that comes from a diminished physical capacity for coping with life and work.”

Coping with Depression in Ministry and Other Helping Professions, Archibald D. Hart

For the complete paper, including Biblical examples of depression and six factors contributing to burnout click here.