Category Archives: Denominational News

General Assembly business items highlight episode 2 of Stated Clerk quarterly video series

 

Episode 2 of EPC Stated Clerk Dean Weaver’s quarterly video series highlights several items of business coming before the denomination 42nd General Assembly, June 21-24 at Ward Church in Northville, Mich. The theme of this year’s General Assembly, “Recharge,” is based on Acts 1:8.

“Our focus this year is on how we can be God’s witnesses,” Weaver said. “It’s for that reason that the EPC was formed. The E in EPC is not just Evangelical, it’s evangelistic—it’s evangelism. We will be doubling down on the E in EPC and focusing on how each of our churches can have an evangelistic culture and how each and every one of us can practice evangelism in fulfilling the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus in Matthew 28 and Acts 1.”

Among the nearly 30 business items being considered this year, Weaver discusses recommendations from the National Leadership Team, Fraternal Relations Committee, and World Outreach Committee. In addition, Weaver reveals the name of the quarterly video series.

Each episode on the video blog is hosted on the EPC’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/EPChurch80, as well as posted to the denomination’s news and information channel, EPConnection. The videos also will be available on the EPC’s Facebook page and Twitter feed. Audio podcast versions can be accessed on the EPC’s podcast channel at podcast.epc.org, as well as Spotify and iTunes (search for “Evangelical Presbyterian Church”).

General Assembly early registration ends May 31

 

If you have not yet registered for the 42nd General Assembly, June 21-24 at Ward Church in suburban Detroit, Mich., don’t delay—registration fees double on June 1. Click here to register now.

Why the increase in fees? Think of it as demonstrating Romans 12:18, “… live peaceable with all.” In the distant past, as many as 30 percent of our attendees registered after June 1—which created a logistical headache for our host church planning teams with such things as meeting room assignments and meal planning. Since we implemented the fee increase several years ago, fewer than 10 percent of our commissioners now register after June 1. Reducing that number even more would help tremendously.

In other GA-related news, we are in the process of final editing of the Commissioner’s Handbook. Reports from our permanent and interim committees and many other Assembly documents are available at www.epc.org/ga2022documents. Additional resources will be posted as they are finalized.

If you are a Ruling Elder planning to attend, be sure to complete the two-part registration process. Step one is to ensure that your Clerk of Session has completed and submitted the Commissioner Certification Form. For you to vote at the Assembly, we need certification that your Session has elected you as a Commissioner. Also, be sure you are registered—online registration is available at www.epc.org/ga2022.

Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you in Michigan in June!

“In All Things” podcast episode 25 discusses the past, present, and future of the EPC with NLT member Chris Danusiar

 

`Episode 25 of the EPC’s podcast, “In All Things,” features Chris Danusiar, Ruling Elder for Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Warrenville, Ill., who rotated off the EPC National Leadership Team (NLT) after six years of service. This week, host Dean Weaver and Danusiar discuss his background in technology and finance, reflect on how the EPC has both maintained its moorings and changed its focus over his 20 years in the EPC, and contemplate how the Church might address current generational trends in the 21st century digital environment.

Episodes are available on a variety of podcast platforms, including Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podbean, Spotify, and others. Search “In All Things” on any of these services.

The audio recordings also are available on the EPC website at www.epc.org/inallthings.

April 2022 EPC financial report: PMA support behind budget, designated giving up 22 percent over 2021

 

Per Member Asking (PMA) contributions to the Office of the General Assembly in fiscal year 2022 (FY22) through April 30 total $1,946,152. The total is $76,977 (3.8 percent) less than the $2,023,129 FY22 PMA support projection to fund the EPC’s Collaborative Ministries, Connectional Support, and Custodial Operations. April PMA support was $183,842—$23,138 less than the monthly projected budget amount of $206,980.

PMA contributions through 10 months of FY22 (which runs from July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022) are $88,819 (4.4 percent) behind the $2,034,971 contributed over the same period in FY21.

“I am very grateful that so many of our churches remain faithful to support the mission and vision of the EPC through their PMA,” said Stated Clerk Dean Weaver. “The downward trend is concerning, but our Lord owns the cattle on a thousand hills. That truth gives me peace that even during rampant inflation and economic hardship for so many, that He is able to do more than we could ever ask or think. I continue to pray that we close the growing budget gap over the last two months of the fiscal year.”

Of the $1,946,152 received, $389,230 (20 percent) was contributed to EPC World Outreach.

In addition to PMA contributions, $5,724,144 in designated gifts were received through April 30. This total was $1,032,471 (22.0 percent) more than the $4,691,673 in designated gifts received in the same period in FY21. Much of the increase over the previous fiscal year can be attributed to nearly $400,000 donated to Ukraine relief through the EPC’s International Disaster Relief Fund and $275,000 donated through the Domestic Emergency Relief Fund following Hurricane Ida’s landfall in Louisiana in August 2021.

“While I hope and pray that our PMA support catches up, the generosity of the EPC when disaster strikes has gone way beyond what we could have imagined,” Weaver said. “I have no doubt that God is going to continue to use those sacrificial gifts to His glory in Eastern Europe and elsewhere around the world.”

Of the total, $5,281,570 was designated for World Outreach workers and projects, and $442,573 was designated for EPC projects. These amounts only reflect gifts received and distributed by the Office of the General Assembly, and do not reflect donations given directly to WO global workers or other projects.

Designated gifts include support for World Outreach global workers and projects, and contributions to EPC Special Projects such as Emergency Relief, church planting and church health initiatives, and the EPC’s Thanksgiving and Christmas offerings.

International Disaster Relief Fund receives $437,000 to date

 

As of Thursday, May 5, $437,481 has been donated to the EPC’s International Disaster Relief Fund. This amount includes two separate gifts of $50,000 each and nine additional donations of $10,000 or more.

“I should never be surprised at the generosity of the EPC when people are in need,” said Dean Weaver, EPC Stated Clerk. “Our churches and church members have demonstrated God’s love over and over again when the need is the greatest.”

The fund was launched on March 1 in response to the crisis in Ukraine, with contributions to the fund currently being sent to EPC partners in Eastern Europe that are helping with refugee efforts.

Bruce Anderson, Director of the International Theological Education Network of EPC World Outreach, said donations are meeting humanitarian needs, including “tons and tons of food supplies for people who are running out of food. They have no access and are even running out of water.”

He added that some of the money was used to distribute Bibles, Christian literature, trauma kits and medicine, as well as purchasing two vehicles being used for evacuation efforts.

Bruce Anderson

“Our friends have distributed 1 million prayer, Scripture, and gospel booklets that were printed up in the Ukrainian language and distributed inside Ukraine for people who are broken and crying out to God,” he said. “Many of them are not yet followers of the Lord but are turning toward Him.”

Anderson reported that $115,000 in donations recently wired arrived “just in time.”

“Our partner in Poland sent me a text message in which he told me that they had 20 tons of food, medicine, and essential items ready for shipping, but another partner had not sent them the money for the transportation cost. They feel the urgency, right? They know people are dying and are being traumatized, and they are going to send the supplies without having money,” Anderson said.

“So his text says, ‘we prayed this morning about funds NOW—N.O.W. capitals—for this transportation. After the prayer, I opened the account and received the EPC gift for Ukraine. God is great! Praise the Lord for His timing!’”

Anderson noted that donations are not only helping provide material assistance, but also arrived in “God’s time” for those ministry partners “to know, as he said to me, that God is with us and the EPC is with us and we are not alone.”

Click here to donate to the International Disaster Relief Fund.

The purpose of the Fund is to help relieve suffering when needs arise round the world that are outside the scope of the domestic EPC Emergency Relief Fund, which is used for situations in North America.

“In All Things” podcast episode 23 features Joe Kim, Philadelphia church planter and EPC Moderator-elect

 

Episode 23 of the EPC’s podcast, “In All Things,” features Joe Kim, church planting pastor of Hope Philly Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, Pa. This week, host Dean Weaver and Kim discuss the church planting strategy of establishing community around Christianity, Kim’s perspective on being Asian-American during the cultural firestorms of 2020-2021, and how he accepted the Nominating Committee’s invitation to serve as Moderator-elect of the 42nd General Assembly.

Episodes are available on a variety of podcast platforms, including Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podbean, Spotify, and others. Search “In All Things” on any of these services.

The audio recordings also are available on the EPC website at www.epc.org/inallthings.

General Assembly Networking Lunches offer connection, equipping

 

Networking Lunches at the EPC 42nd General Assembly provide opportunity for GA participants to connect with others with similar ministry interests. Networking Lunches are held on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, June 22-24, from 12:00-1:15 p.m. at Ward Church in Northville, Mich. For more information about each lunch, see www.epc.org/ga2022networkinglunches.

Wednesday, June 22

  • Building Retirement Savings and Tax-Exempt Housing Expense Withdrawal (hosted by Bart Francescone, Executive Director of EPC Benefit Resources, Inc.).
  • Christians Need to be Evangelized, Too (hosted by Cameron Shaffer and the Westminster Society).
  • Church Planters and Friends (hosted by Rodger Woodworth and the EPC Church Planting Team).
  • Developing Six Key Relationships to Avoid Burnout (hosted by Jay Fowler and Clark Tanner of PastorServe).
  • Empowering Leaders to Spark Disciple-Making Movements (hosted by Marcos Ortega and The Antioch Room).
  • Guarding Your Soul While Caring for the Soul of Others (hosted by Jan McCormack, Associate Professor and Chair of the Chaplaincy and Pastoral Counseling Programs at Denver Seminary).
  • Offering Grace and Truth: The Transgender Experience (hosted by Scott Kingry, Program Director for Where Grace Abounds).
  • Strengthening Our Leadership Relationships (hosted by Roy Yanke, Executive Director of PIR Ministries).
  • The Evangelistic Challenge to the Pro-Life Church (hosted by Deborah Hollifield, Executive Director of Presbyterians Protecting Life).
  • The Opportunity to Recharge a Church During a Pastoral Transition (hosted by Bob Stauffer and the EPC Church Heath Team).
  • Women’s Connection Lunch (hosted by Rachel White and the Ward Church Women’s Ministry).
  • World Outreach Master Plan (hosted by Gabriel de Guia, Executive Director of EPC World Outreach).

Thursday, June 23

  • Female Teaching Elders and Ordination Candidates (hosted by Carolyn Poteet and the Presbytery of the Alleghenies).
  • How to Flourish in the Grind of Ministry—Caring for Your Soul (hosted by Jay Fowler and Clark Tanner of PastorServe).
  • International Theological Education Network (hosted by Bruce Anderson, Director of the International Theological Education Network of EPC World Outreach).
  • Reaching the Next Generation Next Door to Your Church (hosted by Jen Burkholder, Director of Strategic Partnerships for the Coalition for Christian Outreach).
  • Re-Equip: Your Church as Seminary (hosted by Scott Manor, President of Knox Theological Seminary).
  • Revelation 7:9 (hosted by Rufus Smith and the EPC Revelation 7:9 Task Force).
  • Spiritual Friendship: A Practice of Vocational Resilience and Resistance (hosted by Brandon Addison, Denver City Network Leader for the Made to Flourish Network).
  • The Opportunity to Recharge a Church During a Pastoral Transition (hosted by Bob Stauffer and the EPC Church Heath Team).
  • What Does Your Personal Well-being Look Like? (hosted by Bart Francescone, Executive Director of EPC Benefit Resources, Inc.).
  • World Outreach Engage 2025 (hosted by EPC World Outreach).

Friday, June 24

  • B.O.O.M.: Boomers Out On Mission (hosted by Ken Priddy and the GO Center of the Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic).
  • Building Retirement Savings and Tax-Exempt Housing Expense Withdrawal (hosted by Bart Francescone, Executive Director of EPC Benefit Resources, Inc.)
  • Creative Outreach with Your Community and Beyond (hosted by Michelle Munger and the Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic).
  • Discipling Through Deconstruction (hosted by Nicole Unice and the Ward Church Women’s Ministry).
  • Executive Pastors and Church Administrators (hosted by Patrick Coelho, CFO for the EPC Office if the General Assembly).
  • Faith and Work Ministry at Your Church (hosted by Brandon Addison, Denver city leader for the Made to Flourish Network, and Case Thorp, Orlando city leader for the Made to Flourish Network).
  • Sharing the Gospel in Times of Tumult: Ancient Wisdom for New Challenges (hosted by Joey Sherrard and the Westminster Society).
  • The Essential Role of the Smaller Church (hosted by Roy Yanke and Ed McCallum of the EPC Smaller Church Network).

For more information about the 42nd General Assembly, including online registration, schedule, and more, see www.epc.org/ga2022.

“In All Things” podcast episode 22 describes EPC Ukraine relief efforts with Bruce Anderson

 

Episode 22 of the EPC’s podcast, “In All Things,” features Bruce Anderson, Founder and Coordinator of the International Theological Education Network (ITEN) of EPC World Outreach. This week, host Dean Weaver and Anderson discuss how relationships built over more than two decades of ministry in Eastern Europe are providing avenues for donations to the EPC’s International Disaster Relief Fund to be put to immediate use helping people suffering in the war in Ukraine.

Episodes are available on a variety of podcast platforms, including Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podbean, Spotify, and others. Search “In All Things” on any of these services.

The audio recordings also are available on the EPC website at www.epc.org/inallthings.

2022 Leadership Institute features Ed Stetzer, Vincent Bacote, Andrew Brunson, practical training workshops

 

Ed Stetzer, Vincent Bacote, and Andrew Brunson highlight the slate of keynote speakers for the Evangelical Presbyterian Church’s seventh annual Leadership Institute. The Institute is a strategic component of the EPC’s 42nd General Assembly, to be held June 21-24 at Ward Church in Northville, Mich.

Bacote, Professor of Theology and Director of the Center for Applied Christian Ethics at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill., will address “Pursuit of Public Fidelity” on Tuesday, June 21. Bacote will be joined by Sandy Willson, Pastor Emeritus of Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis, Tenn.

Bacote and Willson will consider whether Christians have (or need) permission to engage the public square, and what it means to reflect Christlikeness in public practice. In addition, they will discuss the tension between allegiance to a nation and/or a political party and ultimate allegiance to Christ.

The Tuesday afternoon keynote speaker is Ed Stetzer, Dean of the School of Mission, Ministry, and Leadership at Wheaton College, where he also serves as Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center. He holds two earned master’s degrees and two doctorates, has trained pastors and church planters on six continents, and has written hundreds of articles and 12 books. He is Regional Director for Lausanne North America, is the editor-in-chief of Outreach Magazine, and is frequently cited in, interviewed by, and writes for news outlets such as USA Today and CNN. He also is the Founding Editor of The Gospel Project, a curriculum used by more than 1.7 million individuals each week.

Wednesday plenary co-speakers are Andrew Brunson and Brad Strait. Their three-part presentation is titled “Persecution: Building Effective Biblical Leadership through Global Movement Wisdom.” The three sessions are titled “Situational Awareness: Is Persecution Coming for the American Church?” “Effective Shepherding: How Can We Help God’s People Through Tough Times?” and “Panel Discussion: Real Lessons from Real Persecution.”

Brunson was detained in a Turkish prison for two years on charges of terrorism before being convicted and subsequently released on the equivalent of time served in October 2018. Strait, Senior Pastor of Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church in Englewood, Colo., served as Moderator of the EPC’s 41st General Assembly.

The panel discussion will include Erick Schenkel, Executive Director of Cru’s The JESUS Film Project; Setan Lee, an EPC Teaching Elder who survived the “killing fields” genocide in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge regime of Pol Pot in the 1970s; and Clay Jones, Director of Second Glance Ministries and former Executive Administrator of The Power Team.

Effective Biblical Leadership

In addition to the plenary sessions, five ministry-specific leadership development gatherings will be available on Tuesday, June 21.

  • Chaplains Workshop, featuring Jan McCormack, Chair of the Chaplaincy and Pastoral Counseling Programs at Denver Seminary, and Mark Ingles, EPC Chaplain Endorser. McCormack will lead sessions on “The Role of Spirituality and Religion in Crisis and Disasters,” “Religious Accommodations is the Boss’ Decision,” and “Moral Injury Affects Everyone.”
  • Church Health / Church Planting, led by Stetzer, Jimmy Scroggins, and Todd Thomas. Scroggins serves as Lead Pastor of Family Church in West Palm Beach, Fla, and the developer of the Three Circles personal evangelism resource. Thomas serves as Campus Pastor of Family Church Sherbrooke in Lake Worth, Fla.
  • Trafficking In Our Backyards: A Survivor-led Conversation on Domestic Sex Trafficking, led by Bonnie Gatchell, Executive Director of Route One Ministry.
  • Understanding Evangelism: Biblical, Theological, and Historical Reflections on Evangelism in the Reformed Tradition. The Westminster Society’s annual workshop features sessions on “Evangelism in Colonial Presbyterianism,” “Evangelism and Mission in the Old and New Testaments,” “Evangelism in the Established Scottish Kirk and the Dissenting Irish Church,” and “The Art of Manfishing.” The workshop is led by EPC Teaching Elders Don Fortson, Zach Hopkins, Scott Redd, Scott Sealy, and Aaron White.
  • World Outreach Master Plan discussion, led by Rick Dietzman, Chairman of the EPC World Outreach Committee; Gabriel de Guia, Executive Director of EPC World Outreach; and Jason Dunn, Associate Director of EPC World Outreach.

Each of these workshops is open to anyone attending the 42nd General Assembly.

See www.epc.org/ga2022leadershipinstitute for more information on the Leadership Institute, including full seminar descriptions, times, and speaker bios.

See www.epc.org/ga2022 for more information about the 42nd General Assembly, including a full schedule, links to online registration, and more.

March 2022 EPC financial report: PMA support lags, designated giving up 20 percent over 2021

 

As of March 31, Per Member Asking (PMA) contributions received by the Office of the General Assembly since the July 1 start of the EPC’s fiscal year total $1,762,310. The amount is $53,839 (3 percent) less than the $1,816,149 budgeted projection to support the EPC’s Collaborative Ministries, Connectional Support, and Custodial Operations. March PMA contributions were $204,964.

Fiscal-year-to-date contributions are $48,115 (2.7 percent) less than the 1,810,425 received from July 1, 2020, through March 31, 2021.

“As we noted last month, we are experiencing the effects of high inflation and economic uncertainty,” said Dean Weaver, EPC Stated Clerk. “But God is so good—all the time. I am very thankful that our churches continue to demonstrate their support of the EPC through their financial support. Our staff at the Office of the General Assembly also continues to exhibit excellent stewardship, as we are $23,000 under budget in our spending.”

Of the $1,762,310 received, $352,462 (20 percent) was contributed to EPC World Outreach.

In addition to PMA contributions, $5,043,020 in designated gifts were received through March 31. This total is $862,965 (20.6 percent) higher than the $4,180,055 in designated gifts received from July 1 through March 31, 2021. Designated gifts include support for World Outreach global workers and projects, and contributions to EPC Special Projects such as the Domestic Emergency Relief Fund, church planting and church health initiatives, and the EPC’s holiday offerings.

Of the total, $4,617,731 was designated for World Outreach workers and projects, and $425,289 was designated for EPC projects. These amounts only reflect gifts received and distributed by the Office of the General Assembly, and do not reflect donations given directly to WO global workers or other projects.

“In the midst of our current economic climate, individuals and churches gave more than $220,000 to our International Disaster Relief Fund since we launched it on March 1,” Weaver said. “Those donations have been sent to our partners in Eastern Europe, who are helping Ukrainian refugees and sharing the gospel with thousands of people. And I know many of our churches have set up relief efforts of their own. As we have seen over and over again through the years, when needs are great the people of the EPC answer the call.”

“In All Things” podcast episode 20 explains EPC Fraternal Relations with Alan Trafford

 

Episode 20 of the EPC’s podcast, “In All Things,” features Alan Trafford, Senior Pastor of Covenant Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Lake Jackson, Texas, and Chairman of the EPC Fraternal Relations Committee. This week, host Dean Weaver and Trafford discuss what fraternal relationships are, and how a formalized relationship between the denomination and groups with the same theological basis as the EPC can serve and benefit both. In addition, Trafford describes his ministry path from England to Texas.

Episodes are available on a variety of podcast platforms, including Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podbean, Spotify, and others. Search “In All Things” on any of these services.

The audio recordings also are available on the EPC website at www.epc.org/inallthings.

42nd General Assembly registration open

 

Online registration for the 42nd General Assembly is now open. The Assembly meets June 21-24 at Ward Church in Northville, Mich. The theme of this year’s annual meeting is “Recharge,” based on Acts 1:8. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

The annual Leadership Institute will feature five plenary speakers and five ministry-specific leadership development gatherings, each of which is open to all General Assembly attendees:

  • Chaplains Workshop, featuring Jan McCormack, Chair of the Chaplaincy and Pastoral Counseling Programs at Denver Seminary, and Mark Ingles, EPC Chaplain Endorser. McCormack will lead sessions on “The Role of Spirituality and Religion in Crisis and Disasters,” “Religious Accommodation is the Boss’ Decision,” and “Moral Injury Affects Everyone.”
  • Church Health and Church Planting, led by Ed Stetzer, Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College; Jimmy Scroggins, Lead Pastor of Family Church in West Palm Beach, Fla.; and Todd Thomas, Campus Pastor of Family Church Sherbrooke in Lake Worth, Fla.
  • Trafficking In Our Backyards, led by Bonnie Gatchell, Executive Director of Route One Ministries in Boston, Mass.
  • Understanding Evangelism: Biblical, Theological, and Historical Reflections on Evangelism in the Reformed Tradition, hosted by the Westminster Society. Topics include Evangelism in Colonial Presbyterianism, Evangelism and Mission in the Old and New Testaments, Evangelism in the Established Scottish Kirk and the Dissenting Irish Church, and The Art of Manfishing.
  • World Outreach Revised Master Plan, led by Gabriel de Guia, Executive Director of EPC World Outreach.

The Tuesday morning plenary session, “Pursuit of Public Fidelity,” will be led by Vincent Bacote and Sandy Willson. Their discussion will consider not only whether Christians have (or need) permission to engage the public square, but also what it means to reflect Christlikeness in public practice, as well as what to make of the typically slow rate of social change and the tension between relative allegiance to a nation and/or a political party and ultimate allegiance to Christ.

Bacote serves as Professor of Theology and Director of the Center for Applied Christian Ethics at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill. Willson is Pastor Emeritus of Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis, Tenn.

The Tuesday afternoon keynote speaker is Ed Stetzer, Dean of the School of Mission, Ministry, and Leadership at Wheaton College, where he also serves as Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center.

The Wednesday afternoon plenary speakers are Andrew Brunson and Brad Strait. Their presentation, “Persecution: Building Effective Biblical Leadership through Global Movement Wisdom,” includes a panel discussion on “Real Lessons from Real Persecution” with Erick Schenkel, Setan Lee, and Clay Jones.

Brunson and his wife, Norine, were involved in starting churches, training, aid to refugees, and a house of prayer in Turkey for 23 years until being falsely accused of terrorism in October 2016. He remained imprisoned for two years. Their current ministry—WaveStarters—was birthed as Andrew’s prayer in 2007 to “draw me so close to your heart that you will be able to trust me with the authority to start waves.” WaveStarters is focused on the Muslim world, the persecuted church, and preparing the next generation to stand in difficult times.

Brad Strait, Moderator of the EPC’s 41st General Assembly, serves as Senior Pastor of Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church in Englewood, Colo.

Schenkel serves with Cru as Executive Director of The JESUS Film Project. Lee is an EPC Teaching Elder who survived the “killing fields” genocide in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge regime of Pol Pot in the 1970s. Jones leads Second Glance Ministries, which focuses on sexual abuse, sexual trafficking, and pornography issues.

The first of five business sessions convenes on Wednesday afternoon, June 22, at 4:00 p.m. (Eastern). Business sessions continue on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. and 1:45 p.m.; and Friday at 11:00 a.m. and 1:45 p.m.

Worship service speakers include:

  • Julie Hawkins, Nest Steps Pastor for Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church in Gig Harbor, Wash.
  • Scott McKee, Senior Pastor of Ward Church.
  • Terence Gray, Assistant Pastor at Ward Church.
  • Marcelo Robles, Senior Pastor of La Misión Church in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  • Brad Strait, Moderator of the 41st General Assembly.

Other gatherings include a wide variety of Networking Lunches each day, as well as World Outreach, women’s ministry, and ministry wives.

For complete information, see www.epc.org/ga2022.

National Church Health Team developing personal evangelism resource based on Three Circles method

 

When it comes to healthy church growth, evangelism should be a primary means of adding people to the church. The church is strengthened spiritually and numerically when the gospel is proclaimed, and the Holy Spirit enables people to respond by grace through faith.

Bob Stauffer

Bob Stauffer, EPC National Director of Church Health, said that the unfortunate reality is that churches often experience a disconnect between understanding evangelism’s role in church growth and becoming a church that actively evangelizes. Church leadership must both value evangelism and teach members how to share their faith, Stauffer often says. However, a 2019 Lifeway Research survey found that 55 percent of people who attended church at least once per month reported that they had not shared with someone how to become a Christian in the past six months.

“Over my many—many—years in ministry, one thing I can almost always count on is that an evangelistic church is much more likely to be a healthy church,” Stauffer noted. “One of the first things we wanted to do as a Church Health Team is offer a resource that can help our congregations in the area of knowing how to share their faith.”

Turning Everyday Conversations into Gospel Conversations (and companion Life on Mission smartphone app) and its Three Circles evangelism method is the resource Stauffer and his team are starting with for a clear, practical, and simple approach to personal evangelism.

Developed by Jimmy Scroggins, Lead Pastor at Family Church in West Palm Beach, Fla., Three Circles is a simple way to explain the gospel through the lens of God’s design: sin’s entrance into the world and the brokenness it creates, and how the gospel of Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection gives people the means to recover and pursue God’s design for their lives and the created order.

If a narrative of God’s design, our brokenness, and the redeeming power of the gospel sound familiar, it’s because the language echoes ideas Reformed thinkers have articulated for years—often using the terms creation-fall-redemption-consummation.

But why base a resource on a specific evangelism method? Why not endorse several—or let churches choose their own method?

The Church Health Team believes that if churches have to select their own evangelism method, the chances are good that they will pick nothing.

Glenn Meyers

“It can be a real challenge to encourage people to share their faith in ways that are practical and doable,” said Glenn Meyers, Pastor of Ardara United Presbyterian Church in Ardara, Pa. Meyers is a member of the Church Health Team and also is current Chairman of the EPC National Leadership Team. “Because Three Circles is simple, graphic, and adaptable, this tool is just what we needed.”

Over the past few months, two Family Church pastors have conducted Three Circles training with various groups in the EPC. These include nearly 150 attendees at the fall meeting of the Presbytery of Alleghenies, and the January meeting of the National Leadership Team at the Office of the General Assembly in Orlando.

Meyers attended both meetings and has since shared the Three Circles model with the congregation’s junior and senior high school students. He also plans to train church’s elders and deacons in how to use it.

“By training the entire church in the same evangelism model, we will have a shared language of evangelism—a vocabulary that translates across groups in the church,” Meyers said. “I hope this shared language will strengthen a culture of evangelism in the church.”

Stauffer noted that what’s true in one church can be true across the denomination.

“If churches embrace the Three Circles method and use it to actively evangelize, I believe an EPC denominational culture of evangelism will grow and flourish,” he said. “The best place to start is the Turning Everyday Conversations into Gospel Conversations book and Life On Mission app.”

Scroggins will lead an evangelism training session on Tuesday morning at the 42nd General Assembly, June 21-24 at Ward Church in suburban Detroit. Registration opens on April 1.

“I believe God is preparing us to be actively involved in the ongoing outreach of His gospel love, all to the growth and the glory of His Kingdom,” Meyers said. “The Three Circles are going to be a handy tool.”

by Megan Fowler
EPConnection correspondent

February 2022 EPC financial report: PMA support dips, behind 2021 pace

 

Contributions to Per Member Asking (PMA) in fiscal year 2022 (FY22) received by the Office of the General Assembly through February 28 total $1,557,346. The total is $42,638 (2.6 percent) less than the $1,599,346 FY22 PMA support projection to fund the EPC’s Collaborative Ministries, Connectional Support, and Custodial Operations. February PMA support was $135,767—$36,293 less than the monthly projected budget amount of $172,060.

PMA contributions through two-thirds of FY22 (which runs from July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022) are $28,000 (0.4 percent) behind the $1,585,346 contributed over the same period in FY21.

“The rate of inflation in our country is hurting everyone—including our churches,” said Stated Clerk Dean Weaver. “I am so thankful for the continued support in this current financial climate. I also am grateful that our staff has been very careful with expenses—which to date are about $55,000 under budget. Yet I pray we can close the budget gap in the final four months of the fiscal year.”

Of the $1,557,346 received, $311,469 (20 percent) was contributed to EPC World Outreach.

In addition to PMA contributions, $4,286,220 in designated gifts were received through February 28. This total was $598,663 (16.2 percent) more than the $3,687,557 in designated gifts received in the same period in FY21. Much of the increase over the previous fiscal year can be attributed to more than $286,000 donated to the EPC’s Domestic Emergency Relief Fund in response to Hurricane Ida’s destruction across Louisiana in September 2021, and more than $264,000 in additional donations to World Outreach workers and initiatives.

Of the total, $3,878,868 was designated for World Outreach workers and projects, and $407,352 was designated for EPC projects. These amounts only reflect gifts received and distributed by the Office of the General Assembly, and do not reflect donations given directly to WO global workers or other projects.

Designated gifts include support for World Outreach global workers and projects, and contributions to EPC Special Projects such as Emergency Relief, church planting and revitalization initiatives, and the EPC’s Thanksgiving and Christmas offerings.

Jerry Iamurri to assume missions agency leadership post

 

Jerry Iamurri, EPC Assistant Stated Clerk, has been named the Chief Executive Officer of InFaith.org, effective April 4. InFaith is an evangelical, non-denominational ministry based in suburban Philadelphia. Iamurri said the organization serves some of the most “overlooked and underserved” people in the United States through nearly 200 U.S.-based missionaries.

“These missionaries serve in urban ministry, rural ministry, church planting, discipleship, children and youth ministries, chaplaincy, prison ministry, camps, and much more,” Iamurri said.

“I am deeply disappointed personally to not have opportunity to continue to serve with Jerry,” said Dean Weaver, EPC Stated Clerk. “However, I am thrilled for the opportunity he and his wife, Sandi, are stepping in to. I know God will use Jerry in mighty ways leading InFaith, just as He has used him in the EPC.”

Iamurri has served Assistant Stated Clerk since 2017. He previously served as Pastor of Bethany Presbyterian Church in Havertown, Pa. Under his leadership, the congregation transitioned to the EPC in 2012. Iamurri previously served Presbyterian congregations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Texas. In addition to his ministry experience, Iamurri was an Assistant District Attorney for the Philadelphia (Pa.) District Attorney’s Office from 1999 to 2003.

He also is a former chairman of the EPC Ministerial Vocation Committee.

“I have been incredibly blessed to serve the EPC over the past five years,” Iamurri said. “It’s been a privilege, pleasure, and the greatest blessing of my life. With this new call from the Lord, I am looking forward to helping InFaith reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ, as we do in the EPC.”

EPC World Outreach to hold weekly virtual prayer meetings for Ukraine

 

In response to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and eastern Europe, EPC World Outreach is hosting virtual prayer gatherings at 11:00 a.m. (Eastern) each Thursday in March. The meetings will be held via Zoom and are available to all with registration required.

Gabriel de Guia

“We held a virtual prayer gathering on short notice last Thursday, and more than 100 people registered,” said Gabriel de Guia, Executive Director of World Outreach. “It was a powerful time of intercession, as well as an opportunity to hear reports from the field—glimpses of what God’s people are doing in this crisis to meet the needs of many in Ukraine, Poland, Czech Republic, and Russia.”

In addition, de Guia said opportunities for assistance were “talked about and prayed over.”

“We have many opportunities to come alongside this gospel work and how the EPC International Disaster Relief Fund will be used in sending resources to those engaged on the front lines,” de Guia explained. He said World Outreach is focusing on three strategic locations to deploy donations to the EPC’s International Disaster Relief Fund:

1. Poland. Bruce Anderson, Director of World Outreach’s International Theological Education Network (ITEN), is coordinating with a long-time trusted ministry partner in Lublin, Poland. Donations would support threefold efforts:

  1. Assisting Christian chaplains in Ukraine who bring medicines, medical supplies, other personal supplies, and gospel ministry to soldiers throughout Ukraine. These chaplains do not carry weapons but need helmets and vests.
  2. Help evacuate disadvantaged people in Ukraine who are at particular risk.
  3. Help provide food, clothing, housing arrangements, and other necessities of Ukrainian refugees coming to Lublin.

2. Hungary. World Outreach global workers who live in Hungary are already housing two families who have fled Ukraine. Opportunities to help other families increase by the moment.

3. Czech Republic. A ministry partner of Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tenn., is involved with ministry to refugees in Prague. He is in Prague now, assessing the situation firsthand. Ministry teams are responding to an absence of any organization as busloads of Ukrainians are dropped off at stations with nowhere to go to provide shelter and basic needs.

“There’s constant flux in this chaotic moment and other opportunities will arise,” de Guia said. “But for now, these are the clearest ones for us to engage in based on trusted relationships.”

Click here to register for the prayer gathering. Click here to donate to the International Disaster Relief Fund.

“In All Things” podcast episode 15 explores church planting in the EPC with Tom Ricks

 

Episode 15 of the EPC’s podcast, “In All Things,” features Tom Ricks, leader of the EPC’s Church Planting Team. This week, host Dean Weaver and Ricks discuss why church planting is a strategic priority in the denomination. Ricks also shares poignant memories of Kirk Adkisson, planting pastor of All Souls Church in Nashville, Tenn., who died on February 19.

Episodes are available on a variety of podcast platforms, including Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podbean, Spotify, and others. Search “In All Things” on any of these services.

The audio recordings also are available on the EPC website at www.epc.org/inallthings.

International Disaster Relief Fund launched as Ukraine crisis widens

 

The EPC has launched an international disaster relief fund to help relieve suffering when needs arise round the world that are outside the scope of the domestic EPC Emergency Relief Fund, used for situations in North America.

“The crisis in Ukraine is dire, and we are called to help as we are able,” said Dean Weaver, EPC Stated Clerk. “Our existing relief fund is not set up for this type of need. This new fund will provide a way for people to give when disaster strikes in areas where we work but where we don’t have EPC churches.”

Weaver noted that donations to the fund will be forwarded to EPC World Outreach workers “on the ground” in affected areas, international ministry partners, or to appropriate other agencies and organizations at the discretion of EPC leadership.

“The need right now is almost unfathomable with the mass migration of displaced people fleeing Ukraine,” said Gabriel de Guia, Executive Director of EPC World Outreach. “Women and children are leaving the country with little more than the clothes on their backs, while the men are required to stay behind and fight. It’s heartbreaking to think that for some of them it is their last goodbye.”

Click here to donate to the International Disaster Relief Fund.

Contributions are tax-deductible, and donations that exceed directly related disbursements will be held for other international humanitarian disaster relief situations.

Thank you for providing help to those in need.

Prayer requested for Ukraine

 

The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), of which the EPC is a member, joins the European Evangelical Alliance (EEA) in condemning the violation of international law by Russia and calling for an immediate end to the attacks on Ukraine. WEA and EEA also call upon churches around the world to pray for restoration of peace.

“We join our brothers and sisters around the world in prayer for peace in Ukraine,” said Dean Weaver, EPC Stated Clerk. “May God grant peace and safety to those in harm’s way. We pray that God would use this tragic situation for His ultimate glory, and that Ukrainians and Russians alike will come to know the Lord Jesus as their Savior in the midst of this crisis.”

Thomas Schirrmacher, WEA Secretary General Bishop, said, “We are gravely concerned to yet again witness armed conflict that will inevitably lead to tragic loss of human lives, including innocent civilians who only desire to live in peace. We call for an end to the hostilities, an immediate ceasefire, and respect for Ukrainian territorial integrity. We also call on the global Christian community to pray for peace in Ukraine. Europe has witnessed the horrors of war in the past and has learned that armed conflict and military occupation only bring suffering and devastating.”

The European Evangelical Alliance released the following statement:

“The European Evangelical Alliance condemns all attacks upon Ukraine. General Secretary Thomas Bucher said, ‘We see no justification for these actions and are deeply distressed by the death, destruction, chaos, and misery that will result.’ The EEA calls upon Christians to pray for all who suffer and for those who have the power to save lives and bring humanitarian aid and protection. And let us pray for all those with the power to stop the war and to bring about long-term peace.”

Formed in 1846, the WEA seeks to strengthen local churches through national alliances, supporting and coordinating grassroots leadership and seeking practical ways of showing the unity of the body of Christ. For more information, see www.worldea.org.

The EEA exists to foster unity and evangelical identity and provide a voice and platform to evangelical Christians. Seeking empowerment by the Holy Spirit, it extends the Kingdom of God by proclamation of the gospel to all nations and by Christ-centered transformation within society. For more information, see www.europeanea.org.

January 2022 EPC financial report: PMA support outpaces January 2021, designated giving up 15 percent

 

As of January 31, Per Member Asking (PMA) contributions received by the Office of the General Assembly since the July 1 start of the EPC’s fiscal year total $1,421,979. The amount is $12,157 more than the $1,409,822 received from July 1, 2020, through January 31, 2021.

January PMA contributions were $181,693. This brings the 12-month rolling average for monthly support to $198,187—an increase of 3.1 percent over the $195,210 monthly rolling average as of January 31, 2021.

While PMA contributions are up in fiscal year 2022 (FY22) compared to FY21, year-to-date contributions are $5,944 below the $1,427,923 budgeted projection to support the EPC’s Collaborative Ministries, Connectional Support, and Custodial Operations.

“I am so very grateful that our churches continue to demonstrate commitment to the EPC with their PMA contributions,” said Dean Weaver, EPC Stated Clerk. “That support continues to run ahead of last year, and with January’s contributions we have almost closed the budget gap.”

Of the $1,421,979 received, $284,396 (20 percent) was contributed to EPC World Outreach.

In addition to PMA contributions, $3,895,904 in designated gifts were received through January 31. This total was $503,542 (15.1 percent) higher than the $3,342,362 in designated gifts received from July 1 through January 31, 2021. Designated gifts include support for World Outreach global workers and projects, and contributions to EPC Special Projects such as Emergency Relief, church planting and revitalization initiatives, and the EPC’s holiday offerings.

Of the total, $3,472,453 was designated for World Outreach workers and projects, and $373,451 was designated for EPC projects. These amounts only reflect gifts received and distributed by the Office of the General Assembly, and do not reflect donations given directly to WO global workers or other projects.

Collaboration Team seeks to grow inter-department discussion, ministry efforts

 

Led by Michael Davis, the EPC’s Chief Collaboration Officer, representatives from a variety of EPC ministries and committees met via video conference on February 10 to cultivate and enhance ministry efforts. The goal of the monthly meetings is to enhance alignment between the Office of the General Assembly, EPC World Outreach, the Next Generation Ministries Council, the Revelation 7:9 Task Force, and other permanent and interim committees of the denomination.

“God has always made sure that we had a redemptive plan, not just for the here-and-now, but for the generations to come,” Davis said. “In our mission, vision, and every component in which we do our ministry, it’s not just to think about what we are doing now but how it will affect generations down the road.”

He emphasized that the next generation of leaders in the EPC—whether they serve in the local church, on the mission field, or in denominational staff roles—are affected “by what we do now. We are not just seeking to be effective and efficient in aligning the strategic priorities for strategy’s sake. We want to align so we look like a puzzle that’s all together and not separated into our parts.”

Davis also noted the strategic priorities of Multiplication (church planting), Transformation (church health), Global Movement, and Effective Biblical Leadership “are not just a good idea. We are setting the landscape and the trajectory to teach our children, and hopefully their children’s children, how to effectively win people for the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The group discussed ways to identify and enhance alignment, as well as some tactics for collaborating across the various committees and ministry areas.

Joining Davis were Gabriel de Guia, Executive Director of EPC World Outreach; Jason Dunn, Associate Director of World Outreach; Greg Aydt, Chairman of the Next Generation Ministries Council; Andrew Smith, Co-Chairman of the Revelation 7:9 Task Force; Dean Weaver, EPC Stated Clerk; Jerry Iamurri, EPC Assistant Stated Clerk; Brian Smith, EPC Director of Communications and Digital Strategies; and Vanessa Mullendore, Strategic Priorities Administrative Assistant.

“In All Things” podcast episode 12 features longtime EPC pastor and author Rodger Woodworth

 

Episode 12 of the EPC’s podcast, “In All Things,” features Rodger Woodworth, Pastor of New City Church in Pittsburgh, Pa., and author of several books. This week, host Dean Weaver talks to Woodworth about his experience in cross-cultural church planting, English philosopher and theologian G.K. Chesterton’s notion of the “radical center,” and Woodworth’s recent book, Playing Favorites: Overcoming Our Prejudice to Bridge the Cultural Divide.

Episodes are available on a variety of podcast platforms, including Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podbean, Spotify, and others. Search “In All Things” on any of these services.

The audio recordings also are available on the EPC website at www.epc.org/inallthings.

“In All Things” podcast episode 11 features EPC church health and evangelism initiatives with Bob Stauffer

 

Episode 11 of the EPC’s podcast, “In All Things,” features Bob Stauffer, National Director of Church Health for the denomination. This week, host Dean Weaver and Stauffer discuss the strategies and structures being developed to serve congregations in the areas of church health and personal evangelism. In addition, Stauffer explains the benefits of a Transitional Pastor for a church that is between called pastors.

Episodes are available on a variety of podcast platforms, including Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podbean, Spotify, and others. Search “In All Things” on any of these services.

The audio recordings also are available on the EPC website at www.epc.org/inallthings.

Stated Clerk Dean Weaver launches quarterly strategic-level video series

 

EPC Stated Clerk Dean Weaver has launched a quarterly video series focusing on strategic-level initiatives of the EPC. In the first episode, Weaver recaps the January meeting of the National Leadership Team and some of the topics the group discussed.

“As I say in this first episode, we think it’s valuable to share some topics that our national leaders are discussing,” Weaver said. “We hope it will help our pastors and church leaders stay current on the life of the EPC from a strategic vantagepoint.”

Each episode on the video blog will be hosted on the EPC’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/EPChurch80, as well as posted to the denomination’s news and information channel, EPConnection. The videos also will be available on the EPC’s Facebook page and Twitter feed. Audio podcast versions can be accessed on the EPC’s podcast channel at podcast.epc.org, as well as Spotify and iTunes (search for “Evangelical Presbyterian Church”).

December 2021 EPC financial report: PMA support above 2020, close to budget

 

Contributions to Per Member Asking (PMA) in fiscal year 2022 (FY22) received by the Office of the General Assembly through December 31 total $1,240,286. The amount is only $28,509 (2.2 percent) less than the $1,268,795 FY22 PMA support projection to fund the EPC’s Collaborative Ministries, Connectional Support, and Custodial Operations. December PMA support was $351,348—$8,308 more than the monthly projected budget of $343,020.

PMA contributions in the first half of FY22 (which runs from July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022) are $5,400 (0.4 percent) above the $1,234,886 contributed over the same period in FY21.

“December’s PMA contributions were the highest they’ve been since at least 2018,” said Stated Clerk Dean Weaver. “I am very thankful that our churches continue their strong support of the EPC, and hope we are able to close the remaining budget gap as we enter a new calendar year.”

Of the $1,240,286 received, $248,057 (20 percent) was contributed to EPC World Outreach.

In addition to PMA contributions, $3,393,931 in designated gifts were received through December 31. This total was $474,518 (16.3 percent) more than the $2,919,413 in designated gifts received in the same period in FY21. Much of the increase over the previous fiscal year can be attributed to the more than $242,000 donated to the EPC’s Emergency Relief Fund in response to Hurricane Ida, which struck Louisiana in August 2021.

Of the total, $3,066,522 was designated for World Outreach workers and projects, and $327,410 was designated for EPC projects. These amounts only reflect gifts received and distributed by the Office of the General Assembly, and do not reflect donations given directly to WO global workers or other projects.

Designated gifts include support for World Outreach global workers and projects, and contributions to EPC Special Projects such as Emergency Relief, church planting and revitalization initiatives, and the EPC’s Thanksgiving and Christmas offerings.