Life is made up of incredible webs. I recently saw a spider’s web that had been covered in early morning dew. What a beautiful and intricately designed tool. Each arm of the web reached out and reached in. From the hub to the farthest extremity, and yet connected by both longitude and latitude lines of web. If you will, what we are presenting to you in this paper is like that beautiful web.
Unique and valuable, this issue of The Bible Methodist is a resource that reaches in and reaches out. It stretches across your church and into the center of your soul. It can be the bridge tread that makes it possible for you and your church to more effectively minister to your family, church and community.
You will notice the normal news from each Regional Conference and Bible Methodist Missions. These are a little like the long arms of the web that connect to various regions of the world but connect us to the center. This issue of the paper also provides an exhaustive list of resources that are available to you from people who are part of our community of faith. These resources inter-connect us from side to side from top to bottom, reminding us that we all need anchor points in several directions to keep us properly centered and connected.
In a world that provides more information and knowledge that one can never fully assimilate, we often miss those resources that are most valuable and within our reach. On the following pages you will find sources of excellently prepared material that is presented attractively for your use. Material that is designed to strengthen you, your church and positively impact your community.
Those of us who have a history rooted in the holiness movement have a clear sense of the hesitation to endorse and embrace new methods, especially tools for media. If you will, our carefulness is like the bridge line a spider lays for the construction of his web. The hesitation, without a doubt, rises from a couple deeply attached anchor points of the web. One end is attached to the desire to live so as to please the Lord Jesus. The other end of that bridge line is attached to an understanding that Scripture calls us to a careful and simple lifestyle. Now we may take those anchor points and build a beautiful web with lines of grace, love and mercy or we can use them to create a web of injustice, censoriousness and death.
As you read through the material remember every tool available to the Church can be a line for nourishment and strength or it may be a web line to entangle and destroy. The difference is the leadership and balance the Scripture and the Holy Spirit bring to the structure of our lives and churches.
Every new line in the web we build offers new opportunity for strength. But those new lines must also come under the authority of the Spirit and the Church or they will entangle us in minutiae or dead ritualistic endeavorer.
Please, embrace the new things the Lord is doing through the hearts, dreams, lives and ministry of the people listed in this periodical. As they suit your needs they will offer rich and abundant help to the whole of your life.
Some of the material listed will challenge your soul, material like Dr. Avery’s focus on deeper life. He will call you to embrace holiness from a clearly Biblical prospective .
You will find a list of people whose heart and ministry deal with healing. That healing may need to be spiritual, or relational or emotional. Counsellors like Rebecca Miller, Butch Heath or The Parkers may help save your marriage or your home. If you know people wrestling with addictions I strongly encourage you to contact one or more of these capable people.
Humor and excitement can be found in books. The children’s books written by Burt Cole and Mark Coy will bless your children or grandchildren and they may even help older folk. Valorie Quesenberry reminds women that it is Biblical to be ladies and live beautifully. Pastors Dr. David Bubb and Jon Earls offer books that call us to the Scripture. Larry Smith and Dr. Michael Avery write about who we are and how we should live.
Book sellers like Paul Bundy, William Snider and Bennie Durr offer excellent reading material. They can also help you find out of print material or locate hymnals and Bibles. One of the great needs among the clergy and laity of today’s church are people reading material that challenges mind and stretches soul. You can and should read material written by people of other traditions. But in all your gaining of knowledge, please, please, please don’t abandon the deep and valuable theology and practice that has formed Bible Methodists. You should be reading, living and preaching the theology of Wesley, Asbury and Fletcher and you can locate that kind of material through these book sellers.
Maria Stetler’s article reminds us of the deep importance of having a positive presence on the web (internet). If I could I would challenge every church to have a website! A website is equivalent, in this time, to the yellow pages of 20 years ago. Your church needs to be visible on the internet! If you expect people from your community to attend your church you must purposefully offer them opportunity to know you and to know who you are. Jason Weed does web design professionally. Maria Stetler is well equipped and experienced in constructing and maintaining a presence on digital medial.
Millennials will not follow or participate in an organization that refuses to connect. The most popular social media sites at present are: 1. Facebook with some 2 billion users 2. You Tube recording 1.2 billion users. 3. Instagram with 800 million using their blog posts. 4. Twitter with 330 million users. 5. Pinterest with some 200 million people connected. 6. VK (which is the Russian equivalent to Facebook ) reached 97 mission monthly users and 7. Reddit displays 250 million users on its website. (taken from dream grow.com)
In the book, Handbook of Research on Societal Impact on Digital Media, The author wrote, “Digital media provides an unprecedented opportunity for the whole of society to instantly access instructional content and learn more concepts than any set of humans in recorded history.” In other words, if we are to effectively reach this generation with the message of the gospel we must use all the resources we have available! The web (not the spiders, this time) is certainly not the only tool, but it will be effective if properly constructed and used.
Another new tool we are highlighting is the Discipleship material available through comeafterme.com. Nathan Brown has constructed a site full of very valuable material for your family and church. We must disciple our families and new Christians. Another are of effective training is Shepherds Global Classroom. Tim Keep dreamed of this training vehicle and is seeing a growing list of resources being offered to a large number of people in several nations.
Pulpit ministry, which is the clearest Bible tool of evangelism, discipleship material, theological and practical training, devotional material, recreational and practical material are all available to you through people you know and appreciate. We are blessed to have so many capable and professional people offering their gifts and strengths to us.
Look closely, at the web that is within reach. Reaching across you world is a spiders web of material, people and resources. These resources have the ability to enhance your walk with the Lord, strengthen your church, encourage your family. Reach out and touch the amazing web that is around you.