Archive for the ‘On Our Hearts’ Category

Justice, Compassion, Reconciliation: A Historic Turning Point for the EFCA?

Last month the annual EFCA Theology Conference was held in San Antonio, Texas.  Entitled The Gospel, Compassion and Justice, and the EFCA, the conference featured six speakers who addressed the theme from various angles, with a notable and welcome emphasis on racial reconciliation.  (Click here for a pictorial glimpse of the conference.)

Five of the speakers were persons of color.  To Biblical attentiveness and a constructive tone they added a powerful personal perspective to their talks, making their messages particularly incisive, humbling, and inspiring.  John Perkins, elder statesman of reconciliation in the evangelical church, reminded us of the simple but profound and powerful truth that persons made in the image of God are created to be loved.  At the foot of the cross, all of us are on level ground in need of repentance.  Jarvis Williams taught us about the reconciliation of sinners with each other in the new humanity Christ created through the cross.  Doug Sweeney put our American evangelical heritage in perspective by pointing out the uneven commitment of our forbears to justice and compassion.  Our history is a mix of bright examples and dismal failures.  Carl Ellis brought us perspective from the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.  Danny Carroll taught us Biblical principles of justice and compassion in immigration issues.  Peter Cha outlined a practical pathway for taking incremental steps forward in matters of justice.  He reminded us that justice is not an event, but a journey. (more…)

Thursday, March 8th, 2018 | No Comments »

Please Join Us for the 2018 NCD District Conference!

It is dangerously easy to become so focused on the work we do for God that we neglect our own souls. We can get so caught up in all the preaching, teaching, praying and serving that we forget we are, first and foremost, adopted children of God (as well as valuable workers in the vineyard of the Lord). We do, do, do…and rarely slow down long enough rejoice that God, in his great mercy, rescued us through the incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. And some of us treat rest like a four-letter word or a highly contagious disease.

At the 2018 NCD Conference, we want to remind our NCD pastors and church leaders that that we are followers of Jesus before we are leaders for Jesus. We are beloved children of God, not high-producing employees for his kingdom.  We have been saved by grace, and our salvation continues by grace, not good pastoral works. To that end, we have invited Dr. Constantine Campbell, professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, to come and share God’s word with us. From 1 Peter 1:3-9, we will remember our inheritance, better understand the place of suffering, and refocus on the glorious and inexpressible joy that comes from salvation.

Come join us for a time of nourishment, encouragement, challenge–and maybe even healing–for your own heart and the hearts of your ministry team.  This year, before taking ministry ideas and strategies back to your church, we want you to hear loud and clear who Christ is and how great is the salvation he has won for you.  So come hungry to be fed with heavenly nourishment.  And, of course, come hungry to connect and  reconnect with fellow leaders from around the district, to learn from a variety of workshops, and to engage in district updates, business and prayer.  Registration

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018 | No Comments »


Mission trends are important to look at from time to time to see how the global mission effort is progressing.  Special thanks this month to Aaron Earls, the Online Editor of Facts and Trends.  Take a few minutes to read about these trends.

These 10 trends point to a global church that looks very different from today.

  1. Some Christian groups are growing faster than others.
    While Protestants (1.64 percent) and Catholics (1.08 percent) are growing near or below the population growth rate of 1.21 percent, evangelicals and Pentecostals/Charismatics are growing much faster.  Evangelicals (2.12 percent) and Pentecostals (2.22 percent) are outpacing other branches of Christianity. By 2050, those two groups combined (1.67 billion) will outnumber Catholics (1.61 billion).
  2. Pentecostals continue with their explosive growth.
    In 1900, there were less than 1 million Pentecostals/Charismatics in the world. In 2017, they will climb to 669 million. By 2050, they will top 1 billion—the second Christian group to do so, behind Catholics.
  3. Cities are growing faster than Christians are moving to them.
    In 2017, 55 percent of the world’s population will live in an urban environment. More than 4.1 billion people will live in cities and almost 1.6 billion of them will be Christian.  The global urban population is growing at a 2.2 rate, while the Christian urban population is growing slightly slower at 1.6.


Thursday, February 1st, 2018 | No Comments »

Six Reasons I’m Grateful for Our Latino Brothers and Sisters

As the new year begins, I want to take a moment and share how grateful I am for our Latino brothers and sisters within EFCA’s North Central District. I am tempted to explain in detail why the Latino community is so close to my heart (beginning with my childhood in the Southwest, sharing about my former church’s beautiful Latino congregation called Grace Hispana, pressing into the reality that Latinos are the largest ethnic minority in the USA). But since I have limited space, so let me dive right in and share six reasons I am so grateful for their presence and impact in our NCD family of churches.

1.  I’m grateful that our NCD family is blessed with gifted Latino church leaders like Pablo Cachon (New Hope Church), Tim Dahlin and Miriam Vallette (Bethel EFC, Fairmont), Hector Franco (Morris EFC),  Jorge Osorio (Hope EFC, Monticello), Ismael Martinez (Cornerstone EFC, Blue Earth), Vidal Quevedo  (Iglesia Nueva Salem, Minneapolis),  José Rivera (Living Hope, Willmar), and Paul Stilwell (Trinity Church, Lakeville).  God has truly blessed us in calling these leaders, and many more just like them, to pour their lives into our EFCA churches in Minnesota.

2.  I’m grateful for the first ordination council for a Latino pastor in the NCD, held for Pastor Pablo Cachon at New Hope Church in November 2017. It was such a joy to watch the council examine and affirm Pablo’s calling, gifting, preparation, and character. I am praying this is the first of many ordination councils for our NCD Latino pastors.

3. I’m grateful for Latino congregations in places like Blue Earth, Fairmont, Morris and Monticello. Right now, there are Latino EFCA congregations in nine communities in Minnesota. May God give us more!    (more…)

Friday, January 12th, 2018 | 1 Comment »

64 degrees on January 31st

You can imagine my surprise when I woke up to snow on Friday, October 27th. It was, of course, bound to snow sooner or later. But I did not expect it to come so soon. On the one hand, I must admit that the snow was (and is) beautiful. But on the other, it was a brisk reminder that winter is coming and it will be cold! To put a fine point on it, on January 31st the expected high in our hometown of Cottage Grove, MN is 25 degrees; the expected low a pathetic, single digits temp of just five degrees… and we live in the warm part of Minnesota :).

San Antonio, on the other hand, is looking at an expected high on January 31st of 64 degrees. Sixty-Four-Degrees-Fahrenheit! And you could be there if you come to this year’s EFCA Theology Conference, which begins on January 31st. The opportunity to escape the cold alone should peak your interest. But let me share a better reason to come to this year’s theology conference.

The theme of the conference is “The Gospel, Compassion and Justice, and the EFCA.” This is an important theme, and I am excited to see what God does in our family of churches through this conference. My hope, prayer and expectation is that God will use our time together to help our family of churches better understand the biblical and theological mandate for gospel-shaped compassion and justice.


Friday, November 3rd, 2017 | No Comments »

Three Doors Toward Sexual Hope and Freedom

Cultural pressure and technological opportunity continue to make the temptation and battle of pornography ever more widespread, intense, and damaging.

In the face of that reality, the EFCA and the North Central District seek to cultivate a disciples-of-Jesus culture that is uncompromising in its biblical call to purity; practical in its offering of resources to help follow that call; and redemptive in its restoration of disciples who are sexually stumbling or addicted.

Here are three current resources, any one or more of which may be helpful to you or those to whom you minister.

  1. Project Purity. This is a long-standing, abiding resource that is available to pastors and ministry leaders. It is a confidential pathway to regaining sexual freedom and purity. It utilizes the confidential services of two professional Christian therapists. Find out more information here.
  2. Pure Desire University. An event coming to Minnesota next month, PD-U is a two-day conference designed to equip men, women, and students with an understanding of the factors that create and reinforce addictive sexual behavior. It also provides a comprehensive understanding and the tools required to develop a ministry to men, women, and students.  It will be held at Grace Church Eden Prairie, November 10-11. Find more information here.
  3. A letter in your mailbox. If you are a church ministry staff person, expect a letter in the mail later this month from a fellow NCD pastor who has experienced great sexual purity victories and has some hope-filled words for you, no matter your story.

In the fellowship of the NCD family, let’s keep helping each other, both in heart and in action, on the path of purity to which Jesus calls us and on which he walks with us.


Wednesday, October 11th, 2017 | No Comments »

Biblical Worldview Conference

Worldview is a buzzword today, but does our worldview really matter? Whether it’s secular materialism in Europe or animism in Africa, does the cultural worldview affect the church? Why do our missions projects fail to bring lasting change? And can we partner with the global church in a way that is truly sustainable?

In an exciting collaboration, EFCA / ReachGlobal and Disciple Nations Alliance are teaming up to present a Biblical Worldview Conference specifically for globally influential missions-minded pastors and ReachGlobal leadership.

“Jesus is King and His primary agenda is to advance the Kingdom of God by making disciples of all nations.
The key agent in this task is the local church, ministering wholistically and incarnationally,
and always operating intentionally from the biblical worldview.”
(Disciple Nations Alliance)

 As a church leader who is making a global difference, you are invited to:
Biblical Worldview Conference
the key to transformation
hosted by EFCA ReachGlobal

October 17-20, 2017
EFCA National Office
Minneapolis, Minnesota

For more information

To register

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 | No Comments »

Hurricane Harvey & Irma Update

Dear Pastor and Mission Leaders,

Greetings in Christ.  We have all been watching what has happened in Texas and in Florida.  It is hard to imagine the extent of the flooding.  What can we do as churches and as individuals?  Much of my information comes from the website that is highlighting the Hurricane Harvey and Irma ministry opportunities.  I have also added information from EFCA Crisis Response staff.  Their urgent focus now is Texas.


  • EFCA Crisis Response still needs skilled workers at Columbia, SC and at Denham Spring, LA.  These skilled workers could be finish workers, and roofers, especially for Denham Springs.  For information about serving there, please email  They would like to finish at these locations soon so their staff can go to Texas.
  •  EFCA Crisis Response is starting to take teams to Texas beginning on September 17th.  These teams need to be limited from 15 to 30 people.  They are still working on housing.  EFCA Crisis Response is now working in Corpus Christi and soon in Houston.  Teams will be working through EFCA churches in southern Texas.  They will work in Rockport and other coastal cities.
  • The crisis response registration fee is $275 per person.  Consider putting a team together in your church or with other EFC churches in your area.  There is also the need for long-term workers to serve in Texas. 
  • EFCA Crisis Response is currently doing initial assessment for Florida.  Special areas of focus are Naples, Fort Myers and Gainsville.  With current flooding and infrastructure needs still unknown go to for updates for serving.


Tuesday, September 12th, 2017 | No Comments »

NCD Facebook Page

We have a brand new Facebook page to acquaint you with all the good things that are happening in the North Central District.  You can find (and follow) us at 

Friday, September 8th, 2017 | No Comments »

Will You Join Us at the Fall Teaching Conference?

If you teach the Bible as part of your ministry responsibilities, the upcoming Fall Teaching Conference is for you.  You may teach formally or informally, in front of a large gathering or one-on-one over coffee.  Either way, the Fall Teaching Conference is for you.  Or you may be a church leader who rarely teaches, but you hunger to know and apply The Book of Acts to your life and ministry.  The Fall Teaching Conference is for you.

On October 3-4, in the casual and relaxed atmosphere of Camp Shamineau, men and women, lay and staff, pastors and ministry leaders, singles and marrieds will join for fellowship around Jesus Christ and what he teaches us in The Book of Acts.

The Book of Acts—probably a favorite of us all.  We are rightly drawn to its vigor, its courage, its hope, its Christ-centeredness, its Holy Spirit power, its advance of the gospel, its heroes and anti-heroes.  There are so many things to aspire to in this book, and so many perils to avoid.  No wonder it’s a frequent focus of our sermons, lessons, personal meditation, and strategic methods.

Yet do we know how to read Acts well?  We tend to read portions of it with great care, extracting principles for this or that aspect of following Jesus.  But do we read it as a whole?  Do we understand its unfolding message from beginning to end?  Do we read it in light of Luke’s first volume, The Gospel of Luke?  And what about our pick-and-choose method of applying Acts?  We seem to be quick to use it to support such things as deacons, disciple-making, regional gospel influence, team ministry, and missions.  But we are slow to use it to support choosing of leaders by lot, speaking in tongues, pooling of personal possessions, healing, and visions.  On what basis do we choose?  How can we know if we are applying Acts soundly? (more…)

Monday, July 17th, 2017 | No Comments »

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