King Street Church in Chambersburg, Pa., held seven services on Christmas Eve Sunday. The total attendance was 3,034.

In January, Jonathan Ford became Pastor of Worship Arts at King Street. A graduate of Nyack College, Ford has been serving as Associate Pastor of Worship and Family Life at First Baptist Church, Clayton, N. J., since 1995. Ford will shepherd the entire worship ministry, providing direct leadership at two of the four worship services.

Our good friend and mentor Bruce Dreisbach has a new book out entitled Out of the Belly of the Whale. You can get a copy of it along with his other resources at Bruce’s premise is this: “The greatest underlying reason for the lack of evangelistic fruitfulness on the part of the American church is a fundamental misunderstanding about how God reaches lost people.” I can’t agree more.

In one chapter, Bruce speaks about “God’s job and our job.” It is a clear and simple understanding of what the Holy Spirit does in our lives and what we are responsible to do. For example, we have need of money. God’s job is to provide what we need. Our job is to be a good steward of what He provides for us, do our work as unto the Lord, and share with others who are in need and come across our path. Our job is to hunger and thirst after righteousness, and study to show ourselves approved. His job is to fill us by guiding us into all truth. To do our ministry we need healthy bodies. Our job is to eat right, exercise, and be good stewards of the bodies He has given us. His job is to be with us and care for us when those health challenges come.

There are so many other examples. I suggest you get Bruce’s book to explore how we can get back on track to truly be following God’s plan for reaching lost people. It is interesting that the issue today is not that God is failing to do His job. As James MacDonald observed on a recent podcast (Walk in the Word), we fail to do our part and then when things don’t seem to work, we blame God.

So, how’s it going? How well are we doing our part? We are committed to doing all we can to help us all answer this question.

Mark Story, Executive Director of Rhodes Grove Camp (Chambersburg, Pa.), has announced The Ecclesiastes Institute, a new program designed to help UB ministers (and others) fulfill their continuing education requirements. The first course will be March 27.

“The Ecclesiastes Institute is a new branch of ministry at Rhodes Grove. Our desire is to facilitate your need for continuing education by offering CEU courses at Rhodes Grove in partnership with Lancaster Bible College. The Ecclesiastes Institute was created to give our educational initiatives an official introduction to the Cumberland Valley.

“The first Ecclesiastes Institute course is being offered on Tuesday March 27, 2007, at Rhodes Grove from 10 am – 3 pm, with a buffet style lunch included. Rev. Earl ‘Buck’ Summers, M.S., will teach ‘Introduction to People Helping: A Course in Christian Counseling.’ Participants in the course will receive .5 CEU and a Certificate of Participation from Lancaster Bible College.

You may also visit (click on Ecclesiastes Institute) to download a flyer or learn more about this exciting new program. At a minimum, we hope to offer two CEUs per year to satisfy your continuing education needs.”

Doris Gee, 80, passed away on January 19. She was a member of Mount Zion UB church in Junction City, Ohio, where she served as pianist for 30 years. Doris was the widow of Rev. David Gee, a Central Conference minister who died in 1982. Funeral services will be held on Monday, January 22.

National Conference is coming up and I wanted to let everyone know a little more about this event.

The dates are May 31 — June 3, 2007, and the location is Sawmill Creek Resort, Huron, Ohio, just about 45-60 minutes west of Cleveland, Ohio.

BannerAd_300.jpgThe theme for this conference is: Xtreme Makeover…Church Edition.

Rev. Brad Powell, from Northridge Church, Plymouth, Mich., will speak on Thursday and Friday evenings, Dr. Kenneth Quick, author of the book Healing the Heart of the Church, will speak on Saturday. We will conclude the conference on Sunday morning. I will speak in that service and we will share in the Lord’s Supper.

The vision I have been casting for the past year-and-a-half is that our church really needs to get involved in the “harvest fields.” I have been greatly concerned about our lack of “bringing in a harvest.” The apparent lethargic attitudes that many in our church have toward the harvest concerns me. Lest there be any mistake, let me say that for me the harvest represents those who are yet to trust in Christ for their eternal salvation.

I have thought and prayed about our lack of harvest as a denomination over the years since the division in 1889. I have come to the conclusion that it is a result of our sinful disregard for our Lord’s Great Commission to make disciples. I have found our churches to be hard working, but much of what they are busy with seldom produces new disciples for Jesus. I don’t know about you, but I believe the church has but one mission or purpose: to see everyone become devoted followers of Jesus Christ. If what you are doing does not fulfill that mission, then I’d evaluate whether what you are doing should continue or be revamped or replaced with something that will be effective.

Now, let me be very clear. First, we do churches that are actively involved in the harvest with success. But many of our churches and local church leaders are seemingly unconcerned. Folks, if we are to have any future, we must become involved in the Harvest. Jesus said, “He came to seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10), and He commissions us to carry on that mission until He returns for His Church.

Let me also be clear that this is not just about numbers. Large churches don’t necessarily impress me and small churches don’t necessarily discourage. I am not talking about size, style, and location, but about a dogged commitment to see lost people come to Jesus and become His disciples. This isn’t necessarily a church problem, it is an individual problem. Let me ask: how long has it been since you have been used by God to see someone become a disciple of Jesus?

The thrust of this National Conference will be to challenge each of us to repent of our sin of disobedience to Jesus’ command and to become equipped to be an effective harvester in His harvest field. Sinful attitudes must be confessed and repentance sought about our disobedience. I know this is strong language, but it represents a great burden that I believe the Lord has placed on my heart.

This conference is open to everyone. There will be a business session for the active pastors and lay delegates, but everyone from our churches is urged to attend. Seminars on Saturday morning are designed to help lead you and your church into an Xtreme Ministry. This will be a historic conference, as there has never been one quite like this in the history of our church, with delegates potentially representing each local congregation. It will also be a time where we drive a stake in the ground, draw a line in the sand (insert your own metaphor), that from these days on we will become an obedient church. Making disciples for Jesus as He has commissioned us to do.

Oh, by the way, you don’t have to wait for the National Conference for this. You can begin in your own life today!

Ron Ramsey, Bishop
I spent a few days last week in Texas at the deer ranch, hunting. Yes, I had a great time and yes I was successful in my hunt. But hunting isn’t really what I want to talk about.

At the ranch this time was an interesting, older gentleman. By the way, I am finding out that there are fewer and fewer times when you can talk about someone older…anyway, in the course of our initial conversation, after we had spun all our hunting stories, he asks me, “Say, what do you do?” I told him I was a pastor. His response was classic. “Really,” he said, “I believe in God and Jesus. I even read the Bible. But I don’t go to church.” We chatted a little more about this and he tells me how he was treated poorly in a church, so he believes but just not in the church. We talked about a personal relationship with Jesus and he assured me that he had that. He believed he was a Christian. Well, I don’t know about you, but I have had that conversation with many others.

So, sitting in the deer stand early one morning I began to ponder the conversation I had with him. I began to think theologically about Christ and The Church. Christ is the Head, the Church is His Body. So how could someone say I really believe in The Head but I don’t want anything to do with The Body? There is really a disconnect in that.

Just finished 7 Practices of Effective Ministy by Andy Stanley, Reggie Joiner and Lane Jones. It is published by Multnomah and copywrited 2004 so it isn’t brand new, just off the press. But it is an excellent book. It is not a program book but a book to help you sharpen your strategic thinking by asking the right questions. If you and your church are having problems with how to be outward focused, then Practice #5, “Listen to Outsiders”, is a section that you owe it to yourself to read.

If you have trouble locating a copy let me know.

AmberHirschy_250.jpgAmber Hirschy, daughter of former bishop Paul Hirschy, has lived in Cambodia since last May, immersing herself in a new culture and impacting her world for Christ. She works for two different organizations. One is an economic development organization, while the other organization works against sex trafficking.

“I had heard about the situation with trafficking girls for sex,” Amber said, “but it wasn’t until I knew the girls that had experienced it that I really began to understand how horrid and widespread it is. These girls have really touched my heart, and I love working with them.”

A passion for international economic development is what brought Hirschy to Cambodia. At Huntington University, she studied business management, economics, and finance. After graduating from Huntington University in 2005, Amber contacted an organization called World Hope International concerning any positions available in economic development. When they informed her in December 2005 of an opportunity in Cambodia, she knew it was for her.

“I was incredibly blessed and was able to raise all of my support in four months which allowed me to leave for Cambodia in May,” Hirschy said.

HUCheerleaders.jpgThe Huntington University ten-member cheerleading squad (right) will host a cheer clinic on February 3 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Merillat Complex for Physical Education and Recreation. The squad invites girls ages 6-14 to participate. To attend the clinic, participants need to complete a registration form and send it along with a payment of $25 per person. While pre-registration is requested, registrations will be accepted at the door. Parents are welcome to stay and watch during the clinic.

For more information on the cheerleading clinic, including the schedule and registration form….

Greg Helman, pastor of South Mountain UB church in Dillsburg, Pa., suffered a loss in the family. His oldest brother, Rick, passed away on Monday, January 8. The viewing is January 12, and Greg will conduct the funeral on January 13.