Tag Archives for " church partnerships "

1 Books, books and more books:

At 7:00 pm we closed the book table, did an inventory and by 9:00 pm had all the remaining books packed up and ready to ship back home. When we closed out the cash register, the sales for the day showed we had been successful in moving a lot of inventory into peoples hands. We were all quite pleased with the results, considering the current state of our economy.

Kelly and I were attending the Mission ConneXion Northwest, sponsored by the northwest area churches and held this year in Vancouver, WA. It’s a two day event challenging the Church to fulfill the Great Commission. We were there assisting Ken, our ACMC team member, with his book sales for the conference.

Kelly and the team set up the book tables for the conference
Kelly and the team set up the book tables for the conference

This event, with its 125 workshops, four leading keynote speakers, and inspirational worship sessions had something for everyone. The attendance count hasn’t been posted yet, but we are estimating around 6 to 7 thousand may have attended. (While it’s not as many as the 15,000 that has attended in previous years, it was a good attendance for the times.)

One view of the crowd mingling in the foyer.
One view of the crowd mingling in the foyer.

About 80 missions agencies set up exhibits providing information about work being done in countries around the world.

Here is our Pioneers booth exhibit, right next to Wycliffe.
Here is our Pioneers booth exhibit, right next to Wycliffe.

In between workshops and general sessions, the book table was a favorite gathering place where a wide variety of books about missions could be found.

004 Book Table Crowd2 028

We had 6 long tables stacked with books, videos, and other resources all pertaining to missions.

There was something for people of all ages at the conference and at the book table.
There was something for people of all ages at the conference and at the book table.
This young lady couldn't resist taking a closer look at the book she chose.
This young lady couldn’t resist taking a closer look at the book she chose.
These two college girls found this corner the perfect spot to browse through their books.
These two college girls found this corner the perfect spot to browse through their books.
Connie explains the plot found on this DVD of "The Enemy God".
A customer asks Connie to explain the plot to this DVD movie, “The Enemy God” that was made by our Denver film team.
Kelly rings up another sale.
Kelly rings up another sale.

We love getting mission materials into peoples hands and to the churches. It was a great weekend for us in, even if it was rainy and cold. We even got to have lunch with a couple we hadn’t seen since 1986, back when we were living in Portland. Friends and missions, what a combination.


With the start of a new year, many of us are reflecting on the past year as we look to ‘what’s next’. I’m thinking back over three main events from the last 3 months of 2009.

The first event happened in October when we broke our record for ‘the number of new missionary going through our training program in one year’.  Our 5th and last orientation program for the year had 29 new candidates bringing the years total to 158.

OCT COP 2009

The second event was hosting this group of pastors and church leaders (shown below) for our November Church Partner Forum.

Even though it takes a lot of hard work to put it all together, it’s one of my most favorite events. The positive response and feed back from the participants makes it all worth while.

Church Partner Forum November 2009

Church Partner Forum November 2009

The third event, that just ended on New Year’s Eve, was Urbana 2009. What? You’ve never heard of Urbana?

Urbana logo

Upwards to 20,000 young people (ages 17-30) attend this student missions conference sponsored every 3 years by InterVaristy Christian Fellowship. It started in 1946, and from 1948 to 2003 was held at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana… thus the name “Urbana”. Since 2006 it has been held at the St. Louis Conference Center in Missouri.

It’s amazing to see this many young people give up 5 days of their Christmas break for the opportunity to see, hear and respond to God’s global mission.

Kelly and I had the privilege to attend back in 1991, and were amazed by the zeal and commitment of these young people whose hearts are turned toward God and missions.

PI Urbana 2009

Pioneers sent a team from our office to represent our agency. The photo above was taken by one of our co-worker showing our world globe and Pioneers’ sign hanging over the heads of the participants.

Yes, 2009 has been a great year and we have great expectations for 2010. Our prayer for you is that 2010 will be a blessed year for you and your family. Happy New Year!

4 Home Again In Indiana

Pumpkins on door stoops, fall colors of red and orange and willy-worms slowly crawling across the country roads, yes it was Indiana in October. And, I hardly noticed the low 40 and 50 degree temperatures. Well that may not be totally true, but it did feel like “home”. That’s because our Bicknell friends at Word of Life Church always treat us like family.

Kelly with our hostess Aunt Rita.

Kelly with our hostess Aunt Rita. We ate at the Kerusso Coffee Shop, an outreach ministry of the church.

The missions conference was great, and we’re definitely a good 6 lbs heavier from all the down home cooking of Aunt Rita and the other great cooks from the church.

The theme for their conference was “Show Them Jesus” and the youth did an outstanding job with several dramas.

Some of the youth with their youth leader

Here are some of the Youth Drama Team called, "Impact"!

Getting to know our friends better

Getting to know our friends better

Even though it was a short trip we got to spend a little bit of time with Kelly’s mom and some friends of the family. Kelly’s brother and sisters will appreciate these photos since they didn’t get to join us.

Best Friends (Kelly's Mom and the Birthday Girl)

Best Friends (Kelly's Mom and the Birthday Girl in Blue)

Bezy grp photo (2)

It's the Birthday Girl and her Daughter "Ice Cream Cake for Everyone"

It's the Birthday Girl and her Daughter, "Ice Cream Cake for Everyone"

More family friends

All in all, it was a great trip. Of course, Kelly says the one thing that really topped it off was our flight home by way of Chicago O’Hare Airport. Why? Because he got to eat his Chicago Style Hot Dog, and he loved enjoyed every bite.

Kelly Enjoys His Chicago Style Hot Dog

From the frying pan into the fire…

From the frying pan…immediately following having “all those Edgers” invade our campus (see previous post on Aug. 9 for that story)…

…we jumped into the fire…with a campus full of new missionary candidates who were going through their first round of training and orientation called, “Candidate Orientation Program” or “COP” for short.  One event following so closely on the heels of a previous event keeps all of us on our toes, but it’s always worth it.

August 2009 Candidate Orientation Program

August 2009 Candidate Orientation Program

We had 44 attending our COP, which means we had to “pack them in,” to make room for everyone. It’s a great problem to have. In this group, the youngest was 18 years old. She’s going to the field for one year and then back to the US to attend college. After getting her degree, she plans to go back to the field full time. The oldest was a couple who said, “retirement is not in our vocabulary”. The husband is 78 and the wife is 68. What an inspiration for all of us to see their desire to “finish well” in their golden years.

8 Three “F’s:” Family – Friends – Fun

Yes that’s right, our 2 weeks in Tulsa and Arkansas were chocked full of family, friends, fun and more. The more was: attending a mission’s conference and Kelly preaching at a couple of churches. I got this great shot of our little munchkin, Ava, and I’d like to introduce her to you.


Ava is our youngest granddaughter and she is 15 months old. Of course she captured our hearts.


Little Ava went to Grandpa right away, so I had to wait my turn. This is Kelly with Ava and Katie. Katie is our talented soccer player.


I was patient and finally got my chance with Ava.


This is Ava’s dad and mom (Gale & Tamecca).


Here is Katie again with her dad.


Emily is granddaughter number three. She is becoming quite the young lady. Grandma got to help her with her homework.


Gale and Tamecca have a blended family and it never gets boring around their house. Emily is helping Kira color “inside the lines” and Katie is helping Kira’s brother, Aden.


Here’s a great shot of Tamecca’s 2 boys; Gavin and Aden, and Gale’s 2 girls, Emily and Katie.


If we weren’t spending time at Gale & Tamecca’s, we were at Erin & Lisa’s house. Here are 3 generations of McClelland’s; Erin, Kelly and Killian. When I said “Smile please.” this was the response I got.


This photo opportunity was too good to ignore. Erin & Lisa are animal lovers and I think their animals…love Kelly. Jack, the Labrador, is patiently waiting his turn.


Did I mention “Friends” in my subject line? This is our friend Pat. She made our whole trip possible by inviting us stay in her home while we were in Tulsa. We enjoyed catching up on each others family news and had a great time.


We also met up with Steve and Margie who are friends we’ve known since Bible school. Was that really 20 some years ago?


I did mention that Kelly preached at a couple of churches. Here he is looking up a Bible verse at our sending church, Word of Life, in Sand Springs, OK. Pastor Emigh was in Poland and Romania on a missions trip, so Kelly filled in for him for this Wednesday night service.


This was a special treat for us, Erin and Lisa came to hear Kelly preach and willingly sat on the front row with me.


When Kelly finished preaching, Erin, Lisa and our friend Pat went with us for a dessert treat at a local restaurant. It was a great way to end the evening.


Our other preaching opportunity was at another one of our supporting churches in Russellville, Arkansas. Before Kelly began his sermon, the two of us shared about our ministry work with PIONEERS.


After sharing, I sat down and Kelly shared from the Word of God.


We always have a good time of fellowship at Russellville Christian Center and they’ve been a great encouragement to us over the years.


After the service, we had dinner with Pastor Tom and his wife Bonnie, and then headed back to Fort Smith to finish off at the missions conference we were attending.


That pretty much covers the way our trip went (including the stay in Branson with our grandson mentioned in an earlier post). So, I thought I’d end this post with this last great shot of Ava…what a munchkin.

1 Could You Pass This Test?

1) Where is the largest church in the world? 2) What continent has the most evangelical Christians? 3) What is the largest mission association in the world? 4) Which country sends out the most missionaries per Christian?

The answers may surprise you because, “The Center of Christianity Has Shifted”. This was the topic of our most recent Church Partner Forum held on PIONEERS campus. Our featured speaker was Scott Moreau; author, Professor of Missions & International Studies at Wheaton College and editor of Evangelical Missions Quarterly.

If you’re interested in this subject you can read: The Changing Face of World Missions and Engaging Contemporary Issues and Trends from a series written by Scott Moreau called, Engaging Missions.

Oh yes, the answers to those questions above are:
1) Korea [830,000 members (2007)]
2) Asia
3) India Missions Association
4) Singapore

The theme for our banquet was “International Market,” so we transformed the recreation hall with a few treasures several us have brought back from our time serving in various countries.


Of course no mission trip is complete without the traditional “trunk” to contain all of your possessions.


And, the best mode of transportation for those narrow streets in Asia is the bicycle rickshaw.


This was our International Market Street which lead on around to the street-side night café shown below.


Candle lights on the tables and strands of hanging lights enhanced the night time street café feel.


Without a doubt, our “food affair” was international all the way.

We added to this international atmosphere by having those who could, dress for the occasion in the cultural dress of a country (or they could go “Hawaiian/Floridian”).  We had a wide range of countries represented:


Of course, Kelly and I dressed in our Indonesian Batik, as did several others.


Africa was represented by several, including Denny and Nancy (above).


We even had the Middle East attire…thank you Art.


But by far, Tom’s dress was the best…Mongolia!


This is what our group looked like in “normal” dress. It was another successful Church Partner Forum.


What lasts for 3 days, takes place only in the state of Florida, gathers a diverse crowd from other states, produces a network of contacts and resources, and focuses on God’s heart for the Nations? PIONEERS’ Church Partner Forum in Orlando.

Here We Are For Our Group Photo

Here We Are For Our Group Photo

Yes that is right! We’ve wrapped up another successful Church Partner Forum event on our campus at PIONEERS. Kelly and I are very pleased with how well the event was viewed by those in attendance.

We ask our guest to fill out an evaluation of the forum. Here is one of the questions and the answer we got:

What is your overall assessment of the value of this event?

“I was “so” close to burn-out you could smell the smoke…The rest, the hospitality, the care, the pampering, the HELPFUL focusing…it was all great- we’ll be back –you’ll have to ban me from the campus J !”

The weather was a bit “cool” but we did provide the sunshine that we had promised. We actually hit a night time low of 39 degrees while our guests were here, a record for this time of the year.

Some Of Our First Arrivals

Some Of Our First Arrivals

As for us, we are the most rested after one of these events than ever before. Why less stress and weariness? Our team has grown and matured to the point that the two of us, as leaders, could step back and watch them take on more of the program responsibilities and details. It was great! We were freed up to interact on a more relaxed scale with our guest, which was enjoyable and very satisfying .

Greeting Our Guests The First Evening

Greeting Our Guests The First Evening

Everyone Arrives & We Mingle With The Guests

Everyone Arrives - We Mingle and Get to Know One Another

Kelly Getting To Konw Our Guests

Kelly & Ted (Kelly's boss on left) Getting To Know Our Guest (on right)

As for our guest, they were very engaged and full of questions. It was encouraging for us to see their passion for missions expressed in a variety of ways. We had a very diverse group of churches represented. Here is a random example:

  • A rural American Baptist Church (ABC) from Ohio with a congregation about 300 in size. (Sr. Pastor & Missions Pastor attended)
  • An Independent Baptist Church of Virginia founded in 1913 with an attendance of about 750 today. (Global Missions Pastor attended)
  • From Charlotte, NC a new church plant started in 2002 by 2 members of John Piper’s Bethlehem Baptist Church. These 70 faithful members already have 4 of their own sent out as missionaries. (Assoc. Pastor & 2 of their Missions Team attended)
  • A First Presbyterian Church here in Florida, founded in 1876 by 11 members has grown to 4,800 today. (Executive Pastor attended)
  • An Evangelical Free suburban church from the Twin Cities of MN with approx 3,000 members (Director of Global Ministries & his wife)
  • Another Ohio church founded in 1985 by a team of Liberty University grads that now has 1800 attending (Missions Director attended)
  • An independent 50 year old Fresno, CA church with about 4,000 people, they also have a Spanish language congregation and host a Farsi-speaking Persian church (Assoc. Pastor & wife attended)
  • A Southern Baptist Church (SBC) from St Charles, MO with a ministry staff of 13 and a support staff 16 (Missions Director attended)
  • And a Porter Ranch, CA church that became non-denominational as a result of a merger of a SBC and a Christian Church 10 years ago and now has 7000 members (2 Missions staff attended this year after their Pastor and Missions Director attended last year)
    Churches Sharing With Churches

    Churches Sharing With Churches

On Wednesday & Thursday we have sessions that allow for a lot of interaction among the churches. As they share what works or doesn’t work for them in their church, they are networking, building relationships and helping one another with issues that matter to them.

Kelly & Connie Lead the Opening Session

Kelly & Connie Lead the Opening Session

Kelly Gives the Group Instructions

Kelly Gives the Group Instructions

Our Guest Listen to the Instructions before Discussion

Our Guest Listen to the Instructions before Discussion

Interactive Discussions Around The Tables

Interactive Discussions Around The Tables

It’s not all sitting and talking. There is free time factored in to allow everyone a chance to relax and soak in our Florida sun, shop at our craft store or tour our facilities if they choose.

Connie Gives the Pastor & His Wife A Tour of Our Facilities

Connie Gives the Pastor & His Wife A Tour of Our Facilities

Each of these churches are partners with us to send and support their missionaries on the field. So, the relationship doesn’t stop when they return to their respective churches. We will continue to work together in partnership for the sake of their workers on the field. PIONEERS has about 2500 active churches supporting our workers, so we keep pretty busy, and love every minute of it.


OK, sorry for not updating the blog recently, but as you will see…we have been racking up the travel miles again…


From June 1 through the 6th we had 24 new missionary candidates on our Orlando campus going through our 3rd orientation for the year. This is why our entire team for Church Partnerships (CP-team) was present in Orlando during that week.

CP Team Group photo 6/08

(Top-Left) Kelly, Denny, Tom, Greg, Mike, Doug; (Bottom-Left) Connie, Nancy, & Patty

Denny & Nancy live in Orlando but are from Michigan & they cover several mid-western states, Tom & Mike and their respective families live in Philadelphia and they cover the states in the northeast and others, Greg & his family live in Virginia and he covers that area, and then Doug & Patty live in Colorado Springs and cover the Rocky Mountain & Plains states, the other states are divided up among all of us.

With 5 new team members, it was a great time to hold a vision casting meeting. So, when we were not meeting and interviewing new candidates, we were meeting together as a team (see photo). It was a great time to train the “newbies” and get us all on the same page. In the photo below, Kelly is bringing everyone up to par on technical resources that we can use to serve churches more efficiently.

CP-Team mtg June in upper room

Now that Kelly is a VP, he has been able to turn immediate CP-team leadership over to his assistant, Denny. He is doing a great job and has helped free up some of Kelly’s time needed to oversee all 5 teams.


With our team in Denny’s capable hands we left Orlando on the 5th to fly to Sacramento, CA to attend the “Harvest Gathering.” This was a 2-day conference for churches throughout Northern & Central California. First Baptist Church of Elk Grove hosted the conference with about 400 believers participating. Two of our California ACMC team members were a part of the conference. Ken was responsible for all book & resource sales at the event, and Larry was a presenter for several workshops.Harvest Conf Book Table Sales June 08

Both were a big success and book sales totaled close to $4000. (Photo above, as you can see the book tables were very popular.)

Harves Conf Kelly at PI booth June 08

Kelly gave Ken logistical help with the book sales, and we also represented PIONEERS with a display booth. (Photo: Kelly talks with a young man who is interested in missions and learning more about PIONEERS.)


From Sacramento we flew to our Denver office on Sunday to see how our teams were doing. Our office lease there will expire at the end of the year so we looked at office space in 3 different locations. One office was particularly interesting so we will take the next steps to see if it is a good fit for our teams. Tuesday was a day of meeting with all three team leaders. Pray for wisdom and God’s leading as we look for just the right office space for our Denver teams.

ON TO DALLAS June 11-15

Wednesday we were off to Dallas for the Perspectives National Conference. Most of you have probably never heard of Perspectives. www.perspecitves.org

‘Perspectives on the World Christian Movement’ is a dynamic, 15 week course (college credited), about God’s heart for the nations. Classes are held in local churches with trained instructors teaching on the Biblical, Historical, Cultural and Strategic perspectives of missions. The course is for anyone who wants a closer walk with the Lord and to see where, how and why they can play a part in the biggest thing God is doing….and has ever done!

The people who run the classes are called coordinators and there were more than 400 coordinators attending this 4 day conference, going to workshops and seminars to sharpen their skills.

Perspectives Banquet 1

Perspectives Banquet 2

(Photo on the top is one side of the room showing half the crowd, and the 2nd photo is the other half of the room.)

Once again, Ken, from our ACMC team was asked to set up a book store and we were there to lend our logistical support. This time, sales were close to $20,000…a very productive weekend. (Photo below: Kelly helping Ken with book buyers.)

Dallas Ken & Kelly Book sales

While Kelly helped in the book store, I helped one of our Orlando Team members, Laurie Nevius at the PIONEERS booth. (See photo below) We had a great time talking to people about an upcoming PIONEERS event called: ‘Story 08’. (More about it later.)

Dallas Perspectives Connie & Laurie


We returned home Jun 15th, Sunday evening at 11:30. Needless to say, we were pretty exhausted but pleased with how well the trip went.