FCA’s International Convention kicked off Tuesday night in Red Deer, Alberta, with a rousing call from guest keynoter Bishop Ken Ulmer (Los Angeles) to understand the assignment God has given each minister, and then receive the anointing to fulfill it. “Jesus could say in his garden prayer, ‘Father, I have glorified you on earth. I have finished the work you gave me to do’ (John 17:4)–or, in an alternate translation, ‘I have completed my assignment.’ Can you say the same?”

The speaker detailed our assignment in ministry as follows:

GO (Matt. 28:19), rather than ask people to COME. “Building a temple and expecting people to come is an Old Testament mentality,” said Ulmer. “It shows we’ve missed our assignment.”

… AND MAKE DISCIPLES “Jesus didn’t say, ‘Go and make members,’ he pointed out. “He called us to something higher.”

WAIT (Acts 1:4) to be endued with power before you go. “Why do I notice Pentecostals talking less and less about the Holy Spirit?” Ulmer queried. “You can’t do your assignment without Him!”

BE witnesses of Christ (Acts 1:8). Tell the truth about Jesus, so that lives will be forever changed.

The opening session also included a report from FCA Pastor Jim Reimer (Nelson, B.C.), who was helping lead a student work group in Haiti when the January earthquake struck. He told how they managed to cope and even serve the desperate people until they were evacuated five days later by the Canadian army.

Wednesday morning began with devotions, where Bishop Ulmer continued his theme, inviting his hearers to “be anointed with fresh oil” (Psa. 92:10) each week; the psalm is specially written for the Sabbath. “In the next period of your life,” he said, “you can be anointed with freshness.”

In the next plenary session, author Gary Thomas directed the crowd of more than 400 to appreciate individual diversity in devotional practice. Based on his book Sacred Pathways, he outlined nine ways people tend to worship, from “traditionalists” to “ascetics” to “enthusiasts” to “intellectuals.” Speaking to pastors, he said, “You can’t serve all these in one 60-minute service. That’s why we have ‘worship wars.’ But if we equip people to seek God on their own in their own style throughout the week, we’ll get along much better on Sunday morning.”

Three breakout sessions led by FCA pastors included:
“Encountering God through the Spirit,” Dan Hammer (Everett, Wash.), who said, “A gospel without power is not Good News. People need release from their issues and bondages.”
“Encountering God through the Church,” Bill Wolfson (Tacoma, Wash.)
“Encountering God through the Word,” Mark Brattrud (Palm Desert, Calif.)
Wednesday afternoon was given to separate Canadian and U.S. business sessions, to hear reports, pass budgets, and set future events.

U.S.–Said President Dan Eide, “We sense God is speaking to us a great deal about the need for ‘spiritual fathering’ in our Fellowship. There’s an ‘orphan spirit’ in America, and we are discussing ways to guide the next generation of pastors and leaders-stay tuned for more information.” The next U.S. convention will be April 26-29, 2011 in Schaumburg, IL (northwest Chicago).

Canada–An updated ministerial handbook was approved by the membership. Two new Fellowship Elders were elected (Paul Reich of Caroline, Alberta; David Reimer of Steinbach, Manitoba), bringing the total to seven. Next year’s Canadian convention will be October 18-20, 2011 in Toronto.

The International Convention continues through Thursday night.

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