What is our Gospel?

I have a friend of mine in Southern Colorado who I recently went to see. We met in undergrad and have stayed in-touch relatively consistently over the years. He's fairly outdoorsy - enjoys hiking, fishing, skiing, mountain biking, and tends to surround himself with those type of friends. He's got a bird-dog named Beans and plays a pretty good folk guitar. He's a bit of a jack-of-all-trades, career-wise. He's worked for a guy who builds houses and for a local radio station, and currently repairs electronic devices - hardware and software - for a living. However, don't underestimate him. Under a good-ol'-boy persona, lies a very sharp mind and a great wit. He got a 35 on his ACT, all A's in college, and is an excellent public speaker and writer. He can go toe-to-toe with just about anyone in a political debate and has very informed opinions regarding public policy, international affairs, and religion.

What I've told you about this friend of mine might all be true - a relatively accurate depiction of a real person. However, knowing this short paragraph about him gets you very little closer to genuinely knowing who he is. To do this, you would need to come to Pagosa Springs and have some conversations with him, see how he interacts with his son Jackson and his wife Denise. You'd probably need to spend quite a bit of time with him, hearing the timbre of his voice and picking up his turn-of-phrase. In short, my description of him can never come close to the complexity that is, in fact, him!

I'm afraid that, when it comes to our gospel - our good news to the world, we have sometimes settled for the former description instead of striving for the latter relationship. It's easy to reduce the gospel to a human created creed or set of beliefs. I can quickly check it to make sure I'm "in the right" or to find out of someone else isn't. I like the convenience of thinking that as long as I believe the right things, I'm in line with the gospel.

However, our gospel can never be encapsulated in a creed or a statement of faith or a preaching point, because our gospel is a person. The good news for our world isn't that if they believe the right set of axioms then everything will work out; rather, it's that if they, and we, enter into a relationship with this person - allow this person to inhabit our lives, He will radically transform not just us but the world around us.

And, this is the most wonderfully terrifying of propositions the world has ever known: that God would willingly escape the temple walls, reach into our lives, and offer Himself as inhabitor, transformer, and re-creator of our mundane existence. This, friends, is our gospel - our good news - Christ IN us, the hope of glory, the power over sin and death, and the deposit of the new creation.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus..

Your District Administration


District Assembly is coming! Save the date

Mark your calendars now for District Assembly 2017 at San Diego First Church & PLNU!  

  • Sunday, June 4:  Please join us from 5-7pm for the Opening Worship Service, followed by a time of fellowship and light refreshments. Free childcare available for 5th grade and younger.
  • Monday, June 5:  Our assembly meeting is from 8:30am-4:30pm and the Ordination Service is at 7 PM.  Free nursery care is available for children ages 0-4.  General Superintendent Eugenio Duarte will be presiding over assembly and preaching at both Sunday & Monday services.
  • Tuesday, June 6:  *NEW!*  We are adding a training session from 8:30am-12pm for all interested clergy and lay persons.  Pastor Scott Daniels will lead the session.  

In a couple weeks, the online links to register for housing and meals at PLNU, nursery care, and your Assembly delegates will be live.  You’ll receive a special District Assembly newsletter email with links and promotional resources, so watch your email inbox.


Seminar by the Sea at PLNU

Research shows that the number one factor associated with effective leadership is a high degree of personal self-awareness. This seminar will help ministry leaders identify and understand their unique God-given abilities and then how to leverage these capacities in building and empowering dynamic ministry teams.

We are inviting all pastors and licensed ministers to join us on Monday, May 16, 2016 (All day) - Friday, May 20, 2016 (All day). Instructors include: Dr. Norm Shoemaker, Dr. Dan Croy, Dr. Reuben Welch and Dr. Ron Benefiel

For more information and to register, visit: http://www.pointloma.edu/event/seminar-sea-leadership-ministry or call 619-849-2410.


Compassion Conference 2017

Compassion Conference is a three-day global gathering sponsored by NCM (Nazarene Compassionate Ministries) from July 14-16. The event will inspire you to imagine how the church can live out God’s call to compassion and equip you for holistic, transformational ministry.  

Learn together what it means to be the hands and feet of Christ to those living in the margins of your community and around the world. Register now!  (www.compassionconference.com) or click HERE for a taste of what the conference is like.


SDMI Update

What counts? During the past half-century, most churches have experienced decreases in Sunday School and increase in small group attendance. However, we need to recognize that, no matter the form, it’s all discipleship! What gets counted gets validated. So, don’t be afraid to take a second look at the education and discipleship going on in your church. Is Caravans education absolutely! How about a Thursday night young adult Bible study? For sure! Let’s spell out discipleship in the way it really happens.

  1. It’s spending time with someone that is mentoring you in the things of God. Count it!
  2. It’s growing in the knowledge of the scriptures - all Bible studies no matter what day of the week they meet. Count it!
  3. It’s setting people free from bondages through groups like recovery, divorce care, grief care etc. Count it!
  4. It’s equipping people to be better parents, husbands, and wives – so, any family class, parenting class or a class on blended families etc. Count it!

As you can see Sunday School and Discipleship Ministry cannot be put into a traditional box. You are not padding numbers, you are validating real, life changing, authentic ministry. Make it Count!!

Next Month the 7 signs of a healthy church.

(A New Tool: “To Tell the Story” (yep, storytelling is an art!) This is how the scriptures were shared for thousands of years. So, Count it! Our General Church SDMI is training, teaching, and certifying all who want to learn this great art.)

Kevin OConnor - SDMI Chairperson


Church in Need

Holtville Nazarene is in need of communion cup trays and bread plate. If you are able to assist in this matter, please contact Loyda Ruiz at pastoraloyda@hotmail.com.


Bilingual discipleship Initiative

On May 11-15, San Bernardino First will host Javier and Annette Mondragon, pastors of a bilingual Nazarene congregation in Fort Wayne Indiana to speak to the challenges and opportunities in ministering in a bi-lingual context. All are invited to attend and engage in the dialogue. Below is a schedule of the week's events.

  • Wednesday PM Service (3rd street campus)
  • Thursday PM Service (3rd street campus)
  • Friday PM Service (3rd street campus)
  • Saturday AM Service
  • Saturday PM Service (Main Campus - 16th street)
  • Saturday: Workshops 11 am - 3 pm. (Main Campus - 16th street). (Other Church and District Ministries invited to hold workshops, especially Spanish- speaking. Suggested Topics)
  • Sunday Morning: NEW Spanish-speaking Sunday School Class (Main Campus)

Please be in prayer for Rev. Steve Martinez, our new start pastor, and the entire SB First leadership team as they step out in this new ministry venture.


Annual Reports - Licensed/Ordained Ministers

If you are serving as a senior/lead pastor of a church on the district, please submit your annual pastor’s report by going to the following link: https://secure.nazarene.org/nazid/

If you are a district licensed minister and you did not meet with the credentials board this year, please submit your annual report by going to the following link: http://socalnaz.org/reports/annual-report-card-for-ordained-or-licensed-ministers

If you are an ordained deacon or elder and currently not serving as a senior/lead pastor of a church on the district, please submit your annual report by going to the following link: http://socalnaz.org/reports/annual-report-card-for-ordained-or-licensed-ministers

If you are a retired (not merely tired) ordained deacon or elder, please submit your annual report by going to the following link: http://socalnaz.org/reports/annual-report-card-for-retired-ministers

If you are a commissioned evangelist, please submit your annual report by going to the following link: http://socalnaz.org/reports/annual-report-card-for-evangelist

If you have any questions, please contact district secretary Steve Rodeheaver: steverodeheaver@pointloma.edu.


Kids Camp Workers Needed

So Cal District Kid’s Camp is seeking individuals for executive and staff positions for summer 2017:  Art director, Fun Time director, Head Nurse, Counselors. If you or someone you know of might be interested in filling these positions, please contact, Karisa May, Camp Director: scdchildrenscamp@gmail.com


Seminarian Offering

Nazarene Theological Seminary is looking to raise $1 per person for each person in your church! While the date for the proposed offering has passed (January 29th), we would love for you and your church to consider being a part of this if you can. Please consider giving NTS your support in order to give students across the globe the chance to prepare for ministry.


Haiti Work and Witness Update

We thank God for what He's doing through His church in Haiti and for allowing us to be a part of that work. Below are a couple of pictures of the structure we have been blessed to assist in building. This was used recently to hold the district assembly of the local district.

They were able to accommodate 400 people in two and a half days. They were also blessed to receive General Superintendent, Dr Porter as the speaker. Continue to hold the Haitian people up in your prayers and they look to the work God continues to call them into.


Three District Prime Time Retreat

Dr. Jim Diehl will be our speaker April 24-27 at the beautiful Murrieta Hot Springs Campus. Jim Diehl is a much loved and sought after speaker on college campus, layman’s retreats, cruises, and retreat settings. We are fortunate Jim can be with us in Murrieta.

The Murrieta Hot Springs is a beautiful garden-like campus where the college students take care of our every need. For four days and three nights our chef will provide outstanding meals and desserts, and we will have ample opportunity for worship, fellowship, and fun activities involving the pool, hot spring spas (choose your temperature), game nights in the coffee house, horse shoes, and much more.

We will celebrate in music Monday night with Rev. Scott Anderson leading and Leslie Garman at the Keyboard. There will be a special quartet you do not want to miss. Additionally, we will celebrate the 100th birthday of Rev. Joseph Penn.


Teen Bible Quizzing

Finals are coming soon, April 16th at 9 am at Mission Nazarene. Contact Jerry Goodwin at jerrygoodwin@wildblue.net if you have questions.


Children's Quizzing Calendar: 2017

  • District Quiz: April 8 @ Mission
  • Regional Quiz: May 2017 @PLNU (for those who qualify)
  • World Quiz: June 2017

For more information, contact Karisa May


Local Missionary Presidents

We are asking all local NMI presidents (Missionary presidents) to email Darla Bridges (SoCal District LINKS Secretary) at socallinks@outlook.com. She's needing a more complete list in order to get out appropriate information to all applicable parties. Additionally, pastors - please make sure that your local NMI president has access to this information and Darla's email


Youth In Mission

Youth in Mission has some exciting mission opportunities for young adults (18-25yrs) in 12 locations across the region for June-July 2017:


What is YiM? An initiative of the USA/Canada Region Church of the Nazarene whose mission is to engage young adults in the mission of Christ through the community of the Church in the diversity of Culture. Learn more at: www.youthinmission.org


Could you help get the word out locally? Especially to those young adults going to community or state colleges and universities. Maybe they are doing something else in life? (Nazarene school students are always welcome to apply) Let them know there is a mission option for them!


Know anyone you’d like to recommend? E-mail yim@nazarene.org



A Plain Account: Wesleyan Resources

2 Nazarene pastors have recently begun to put together resources for a "Wesleyan-perspectived" commentary on the Revised Common Lectionary. If you are a pastor or a lay-person interested in following lectionary readings throughout the year, we recommend visiting aplainaccount.com for more information. Nazarene ministers and scholars from all over the globe are participating in this project. We would love to have you be a part of this work, supporting it in any way you can.


SoCal Round-Up

May 19-21, 2017 we will hold our annual SoCal Roundup at Indian Hills Camp in Jamal, CA. We rent the entire campground for the weekend and have a great time swimming, hiking, doing derby car races, zip-lining, obstacle course racing and engaging in wonderful times of praise and worship.  Contact Janet Crow now if your church is interested in doing "Family Camp" at this event.  A tour of the site can be arranged to help with your planning!  Janet's e-mail is janetloma@cox.net


Kids Camp

This year's kids camp will take place on July 24-28 at Pine Valley Christian Conference Center. Space is limited so plan and reserve early! $275 per child for the first 90 kids with early registration (postmarked by June 20th) - regular registration: $290, postmarked by July 10th (up to maximum capacity). For more info, email info@socalnazkidscamp.com. (see attached flier for more details)


Rwandan Choir Tour

Don't miss Nazarene Rwandan Choir which will be joining us at District Assembly (June 3rd and 4th)! Below are the current details of their trip. Please be in prayer for their ministry and how God might direct you to assist financially (Any donation given in a love offering will be used to help pay for the education of the choir members and the orphans at Ndengera foundation).

  • May 18thDepart from Rwanda
  • Weekend of May 20-21st: Chicago
  • Weekend of May 27-28th: Colorado Springs
  • Weekend of June 3-4th: San Diego
  • Weekend of June 10-11th: Los Angeles and El-Moro
  • Weekend of June 17-18th: Oregon And Washington
  • June 21-25th: General Assembly in Indianapolis
  • Weekend of July 1-2nd: Indianapolis
  • July 3rd: leave from Chicago Airport

Take a look at their promotional video and feel free to share it with your church family and friends.


General Assembly Update

General Assembly housing is now available to everyone. To register or reserve housing, click HERE, or visit ga2017.com. If you have any problems on the website while registering or reserving housing, please get in touch with Experient Housing Bureau Customer Service at 1-800-424-5249


Church reporting

I considered making this edition of the newsletter, in honor of April Fools day, a complete joke: D.S. resigning, churches closing, selling off PLNU for a San Diego Disney campus, etc. However, I've shown restraint. None of that has been inserted - partly, because there's always a contingent that simply cannot handle jokes, and, partly, because telling creative un-truths is a lot of work. Thus, in gratitude for not spreading chaos across district channels, all we ask is that churches simply be consistent in their monthly district reporting.

Click HERE to make your monthly church reports. Thank you and you're welcome, SoCal district.

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