Note: You can download a printable PDF version of this update here.
Dear Friends and Family,
So much has happened since I last wrote to you in January. I’d like to take a few minutes to share some of the highlights of what we’ve been up to during the last couple of months.
Advanced School of Ministry
This year’s Advanced School of Ministry conference was different, but very good. Because of COVID restrictions, we did a live online conference, broadcast through both Zoom and YouTube. With the help of Carlos Marín and through Portland Bible College, we were able to access a Zoom account allowing several hundred people to connect at once. We also had over a hundred additional people and groups connect on YouTube.
Many pastors and leaders registered for the conference, and some groups of churches gathered in a single location to participate in the seminar using projectors in their auditoriums. Most people connected right from their homes, but it was especially fun to see church buildings full of leaders participating together.
On this occasion I didn’t teach personally, but we handled all the registrations, helped the general public, and took care of all the technical aspects of doing an online conference. Anna was especially helpful as the person in charge of the camera switching and bringing the correct speakers into focus at the right time. I spent many hours helping people without technical expertise getting registered and then, during the conference, taking care of the live broadcast and making sure everything went as planned.
Our theme, “Transforma-T” (Be Transformed), was excellent, as we are living through times of great transformation. Our team was able to cover six different sessions during the two-day online event. One of the sessions even included a small group application of the concepts that were taught, using Zoom breakout rooms.
The majority of those who attended were pastors and leaders. One advantage of doing the seminar online was the fact that several pastors joined us online who had never been able to attend one of our conferences in person because of their jobs or distance to the conference. We had people across several time zones and even from different countries.
This conference was a huge blessing for many. We plan on continuing offering both in-person and online conferences in the future.
Worship Recording and Local Church
In February, we did another live worship recording in video and audio here in our living room. We’ve found these live session recordings to be very useful and effective to use during our microchurch meetings on Sundays.
Our church building project continues forward, but while our property is under construction, we have adopted a microchurch model. Small groups gather in homes for ministry on Sunday mornings using our online service, supplemented with personal ministry and prayer in each home. Of course, food and celebration are also on the agenda, so the microchurch setting allows for people to gather, eat and enjoy being together. Once each month we are gathering everyone together here outside our home for our celebration service.
Our Experience With COVID
Last month, after avoiding it for almost two years, we suddenly came down with COVID-19. It was very unexpected, as we had taken so many precautions throughout the pandemic. And now that there is so much optimism that the worst of things has passed, we somehow caught it!
Thankfully, none of us had any life-threatening symptoms, but all three of us got pretty sick. Anna fared better than Sara and me, but it took all of us about three weeks to recover. It’s only been a couple of weeks since we’ve been getting our energy back.
It was so beautiful to see how several people from our church cared for us and brought us meals. They would come by and drop hot meals off on our porch, and we’d say, “Hello!” quickly through the window, and then they’d leave. We are also so thankful to those who were praying for us during that time!
Online Bible School
In February we started our spring semester with the online Bible School. We were blessed to have Mark Simpson share live with our group as we began the semester. We’re offering nine different courses and have just under 180 students enrolled. This semester, we’re doing another new course, this time on the life of Moses.
We continue to develop new material as we’re working toward creating an entire online degree program. We’re very thankful for the positive impact we’ve been able to make on many pastors, leaders and churches through this Bible school.
Thanks for joining with us!
We are so thankful to you for partnering with us in ministry. We appreciate each one of you who takes interest in what we’re doing, prays for us, or helps us economically. We appreciate you so very much!
David and Sara with Anna