Home Church Pastor Commissioning

Hello Cedars:

The Elders of Cedars want to give you an update about the commissioning of our Home Church Pastors taking place in both of our services this coming Sunday. Since the merge happened, we have been looking forward to this date, when we would have our first home churches officially recognized by our Eldership and the C&MA (Christian & Missionary Alliance.)

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We identified and began meeting with these men back in early 2017. This was a slow yet significant process. These men (and at times their spouses) met for 2 hours each week. They have tackled a great number of topics as part of the training curriculum such as ministry, theology, doctrine, personal growth, and the study of God's Word.  

These men have worked hard, and have asked great questions of their instructor, Pastor Jeff Harris, as well as each other. But their greatest questions were asked of God.

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This is a huge undertaking. This is a significant commitment. All the while they were trying to look at a new paradigm for ministry going forward. Prayers and wrestling are always a part of something significant.

As of March of this year, three of our churches have been participating in what we called a soft launch. They started meeting and trying to see what God wanted these home churches to really look like. We have no cookie cutter model for them. They will each look and act different as they move forward.

What was most significant was the Word of God and the Spirit of God.  These have to be the most essential aspects of what they would be establishing. To be honest, we were ready to move forward earlier this year, but we had to wait on some issues at the C&MA district office to get resolved. So now we are ready to move forward.

This Sunday we will be commissioning and certifying two of our Home Church Pastors:  Andy Patrick and Barry Taimani. The Elders along with some guests will be commissioning these two pastors with the laying on of hands. The C&MA will then commission them with the Certificate of Christian Worker.

The C&MA manual states the following about the Christian Worker Certificate:

A Christian Worker Certificate is intended to provide recognition for individuals whose lay ministry extends beyond the local church and is endorsed by the elders of the church where they are members as contributing significantly to the mission and purposes of that local church. The certificate may be issued by the pastor/senior pastor and elders of the congregation, with the approval of the district superintendent, only in restricted circumstances where validation of character and competence is required to enable lay ministry beyond the usual ministries of the local church.

We are excited that we get to take this step of encouraging these men as they "contribute significantly to the mission and purpose of Cedars Church”. We are praying that you will come and support them in this endeavor.

Cedars Elders






Jeff Harris is done with Licensing and Ordination (Part 2)

Hi Cedars:

This letter will serve as another update about what is happening regarding the licensing and ordination process through the Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA). In my last update, I let you know that I was going to be meeting with Mike Mitchum who is in charge of licensing and ordination for the Central District of the C&MA. 

Plans had to change, but in a good way. I was asked to go to the Central Pacific District office this past Thursday, September 13th.  This was a busy day with pastors being interviewed as they worked through their own licensing and steps toward ordination. It allowed me to meet with the leadership as it pertained to me and our specific situation. This meeting along with the meetings that I was able to attend while in Colorado Springs finally brought all of this to completion.

On Thursday, September 13, the elders of Cedars Church received the following email from the Central Pacific District...

To the elders of Cedars Church:

This is to inform you that as a result of our interview on September 13, 2018, The Central Pacific District of the Christian and Missionary Alliance has sustained the ordination of Jeffrey Harris. In addition, he has been approved for a license as “Interim Lead Pastor” of Cedars Church. As an ordained and licensed worker with the C&MA Jeffrey is entitled to all the rights and privileges that go along with being an official worker.

We congratulate Jeffrey and welcome him into the Central Pacific District family!

Blessings,

Mike Mitchum

First if all I want to thank Mike Mitchum and Ray Van Gilst for really helping me through this process. I am also thankful to them for letting me share my journey and to learn more from them each time we met.

Let me explain what the phrase "has sustained the ordination of Jeffrey Harris" means:  Since I was already an ordained pastor, they recognized my existing ordination as valid and accepted by the C&MA. That is awesome and a blessing!

I wanted to make sure that you were made aware as soon as it became official. I will still be growing in my knowledge and understanding of the C&MA as we go, but I am thankful that this crucial part is fulfilled.

Blessings.

Jeff Harris

Cedars Interim Lead Pastor

Pastor Jeff Harris went to a C&MA Conference (Part 1)

Cedars

It’s Jeff again.

In my attempt to keep you all in the loop, I want to update you in a two-part post. I was hoping to get this done in one update, and was holding off until I had my second meeting with our district leadership which will happen on September 12.  I did not want to wait that long so I will do this in two parts.

This first part will deal with my recent trip to Colorado to attend the “Resonate Event” put on by the leadership of the C&MA. This first update will help explain how this process leads to ordination here at Cedars and what is taking place as we move forward.

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The second part will come to you sometime after September 12, when I will be meeting with Mike Mitchum of the Central Pacific District. This meeting pertains to the steps required to finish licensing and ordination. You can all look forward to this update in the near future.

What was Resonate? Resonate is a gathering of C&MA that takes place near the national headquarters in Colorado Springs. Those who attend have completed their licensing and are in the final stages before they are ordained. Our situation is a bit different in that although Tim and I will simply be transferring our ordinations, we are still going through the licensing stage. More on that in a bit.

I was allowed to come to this event because it was felt that it would be a great place for me to get caught up on all things C&MA.  During this three day event we were able to hear from President John Stumbo and his executive staff. We were given some insight into the history of C&MA as well as hearing about the work being done nationally and around the World.

We were able to visit the headquarters where we were able to put faces together with names that are leading the C&MA. We heard about resources that are available to C&MA churches and how we can be a part of its continued growth. We also had the leadership of our local Central Pacific District there to meet with us and encourage us.

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I had a great meeting with Mike Mitchum (Leadership Development) who will be personally handling our unique situation. Ray Van Gilst was also scheduled to be there, but had to cancel due to the passing of his mother the week prior.  Ray was amazing and did not want to miss meeting with me, so he came to Newark and met with me personally before I attended this event. It was an incredible gesture.

As I stated earlier, I will have a much clearer update after Mike and I spend the afternoon together on September 12.  Although I think I now have a pretty good grasp on what is happening, I just want to be extra clear as we inform Cedars. In essence, we need a couple of courses in Polity and Missions.

Each District handles this differently and I think that is what led to a lot of the confusion. Mike and I will meet and put together the plan that will be the most comprehensive and yet can be done in the most timely manner. One interesting thing we learned in these meetings was that no transfer staff person (that would be Tim and myself) can transfer ordination in the first two years at a church. Tim and I are still in that two year window.

The licensing phase can begin in that two year time period, which is what we have done. This was stated in our all-church meeting.

When I stepped away from leadership for a season, I was not focusing on my licensing.  When I decided to come back into my role as a leader, I began to work toward licensing.  Much misinformation about this process took place. This has been discussed with both Ray Van Gilst (District Superintendent) and Mike Mitchum (Leadership Development). I took responsibility for my lack of understanding and my frustration with the process and they both have asked for forgiveness on behalf of the C&MA and how this lack of proper information all came about.

The Central Pacific District also had a situation that took place in their office which needed very focused attention. This situation meant that my requests regarding my licensing were pushed back months while the office issue was resolved. Again Ray and Mike have been more than apologetic as to how all of this has affected Tim and myself along with those waiting for this process to continue. Our recent conversations and interactions have been really healthy and I am looking forward to more time with Ray and Mike in the future. I hope to have more news on that after September 12.

So what did attending the C&MA Resonate Conference accomplish? It is a requirement of anyone who has to transfer his ordination. So we get to check that box. It also was really good to hear directly from the leadership of C&MA and see what is taking place right now. It was also good to get a better perspective of C&MA as a whole, which had not yet taken place previously.

Additionally, I was able to spend some great time with Rich and Kristi Todd which was thoroughly a blessing. (Don’t be surprised if we get to hear more from them in the near future).

So yes, we are still in the process, but we have made great process with more to come fairly soon. So be looking to hear about that after the 12th. Please continue to pray for our Staff and Eldership. We are really trying to make up for lost time and we do want to make sure we are taking care of these priorities as we strive to keep moving forward with the vision that started Cedars in the first place.

I am learning more each and every day and I am trying along with the staff to serve you and to equip you to do works of ministry. I hope Part 1 was helpful and I will touch base with you in Part 2.

Because He Lives…

Jeff Harris

Click here to be taken to the C&MA Website

Click here to see a video about envision (Rich and Kristi Todd are a part of the leadership)

Click Here to see the latest publication of the C&MA magazine - "Alliance Life"

I just Wanted to Say..... (Jeff Harris)

Hello Cedars:

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The staff and elders want to make sure that we are keeping you in the loop as we move forward. It has been a great season of successful events here at Cedars:  Men’s Retreat, Women’s Ice Cream Float Social, Children’s Movie Night at the Barn and College-Young adult Hiking, not to mention to the great crowd that showed up for Taco night. Whew… that is a lot.

Additionally, there has been a great spirit within those who attended these events. People are getting to know each other and are hearing each other's stories. This is great!

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We are not done yet. Rooted is here! And you can still sign up. Click here to do so. This is going to be a great Rooted series as we come out of a busy summer.

Also, the Equipping Conference (Ask & Imagine) is set for September 27-29. You can get more info by clicking here. This is going to be a significant event in the life of Cedars. There will be three Main Sessions and four “Equip Seminars” led by nearly thirty presenters.  There will be childcare where much fun is set to take place. The Equipping Conference is Free and we want you to sign up. Look over the information and sign up today.

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Our youth have a retreat set for the 14th - 16th. What a great way to say goodbye to summer.

There is also a Women's Breakfast coming up on September 8th. So much is happening. The Women’s Retreat at Alliance Redwoods is in October, and then, BAM, the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are upon us!

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The leadership is excited about what God is going to do during this season. Speaking of our leadership, two things that we told you would take place have happened. First, the leadership (Elders, Staff, Ministry Leads) all met last Sunday to make sure that we are all moving in the same direction. It was a good meeting and we have more meetings planned in the near future. Secondly, the elders along with Lindsey and Tim met last night to tackle some of the backlogs that needed to be addressed. We did not get through it all, but we are moving forward.

In future updates, we will tell you of some of the things with which the Elders are currently wrestling.  We just wanted you to know that we are really trying to come together to act on the vision that God has for us. Blessings to you all. See you Sunday!

Because He Lives…

Jeff Harris

Update from Lead Pastor - Sorting the lumber

Hello Cedars!

 

On July 25th, the Elders of Cedars Church announced my new position as Interim Senior Pastor, and I’m excited to take on this role. This decision came through a long process of meetings, prayer and counsel.

We know that merging two churches into one has been a huge task, and we then went an extra step of wanting our new church to be very outward focused, keeping in step with the original Cedars vision: to reach our inner circles and see them as our mission fields, to equip the body of Christ to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and to train up leaders to plant and lead home churches.

As we merged two churches into one new one in January 2017, both InRoads and CBNC churches had to die, and that has been hard. In order to give life to something new, we had to say goodbye to two churches we loved. Why has it been so hard? That is the question that comes out of all of this.

No one has questioned the need to reach our Inner Circles and to be equipped to do so. Many who have talked with me understand the desire to reach those who may never come to our building but will attend a home church. So why has this merge been so hard?

It really comes down to a need to understand and be understood. In other words, better communication. Change is hard; it’s rarely easy. But when you don’t understand why the change is coming or is needed, that makes it even harder.

I have met with some of you since the all church meeting July 25th, and I have heard your hearts. I see how we can do better. I see how we need to communicate more about what happens around here. The Elders are committed to that, and so is your staff.

Here are a few ways we plan to communicate better and keep you better informed moving forward:

  • The Elders will meet regularly with the executive staff (Jeff Harris, Tim Ruiz & Lindsey Alcosiba). We hope this will go far in making sure we are doing a better job of telling the story God is writing at Cedars.

  • We are bringing the leaders of Women’s, Men’s, and Deaf ministries into our planning and preparation. We want them to be a part of our long term strategy. We want them to see how their ministries not only fit into the bigger picture, but are instrumental in the fleshing out of the church’s vision. How do their events, gatherings or outreaches help us to be a better Cedars? Sometimes it’s just us being family, but at other times, it’s about us being strategic in how we use our different gifts and passions to move us forward.

  • Our Home Churches will be recognized and certified by our Elders and CMA. This will allow us to partner with them whole heartedly and tell their amazing stories. (And boy do they have stories!) Their leaders will also be brought into this communication with the Elders, staff and ministries. This we pray, will mean that we can better serve and support our Home Churches as we move forward. We want our Home Churches to have Cedars as a resource, a support and a champion of their endeavors. We want them to see how they fit into a much bigger picture of what God is doing.

  • We want to make sure that there are avenues for the congregation to speak with the leadership. This week, we are looking into how we make our Eldership more available to the church. Right now you can go to the Homepage on our website and ask our Elders a question. They will respond. We are looking for times on Sunday mornings for you to have access to those leading Cedars. I have made myself available to meet with anyone who chooses. All you have to do is call the church office, and Cindy will get us together. Coffee, or just a meeting. Let me know. My email is jeff@cedars-church.com. Feel free to let me know how I can be of help.

  • We want to use our website and social media more effectively in telling the Cedars Story. We want to make sure that communication is flowing from our Eldership, to our staff and then to you. But that is not enough. How is that communication happening between ministries and our home churches? How are we making sure that everyone knows what is going on? These are the questions we get to tackle.

At the meeting  on Sunday night July 29,  I used an illustration that might be helpful. Here we go:

This is a lesson that is learned each and every year on our home building trips to Mexico. Those who have been on this trip before have seen this take place. It is not meant to cause confusion, but it does. If you have been before, as soon as one task is done, let’s say sorting the tools, then they (those who have been before) just walk over to the lumber pile and start to sort wood. Rafters for the roof in this pile, forms for the foundation in this pile, the good 8 footers for the walls goes over here, and the “not so good wood” goes over here for fire blocks and bird blocks. None of that is bad, unless you are the new person on the trip. You have no idea what is going on! Wood just seems to be moving around with no rhyme or reason. Finally someone notices that there is frustration on the faces of those who want to help, but do not know how to help and feel in the way. Or they feel like they are left out and not a part of the team. So we stop. And someone explains. We want the good rafters for the roof since people will be on the roof, and we want them safe. We want good straight 2x4s for the walls, so our walls can be plum, which will be helpful when we put it all together. We can cut up the “not so good wood” so that it works great for the small pieces we need. A 5 minute meeting, and everyone knows what is happening. Everyone sees the goal. Everyone sees how they can play a part. No one wants to fall through the roof; that make sense. Before you know it, the wood moves again but with everyone aware, on board, and pitching in.

We as a leadership need to take the time to make this happen. To stop and explain why this is happening, or why this thing is stopping. We need people to see that there is a method to the madness, and yes there is a place to jump in. We want everyone to jump in. We want you to know why, and how you can be a part. Please forgive us, if you found yourself looking at all the “wood” going here and there and not understanding what was happening. That is a leadership problem we are in the process of fixing. But, also please, as soon as you understand what is happening, jump in. We need you. We really do. If your job was taken, I want you to know I am sorry. We may need you to take it back, or there could be an even better job. We need you to see what the goal is, and how you can support, pray, give and play a role. We did not explain enough. We had no malicious intent, and yet it can feel that way when you do not see what is happening or the reason behind it.

I will be doing more of these updates. I think this is a lot to take in. I know this has been hard. I also know God is a Redeemer. I am praying and working toward that redemption. Take us up on this. Help us be the Church that glorifies God.

Can I be so bold to ask one last thing? If someone comes to you hurt, and misunderstood, take them by the hand and bring them to me. Please do not let their pain end with you. Take them to the person that can hear them, answer them and hopefully help them. We want to be a healthy and vibrant body. You can make that happen. Thank you for your time. And if you really did read all of this, you have my thanks. Hope to see you Sunday.

Because He Lives…

Jeff Harris