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DECEMBER 2020

Cornerstone Conference is a body of IPHC Churches existing to equip ministers and churches to fulfill the Great Commission!

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SURVIVING PANDEMIC FATIGUE

By Bishop Mike Ainsworth

Pandemic fatigue is a sobering reality. We all hoped that COVID-19 would be under control by now. Emotionally, the increasing surge in COVID-19 positive cases locally and throughout the country, is provoking anxiety and cause for discouragement. Continued uncertainty is hard to handle. I heard someone say recently, that we are running a marathon without knowing the total distance of the race. So, it’s hard to pace yourself when you don't know when you will reach the finish line.

Organizations and businesses are facing the effects of this on employees, and the impact it will have in the months to come. Some experts say that 2021 will be a year many organizations will see a much higher than normal turnover. They predict that those who have been considering a change have put the decision on hold to get through the pandemic. They don’t want to add more instability to their lives in the middle of an already chaotic set of circumstances.

The ongoing question many in ministry are asking is, “What long term impact will the pandemic have on Pastors, congregations and ministry volunteers?” Some, I’m sure, will be beyond our ability to control. We must commit those things to prayer and trust the Lord who knows best. Others, particularly those things that relate to us personally, are well within our ability to control. “Ministry Burnout”, for example, is avoidable. It will, however, require detection and action when signs appear that this is happening in your life.

One minister recently commented on his blog that he felt a bit like Bilbo Baggins (the title character and protagonist of J. R. R. Tolkien's 1937 novel) who said he was “…thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.” The pastor admitted that it wasn’t just the pandemic, although that would be enough. Other “stresses” of 2020 that have intensified he and his congregations’ struggles, include the widespread economic instability, social unrest, the contentious presidential election and a running list of record-breaking natural disasters. These, he said, have threatened unity, encumbered ministry, and hindered outlook and vision.

Some time ago, former lawyer and Connexus Church founding pastor, Carey Nieuwhof, shared nine things he personally experienced in ministry burn out. I hope they will be helpful as you consider the needs in your own life. Here they are in his own words:

1. Your motivation has faded. The passion that fueled you is gone, and your motivation has either vaporized or become self-centered.
2. Your main emotion is ‘numbness’ – you no longer feel the highs or the lows. This was actually one of the earliest signs for me that the edge was nearby.
3. People drain you. Of course, there are draining people on the best of days. But not everybody, every time. Burnout often means few to no people energize you anymore.
4. Little things make you disproportionately angry. When you start losing your cool over small things, it’s a sign something deeper is very wrong.
5. You’re becoming cynical. Many leaders fight this one, but cynicism rarely finds a home in a healthy heart.
6. Your productivity is dropping. You might be working long hours, but you’re producing little of value. Or what used to take you 5 minutes just took you 45. That’s a warning bell.
7. You’re self-medicating. Your coping mechanism has gone underground or dark. Whether that’s overeating, overworking, drinking, impulsive spending or even drugs, you’ve chosen a path of self-medication over self-care. Ironically, my self-medication was actually more work, which just spirals things downward.
8. You don’t laugh anymore. Nothing seems fun or funny, and, at its worst, you begin to resent people who enjoy life.
9. Sleep and time off no longer refuel you. Sometimes you’re not burnt out; you’re just tired. A good night’s sleep or a week or two off will help most healthy people bounce back with fresh energy. But you could have a month off when you’re burnt out and not feel any difference. I took three weeks off during my summer of burn out, and I felt worse at the end than when I started. Not being refueled when you take time off is a major warning sign you’re burning out.
1. Your motivation has faded. The passion that fueled you is gone, and your motivation has either vaporized or become self-centered.
2. Your main emotion is ‘numbness’ – you no longer feel the highs or the lows. This was actually one of the earliest signs for me that the edge was nearby.
3. People drain you. Of course, there are draining people on the best of days. But not everybody, every time. Burnout often means few to no people energize you anymore.
4. Little things make you disproportionately angry. When you start losing your cool over small things, it’s a sign something deeper is very wrong.
5. You’re becoming cynical. Many leaders fight this one, but cynicism rarely finds a home in a healthy heart.
6. Your productivity is dropping. You might be working long hours, but you’re producing little of value. Or what used to take you 5 minutes just took you 45. That’s a warning bell.
7. You’re self-medicating. Your coping mechanism has gone underground or dark. Whether that’s overeating, overworking, drinking, impulsive spending or even drugs, you’ve chosen a path of self-medication over self-care. Ironically, my self-medication was actually more work, which just spirals things downward.
8. You don’t laugh anymore. Nothing seems fun or funny, and, at its worst, you begin to resent people who enjoy life.
9. Sleep and time off no longer refuel you. Sometimes you’re not burnt out; you’re just tired. A good night’s sleep or a week or two off will help most healthy people bounce back with fresh energy. But you could have a month off when you’re burnt out and not feel any difference. I took three weeks off during my summer of burn out, and I felt worse at the end than when I started. Not being refueled when you take time off is a major warning sign you’re burning out.

Last fall, I read two very helpful books by Gordon MacDonald. Ordering Your Private World and Rebuilding Your Broken World were incredibly helpful (and timely) in addressing the need to focus on the call and the need for a well-disciplined life. In his book Ordering Your Private World, MacDonald asks the reader a question that caught my attention, “Are we going to order our inner worlds, our hearts, so that they will radiate influence into the outer world? Or will we neglect our private worlds and, thus, permit the outer influences to shape us? This is a choice we must make every day of our lives.” I couldn’t have known how important this advice was in helping me make some important changes in the face of what was ahead.

Coping with extended problems, like the pandemic, requires long-term strategies. I’d like to offer a few questions for you to consider that I think may help combat the fatigue that we all may be feeling as we approach the Christmas season and prepare for a new year:

1. What are you doing to take charge of your own well-being now and in the future?
2. When was the last time you planned some time off to recharge and refocus?
3. In what ways could you benefit by taking a vacation from news and social media?
4. In an era of social isolation, have you discovered and utilized new (and old) ways to connect with others (including family and friends)?
5. If you find yourself becoming depressed or struggling with how to cope, are you prepared to ask for the help you need?
6. Have you made time each day to devote to the important spiritual disciplines of bible reading and prayer?
1. What are you doing to take charge of your own well-being now and in the future?
2. When was the last time you planned some time off to recharge and refocus?
3. In what ways could you benefit by taking a vacation from news and social media?
4. In an era of social isolation, have you discovered and utilized new (and old) ways to connect with others (including family and friends)?
5. If you find yourself becoming depressed or struggling with how to cope, are you prepared to ask for the help you need?
6. Have you made time each day to devote to the important spiritual disciplines of bible reading and prayer?

I would like to conclude with one of my favorite passages of scripture. In it, the psalmist declares his confidence in the Lord. It is really a celebration of the providential care of God over our lives. Here is Psalm 121:

1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Psalms 121, KJV

Please know that Trisha and I pray for you, our ministers and congregations, every day. We love and appreciate you and your family! If there is anything I can do for you, I am here to help!

Because of Calvary,

Mike Ainsworth

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View Annual Conference Reports

2020 ANNUAL CONFERENCE REPORTS

We have greatly missed the opportunity to gather in person with our Cornerstone Conference family this year. Although the pandemic prevented us from coming together for our 105th Annual Conference Session to worship, share vision, credential ministers and hear from leaders about the future of our work and ministry, Cornerstone Conference IPHC, its ministers, members and congregations have continued in the important work of advancing the kingdom of Christ throughout Western North Carolina, Southern Virginia and the world!

Because we could not meet, we are providing you with this report which includes the State of the Conference Report from June 2019 through September 2020. We share this report in anticipation that we will be together for our 106th Annual Conference Session which will be held on Saturday, September 18, 2021. Please mark your calendar and plan to participate in this annual gathering of our Cornerstone family.

We also ask you to join with us in special prayer that our Conference will continue to fulfill our mission to Equip Ministers and Congregations for Great Commission Ministry! Our heart is to see our ministers and congregations impact our communities and the world with the gospel – making a difference together for the glory of God!

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iphc.org

NEW IPHC ADVENT SERIES BEGINS NOVEMBER 29

By Dr. Doug Beacham, IPHC General Superintedent

A new series of video conversations with Dr. Doug Beacham begins today. The series, an Advent series called Songs of the Servant, looks at the familiar Advent themes through the lens of Isaiah's four "servant songs."

Watch the first video, an introduction to the series, below. Future videos will premiere on Facebook each Sunday through Christmas, and will be available to view at iphc.org/christmas2020.

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FOTF - Brian Mellema

WHAT DOES YOUR SPOUSE REALLY WANT FOR CHRISTMAS?

By Gary Thomas, Focus on the Family

Give the best gift you’ll ever give, which is what your spouse really wants, and you want to give . . . whether you know it or not.

I have a wealthy friend who gave his wife something for Christmas that didn’t cost any money. He presented her with a card that said, “I’m giving you a year of my pursuing gentleness and patience.”

My friend had gifted his wife plenty of expensive items through the years that resulted in a kiss or a “Thank you, that’s so thoughtful!” This was the first present he gave her (other than her engagement ring) that caused her to cry tears of joy. He was giving her himself. For years, she had been asking for him to see her, hear her and treat her in a way that made her feel cherished. She wanted something most of us desire: an intimate, emotionally connected marriage.

When I asked Lisa to marry me, she didn’t have a car, a job or even $1,000 to her name. I just wanted her and was thrilled when she said yes.
I didn’t bring much into the marriage either, by the way: a 10-year-old Ford Maverick Grabber, an English literature degree and a summer job with no guarantee of an income in the fall. But that, apparently, was enough for Lisa. On our wedding day, all we could give to each other was ourselves. Thirty-six years later, it’s still what both of us want.

We don’t get married to slowly become strangers. Yet life seems determined to pull us apart. Why not use Christmas as a chance to “regift” ourselves to our spouses? It may be the best Christmas present yet. In a way, it is a reenactment of our engagement. Isn’t engagement essentially saying, I’m giving you myself ?

Here are some practical ways you can gift “yourself” to your spouse.

Kill the spiders

Brent married a woman whose dad was an alcoholic. Brent doesn’t believe the Bible explicitly prohibits all alcohol use, and he enjoyed an occasional beer. Whenever his wife smelled it on his breath, however, it brought back horrific memories from her childhood. All the defense mechanisms that her mind had constructed to protect herself from her father launched themselves with ferocity to protect herself from him. Brent realized if he wanted to be one with her, drinking was not a risk he was willing to take. He stopped drinking—or as I call it, he killed a spider.

I have nothing against spiders, per se. They don’t scare me, but my wife hates when they find their way into our house, and she’s a fierce advocate of “cleanliness is next to godliness,” so she loathes spider webs. If I see a spider, to please Lisa, I kill it. Not because the spider bugs me, but because it bugs my wife.

One of the best things you can do to give yourself to each other is to start ruthlessly killing “spiritual spiders.” A spiritual spider is anything rooted in your spouse’s past or present that haunts her, hurts her, discourages her or makes her feel distant from you. Killing such a spider is about making your spouse feel safe and connected.

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GIVE TO SUPPORT WORLD MISSIONS BY DECEMBER 13!

Moments before He ascended to heaven, Jesus commanded the church to “GO!” and make disciples of all nations. When you give to the annual IPHC Global Outreach (GO) offering, your money turns into ministry on the mission field around the world. We challenge every IPHC member to give at least a “day’s wage” to the GO offering. Your generous donation helps share the Good News with those who need it most!

75% of the Global Outreach offering is given to World Missions Ministries to support churches, outreaches, and ministry projects led by missionaries and national workers, as well as to help develop new works, and ministry promotion. The remaining 25% of the Global Outreach offering is used by Evangelism USA to plant and develop churches in America. 100% of your donation is used to make a difference!

Thank you to all of the churches and individuals who have given towards our 2020 Global Outreach Offering! The impact you have made for the Kingdom of God is far greater than you will ever realize here on this earth. We are eternally grateful.

We are asking that all churches who have not yet received their Global Outreach offering, please do so this coming Sunday. The offerings are to be turned in no later than Dec. 13th to the Cornerstone Conference.

Our goal this year is $275,000!

We are praying and believing for God’s outpouring over our conference and our missionaries. If you have any questions please contact Keith Gilliam at kgilliam@wphc.net or you may call the conference office at 336-656-7936.

Please send your offering no later than December 13 to:
Cornerstone Conference IPHC
PO Box 150, Browns Summit, NC 27214

Thank you again for your giving!

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churchanswers.com

MAKING BETTER CHOICES

By Tyrone Barnette, Church Answers Coach

One of the most important qualities of a good leader is the ability to make good decisions. When a nation elects a President, a corporation hires a CEO, or when a church calls a pastor, each of them must factor in the decision-making ability of the leader. Some decisions are strategically critical to the life of an organization, nation, or church that when they are executed, they set off a chain reaction like falling dominos.

Over the past few months, parents, politicians, and pastors have had to formulate plans, chart new directions, and address herculean global problems that few generations have had to face. We have had a crash course in decision making, but we have yet to take the final exam. In this article, I want to offer a few guidelines to assist us in making better decisions. I pray my advice will provide some protection from the highly expensive consequences of making impulsive, reactionary, and emotional assessments that can paralyze a church, family, or nation for years to come.

The Principle of ILLUMINATION (Look to God’s Word to interpret your world).

This may seem like an obvious and expected action for Christian leaders to make, but I have found that this step is frequently ignored. We need God’s perspective to guide, inform, and validate our ideas. There is not a scripture for every issue we face, but there are biblical principles that provide benchmarks, parameters, and instruction for every problem or opportunity. When I am struggling with a particular issue, I consult the Bible for every place that addresses my concern. I ask three questions ‘What was going on with those in the text?’, ‘How did they respond?’, and ‘How should I respond?’.

The Principle of INVESTIGATION (Look to the facts in your face).

Perform your due diligence and discipline yourself to look at current reality. The more critical the decision the more due diligence is required. When I am making a major decision for my church or family, I am most critical and suspicious of my own voice. I have learned that my own emotions and selfishness can blind me from seeing the risks, dangers, and vulnerabilities of a decision. I listen for God’s Word and look at my world by asking questions and doing research. Read books and articles, attend a seminar, and examine the demographic, economic, social, and spiritual conditions that may shape the decision.

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careynieuwhof.com

HOW TO UNITE A DIVIDED PEOPLE: 4 KEYS TO LEADING IN AN ANGRY ERA

By Carey Nieuwhof

So you’re leading a more divided group of people than you ever imagined. And you’re leading them in a very angry era.

Talk about complicated.

People have always been somewhat divided. But it’s never been this divided. And people have rarely been this angry.

The divisions have rarely been greater: political, economic, racial, geographic, ideological, theological and more.

If you think mask/anti-mask has been challenging, wait for vaccine/no-vaccine.

The future doesn’t show any signs of uniting people automatically. In fact, left unattended, the divisions will likely only grow deeper and wider.

One of the key tasks of leadership is to unite people around a common cause. That’s what leaders do.

A divided culture needs a united church.

A divided nation needs a united people.

That’s the role leaders play. And my guess is, deep down, you wish your church, organization or company was more united. And while leadership has always been hard, this particular moment makes it harder than ever.

So how do you do it?

Here are four principles that have helped me lead through division.

1. Start With The Core, Not The Crowd

One of the challenges of leading in the 21st century is everyone makes their opinion known—usually publicly and loudly.

As you scroll through your social media feed, you see person after person you lead posting memes, links and opinions about what they think on any given issue. Your stomach sinks as you realize you’re trying to lead all of them in a common direction.

To make it more complicated, you have a bajillion inboxes and everyone can message you any time on social or via email to let you know exactly what they think. And they do.

You can’t even watch Netflix with the kids without someone urging you to do whatever they’re passionate about in the moment.

Most of us feel a pull to try to unite everybody. Maybe a great social post, talk or sermon will do it. Or writing a manifesto of some kind.

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iphc.org

29th IPHC GENERAL CONFERENCE UPDATE

By James Cain, IPHC Director of Communications

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Oklahoma City, OK (October 23, 2020) - The IPHC released a statement earlier this week that the Council of Bishops (COB) voted at its October meeting to postpone the denomination’s 2021 General Conference. Specific dates and registration information will be available at a later time. The IPHC released additional information about the postponement today.

“After months of prayer, study and analysis of the current situation, we believe it is in the best interest of the health of our global family that we postpone this important event,” said Presiding Bishop Dr. A.D. Beacham, Jr., who chairs the Council of Bishops. “The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the entire world with disease, economic and social problems, and death. It has required major adjustments to how we live. In most parts of the world, including the United States, it is not business as usual. These factors are part of the backdrop for the decision made by the IPHC Council of Bishops to postpone the 2021 General Conference until 2022.”

The potential for social distancing was a significant factor in the decision-making process. “We had multiple conversations with our Jacksonville venue,” said Chief of Staff Terry Fowler, who plans and coordinates General Conference. “We were convinced that the hotel could not accommodate us if social distancing was required by the state and or local officials. An outdoor space made little sense for a July meeting, and additional venues would have driven up costs and been less convenient.”

In addition to postponing General Conference, the Council’s resolution provided for the continuing governance and work of the IPHC through 2022. Officials elected at the 2017 General Conference will continue in their roles until the 29th General Conference is held in July 2022. The bylaws and policies contained in the 2017-2021 Manual will likewise remain in effect until that time.

The Council of Bishops also deferred all Quadrennial Conference Sessions scheduled for 2022 until 2023, providing the same extension of elections and actions approved for General Conference. (Read the text of the full resolution.)

“We have never postponed a General Conference before,” Dr. Beacham said. “But we face an unprecedented situation. We’ve taken this action to protect our delegates and their families, and to ensure that everyone who wants to attend the 29th General Conference will be able to do so in hope for our denomination’s bright future.”

While acknowledging that this news will be discouraging to some, Bishop Beacham pointed to the IPHC’s identity and vision, “We remain a place of hope and a people of promise. We are confident the Holy Spirit will continue to guide us as we seek to fulfill the Great Commission through Arise 2033. I look forward to rejoicing with our largest delegation ever when we gather again in 2022.”

General Conference is ordinarily convened along with three other events hosted by the IPHC’s Discipleship Ministries: YouthQuest, the denomination’s teen and young adult conference, and conferences for men and women. A statement from Student Ministries regarding YouthQuest postponement is available now at iphc.org/youthquest. Information about men’s and women’s conferences will be released as it becomes available.

For more information about IPHC Ministries, visit iphc.org.
For General Conference news and updates, visit iphc.org/generalconference.
Get the latest updates on Student Ministries events by following @IPHCStudent on Instagram and @IPHCYouthQuest on Facebook.

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BMI

UPCOMING ONLINE BMI CLASS - DECEMBER 4-5

December Class - Pastoral Ministry
Instructor: Garry Yeatts
Text: Practical Guide for Pastoral Ministry by Stan Toler

To register or for more information please contact Tennille Nichols @ tnichols@ccrdc.org.

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December 2020 - Ministry Opportunities-2
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STILL NEED YOUR MINISTER ID CARD?

If you have not yet received your Minister ID card please note that we must have a front facing picture of you on file to do so.

Please email Tennille Nichols a jpeg or png file to tnichols@ccrdc.org or mail a photo to her at the Conference Office: PO Box 150 Browns Summit, NC 27214 as soon as possible. If you have any questions please call her at 336-656-7936 ext 110.

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COVID-19 RESOURCES

Tips for Reopening the Church

Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of COVID-19 on the Church in America
As we slowly emerge out from sheltering in place to a “new” normal, what will the new normal look like for churches in America?
Article by Josh Laxton

Relaunching the Church (Facebook Live Video with Ed Stetzer)

What does it look like to reopen the church?
PowerPoint | Spanish Edition

Podcast: Pastor Resilience (Episode 28)
with Mindy Caliguire, Jimmy Dodd, & Lance Witt

20 Ways to Help Your Children Process the Pandemic
In these seasons of crisis, in our all-important busyness, there is often a subtle temptation to overlook the precious little lives that dwell in our very homes.
Article by Jeff Christopherson and Matt Rogers

Podcast: Children's Ministry in Time of Crisis (Episode 29)
with Mimi Larson, PhD., & Jana Magruder

Podcast: Church Finances in Uncertain Times (Episode 30)
with Todd McMichen

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THANK YOU FOR CONNECTING WITH CORNERSTONE!

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