Gather & Scatter

Recently I was asked to speak at one of our churches and I inquired of the pastor if there was a desired topic or text to include in the message. The response was brief but focused – carrying out the Great Commission and/or Hebrews 10:25 since we have 10-30% in-person attendance.

As I reflected on the two options for a few minutes, I saw the words Gather & Scatter in my mind. These words encapsulate the work of the church in a phrase that I could use to cover both topics. After preaching that Sunday morning, I was approached by an individual who graciously thanked me for the message. But I sensed this person had more to say as they were searching for the right words. They shared that this was their first Sunday back since the pandemic. Then added that for the past three weeks while listening to their church service online, as their family had done for the past year, they felt convicted that this new habit had been embraced out of convenience. It saved them time and allowed them to maintain a connection with their church. However, the message had confirmed there were things they had missed – a deeper worship connection and the personal connection with other church members. At the same time I was in this conversation, my wife was having similar exchanges with a couple of ladies who had just returned as well. It was a timely word for the body of Christ. This morning while finishing the writing of this article, I read this from Thom Rainer –

Many church attendees aren’t returning to your worship services because they have gotten out of the habit. It takes approximately 6 weeks to create a habit. People developed new habits during the quarantine that have replaced regular church attendance. It’s going to take an intentional ministry strategy to see both the return of church members AND new guests.

Let’s sow this encouraging word and embrace a winning strategy for this season!


Bruce Pfadenhauer
Central Region Director

National Convention AWARDS

Congratulations to the following individuals for reaching an important ministry milestone:

50-Years of Service
Rev. John D. Van Den Berg (Pella, IA)
25-Years of Service
Rev. Les E. Funderberg (Rock Falls, IL)
Rev. Mark Kosifas (Lomax, IL)
Rev. Linda Miller (Broken Arrow, OK)
Rev. Jeffrey A. Peterson (Peosta, IA)
Rev. J. Earle Trevillyan (West Des Moines, IA)

2020 Top 10 MVP Giving Churches
#2- First Church of the Open BibleDes Moines, Iowa $71,908
#7- First Church of the Open Bible of Freeport, Freeport, Illinois $34,013
#10- First Church of the Open BibleClear Lake, Iowa $26,620

Top Per Capita MVP Giving Churches
#4- First Church of the Open BibleFreeport, Illinois $11.09 per week
#8- Sunshine Open Bible Standard TabernacleDes Moines, Iowa $6.59 per week
#9- First Church of the Open BibleDes Moines, Iowa $6.46 per week
#15- Myanmar Christian Fellowship ChurchDes Moines, Iowa $5.19 per week
#17- Faith Open Bible ChurchMarshalltown, Iowa $4.80 per week
#21- Church of the Open BiblePolo, Illinois $4.23 per week
#22- Mt. Pleasant Church of the Open BibleMount Pleasant, Iowa $4.04 per week
#23- First Church of the Open BibleOttumwa, Iowa $4.03 per week
#24- Living Church of Jesus ChristEldridge, Iowa $3.77 per week
#25- Fort DSM Church of the Open BibleDes Moines, Iowa $3.73 per week
#29- First Church of the Open BibleClear Lake, Iowa $3.39 per week
#32- Living Bible ChurchAustin, Minnesota $2.55 per week
#33- Open Bible Church of WaterlooWaterloo, Iowa $2.44 per week
#35- Cornerstone Community ChurchAibia, Iowa $2.39 per week
#36- Christ New Covenant Open Bible ChurchLacon, Illinois $2.35 per week
#39- Church of the Open BibleIowa Falls, Iowa $2.21 per week
#41- Journey Church MinistriesLoves Park, Illinois $2.09 per week

Approved the following Central Region ministers in the first half of 2021:
Shane Blackledge, Waverly, IA- Basic license
Lola Carlson, Lacon, IL- Basic license
Candice Erickson, Bentonville, AR- Basic license
Thomas Jones, Bentonville, AR- Basic license
Heather Karczewski, Bentonville, AR- Basic license
Kathryn Polson, West Des Moines, IA- Basic license
Anna Schneider, Des Moines, IA- Basic license
Dave Schneider, Des Moines, IA- Basic license
Jacob Grotjan, Waxahatchie, TX- Certified license
Rick Moe, Austin, MN- Certified license
Ron Polson, West Des Moines, IA- Certified license
Nicole Reimer, Boonville, MO- Certified license
KC Wright, Springfield, MO- Certified license
Richard Silva, Albia, IA- upgrade from Basic to Certified license
Mark Hornback, Ottumwa, IA- upgrade to Ordination
Henry Parks, Ft. Worth, TX- upgrade to Ordination
Steven Vandi, Garland, TX- upgrade to Ordination