On The Road

With the students focused on exams and leaving for the summer, this past month has been a fantastic opportunity to break from the routine and take time away.  Here’s what God has done through my time ‘on the road:’

CMDA National Convention

My time away began in late April with our CMDA National Convention in California.  This was my first time at the Convention, and a great time to get in on the ground floor of several important student initiatives our new Campus and Community VP rolled out there.  One of these, The National Student Council (NSC), is a nationwide group of student leaders coming together to receive mentoring, discover how to influence the future of healthcare, shape the future of CMDA, and learn how to impact their campuses for Christ.  I was able to share what I’ve learned in Philadelphia and interact with the students as they think about their own campuses.  Looking ahead, I will be part of monthly webinars that will move this discussion forward.

Hudson Valley International Saline Seminar

Teaching at the Hudson Valley Int'l Saline

After a few weeks home, it was on to the Hudson Valley in NY.  You may recall that we’ve been equipping local students and physicians to share their faith in medical settings through a partnership we have with International Health Services (IHS) and its International Saline (IS) curriculum.  At our first local IS seminar some time ago, two members of the Hudson Valley CMDA chapter came down to receive the training from us.  Recently, Dr. Bob Snyder and I had the privilege to join those members in NY as they launched the training in their own area.  Approximately 15 (an ideal number) were in attendance for the seminar, which went very well.

One physician who came said that she realized, through our time together, that she “had lost her heart for her Beloved over the past two years”, and that she desperately needed to recapture her love for Christ so that she could be an effective witness in her workplace.  Many others came away excited and equipped to share their faith, and already plans are being made to hold a follow-up seminar.  A physician from New York City also came, and plans on bringing the seminar to that area as well.  This is what the International Saline is all about – training others who will train others for maximum impact!

CMDA Staff Conference

My next stop was our annual staff conference at our headquarters in Bristol, TN.  It was a great opportunity to network with other staff doing similar work in other areas across the country.  We also had a number of fantastic speakers that provided refreshment and new ideas that will inject our ministry with new life.

Support Development

Last, but not least, I’ve been using the drive home to continue developing support for the ministry.  Stops in Virginia, Washington DC and Baltimore have given me the opportunity to share our vision with new, potential ministry partners.  Many have responded positively, offering not only financial support, but their prayers and new connections.

Along the way, I also had the chance to visit current friends/supporters and connect with folks who, though not able to contribute financially, have offered their wisdom on many levels.  One physician in Richmond shared his experience of starting and strengthening their ministry to other doctors, an area we’re hoping to work on in our area.  A lunch time meeting with a physician-author has generated some ideas on how to create a ministry where deeper community can flourish.  As you can probably sense, I love moving the ministry forward and am constantly on the lookout for the people and ideas that can take us there.  By God’s grace, in turn we are grateful to reciprocate by playing a similar role for others!

As you can see, it’s been a busy, but tremendous, month.  I look forward to returning to Philadelphia late tonight after one final meeting in the Baltimore area.  I thank God for His goodness during this time away, and for its impact on our local ministry.  Thank you for making this season of travel possible through your prayers and gifts!

Warmly,

Bryan & Sharon

Please join us in prayer/praise for the following:

  • Praise God for an exciting month of travel, and all the connections and fresh ideas along the way!  Pray that God generates new support and connections for the ministry and helps me to identify which ideas we should implement here in our local ministry.
  • Pray for a good time of re-connection with my family.  The month of June should be more relaxed as I’ll be home more.
  • Pray that the International Saline training we did in Hudson Valley NY impacts that, and the New York City, area deeply.  Please ask God to bring things together for a full-version training we’ll do at Drexel in the fall.
  • Finally, please pray for our involvement in the SMIs.  I will participate in the Philadelphia project, and am considering joining the Texas project for a week as well.  These are times of maximum impact!

 

Advertisements

Built to Last: Multiplying Ministry in Philadelphia

What a month!  Last month felt like a whirlwind, and sure enough, in glancing at the calendar we had over 30 significant meetings, conversations and events, not to mention everything other members of our ministry team have been up to.  Yesterday, I had the opportunity to give an overview of our ministry at our church’s Day of Prayer.  Although challenging, boiling down our recent work to just three minutes helped me gain a deeper sense for what God is doing through us.  I’d like to share the heartbeat of those reflections with you here.

A God-Sized Vision

More than anything, God keeps reminding us that His vision is far bigger, and more glorious, than ours.  We’re coming to see that aiming any lower than the Great Commission is too low.  With 20% of the nation’s physicians doing some portion of their training in the city, ministering faithfully right here is the most strategic investment we can make.  As we train our healthcare students and providers to follow Christ, some will stay and transform the city, while others will go and spread the Kingdom wherever they land.

This vision is powerfully shaping our day-to-day ministry as we place greater emphasis on ministry that multiplies.  We want to reach people who will, in turn, reach others.  One way we’re doing this is through our relationship with the International Saline process, which trains healthcare students and workers to share their faith with their colleagues and patients.

You may remember that, in December, we trained 20 local students and professionals in our first local “Saline.”  In February, 8 of those 20 participated in our first, follow-up, Training of Trainers (ToT) session where they learned to train others in the Saline process.  Just a few days ago, I sat down with 3 of those 8 – two med students and one physician – to talk about reaching their health system (Drexel) for Christ.  We agreed that we’ll start by inviting all the believers at Drexel Med to a one-hour introductory session, then follow that up with a full-blown Saline for those who respond.  Lord willing, a large core from that group will then learn how to train others.  And then…

You get the idea.  This is how multiplying ministry works.  We train others, then come alongside them as they learn how to train others.  It starts small – nearly inconspicuous – then explodes over time.  This is how Jesus transformed the world, and this is how we’ll transform Philadelphia and beyond.

Focus On People

After hearing that we are funding entirely by donations, a lot of people ask us, “What are your ministry needs?”  While we do have financial needs, I always respond by saying that our greatest need is for like-minded people to join us in accomplishing Christ’s vision for our ministry.  Like Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”  What we need, more than anything, are people who know Jesus and want to join Him in His mission right where they are.

And so, wherever I go – whether it’s meeting a physician, attending a large-group gathering of students, or participating in a medical outreach – I’m always asking God to introduce me to people who can become (or already are) co-laborers in this city that He loves.  I know that, by His grace, I can serve as someone who connects them to that larger vision of winning this corner of the Kingdom for Him.

I met “Tom”, one of the students I mentioned earlier, at Drexel when I attended one of their campus fellowship gatherings two years ago.  Although his first year at Drexel was challenging, he became one of our campus leaders during his second-year, where he has really stepped up to become an unassuming, but committed, leader.  I am privileged to meet with him consistently and to invest in him during this critical season.  Tom has become an important co-laborer, and our ministry exists to find, and equip people like him!

Sharon and I, once again, want to deeply thank you for your prayers and gifts that make ministry like this possible.  In God’s hands, your investment is reaping dividends that will be fully revealed only in eternity.

Immanuel,

Bryan & Sharon

Please join us in the following prayers and praises:

  • Praise God for an enormously fruitful past month of ministry, and for the privilege of reaching the key ‘people group’ of healthcare students so that they, in turn, can be equipped to reach others.
  • Praise God for Dr. Jerry Hric, our newest council (board) member.  He brings gifts in the areas of big-picture thinking and student ministry, and, like all our council members, I feel blessed to partner with him.
  • Please pray that the Lord continues to introduce us to ‘game-changing’ students who can pour their lives into others.
  • Pray for me, and the others I mention above at Drexel, as we introduce the Saline process there.   Pray especially that God brings others who will want to train others.
  • Pray also that God would give me wisdom as I help several campuses with their student leadership transitions.
  • Pray for our men’s (26th) and women’s nights (25th) this month, meeting in our home.

International Saline Launch!

From small beginnings come great things.

— American proverb

Thanks to all of you for praying for our International Saline (medical evangelism) seminar this past weekend.  God exceeded all of our expectations, and we have every expectation that He will do tremendous things through this “small beginning.”   Here’s a report on what God did in and among us:

Our Group

God gave us an enthusiastic, diverse community this weekend, including 14 students from 5 campuses, 5 physicians, a nurse, biomedical researcher, nuclear physicist, nurse’s aid, flight surgeon, economist and pastor (me)!   Although our time was relatively short, God quickly knitted us together and we enjoyed the interactive focus of the training.  Several mentioned how important it was to hear real-life stories from others who were present.

Come Away & Rest

Our seminar site, the National Christian Conference Center

Our seminar took place at the National Christian Conference Center, just 30 minutes outside of Philadelphia.  Located on a spacious, 200-acre site, we enjoyed the restful, quiet setting for our time away.  International Health Services, co-sponsor for the event, did a phenomenal job in supporting us logistically for the event so that participants could simply ‘show up’ and learn.

Putting Theory Into Practice

A 'patient' (l) faces various 'barriers' in her quest to see 'Jesus' (behind Dr Snyder, l)

Everyone absolutely loved the training, finding it to be a great balance between foundation and practical skills that will help them share their faith in everyday medical settings.  These quotes from the evaluations will give you a feel for how people responded:

[I liked] the emphasis on being both salt and light, that the gospel is about a way of life and long-term relationships, rather than [unnaturally] pushing for a faith decision.

[I appreciated the] emphasis on witnessing to patients being an outflow of the heart and natural reflection of our love for Jesus.

The approach presented was biblical, relevant and full of practical, useful tools.  I am so blessed by God through this.

Starting A Movement

Bryan enjoying one of many interactions at the seminar

While the participants came away energized and equipped, the ultimate goal of the weekend is to equip participants to train others right where they are.  To that end, we are holding a local follow-up event we call “Training the Trainers” for this very purpose.  Already, those attending from Drexel, Jefferson and the Hudson Valley/New York City area are making plans to pass the training on! 

As you can see, God moved powerfully throughout the weekend.  Thank you for your prayers and gifts – they truly made this a small, but great, beginning!

Bryan & Sharon

Please join us in praying for the following, related requests:

  • First, praise God with us for a simply fantastic weekend, and for the many folks who made it possible!
  • Please pray that God would give participants a deep passion for Christ so that they will naturally share all that God taught them from the weekend.  Pray also that He will help them implement the practical steps they committed to as part of the process.
  • Pray also that the Lord would multiply the training as participants conduct their own, local trainings in the spring and beyond!
  • Finally, pray that the Lord raises the remaining funds ($1,700) to cover the costs of the weekend.  If you would like to help, you can let me know via email (stoudtb@gmail.com).

Moving Forward, Moving Outward

God continues to bless our ministry richly and beyond all that we can imagine.  As I reflect on what He’s doing, the theme of moving the ministry forward and outward comes to mind.  Here are some highlights from the past month –

Temple Pharmacy

Two updates ago, we mentioned the desire to reach new healthcare campuses in the city.  Well, God has begun to answer that prayer!  When I shared about our ministry at one local church, I met several Temple pharmacy students, as well as Kay, a practicing pharmacist.  They did not, however, know each other, and I recently had the opportunity to introduce them over a lunch meeting.  I was thrilled to hear that Kay is excited in investing in these students and helping them grow in Christ.  Over time, I’ll do all that I can to support Kay and the students as they move forward in their relationship.

Talk at Drexel

Several months ago at SMI Texas, I gave a talk about our need for more rest, and how we can find that in Christ.  I mentioned our need to take more ‘down time’ – something healthcare students understandably find very challenging – but also to find rest from the constant temptation to prove ourselves by what we accomplish.  In God’s kindness, the talk apparently made an impression on some of the Drexel leaders who were present, as they have now invited me to give the talk not only to the Christian fellowship (“CMA”), but also to their unbelieving peers, on Nov. 30th.  I’m excited about this new challenge and opportunity!

First-ever Philadelphia International Saline

In my last update, I shared with you my excitement stemming from my trip to Kiev, where I received some outstanding training in medical evangelism (“International Saline”) from Dr. Bob Snyder.  Now, on December 3-4, Dr. Snyder and I will co-lead the first-ever Philadelphia International Saline training.  In fact, this is the first time the training has ever been offered in the U.S., and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.  Although we have just 25 openings, already 12 have firmly committed, with others ready to sign on.  Since part of our goal is to create a local, outward-oriented community, we’re holding the training overnight to allow for more interaction among those who come.  We’ll follow-up the workshop later with a “train the trainers” session to teach everyone how to become trainers themselves!

As you can see, God continues to pour out His blessing on what He’s called us to.  I feel like we’re at the beginning of something far bigger than we are, and we are eager to continue sharing the journey with you, wherever it – He, really – leads!

For the gospel,

Bryan & Sharon

Here are some praises & prayer requests –

  • praise God for allowing me to connect the Temple pharmacy students with Kay, the graduate pharmacist.  Pray that they will run with that connection, and that God will grow the group in His timing.  Currently, the group consists of 6 students, all women.  Pray also for a natural outreach opportunity there, which the students deeply desire.
  • praise God for the chance to address the Drexel students on the topic of balancing rest and work.  Ask God to give me wisdom in preparing and in giving the talk.  I want to be practical, but also share how Christ alone can give them the deep rest they desire.  Pray also for the Spirit’s power, Who alone can give impact to what I share.
  • praise God for putting the International Saline conference together!  Beg God to draw the ‘right’ people, and to help those who come have excitement for training others.  Pray also for funding – we’re trying to raise $2,500 so that students who come only have to pay for their materials.
  • Finally, we thank God for providing a little more funding this month than we anticipated, as well as some new committed support.  We are now at 88% of what we need (in terms of pledges), and I can almost taste the finish line!  Please pray that God quickly provides the remaining $1,000 per month we need.  If you’d like to start contributing, or renew your commitment, you can do that right here.