You’re Invited!

As our 2017 CMDA Philadelphia Banquet with speaker Paul Tripp gets closer, we just want to make sure you know you’re invited.

It is a fundraiser for our ministry, but registration is free and we’ve designed the evening to be both refreshing and encouraging for you.  You can learn more through the invitation below, and register online right here.  Feel free to share and invite others!

Details for our 2017 CMDA Philadelphia Banquet

Details for our 2017 CMDA Philadelphia Banquet

Fall Student & Resident Retreat

Fall 2015 Philadelphia Student & Resident Retreat

Friday, September 11 (6p) – Saturday, September 12th (8p)

Location: The Welcoming Place | 1:15 west of the city in beautiful Lancaster County, PA

Ever feel like – slowly, but surely – your life has become all about school or your work?  That you want to connect more with God and others but don’t know because your life is so busy?

If that’s you, you’re not alone.  And although there are no easy answers, God’s Word and Christian community offer real hope even when training threatens to make our lives one-dimensional.

Join us for our annual fall retreat where we’ll consider, in community, Bigger Than You: Following Jesus in Your Training to A Life of Meaning, Healing & Growth.

Mealtime 2012

This will be a great chance to:

  • find rest and refreshment
  • develop relationships with your peers from around the city who understand exactly what you’re going through
  • connect with mentors who have gone before you
  • add some balance to your life and start your year off on the right foot

All allied health, dental and medical students and residents welcome!

More details and online registration may be found here.

Fall Student & Resident Retreat!

Group shot - croppedWhat would make this year a great one for you?

If you’re like most, slowing down long enough to ask (let alone answer) that question can be a source of stress!  Although there are no easy answers, God’s Word provides a solid foundation we can return to even when training threatens to make our lives one-dimensional.

Join us for our fall retreat where we’ll consider, in community, What Matters Most: Laying a Strategic Foundation For Serving In Healthcare.  This will be a great chance to be refreshed and develop relationships with your peers and even mentors from around the city!  All allied health, dental and medical students and residents welcome!  (Professionals, please contact us for additional information on pricing and involvement.  We’d love to have you present as mentors!)

Here are the details:

  • Sat., Oct. 11 (9a) – Sun., Oct. 12 (lunch)
  • Held at The Welcoming Place in Akron, PA (just 1.25 hours from Philly; same location as last year)
  • Theme: What Matters Most: Laying a Solid Foundation for Your Year
  • Cost of $40 includes lodging and all meals
  • Graduate panel (students/residents can ask anything) likely held early Sat. afternoon

Register now right here!  See you there!

Residents Welcome Picnic

by allergfre

by allergyfre

CMDA Philadelphia would like to extend a special welcome to our incoming residents and fellows! We’re so glad that God has brought you here and trust that your time in Philadelphia will be blessed despite the intensity of training.  

We also give thanks that many of you will be staying for another year.

Old or new, we believe that God is calling us to do more to support you during this challenging season.  To that end, we’ll be holding a Welcome Picnic on Saturday, July 12th from 1-4p at the home of a local physician couple.  If you’d like more information, please comment below, or, connect with us through our contact page.

Significant others, kids and others who have interest are welcome.  Please, though, RSVP by July 5th if possible so we have enough food and beverages for you.

See you there!

 

 

Changes!

For those of us in the Northeast, this past week or two has finally brought a change in the weather.  We’re still experiencing a colder day here and there, but temperatures are now generally in the range worthy of the designation ‘spring’.

It may be coincidental, but, spring is also always a season of change for our ministry.  We’d like to share just a few of them with you here.

Bittersweet goodbyes.  On March 21st, our graduating fourth-year students went through ‘the match’, the process that determines where they’ll spend the next 3-5 years of their training as residents.  Although most are moving on to new locations, we’re thankful that a few are staying close.  Without fail, there are always some surprises as the computer algorithm works its magic.  (Under the Lord’s direction, of course!)

Jen, a graduating student from Jefferson, was one of this year’s pleasant surprises. We’ve know her really well for these last four years and watched her serve as a key leader at her campus.  Along the way, God led Jen into an interest in general surgery, a specialty that definitely fits who God has made her.  But, we (including Jen) didn’t expect her to match here in Philly, so we were overjoyed we learned that she’ll be with us for another 5 years!  Although most of our other students will be going to other locations, we trust that God will multiply what we and others invested in them during their time here.

New campus leaders.  Each year, each campus fellowship gets an entirely new leadership team as the year’s current leaders move on to their clinical rotations, (generally) month-long experiences where they learn about the different branches of medicine.  Every year, we marvel at God’s faithfulness in providing for each campus group new students who are ready to step up and serve.  Over the next few months, we’ll be meeting with the new leaders, helping them discover and implement God’s vision for their particular campus.

One Constant.  Throughout all the changes, one thing remains the same: our call to invest deeply in the students God has given us.  Currently, Sharon & I are involved with ‘couples counseling’ (i.e., pre-engagement or -marital) for 6 different student couples, one of whom I just had the privilege of marrying.  In thinking through my schedule for the next few weeks, I realized that I have been meeting with about 15 men on an (at least) somewhat regular basis.  Sharon invests in many of our women.

To mention just one example, recently I had the chance to meet up with ‘Jeff’, a local student leader over a cup of coffee.  The group is fairly new, and I had the opportunity to not only rejoice with him over its successes, but also to suggest what it might look like for the group to keep moving forward.  We discussed the need for more intimate community, connection among the men, and, identified outreach opportunities as a key medium-range goal.  I also had the chance to show Jeff that the confidence he can have in Christ is a key step forward in his growth as a leader, something that will make him more effective not only now, but as he moves throughout his training.  I feel so privileged to speak into, and encourage, the students God has given us!

So, as we head toward year’s end, many changes are taking place.  And yet, we are staying focused on our core priority of investing in students’ and leaders’ lives. Thank you, dear friends, for making it possible through your prayers and gifts!

Warmly,

Bryan & Sharon

For prayer & praise:

  • praise for four wonderful years with our graduating, fourth-year students, and, for God’s faithful leading toward their next stage of training.  Please pray for us as we invest in them for these last few months, and, that God provides solid mentors and churches for them in their new (as of July) locations.
  • praise for new leaders for each of our campuses.  God is faithful!  Please pray that God gives wisdom as we begin investing in them.
  • Pray for Sharon & I as we mentor/disciple the different students God has called us to invest in.  We need discernment to see where God wants to encourage and challenge each one (or couple).  Pray that the Spirit takes our admittedly small efforts and powerfully multiplies them for His glory and their good!
  • Finally, please pray for our next student brunch tomorrow at 9am.  We continue to focus on the topic of ‘sharing our everyday faith every day’.  This semester, practicing professionals are joining us and sharing their real-life experiences to help the students gain a vision for this area.

Fall Intermed Update & More

Intermed Update

One constant feature of our ministry here in Philadelphia is change.  Students, residents, fellows and even professionals come and go at God’s leading.  Because healthcare training is comprised of many transitions, we made this the theme of our most recent Intermed, a gathering of local healthcare students and professionals for teaching, worship and fellowship.

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Drs. Jim & Thanh Kirkpatrick share about their own transitions at Intermed.

Drs. Jim & Thanh Kirkpatrick shared about their own transitions, both personal and vocational, during a great message that challenged those who came.  It’s vital for students to hear personally from those who have walked with Christ down the same roads they are about to travel.

Worship during Intermed.

Worship during Intermed.

Intermed, though, is about much more than the message. It’s also a time of connecting with others, worshiping together, and, processing the message in community during small group time.  By this measure, the event was a tremendous success!

Turning Point

Now that we’re well into the semester, we’re going through a (small) transition of our own.  I’ve visited all our campuses (at least) a few times, met the new first-years, reconnected with our returning students, and helped our leaders develop and implement a strategy tailored to their campus.  After this season of intensity, Sharon and I turn our attention to investing in the relationships formed in August/early September.  From now through early December, we’ll be going deeper with students, helping them to live out the gospel in the day-to-day grind of their everyday lives.

To give you a feel for what God is doing through us, I wanted to share (with permission) a portion of an email we received from one of our closest student friends, following a good conversation with him:

‘Thanks for today and for chatting and musing along with me… [and helping] me do a 180 degree on the recent “wilderness” trek I’m going through — I definitely was lost in the sense I didn’t (and still don’t really) see God’s hand in my life in a tangible way, but when you said that God is blessing me in this moment, I definitely realized that was so true — He loves me so much that He is allowing me to go through this period, molding me and shaping me more into His image; what else can I really ask for, right?’

It’s our tremendous privilege to be in relationships where we can have meaningful conversations like the one above.  While we feel our weaknesses and limitations, God seems to use the questions we ask, the attention we give, and, the encouragement we offer to make a consistent difference, and for that we give thanks.

On that note, we would be remiss if we didn’t end without giving thanks for you, our support team.  Intermed and the relationships we have are only possible because of our prayers and gifts.  May God bless you many times beyond all that you’ve given!

With love,

Bryan & Sharon

Here are some prayers and praises for this month:

  • Praise God for a terrific Intermed, home bible study brunches, many new first-year students, and, many wonderful times on campus.
  • Pray for our student overnight retreat Oct. 12-13.  Specifically, please ask that God helps students connect with Him and one another, and, that God blesses Dr. Josh Uy & myself as we speak on the theme ‘Rest for the Weary’.
  • Pray for wisdom and fruit as Sharon & I turn our attention to deepening relationships with students, especially our campus leaders and first-year students.

CMDA Citywide Student Retreat – Save The Date!

ImageSave the date! On Oct. 12-13, we’re holding a one-day, overnight retreat for healthcare students around the city.  Here are the details:

Where: The Welcoming Place (Akron, PA – just 1 hour from Philadelphia)
Theme: Rest For The Weary (Speakers: Josh Uy, MD; Bryan Stoudt, MDiv)
Cost: $30 covers meals and lodging

Why: This retreat is designed to refresh you through worship, fellowship, biblical teaching and small groups. We’ve also built-in times to rest, slow down, and have fun.

This is a great opportunity to become more deeply connected to your campus fellowship while also meeting others in healthcare training from around the area.

Online registration will open September 9th, but you can read – and see – more now through our brochure.  (Since we only have space for 40 students, you may want to register quickly!)

Winter Conference Starts Tonight!

The view from my window as the first students arrive.

The view from my window as the first students arrive.

As I write this short update, I can see the first students start to arrive for our annual CMDA Northeast Winter Conference.  As always, this weekend is one of excitement and anticipation as 150 healthcare students and professionals gather together for teaching, fellowship, worship and refreshment.

I’ll provide a fuller update next week, but for now, please pray that God:

  • gives us hearts that are receptive and ready to meet with him;
  • helps me connect meaningfully with those who attend, and particularly with those from Philadelphia;
  • that God empowers Dr. Joseph Harvey as he speaks on “Reverse Course: Backing Up To Move Forward”.  Using Genesis 50 as his starting point, Dr. Harvey hopes to challenge students and professionals to step back from the intense world of medicine, remembering God and His promises, so that they can again move forward with passion.
  • that the work God accomplishes here would not stay here, but rather be transforming as we return home.  Pray that God would give me discernment as I seek to follow-up in the weeks ahead.

We expect that God already has big plans for our time here.  I can’t wait to share with you how it all unfolds!

 

 

The Affordable Healthcare Act & You

Christian Medical & Dental Associations CEO Dr. David Stevens and CMDA member Dr. Sandy Christiansen will join Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Representative Tom Price and others to discuss the Affordable Care Act tonight, March 27 beginning at 8:00 PM EDT. Dr. Stevens will discuss the effects the Act will have upon physicians.

You can view the webcast at this link. Registration is required.

Winter Conference Recap

God gave us a great turnout!

Thanks so much for praying for our CMDA Winter Conference!  God really blessed our weekend.  In this update, I want to give you an inside look at the weekend through some “statistics”, pictures and snapshots of what God did.

Winter Conference By The Numbers

One of our group worship times.

Mere numbers can never capture the relationships they represent, but these quick “stats” may give you a unique perspective on my experience at the conference.

  • 160 students, healthcare providers and other attendees from Connecticut to southern Virginia
  • 53 hours from start to finish over 3 days and 2 nights
  • 3 hours of driving, 10 hours of sleep and 40 hours of conversations and logistics
  • conversations with 89 different people, many of which were in-depth
  • 30 new people met
  • 4 talks and times of worship with our students and healthcare providers
  • 2 car rides with our speaker and his family where we spoke at length
  • 1 phenomenal time of planning for a spring mini-retreat with other Philly students and physicians

Zooming In

Although Winter Conference takes place on a larger scale, in many ways it’s also about the many individual and small group interactions that God provides.  This is where some of the most intense ministry takes place, often unnoticed.  Here are snapshots of some of my favorite times at the conference.

The Penn students from this year's conference.

Throughout the weekend, I enjoyed sharing a room with three of the Penn guys.  After I agreed to help the Penn ladies pull a prank on them, I was discovered and wound up being pranked myself, with my reaction unwittingly captured on video!  These are the kind of rare opportunities to connect and have fun together that only happen at conferences like these.

Dr. Charlene Brock with some of the Drexel students

It was a joy watching two of our local council members, Drs. Charlene Brock and Jerry Hric, make it down for the conference.  Like everyone on our council, they have such a heart for investing in the students, and it’s exciting to invest in God’s work as a team.

God gave me lots of great conversations with students from Philly.  One shared about a new dating relationship he had just begun and ways in which God was helping him re-engage spiritually and relationally.  In between sessions, a leader asked if we could talk about the lower turnout from his school, and what we could do to strengthen involvement at his campus.  Another leader mentioned that her campus had significant involvement from first-year students, but that as of yet none seemed ready to lead for next year.  I was thankful for the chance to encourage these students and learn about important campus dynamics that I can follow-up on now that we’re back in the city.

During worship, Matt Redman’s “Never Once” became our theme song over the weekend.  Its words were, at the same time, our experience and prayer:

Standing on this mountaintop
Looking just how far we’ve come
Knowing that for every step
You were with us
 
Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did you leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
 

Some of the guys & I at Denny's

As the song mentions, the conference was a sort of “mountaintop” for many of us, a vantage point from which we could see all that God has done, particularly as we look back on where we were just one year ago.

One student, “Mark”, was wrestling through what it meant to be a leader during last year’s conference.  God blessed us with an important conversation then that He used (in part) to help Mark take important new steps of faith and courage that transformed him and the ministry on his campus.  It was incredibly gratifying to watch Mark – without any prompting on my part – take initiative in advance of this year’s conference to gather the Philly area folks there for a spring ministry planning meeting.  Even better, his vision is to provide direction while enlisting others to step up so the conference can be self-sustaining from year-to-year.  While God gets the credit, I’m thankful to have played – and continue to play – a role in Mark’s development as a leader who is beginning to develop other leaders.  This is how the Kingdom multiplies!

There’s so much more I could share, but I hope this view from the ‘mountaintop’ gives you a taste for what God did.  Thank you for making weekends like this one possible through your faithful partnership with us.  To God be the glory!

Bryan & Sharon

PS – A special thanks to Jefferson student Sharon Li for permission to use her (fantastic) pictures!