Leadership Connexion Q1 2022

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PennDel Ministry Network | Spring <strong>2022</strong><br />

“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD”


PennDel Network<br />

Superintendent<br />


DE JESÚS<br />

AG General Treasurer<br />


Lead Pastor<br />

Chicago Tabernacle<br />


Author, Pastor's Wife<br />

Chicago Tabernacle<br />


Worship<br />

PennDel Worship Lead<br />

WHEN May 2-5, <strong>2022</strong><br />

WHERE Christian Life Assembly, Camp Hill, PA<br />

REGISTER penndel.org/summit22

“I was in the<br />

Spirit on the<br />

Lord’s Day…”<br />

Rev 1:10<br />

What a tremendous statement<br />

given by the Apostle John.<br />

Of course, John was also in<br />

exile on the Island of Patmos!<br />

Despite his less-than-desirable<br />

circumstances of being cut off<br />

from fellowship, relationships<br />

and freedom to move about<br />

as he wished, John exercises<br />

a prerogative that no one can<br />

take from him: the freedom to<br />

worship in Spirit and in Truth.<br />

The scene is set: physically on<br />

the Island of Patmos, but “in<br />

the Spirit” John finds himself<br />

in the Lord’s presence on this<br />

particular Sunday.<br />

ASCEND<br />

Of particular interest were the visions that John experienced on this “Lord’s<br />

Day.” These are the kind of experiences we Pentecostals believe for – a Sunday<br />

experiential occurrence of the Spirit-filled, Spirit-baptized life! On the typical,<br />

traditional day set aside for worship during the early days in the church’s history,<br />

John is having “church!” And what a day in church John was having! While in the<br />

Spirit, John’s vision continues with a call or an invitation to “come up here” to an<br />

open door in heaven (Rev. 4:1-2). John is promised to receive further revelation<br />

and vision of events which must take place “after this.”<br />

It is not entirely uncommon for visionary leaders to find themselves “in the Spirit,”<br />

receiving revelations of Jesus Christ and visions of God’s preferred future for<br />

their ministry, their church or their life-trajectory. God calls us to higher plains of<br />

experience where we can see further and clearer than if we remain at ground<br />

level with all of life’s obstacles blocking our view. What is the vision that God<br />

is developing in your life? I believe that God is calling us to new<br />

heights “in the Spirit” so that we can see through eyes of<br />

faith “things which must take place…”<br />

John’s alone time on Patmos was not a waste of time. Even though it was<br />

imposed because of John’s connection to the Word of God, John was not<br />

disconnected from a vision that continues to inform and guide believers into<br />

the future. Several encouraging truths can be received from John’s revelation<br />

experience:<br />

FIRST, John chose to be “in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day,” even though<br />

circumstances were not ideal for a feel-good day in and with the church.<br />

SECONDLY, John followed the voice of the Lord to ascend to a higher<br />

plain where he would receive a vision and a revelation of God’s preferred and<br />

prescribed future.<br />

FINALLY, John heard what the Spirit was saying to the church. John had to be<br />

spiritually astute and discerning that this experience was coming from God and<br />

was coming for the church.<br />

As we approach Summit22, our theme is ASCEND. Let’s hear the Spirit’s call to<br />

Come Up Here. Let’s find ourselves “in the Spirit” and believe God for a word<br />

(or many words) to inspire vision for moving forward in His will for His church.<br />

Let’s reach the SUMMIT!<br />

NETWORK SUPERINTENDENT | Donald J. Immel | 717.795.5921 | don@penndel.org<br />

LEADERSHIPconnexion | Spring <strong>2022</strong><br />


ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT | Steve DeFrain | 484.686.4843 | sdefrain@penndel.org<br />

Working Through<br />

Hard Seasons<br />

You and your leadership team would probably agree that COVID-19 has been one of your most<br />

challenging seasons by far, maybe even one that has lasted longer than you expected. One of<br />

David’s stories gives us some steps to help us journey through these challenging times. You can<br />

find it in 1 Samuel 30:1-8. The story is about David and his men returning home to Ziklag to find<br />

everything burned to the ground, and their loved ones are taken away as captives. I encourage<br />

you to read the entire story sometime, but I’ll give you the steps and the highlights for now.<br />

The First Step<br />

They GRIEVED.<br />

“…they wept until they could weep<br />

no more.” 1 Samuel 30:4<br />

David and his men felt the deep pain<br />

of loss. There is a connection between<br />

hard seasons and losses. The truth is,<br />

we have lost some things over the last<br />

two years, and it has affected us and the<br />

church. Here are a few examples: We<br />

lost momentum. We lost people who still<br />

haven’t returned. We have lost our sense<br />

of risk and adventure because everything<br />

may seem shaky and uncertain. We<br />

have lost credibility, as every decision we<br />

make seems questioned.<br />

It matters how we handle grief. In David’s<br />

story, we see that his men were not<br />

managing their grief well. “David was<br />

now in great danger because all his<br />

men were very bitter about losing<br />

their sons and daughters, and they<br />

began to talk of stoning him.”<br />

1 Samuel 30:6 If we don’t watch our<br />

words, conversations and emotions, we<br />

can become bitter and angry. I believe<br />

the secret to getting to the other side is<br />

talking to God about our grief more than<br />

talking to people. At least that’s what<br />

Joseph Scriven said when he wrote,<br />

“What a friend we have in Jesus, all our<br />

sins and griefs to bear!” I believe God<br />

can handle our negative conversations<br />

and our frustrations. I also believe that<br />

whatever helps us move toward faith is<br />

good with our heavenly father. That is the<br />

next step in David’s journey.<br />

The Second Step<br />

David ENCOURAGES himself in the Lord.<br />

“But David found strength in the<br />

Lord his God.” 1 Samuel 30:6<br />

How do you strengthen (encourage)<br />

yourself in the Lord? David starts<br />

reminding himself about all the victories<br />

God brought his way in the past. I<br />

remember being in the car traveling with<br />

a missionary friend several years ago. I<br />

was talking nonstop about all the great<br />

things that God was doing at Morning<br />

Star Fellowship. He turned and said,<br />

“You should write a book.” I pointed my<br />

finger to my head and said, “I don’t need<br />

to – it’s all right here.” But, the older I<br />

get, the harder it is to recall the stories.<br />

“Rehearsing yesterday’s miracle stories –<br />

sets us up for a tomorrow miracle!”<br />

The Third Step<br />

David ASKED for God’s direction.<br />

“Should I chase after this band of<br />

raiders? Will I catch them…?”<br />

1 Samuel 30:8<br />

David’s focus is on God now. God,<br />

what are you saying about my present<br />

situation? I love this step in the journey<br />

because my heart is now open to hearing<br />

him speak again. I have discovered<br />

what He says next will usually require<br />

some level of risk. God, what is my next<br />

step? How do I lead my team and the<br />

congregation forward?<br />

The Fourth Step<br />

David OBEYS and takes action.<br />

“…Yes, go after them. You will surely<br />

recover everything that was taken<br />

from you!” 1 Samuel 30:8<br />

The fourth step is obedience. It’s action<br />

time! Step out and don’t stop doing what<br />

He has asked you to do until the victory<br />

comes! The future increase will be more<br />

significant than what you lost. Pastor and<br />

church leadership, I BELIEVE “…you will<br />

surely recover EVERYTHING that was<br />

taken from you.”<br />


Welcome to the PennDel Team!<br />

Children's &<br />

Discipleship<br />

Ministries Director<br />

Jeremiah Gruber<br />

As many of you are aware, George Krebs has<br />

announced that he will be retiring as of March<br />

25, <strong>2022</strong>. We are pleased to introduce our<br />

new and Children's and Discipleship Ministries<br />

Director, JEREMIAH GRUBER. Jeremiah has<br />

served as the Family Life Pastor at Living Waters<br />

Chapel in Lebanon, Pennsylvania for the last<br />

twenty years. He has been an integral part of<br />

our PennDel Ministry Network Kid’s Camps, Kid’s<br />

Breakaways and sectional leadership teams.<br />

He and his wife, Candice, and their family have<br />

been featured speakers at numerous District<br />

Kids Camps in our Assemblies of God fellowship.<br />

Jeremiah and Candice have three children:<br />

Emma, Averee, and Westyn.<br />

Around the Network<br />

Pastor Ryan & Robin Martinez<br />

Anchor Church • Milford, DE<br />

Pastoral Installations<br />

Tom & Amanda Alderson<br />

Faith Outreach Center • Mount Joy, PA<br />

Worship Lead<br />

Aria Walker<br />

We would also like to welcome ARIA WALKER<br />

to our Network Ministry Resource Team! Aria<br />

will be serving as our Worship Lead, providing<br />

connections between worship leaders looking<br />

for ministry opportunities, and churches looking<br />

for worship leaders and resources. Aria is no<br />

stranger to the PennDel music and worship<br />

community, having grown up as the daughter of<br />

Kristian and Shannon Walker, and granddaughter<br />

of Duane Nicolson of the Couriers. Aria is serving<br />

as the Director of Worship and Creative Arts<br />

Pastor at Calvary Church in Dover, Delaware with<br />

Pastor and Presbyter, Ryan Coon. Aria’s love<br />

for the Lord and Spirit-driven worship gifts are a<br />

welcome addition to our team.<br />

Pastor Maureen (Mo) &<br />

Rich Gregory<br />

Faith Church • Nanticoke, PA<br />

Pastor Nathan & Alissa Palisoc<br />

Christian Life Church •<br />

Chambersburg, PA

SECRETARY/TREASURER | Jeff Marshall | 717.795.5921 | jeff@penndel.org<br />

Steve’s Going Fishing<br />

That’s right, our Business Manager Steve Provard, has<br />

decided to spend his days fishing as of April 2. Steve has<br />

served the PennDel Ministry Network for the last nine years as<br />

our Business Manager. He has served us well, making sure<br />

all is correct, overseeing our Network finances. Steve will join<br />

Lynette, his bride of 45 years, who retired a year and a half<br />

ago from the Network where she served as administrative<br />

assistant to the Secretary/Treasurer. Steve grew up in a ministry<br />

family and graduated from Evangel University with a Business<br />

Administration Degree. His previous positions include: Business<br />

Administrator at UVF, Business Analyst at Cardone Industries,<br />

Business Administrator at Teen Challenge and here at the<br />

Network office since 2013. Steve will spend his retirement years<br />

enjoying time with Lynette, their two daughters and especially<br />

with their six grandchildren. But when he has time, you will be<br />

sure to find him fishing at a near-by lake. Well done Steve, you<br />

have served the Lord and PennDel with dignity and excellence.<br />

Stepping in to fill his shoes will be Crystal Hoffman. Crystal is a<br />

graduate of Southeastern University, and earned her MBA from<br />

Penn State University. Her previous positions include: Bursar at<br />

Messiah University, payroll coordinator with Cerran Enterprises,<br />

treasurer at Celebration Community Church (Dillsburg) and with<br />

the Polar Bear Foundation. Crystal joined the PennDel Ministry<br />


Network in 2019 as the Bookkeeper, Accountant and is currently<br />

the Assistant Business Manager. Crystal is married to Jack, and<br />

they have two children, Taylor (20), attending Evangel University<br />

studying Graphic Design and Marketing, and Joshua (17), a<br />

senior in high school and will be attending Evangel University this<br />

fall. Crystal loves spending time with her family, most of all, but<br />

also enjoys hiking and traveling.<br />

ANGELINE ANTIN, 89, passed away on November 26.<br />

She was born to Italian Immigrants from Prezza, Italy. After<br />

Angeline’s first husband passed away, she remarried the late<br />

Edwin Antin. She was a faithful pastor’s wife to Edwin and<br />

supported him in every phase of ministry in Enola. Angeline<br />

was extremely gifted in music as a pianist.<br />

FRED W. TOMLINSON, 77, passed away on January<br />

12. He was preceded in death by his faithful wife, Rose.<br />

Together they served the PennDel Ministry Network at Mount<br />

Morris Gospel Tabernacle and he was the Lead Pastor from<br />

1982 until his retirement in 2005.<br />

PennDel School of Ministry is a PennDel Ministry<br />

Network sponsored and operated ministerial training<br />

program that enables individuals to fulfill the<br />

educational requirements of the Assemblies of God<br />

for credentialing. It also provides a learning forum<br />

for laity interested in increasing biblical and doctrinal<br />

knowledge as well as developing ministry skills. PDSOM<br />

features live instruction at four campus locations.<br />


The most exciting leadership training tool in the Assemblies of God!<br />


One-time registration fee - $75<br />

Tuition per class - $75<br />

Internship - $100<br />

Textbooks - Students are responsible<br />

for purchasing their own textbooks<br />


Bethlehem<br />

Monroeville<br />

Philadelphia<br />

Camp Hill<br />


penndelsom.org<br />


For our <strong>2022</strong> World Missions Tanzania Project this year, we are teaming<br />

with world evangelist Christopher Alam. Christopher has held crusades<br />

around the world, where he has seen thousands saved and filled with<br />

the Holy Spirit. He is active in evangelism, discipleship and church planting<br />

around the world as well. Christopher will be hosting crusades in partnership<br />

with Barnabas Mtokambali, the General Superintendent of Tanzania. It<br />

is the heartfelt goal of Barnabas to see thousands of churches planted<br />

all throughout Tanzania. Christopher and his team will be hosting<br />

six crusades in Tanzania throughout the summer, where most of the<br />

population is Muslim. With the thousands saved at the crusades, there is<br />

a need for churches in every area of this country, to assist in discipleship<br />

and training.<br />

This year, we are presenting a one-year World Mission’s goal of $60,000 to<br />

assist with the crusades and church planting. We are trusting the Lord for<br />

lives to be transformed and churches to be planted in these Muslim occupied<br />

areas of the world. Would you consider joining with us? Commitment cards<br />

will be available at Summit22 in May. Let’s take back the souls of people<br />

around the world that the devil is trying to destroy.<br />

<strong>2022</strong> Project: Tanzania<br />

Goal: $60,000<br />

Your gift will assist in planting churches in Tanzania.<br />

PennDel Ministry Network<br />

ATTN: World Missions<br />

Project Offering<br />

4651 Westport Drive<br />

Mechanicsburg PA 17055<br />

WORLD MISSIONS | Jeff Marshall | 717.795.5921 | jeff@penndel.org<br />


International Food Connection Event<br />

Join us for an evening of fellowship as we kick off SUMMIT22 with<br />

an interactive tour around the world. Experience the food and culture<br />

of the seven regions reached by Assemblies of God World Missions<br />

(AGWM). Connect with our PennDel AG World Missionaries and<br />

discover how God is moving in their cities, countries and regions as<br />

they reach people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.<br />

Location: Christian Life Assembly, Camp Hill, PA<br />

Date: Monday, May 2, <strong>2022</strong><br />

Time: 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM<br />

Register: penndel.org/summit22<br />

LEADERSHIPconnexion | Spring <strong>2022</strong> 7

GUEST CONTRIBUTOR | Al Toledo | Lead Pastor Chicago Tabernacle<br />

Jesus and The Co<br />

There is a common propensity<br />

that lives in all of us. It lives in<br />

us ministers, even when we<br />

know better and teach living the better<br />

way. Comparison. It is a propensity<br />

that can be traced all the way back to<br />

the first disciples whom Jesus handpicked.<br />

It was alive in them even when<br />

Jesus honored them with His physical<br />

presence for three full years. If any<br />

group of men should have felt special<br />

in the eyes of God, it was them. It was<br />

those twelve whom Jesus graced with<br />

unlimited face-time. Even after He rose<br />

from the dead, fulfilling prophesy and<br />

displaying unprecedented power and<br />

glory, He returned to them to love,<br />

encourage, and commission into His<br />

future will. Think about that – these<br />

were the people that Jesus wanted to<br />

see after carrying and conquering the<br />

sin of the world. One of the individuals<br />

he focused in on was Peter, who had<br />

betrayed him just a few days prior. Yet,<br />

in the kindness, mercy, and compassion<br />

of Jesus, He designed an entire<br />

scenario for His dismayed disciple to be<br />

comforted and encouraged.<br />

First, through a miraculous fish catch,<br />

Jesus performs a familiar miracle to<br />

remind Peter that He is still willing to<br />

meet all his needs and is able to help<br />

him when his efforts are not enough.<br />

Then, as if that wasn’t a full enough<br />

expression of his love and acceptance,<br />

Jesus makes a meal for them to<br />

fellowship together and share their<br />

hearts. Yet, how does Peter respond to<br />

this attention and revelation from God?<br />

With comparison. Peter wants to know<br />


mparison Trap<br />

what was going to happen for the other guy. Peter falls for what plagues everyone from<br />

junior highers to pastors. The force behind Peter’s question in that moment is what drives<br />

our culture into a state of depression. What comparison robs us of is something our entire<br />

society feels collectively, but is manifested in a deeply personal and unique way for each<br />

individual.<br />

Back then it was Peter’s question. Today, it’s tabulating our likes on social media, inflating<br />

the numbers in the seats that we preach to, or over-extending ourselves financially to<br />

maintain appearances. We see the scene unfold like we’re engrossed in a binge-worthy<br />

Netflix series and shout to the screen, “don’t do it, don’t miss it, He’s right there in front of<br />

you! Don’t fall for the comparison trap!”<br />

But when we have our moment, all too often we take a bite of the cheese in the trap.<br />

We compare and we miss the special things that Jesus is proclaiming, promising, and<br />

preparing specifically for us. There’s a better way. Jesus wants to have a conversation with<br />

us. Christ invites us into intimate encounters like He had with Peter. Encounters where<br />

Jesus, by His Spirit, focuses on His love for us, unfolds some of His mission for us, and<br />

gives us a fresh revelation. Jesus will provide everything we need so that we can walk in<br />

the newness of our closeness and the reality of our revelation.<br />

One of the most interesting points of the exchange between Peter and Jesus is that Peter<br />

was focusing on someone else when God was focusing on him. This isn’t a scripture<br />

episode where the enemy is disputing something that God has said, or putting one of<br />

God’s children under such intense pressure and attack that they can’t see with eyes of<br />

faith. This was a flat-out, five-star devotional opportunity where Jesus is speaking directly<br />

to one of His children, and they just can’t receive it.<br />

I hate to admit that this has happened to me dozens of times over the years, where I’ve<br />

missed what could have been glorious moments with God, moments that were meant to<br />

encourage, heal, and even propel me forward for the Lord’s sake. And I missed it because<br />

I was longing for my life to look like someone else’s.<br />

The truth of the matter is, God is way too original and creative to make our lives a replay of<br />

someone else’s. If he were a painter, He would never paint the same thing twice. But each<br />

painting would be equally a masterpiece. If He were a musician, He would never have to<br />

sing the same song more than once, because He would always have something freshly<br />

beautiful to sing. It is crazy to think that our faith disposition could so limit or miss what<br />

God really wants to do in us and through us.<br />

Go back and get what he was offering you and forget about what he’s offering others. Take<br />

advantage of the opportunity you have today to experience your own face-time with Jesus<br />

and receive your own sense of His love and purpose for your life and ministry. He wants to<br />

show through us that it really is possible to live life out of the newness of His closeness.<br />

And when you get a hold of what God has for<br />

you, your days will be richer and your house<br />

will be filled with fruit that lasts, with “rare<br />

and beautiful things” (Proverbs 24:23).<br />

Lead Pastor AL TOLEDO and<br />

his wife, Chrissy, pioneered<br />

the multi-ethnic, vibrant<br />

Chicago Tabernacle in 2002.<br />

Al spent his early years in<br />

NYC preparing for a career<br />

as a Major League baseball<br />

player and gave his life to<br />

Jesus while on a baseball field<br />

at the age of 17. Shortly after<br />

being drafted by the Chicago<br />

White Sox, God started to<br />

direct Al toward ministry.<br />

He left baseball and began<br />

attending a church near the<br />

apartment where he grew<br />

up, The Brooklyn Tabernacle.<br />

It was there he met Chrissy,<br />

daughter of Lead Pastor Jim<br />

Cymbala and his wife, Carol.<br />

Al served in various ministries<br />

and soon responded to the<br />

call to full-time ministry. This<br />

led Al to Omaha, Nebraska,<br />

where he pastored a thriving<br />

A/G church. Al and Chrissy<br />

returned to The Brooklyn<br />

Tabernacle before, finally,<br />

moving to Chicago.<br />

Pastor Al desires to see<br />

people become all God has<br />

called them to be. In 2012, he<br />

launched DNA of a Leader, a<br />

leadership training emanating<br />

from over 25 years of personal<br />

experience in ministry. Since<br />

then, DNA has been taught in<br />

seminaries and cities across<br />

the globe.<br />

Al and Chrissy Toledo have<br />

three children – Susie,<br />

Annie and Tommy – and four<br />

grandchildren – Wesley,<br />

James, Roman and Joel.<br />

LEADERSHIPconnexion | Spring <strong>2022</strong> 9

MINISTER CARE & CHURCH RECALIBRATION | Jason Tourville | 717.795.5921 | jason@penndel.org<br />

Ascending<br />

from the Valley<br />

What Psalm 23 teaches us about<br />

Anxiety and Depression<br />

The stakes are high!<br />

Most of us have a complex web of relationships from our<br />

families, friends, co-workers and those in our community. For<br />

those of you who have leadership positions at work or in the<br />

church, your effect on others is amplified. Ignoring depression<br />

and anxiety doesn’t help. The “Suck-It-Up-Buttercup”<br />

approach doesn’t work. Depression and anxiety are affecting<br />

our families, churches and culture at a large and alarming rate.<br />

Recently the American Psychological Association released<br />

the following statement, “Rates of anxiety and depression<br />

among U.S. adults were about 4 times higher between April<br />

2020 and August 2021 than they were in 2019. Some of the<br />

sharpest increases were among males, Asian Americans,<br />

young adults and parents with children in the home, according<br />

to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.*”<br />

Did you catch that…4 TIMES HIGHER! That is staggering!<br />

This has translated into higher suicide rates among both men<br />

and women. Additional strain has been experienced by families<br />

and marriages. Addiction and substance abuse is exasperated<br />

because of the anxiety and depression felt by so many.<br />

The Psalmist described a similar experience that many<br />

are having in Psalm 23:4, “Even though I walk through<br />

the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;<br />

your rod and your staff comfort me.” This “dark valley” is<br />

a great description of what depression and anxiety feels like.<br />

This short Scripture verse provides three realities and three<br />

directions for us as we pass or walk through valleys.<br />

Let’s start with the Three Realities:<br />

1WALK THROUGH: Here the Psalmist doesn’t describe a<br />

deliverance or a rescue, but rather the process of walking<br />

through this dark valley. We are not about to run from this<br />

valley or leap over it. When it comes to depression and<br />

anxiety, it is something we MUST walk through.<br />

2<br />

WITH ME: We are not alone. It is hard to remember this<br />

when our valleys are dark. It is a challenge for the soul to not<br />

retreat from our relationship with God and others, but rather<br />

lean into them. While I am slightly getting ahead of myself,<br />

the important portion here is the reality…“YOU ARE NOT<br />

ALONE.”<br />

3<br />

COMFORT ME: Anxiety and depression can cause us to feel<br />

like there is no way out and there is nothing that can sooth our<br />

souls. The Psalmist provides the reality that there is comfort<br />

available to us, even in the darkest of valleys. There is hope!<br />

Even when we can’t feel it, we can believe it! The God of all<br />

comfort meets us in our current state, and we can discover<br />

His strength in our weakness.<br />


Now let’s turn to the<br />

Three Directions:<br />

1FIND YOUR WAY THROUGH: Walking “through” this<br />

valley tells us that we do not have to get “stuck” in this<br />

valley of darkness. While each person’s journey may look<br />

a bit different, it will always involve healthy relationships<br />

with self, others and God. Interestingly enough, these<br />

three relationships (self, others, God) are also the source<br />

through which we receive grace. Your way through will<br />

involve the giving and receiving of grace.<br />

2<br />

LEAN INTO RELATIONSHIPS: The Psalmist writes, “I will<br />

fear no evil, for you are with me.” The dark valley is often<br />

a place of isolation. When we feel vulnerable because of<br />

our experience of depression and anxiety, we retreat from<br />

relationships. While there are certain relationships you<br />

may need to distance yourself from, the safe and healing<br />

relationships are those you need to lean into. If they are<br />

absent, then you need to seek them out. You can find<br />

these life-giving relationships with mature friends, spiritual<br />

parents (those who are older and wiser) or perhaps you<br />

can find that with a Christian counselor. Pride will say, “I’ve<br />

got this,” all the while the anxiety and depression tightens<br />

its grip on us. Humility says, “I need others.” Humility<br />

recognizes that Christ’s grace flows through relationships,<br />

described in Scripture as the “BODY OF CHRIST.”<br />

3<br />

TRUST GOD: When the Psalmist writes, “your rod<br />

and your staff comfort me,” he is referencing God’s<br />

protection and leadership. A healthy approach to dealing<br />

with depression and anxiety is loosening our grip on the<br />

steering wheel (control) and trusting that God will protect<br />

and guide our steps. When life seems overwhelming and<br />

scary, it will comfort your soul when you are reminded<br />

that God has you in the palm of His hand, and He will<br />

not lose his grip on you. He is faithful to protect and to<br />

guide us through even the darkest valleys in our lives. He<br />

understands and He is able to sustain.<br />

When it comes to depression and anxiety (the dark valley),<br />

there are no easy answers or solutions. However, there are<br />

both healthy/productive ways to respond and unhealthy/<br />

unproductive ways to respond. As you consider your own<br />

dark valleys, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!<br />



Individual, Couples and Family<br />

Counseling available to you,<br />

your family and your church.<br />

Accepts most forms of insurance • Online or In-Person<br />

www.Emerge.org/PA • 800-621-5207<br />

Marriage<br />

Tune-Up<br />

Two days to<br />

refresh your<br />

relationship<br />

The Marriage Tune-Up for pastoral,<br />

missionary and ministry couples is<br />

a 2-day personalized and private<br />

consultation to refresh your<br />

relationship. After completing<br />

an online assessment, your<br />

unique relationship challenges<br />

are addressed and strengths are<br />

enhanced.<br />

www.Emerge.org/TuneUp<br />


Consultants will come alongside a church in a 2-phase<br />

process, which includes an assessment, strategic<br />

recommendations and implementation coaching.<br />

www.recalibratechurch.org/Consulting<br />

*www.apa.org/monitor/2021/11/numbers-depression-anxiety<br />

BOOKS 4 YOU<br />

These books clearly describe what is happening<br />

in our churches and communities and offer a fresh<br />

perspecitive of what we can do about it.<br />

Managing <strong>Leadership</strong> Anxiety by Steve Cuss<br />

The Epidemic of Loneliness by Susan Mettes<br />


www.recalibratechurch.org/consulting<br />

LEADERSHIPconnexion | Spring <strong>2022</strong> 11

GUEST CONTRIBUTOR | Wilfredo De Jesús | AG General Treasurer<br />

“Security isn’t our<br />

biggest priority;<br />

outreach is…”<br />

For a number of reasons, going into the ministry didn’t<br />

make sense. The church was small, but an associate<br />

pastor had served there for over twenty years; surely<br />

he was a better candidate than I was. And I was so close to<br />

becoming a state trooper. The trajectory of my life was set.<br />

The other issue weighing on me, frankly, was that if I became<br />

the pastor, my salary would be cut to $35,000 a year. How<br />

could Elizabeth and I and our kids live on that? Those were<br />

very good reasons to say “Thanks but no thanks.” No, it just<br />

wasn’t going to work.<br />

I didn’t want to offend my father-in-law, however, so I came<br />

up with a plan to guarantee that I wouldn’t be the next pastor:<br />

I was willing to let him put my name up for consideration, but<br />

I’d accept only if all sixty-eight members of the church voted<br />

for me.<br />

There was no way that could happen. I was so confident<br />

in the outcome that I continued to move forward with the<br />

process of becoming a state trooper. A couple of weeks<br />

later, when the church held a meeting for the members to<br />

vote, to my utter shock, all sixty-eight people voted for me!<br />

In an instant, my vision of being a state trooper vanished and<br />

my income would be cut by almost two-thirds. Being called<br />

into ministry was something I didn’t take lightly, and I clearly<br />

understood that God was leading me in this direction. It’s just<br />

that I had been sure that the prophetic words given to me<br />

years earlier - “I’ve called you to be a great leader. Stay in My<br />

path.” - were directing me to a career in law enforcement so<br />

I could stand against injustice. After the church vote, though,<br />

I slowly realized that my role as a pastor was another way to<br />

stand against injustice.<br />

I was being asked to become the pastor of a church where<br />

a riot had destroyed the community, where gangs ruled the<br />

streets and drugs ruined lives. I had grown up here. This was<br />

my community. The more I thought about the opportunity, the<br />

more confident I became that I could move outside the walls<br />

of the church to connect with people in the neighborhood.<br />

After much prayer and consideration, I accepted the Lord’s<br />

call on my life and agreed to take on the role of pastor.<br />

Early on, we made two important decisions. First, we changed<br />

the name of the church, which was called the Palestine<br />

Christian Temple of the Assemblies of God—a name that<br />

doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. Some people assumed,<br />

quite naturally, that we were a church for Palestinians. In fact<br />

the Chicago Tribune newspaper called our office every time<br />

there was conflict in the Middle East, seeking a quote or two<br />

regarding the latest crisis. My standard answer to reporters: “I<br />

don’t really have an opinion. We’re Puerto Ricans.”<br />

Since I wanted the church to reach out to the community with<br />

a new, inclusive message, we renamed our congregation the<br />

New Life Covenant Church and got to work.<br />



served in the Humboldt Park neighborhood<br />

of Chicago as Lead Pastor of New Life<br />

Covenant Church for over 19 years (2000-<br />

2019). The church has seen a tremendous<br />

amount of growth and influence through<br />

the planting of multi-site campuses,<br />

effective urban and community outreach,<br />

and through world missions.<br />

Today, Pastor Choco serves as the General<br />

Treasurer of the Assemblies of God. A<br />

pentecostal denomination serving 13,017<br />

churches in the U.S., with over 3 million<br />

members and adherents and with more<br />

than 69 million members worldwide.<br />

The second decision we made was about the building. One day as I walked up to<br />

the church, I stared at the strong gate in front of the entrance. Instantly, I realized<br />

that this formidable gate was more than a physical barrier; it was also a spiritual and<br />

psychological roadblock that screamed “Stay away!” I remember telling some of our<br />

leaders, “This gate has got to go!”<br />

An older member asked, “But what about the stealing? Aren’t you afraid people will<br />

break in?”<br />

“Security isn’t our biggest priority; outreach is,” I replied. “And that huge gate<br />

sends the wrong message to the people we want to reach with the gospel.<br />

It’s time to move beyond fear and beyond<br />

convenience so everyone feels welcome here.”<br />

These two decisions changed the narrative of our church. We were no longer selffocused<br />

and fearful; we were committed to be open, loving, and welcoming. Before, we<br />

sent competing messages to the community. Our words were loving; but the name of<br />

the church was confusing, and the physical barrier spoke of anything but love. Now we<br />

were open for God’s business, open to love the people He loves—all of them, not just<br />

some of them.<br />

We weren’t going to remain secluded in an armory; we had our arms open to hug<br />

those who’d never been to church and those who’d been coming for years, the downand-out<br />

and the up-and-coming, those who had no resources and those who had<br />

more than enough. No matter what they’d done, they could find forgiveness. No matter<br />

how devastated they were, they could find healing and hope. They could be from the<br />

Humboldt ’hood - black, white, Asian, or any other background - and be welcomed.<br />

No one was off-limits to God’s love. No divide, no separation, no suspicion. And that’s<br />

how we got started at New Life Covenant Church.<br />

Pastor Choco has a heart to reach even<br />

the most marginalized with the Gospel<br />

and the saving power of Jesus Christ. In<br />

April 2013, he was named one of Time<br />

Magazine’s 100 most influential people in<br />

the world and recognized for his leadership<br />

and influence within the Evangelical and<br />

Latino community, to the Glory of God.<br />

Pastor Choco is also the author of five<br />

books: Amazing Faith, In the Gap, Stay<br />

the Course, Move Into More and Love<br />

Them Anyway. In December of 2018,<br />

he graduated with his doctorate from<br />

Southeastern University in Lakeland,<br />

Florida.<br />

He and his wife Elizabeth have three<br />

adult children and five pretty amazing<br />

grandchildren.<br />

Reprinted with<br />

Permission from<br />

Love Them Anyway:<br />

Finding Hope in a Divided<br />

World Gone Crazy<br />

by Choco De Jesús,<br />

Charisma House. 2021.<br />

LEADERSHIPconnexion | Spring <strong>2022</strong> 13

CHURCH PLANTING | TOM REES | 717.795.5921 | tom@penndel.org<br />

FISH<br />


Written by Duane Goodling<br />

People who are really into fishing will often install a fish finder on their boat. You can spend a little<br />

bit of money and get a basic one that will give you a general idea of where the tree stumps,<br />

rocks and fish may be located or you can spend a couple thousand dollars (really!) and get one<br />

that allows you to see all the fish and all the structure around you in incredible detail. You can even<br />

watch the fish to see how they react to the lure you are using. Some will even tell you what type of<br />

fish you are looking at (really!). Fish finding technology for sport has advanced to an astounding level.<br />

Jesus says in Matthew 4:19 “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” While technology has<br />

greatly advanced to help us find fish in the water, being a fisher of men has not, it is simply about<br />

being intentional about seeking out and making yourself available to pray for them and guide others<br />

to Christ. It is being the initiator of relationships to break down the barriers between them and Christ.<br />

Are you following Him? Looking at Matthew 4:19, this is the initial question that must be asked in the<br />

context of Men’s Ministry. Before we can minister to other men, we need to first look at our own walk<br />

with Christ and ensure He is our Captain. Are we relying on Christ to guide us through our daily lives?<br />

We cannot be a good leader or mentor to others if our own walk is not squarely grounded in Christ.<br />

Are you even fishing? As Christians, we are directed to “Go into the world, preach the Gospel and<br />

make disciples.” (Matthew 28:19) To further refine this, as men and men’s leaders of the church, we<br />

should specifically be reaching out to other men, young and old, through relationship building. Some<br />

may need a strong man of faith to lean on in tough times, others need someone to just listen and<br />

pray with them and still others need a good mentor to guide them and answer their questions.<br />

What are you using to find fish? We cannot just sit back and hope that the fish (men) will come to<br />

us. Yes, that may happen depending on our position; however, this is not the direction given to us<br />

in Matthew 4:19. This verse says that we will be made fishers of men. When fishing, do you sit in<br />

the boat and hope the fish jump in? Of course not! We use, at minimum, a rod, reel, line, bait and at<br />

times, a fish finder. So, what kind of equipment are you using? A ‘fish finder’ can come in all shapes<br />

and sizes: men’s group meetings, intentional mentor relationships, trips to a ball game, a fishing trip,<br />

a side conversation after work or just a phone call when you sense someone may be struggling.<br />

When is the last time you’ve gotten your ‘fishing’ tackle out and made a cast?<br />

If it has been a while, it’s time to go fishing!<br />


is the Light for the Lost<br />

coordinator for PennDel<br />

and Missions Director for<br />

Think Missions. Duane<br />

serves churches by<br />

helping them spread the<br />

Gospel and fill the globe<br />

with life-giving churches.<br />

Duane is available to<br />

speak at your church,<br />

men’s ministries, and<br />

missions events. You can<br />

reach him at duane@<br />

thinkmissions.org.<br />


GOSPEL<br />


The good news is that four out of five people are ready and<br />

willing to engage in spiritual conversations. Sadly, many do<br />

not believe Christians are ready or willing to participate in a<br />

conversation with someone with a different point of view. Many<br />

have experienced Christians talking at them rather than listening<br />

or engaging in a meaningful dialogue.<br />

To change the way we fish, we would do well<br />

to develop these starting points for Gospel<br />

conversations:<br />

1. BE PRESENT AND LISTEN : Follow the<br />

conversation and not your agenda<br />

2. FIND COMMON GROUND : Build a relational<br />

bridge<br />

3. WALK IN THEIR SHOES : Understand their story<br />

4. TALK LIKE A REAL PERSON : Use words meant<br />

for real people and not the pews<br />



Adapted from Send Institute<br />


We plant churches because we believe that<br />

effective new churches are great at reaching<br />

new generations, new residents and new people<br />

groups. In fact, effective new churches are great at<br />

reaching the de-churched and unchurched.<br />

To learn more about how you and/or your church<br />

can start a new church that is true to the Biblical<br />

mandate to reach people with the Gospel, you<br />

are invited to attend LAUNCH in Columbus, Ohio<br />

on June 21-23. The PennDel Ministry Network is<br />

offering scholarships for the registration ($599).<br />

Contact Tom Rees at tom@penndel.org<br />

for the Launch code. Details are available at:<br />

churchmultiplication.net.<br />

CMN<br />


Church Multiplication Roundtables<br />

have been created to provide a space<br />

and place for church pastors to grow<br />

and connect with others and their<br />

teams. It’s CMN’s opportunity to<br />

add value to you and your team and<br />

bring you together with others with<br />

who you can collaborate and grow. A<br />

huge perk is that it is completely free.<br />

The next CMN Regional Roundtable<br />

in our area is in Columbus, Ohio on<br />

June 21.<br />


PennDel is partnering with Kim and Laurel Harvey<br />

from Convoy of Hope’s Rural Initiatives to come<br />

alongside our rural and small-town pastors with<br />

a renewed vision for reaching our rural areas for<br />

Jesus. Whether it is shoes for kids in school,<br />

sports drinks for local teams, or paper products<br />

for first responders, the resources and training will<br />

help you partner with your local community.<br />

Join us on Thursday, May 5 and Convoy of Hope<br />

will send you home loaded up with products to<br />

bless you and bless your community!<br />

Register at penndel.org/summit22<br />

To find out more, go to<br />


YOUTH MINISTRIES/DYD | Lee Rogers | 717.795.5921 | lee@penndel.org<br />

5<br />

Five Emerging Challenges and<br />

1 2 3<br />

CHALLENGE #1<br />

IDENTITY FRACTURING. The challenges of<br />

transgender and same-sex attraction (SSA)<br />

identification are combining with cancel culture<br />

and leading to the fracturing of youth ministries.<br />

This challenge began to emerge last year and<br />

has continued to present itself in <strong>2022</strong>. Generally,<br />

a student will publicly identify as transgender or<br />

SSA and demand the youth ministry accept and<br />

affirm their lifestyle choice. Should leadership<br />

refuse, the student threatens to stop coming to<br />

youth group and also to deter as many students<br />

from attending as possible. This scenario has<br />

already played out in a few youth ministries within<br />

our Network.<br />

THE OPPORTUNITY in this challenge is to clarify<br />

a Biblical view of these matters with grace and<br />

humility. Additionally, there is a great opportunity<br />

to challenge the dominant cultural narrative by<br />

pointing to the various studies that demonstrate<br />

happiness is not increased, nor are problems<br />

solved, by changing genders. Help students<br />

understand they are made in the image of God,<br />

and by narrowing their identity to simply their<br />

gender or sexual orientation, they are robbing<br />

themselves of a fuller life in the Spirit.<br />

CHALLENGE #2<br />

META/VR WORLD. The meta or<br />

virtual reality (VR) platforms are growing<br />

exponentially. These next level social<br />

networking systems will continue to<br />

grow in popularity. The challenge for<br />

the average youth worker comes when<br />

students start to delve into these worlds.<br />

Just as social media is of primary nature<br />

to Gen Z, so the VR universe will be to<br />

Gen Alpha. Are you ready for the next<br />

evolution of social networking?<br />

THE OPPORTUNITY presents itself<br />

when several students in a youth ministry<br />

dive into VR; there are opportunities to<br />

participate, game and hang out together<br />

in these VR spaces. There is also the<br />

chance to create Christ-centered and<br />

Spirit-empowered culture even in the<br />

meta spaces. Several pastors and<br />

churches have already launched into<br />

VR/Meta church services and activities,<br />

which are generally far more robust than<br />

livestreams.<br />

CHALLENGE #3<br />


Two major political events will<br />

happen that will apply great<br />

pressure to the church and<br />

youth ministries in <strong>2022</strong>. First,<br />

mid-term elections will occur<br />

in November, meaning that<br />

campaigning has already begun.<br />

The term “white evangelical” will<br />

be thrown around quite a bit,<br />

and not in a complimentary way.<br />

Secondly, the Supreme Court<br />

will issue its current findings on<br />

abortion rights in May or June.<br />

Many analysts have speculated<br />

the court’s ruling will likely limit<br />

Roe vs. Wade by confirming the<br />

power of the States to impose<br />

limits on abortions. Given the<br />

passions on both sides of this<br />

issue, it is likely that some<br />

churches, youth groups, and<br />

Christian students could be<br />

targeted when these rulings are<br />

released.<br />


Opportunities in Youth Ministry<br />


to biblically define the value of<br />

life, as well as other social issues<br />

that tend to define political<br />

stances. There is a further<br />

opportunity here to define the<br />

church and youth ministry as a<br />

Biblically aligned and founded<br />

body that is Spirit-empowered.<br />

The church is not a political<br />

entity, nor is it the weapon or<br />

arm of any political party. We<br />

view all things through the lens<br />

of Scripture and the Spirit, not<br />

through the lens of politics. It’s<br />

more important than ever that<br />

students have this fundamental<br />

understanding of the church.<br />

4 5<br />

CHALLENGE #4<br />

COMMUNITY. This challenge is the result of the Covid<br />

pandemic and the disruption that isolation, distancing and<br />

masking have brought to Generations Z and Alpha. To be<br />

clear—community is not a challenge for the church, but<br />

it has become a challenge for those outside the church.<br />

Not only has it been a challenge, but more than ever<br />

influential voices in culture are starting to call it out. The<br />

next three to five years will be inundated with secular calls<br />

for community and community forming activity in an effort<br />

to compensate for the losses of the last two years.<br />

THE OPPORTUNITY for the church is obvious. We have<br />

tended to specialize in community, so this shouldn’t be<br />

hard. At the same time, the church and youth ministry<br />

must ensure that the community of the body of Christ is a<br />

missional community. Youth ministries must create formal<br />

and informal opportunities for students from outside the<br />

church to join in the community of the Body of Christ.<br />

CHALLENGE #5<br />

INFLATION. This is not a<br />

challenge that youth pastors and<br />

leaders typically think about, but<br />

the severity of inflation will create<br />

a challenge in the near future.<br />

Everything is going to cost more,<br />

starting with food and gas. It will<br />

cost more to do normal youth<br />

group activities.<br />

THE OPPORTUNITY here is<br />

to focus the financial resources<br />

of the youth ministry on the<br />

moments that matter. Spend<br />

your money where it matters<br />

most. Trim the fat from your<br />

budget, and do not spend<br />

money on youth ministry<br />

activities that are not aligned<br />

with your core values.<br />

Hear more about these challenges and other relevant<br />

youth ministry topics on our podcast & YouTube channel<br />

LEADERSHIPconnexion | Spring <strong>2022</strong><br />


Going H<br />

PENNDEL WOMEN | Liz DeFrain | 484.686.4554 | liz@penndelwomen.com | penndelwomen.com<br />

Have you ever been to an area where the elevation is<br />

higher than you usually live? For example, Steve and<br />

I traveled to Quito, Ecuador, where the elevation is<br />

9,350 feet above sea level. When you compare this to<br />

Philadelphia, with an elevation of thirty-nine feet above<br />

sea level, that is a drastic difference.<br />

When the atmosphere is very different, and if not prepared,<br />

you can experience altitude sickness, which Steve did. Altitude<br />

sickness symptoms can be mild, causing nausea, a slight<br />

headache or fatigue. However, they can also be severe, including<br />

shortness of breath, inability to walk, confusion, and even fluid<br />

buildup in your lungs that can be life-threatening. Thankfully,<br />

Steve’s symptoms were mild and passed relatively quickly.<br />

Truthfully, those who love mountain climbing prepare their bodies<br />

for the adventure. There is a spiritual parallel to this for all of us<br />

who want to go higher spiritually. I read some interesting facts on<br />

preparing to take up mountain climbing, which include exercise,<br />

endurance, and water.<br />

“Therefore, since such a huge crowd of witnesses surrounds<br />

us to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us<br />

down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us<br />

run with endurance the race God has set before us.”<br />

Hebrews 12:1-2<br />

EXERCISE. For those that love to climb, training is essential.<br />

However, having extra physical weight becomes a detriment to<br />

climbing. As leaders, it’s always a good idea to take inventory<br />

and discover what is weighing you down spiritually and then do<br />

the work to change it. What energizes you and what weighs you<br />

down?<br />

ENDURANCE. This word makes me anxious because it is<br />

easy to begin something and much more challenging to keep at it!<br />

Think of all the New Year’s resolutions you’ve made and not kept! I<br />


JUNE 3-4<br />


JUNE 10-11<br />


igher<br />

often wonder what I have missed because I gave up. We know<br />

that if you plan to climb a mountain, your training needs to be<br />

consistent, right? One training session isn’t sufficient. Spiritually,<br />

it’s the same. Our spiritual training takes time and endurance.<br />

The good news is, we have what we need!<br />

“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need<br />

for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming<br />

to know Him, the one who called us to Himself by means<br />

of His marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his<br />

glory and excellence, He has given us great and precious<br />

promises. These are the promises that enable you to<br />

share His divine nature and escape the world’s corruption<br />

caused by human desires. In view of all this, make every<br />

effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your<br />

faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and<br />

moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with<br />

self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and<br />

patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with<br />

brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for<br />

everyone.” 2 Peter 2:3-7<br />

Finally, WATER. You would never climb a mountain without<br />

bringing a sufficient water supply! Water replenishes our bodies<br />

and helps remove toxins! If you lose more than two percent<br />

of your body weight when you climb, your brain’s ability to<br />

think correctly is affected. Spiritually, if you are not continually<br />

drinking from the living water, you won’t think correctly, and<br />

discouragement can set in. It’s happened to me!<br />

“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t<br />

be doing what your sinful nature craves.” Galatians 5:16<br />

We are continually climbing this side of heaven because we are<br />

continuously growing in our relationship with Jesus. The best<br />

news is that the view is better the higher we go!<br />

Climb<br />

the Tree<br />

Since the time I was very young, I have enjoyed<br />

climbing trees. There is something very freeing and<br />

very rewarding about getting above the everyday<br />

stressors of life. High above everything and everyone else,<br />

there is a calm, a different perspective, an ability to look at<br />

situations and just think.<br />

Many years ago I decided I would like to climb a tree on<br />

every continent. So far, I have checked off North America,<br />

Central America, South America, Europe, and Asia. I still<br />

need Africa, Australia, and Antarctica. (I know - I will have to<br />

take a tree with me to that last one!) Realistically, I probably<br />

will not be able to fulfill this item on my bucket list. But it is<br />

sure fun trying!<br />

As Pastors,<br />

Leaders and those<br />

involved in walking<br />

through the most<br />

difficult situations<br />

and decisions, it<br />

is imperative to<br />

be able to remove<br />

ourselves from the<br />

immediate stress<br />

and look for a<br />

clearer perspective.<br />

Rise above the<br />

feelings and biases<br />

that cloud the<br />

ability to see as<br />

God sees.<br />

GIRLS MINISTRIES | Sharon Poole | sharonp@pdgirlsministries.com | penndel.org/girls<br />


JUNE 17-18<br />

It requires us to ascend into the heavenlies, to spend<br />

time with our Lord and trust Him, His perspective and His<br />

answers. Our American perspective is to “trust your gut,”<br />

follow your heart and do what is best for you. But Jesus<br />

Himself prayed, “Father, if you are willing, please take this<br />

cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be<br />

done, not mine.”<br />

I pray for you today to have the ability and<br />

courage to “climb the tree of clearer<br />

perspective” and trust our Lord for His will,<br />

His way and His decision.<br />

LEADERSHIPconnexion | Spring <strong>2022</strong><br />


God’s Story<br />

CHILDREN AND DISCIPLESHIP | Jeremiah Gruber | 717.795.5921<br />

Pride and Prejudice, Little Women,<br />

Aesop’s Fables, A Christmas Carol and<br />

Cinderella: these all made the BBC’s<br />

List of the 100 Stories That Shaped the<br />

World. While these stories have powerful<br />

plots and have been read by many, as<br />

followers of Christ, we truly know the<br />

greatest story to shape the world…<br />

God’s story. We read in Scripture the<br />

stories of God’s creation, Abraham’s<br />

faith, Joseph’s perseverance, Daniel’s<br />

steadfastness, Esther’s bravery, David’s<br />

courage, Peter’s Spirit-empowered life<br />

change, and most importantly, Christ’s<br />

sacrificial love. Each of these people are<br />

important parts of His-story.<br />

In Deuteronomy 6, God reminded the<br />

Israelites the importance of passing on<br />

His story from generation to generation.<br />

Specifically, in verse 7 this command is<br />

given: “Impress them on your children.<br />

Talk about them when you sit at home<br />

and when you walk along the road, when<br />

you lie down and when you get up.” (NIV)<br />

I personally have had God’s story passed<br />

down to me by my parents, pastors<br />

and teachers. The Assemblies of God<br />

ministries of Kids Church, Kids Camps,<br />

Sunday School, Junior/Teen Bible Quiz,<br />

Royal Rangers, Youth Group/Camp/<br />

Convention, Fine Arts and more have all<br />

played pivotal roles in Scripture coming<br />

alive in my life. I have clearly seen God’s<br />

hand all throughout the chapters of<br />

my story: salvation, receiving a call to<br />

ministry, Holy Spirit baptism, education,<br />

marriage, fatherhood, pastoral ministry<br />

and now the newest chapter our family<br />

is stepping into the role of Children’s and<br />

Discipleship Ministries Director at the<br />

PennDel Ministry Network.<br />

One of the joys I look forward to the most<br />

will be watching the Holy Spirit work<br />

and move in our summer kids camps.<br />

It was at a PennDel Kids Camp where I<br />

felt God’s call on my life, and then later<br />

received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. I<br />

believe and know that God’s story is still<br />

being written today and that the lives of<br />

many children and chaperones will be<br />

changed this summer. We would love to<br />

have your church join us as we share the<br />

life-changing stories of Scripture at KIDS<br />

CAMP <strong>2022</strong>.<br />

I look forward to partnering with each of you as we continue sharing<br />

God’s story from generation to generation.<br />


PennDel Royal Rangers<br />


Jonathan Paredes,<br />

Sectional Coordinator for Greater Philadelphia Area and Buckskin Rep<br />

Since I was a freshman<br />

in high school, Royal<br />

Rangers has been part<br />

of my life. The challenge<br />

and fun of Ranger of the<br />

Year testing is something<br />

I remember well. Leaders<br />

helped me and brought me<br />

to Sectional, District and<br />

Regional testing. It was a<br />

great time to meet with other<br />

Ranger boys who had also<br />

honed their skills. During<br />

preparation and travel, my leaders poured into my life, helping<br />

to disciple me into the man I am today. We had plenty of time<br />

to talk about life, religion, Christianity, church, leadership and<br />

manhood which had a deep and formative impact on my life.<br />

There are countless examples where men and women<br />

simply stepped up and volunteered to fill a need in a ministry<br />

working with boys. Granted, from their own perspective these<br />

individuals probably considered themselves “average church<br />

members” and did not see themselves as more than lay<br />

people in the church. Little did they know that they filled crucial<br />

roles, specifically the men, as they served as the example of<br />

a Christian man. Royal Rangers gave them an opportunity<br />

to model the Christian male/father role to a captive audience<br />

THE PENNDEL ROYAL RANGERS are excited to<br />

see a number of new outposts starting — our goal is<br />

to see more boys across Pennsylvania and Delaware<br />

discipled into godly servant leaders. There are<br />

scholarships available, so if your church has a desire<br />

to see your boys effectively discipled and men refine<br />

their servant leader skills, please consider contacting<br />

us to find out more about Royal Rangers.<br />

Work continues at the PennDel Royal Ranger camp<br />

in Honey Grove, PA, and we need your help to finish<br />

the shower house. The walls are up and the trusses<br />

and the roof will go on in the next couple of months. If<br />

you can help, or have a home missions’ team that can<br />

assist, please contact Steve Steffel. We have indoor<br />

accommodations and RV sites.<br />

of boys that were looking for an identity and a place to fit in.<br />

Discipleship, mentoring and modeling are difficult practices to<br />

engage in at a deep level within the four walls of the church.<br />

When you go on a weekend hiking trip in the pouring rain,<br />

or drive in a van for a two week trip across the country to<br />

attend Camporama, relationships will be forged unlike any<br />

other in the church community. I can probably write a book<br />

full of experiences where different men, either for a season or<br />

extended time, have poured into my life and modeled the Fruit<br />

of the Spirit and shaped my personality as a Christian. As a<br />

child, I only understood these experiences as trips or activities<br />

but as an adult I can see the value in being able to do life side<br />

by side with a Christian role model.<br />

Today, I am immersed in the mission of Royal Rangers,<br />

to evangelize, equip and empower the next generation of<br />

Christlike men and lifelong servant leaders. I have continued<br />

to be involved in Royal Rangers as an adult for almost twenty<br />

years because I believe in the ministry and the fruit it bears on<br />

the church and its families. It provides men with the tools to<br />

model Christlike manhood as they mentor boys on a Biblebased,<br />

Christ-centered, Spirit-empowered journey to maturity<br />

in the faith. In a few years, my sons will be old enough to<br />

become involved in Royal Rangers and without hesitation I<br />

want them to experience the ministry for themselves as they<br />

grow into Christlike men.<br />

ROYAL RANGERS | Steve Steffel | 302-379-1580 | Follow us: Website: pdrangers.org | Facebook: PennDel District Royal Rangers<br />

LEADERSHIPconnexion | Spring <strong>2022</strong> 21

BONGIORNO CONFERENCE CENTER | Carl Redding | 717.243.7381 | credding@bccretreats.com<br />

FriendsOFBONGIORNO<br />

To “Ascend” means to go up or climb or rise through<br />

the air. It leads me to think about the Christian life. As<br />

we grow in our faith and glean from God’s Word, we<br />

eventually come to the understanding that one day we will rise<br />

into the clouds to join Jesus for all of eternity. The triumph that<br />

He offers all Christians, through faith in Him, is that we get to<br />

ascend and take part in what the Creator has prepared for His<br />

people. The great reminders that we have of this throughout<br />

our lives are amazingly evident if we will just take a moment to<br />

stop, listen, look around and observe the beauty of creation.<br />

As we ascend this hill from Carlisle up to BCC, I’m just amazed<br />

at the sheer beauty of this place. It is overwhelming and we<br />

should not take it for granted. Also, God has blessed this place<br />

with His very Spirit. It always amazes me that our Creator<br />

gifted us with His presence and power, and He is still leading<br />

and empowering believers today. Lastly, in His infinite wisdom,<br />

He has brought us here to lead people toward His presence<br />

and has given us the tools necessary to be the light of His love<br />

to our culture.<br />

As we work to make this Conference Center what He wants it<br />

to be, we have so many things happening that are fulfilling this<br />

plan for improvement and moving forward. This past year has<br />

been a year of change at BCC: George Krebs’ retirement, a<br />

new Food Service Director, the completion of the Shepherd’s<br />

Prayer Walk, the opening of our 18 hole professional disc<br />

golf course, a new David Center deck and outdoor meeting<br />

spaces. We have been busy, to say the least. It is our desire<br />

to continue to grow in vision and realities as we move BCC<br />

forward. We have several projects that will be completed this<br />

year as well, including a new hardscape outdoor meeting<br />

space with firepit and seating, two “super sites” in the RV park,<br />

the renovation of several buildings, and many other projects.<br />

We are so thankful for the ability to make improvements to this<br />

property. We can only do this through the generosity of our<br />

“Friends of Bongiorno.” It’s because of faithfulness in giving<br />

that we are able to move forward on our campus. We thank<br />

our faithful partners and ask you, if you are not yet part of this<br />

program, to please consider joining us in moving BCC to the<br />

next level of ministry.<br />

We truly count it a privilege to serve our Network churches<br />

and ministers. Please contact us if we can help you plan<br />

your <strong>Leadership</strong> Retreat, Women’s Escape, Men’s Weekend<br />

or Youth Retreat. We are here to help and serve you! Please<br />

know that our Network churches and ministers are our highest<br />

priority as your conference center. We will work to find you the<br />

best dates and times for your retreat or conference and will do<br />

our best to meet and exceed your expectations. It would be<br />

our honor to serve you, your family and your church.<br />

22<br />

For more info: Bongiornocc.com • 717-243-7381

Pennsylvania-Delaware Ministry Network<br />

4651 Westport Drive<br />

Mechanicsburg, PA 17055<br />

Read online: penndel.org/connexion<br />

Editor: . . . . . . . . . . Donald J. Immel<br />

Managing Editor: . . . . . Carole Bongiorno<br />

Volume 68 Number 1–(USPS 165-700) is the official periodical published<br />

quarterly by the Pennsylvania-Delaware District Council of the Assemblies<br />

of God. Periodical postage paid at Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.<br />

Circulation Stands at Approximately 5,000. POSTMASTER, Send address<br />

changes to: Pennsylvania-Delaware District Council, 4651 Westport Drive,<br />

Mechanicsburg, PA 17055-4887<br />

Executive Presbytery<br />

Superintendent . . . . . . . . Donald J. Immel<br />

Assistant Superintendent . . . Steven DeFrain<br />

Secretary/Treasurer . . . . . .Jeff Marshall<br />

Timothy Bunney Southwest Suburban–SWS<br />

Mark Caston East Central–EC<br />

Ryan Coon At-Large Under 40<br />

Jeff Dyer Delaware–DEL<br />

James Goodman North Central West–NCW<br />

Wayne Jackson Southwest Metro–SWM<br />

Brad Leach Greater Philadelphia Area–GPA<br />

Dwan Newsome South Central–SC<br />

Kwaku Owusu-Boachie At-Large Ethnic<br />

James Pentz North Central–NC<br />

Randall Rhoads South Central East–SCE<br />

Lisa Rodriguez At-Large Female<br />

Wayne Schaffer South Central West–SCW<br />

Allan Thorpe Northwest–NW<br />

David Twiss Northeast–NE<br />

General Presbyters<br />

Donald J. Immel<br />

Jeff Marshall<br />

Jason Lamer<br />

Honorary General Presbyter<br />

Philip Bongiorno<br />

PennDel Superintendent Emeritus

Pennsylvania-Delaware Ministry Network<br />

4651 Westport Drive<br />

Mechanicsburg, PA 17055<br />

Find us online: penndel.org<br />

Join us on Social Media:<br />

PennDel Ministry Network<br />

PennDelMinistryNetwork<br />

#penndelag<br />

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