Connexion Summer 2023 Special Issue - Benefits of AG Credentials

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PennDel Ministry Network<br />


<strong>Benefits</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>AG</strong> <strong>Credentials</strong>

PennDel Ministry N<br />

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I can remember it like it was yesterday…preparing to take the license exam for<br />

credentials. For me, the exam was the culmination <strong>of</strong> nearly four years <strong>of</strong> “Bible college.”<br />

Launching into ministry was a bit uncertain as we had no <strong>of</strong>ficial invitation to serve<br />

anywhere, but were on a pathway toward more ministry preparation through Ashland<br />

Theological Seminary. A summer internship would provide four months <strong>of</strong> practical<br />

experience, but the credentials committee was hesitant to grant a full ministerial license<br />

to candidates unless they had a position secured. After passing the written and oral<br />

exams, I was notified that I passed the requirements, and was granted a certified license<br />

until I had a ministry position. While in Seminary I was hired as a youth pastor, and my<br />

credentials were bumped up to the license level. My dreams were coming to pass! I<br />

was a “Reverend,” and my youth referred to me as Pastor Don. This was the function<br />

and identity for which I had aspired and prepared – I was now an Assemblies <strong>of</strong> God<br />

minister. I was part <strong>of</strong> the Fellowship, and my mentors were now also my colleagues.<br />

A lot has changed over the past forty years. The preparation pathway to credentials<br />

has morphed into a multifaceted paradigm that includes Global University (formerly<br />

called Berean Institute), sixteen approved <strong>AG</strong> Universities and Colleges, Church Based<br />

Bible Institutes (CBBI) like Reach Northeast and GT Leadership Academy and PennDel<br />

School <strong>of</strong> Ministry (PDSOM) – just to name a few. Old designations <strong>of</strong> ministry like<br />

“active and inactive” have been retired along with preaching requirements to maintain<br />

your ministerial status. Additionally, non-<strong>AG</strong> pathways to <strong>AG</strong> ministerial credentials<br />

have been accepted under conditions <strong>of</strong> a few (in many cases) supplemental courses<br />

to ensure doctrinal and cultural alignment. The nomenclature <strong>of</strong> screening committees<br />

to examine applicants has shifted to interview committees with a transition <strong>of</strong> thought.<br />

A screening committee seems to imply keeping something (someone) out, whereas an<br />

interview committee seeks to discover and discern God’s particular call to ministry in an<br />

applicant’s life.<br />

Pastor Don<br />

Network<br />

PennDel Ministry Network • CONNEXION

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<strong>AG</strong> MINISTERIAL CREDENTIALS?<br />

Another shift has occurred over the years: namely, the question <strong>of</strong> value for holding Assemblies<br />

<strong>of</strong> God ministerial credentials. It’s a pragmatic question really: “What is the benefit and value <strong>of</strong><br />

having a ministerial credential when I could ‘do the job’ just as well without the piece <strong>of</strong> paper<br />

embossed with an <strong>AG</strong> logo?” At one time, the “baby boomer” generation was committed to<br />

their institutions and organizations without much reflection. A sort <strong>of</strong> “brand loyalty.” That cultural<br />

trend has largely evaporated. Congregants <strong>of</strong>ttimes change churches based upon the leader’s<br />

personality or relationships within the church, as opposed to doctrinal beliefs, traditions or<br />

orthopraxy. This will cause some pastors to recoil in dismay; however, we have observed that<br />

ministers will also shift their alliances for some <strong>of</strong> the same reasons.<br />

What are the benefits <strong>of</strong> remaining co<br />


Above and beyond all functional and pragmatic benefits<br />

<strong>of</strong> affiliation is one central issue: are we on the same<br />

page regarding what we believe about God and those<br />

core essential doctrines that express His interaction<br />

with humanity. The Assemblies <strong>of</strong> God is Trinitarian,<br />

Evangelical and Pentecostal. We hold a very high<br />

standard regarding the Bible as inspired by God and<br />

without error. As Pentecostals, we highly value the gifts<br />

<strong>of</strong> the Spirit and the evidence <strong>of</strong> Spirit Baptism. Thus,<br />

Divine healing and speaking in tongues as the initial,<br />

physical evidence <strong>of</strong> the Spirit baptized experience<br />

are identified as doctrinal positions. Eschatological<br />

conclusions and convictions consume nearly onethird<br />

<strong>of</strong> our doctrinal statement, and include stances<br />

on the rapture <strong>of</strong> the church, the second coming <strong>of</strong><br />

Christ, His millennial reign on earth, the eternal fate <strong>of</strong><br />

believers and unbelievers, etc. Among all reasons for<br />

ministerial affiliation, doctrine rises to the top. Without<br />

doctrinal alignment, the deepest bond <strong>of</strong> fellowship is<br />

improbable.<br />

I love our heritage and the vision for our<br />

future. Banding together gives me much<br />

greater hope for the future than trying to go it<br />

alone. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you<br />

want to go far, go together.”<br />

—Chris Massey<br />

Lead Pastor, Family Life Church, Hermitage, PA<br />

POSITIONAL <strong>AG</strong>REEMENT<br />

Although the Assemblies <strong>of</strong> God position papers do not<br />

rise to the same level as our “16 Tenets <strong>of</strong> Faith,” they<br />

do both form and express the collective culture agreed<br />

upon by the General Council <strong>of</strong> ministers and delegates<br />

who deliberatively form our fellowship. Everyone may<br />

not agree with every statement written in the position<br />

papers, but we do all voluntarily agree to align with<br />

them in teaching and practice. Practical positions on<br />

issues such as alcohol consumption, sexual identity and<br />

practice, and the sanctity <strong>of</strong> human life are identified<br />

for our community <strong>of</strong> believers. Expansion on the<br />

application <strong>of</strong> our doctrines are also discussed in a variety<br />

<strong>of</strong> position papers in areas such as healing, the second<br />

coming <strong>of</strong> Christ and the authority <strong>of</strong> scripture, etc.<br />

Orthodoxy (doctrinal values) and orthopraxy (practicing<br />

doctrinal values in everyday life) are quintessential<br />

matters <strong>of</strong> associating in any fellowship. When we value<br />

our values, we will remain in connection with others <strong>of</strong><br />

“like precious faith.”<br />

In addition to the benefit <strong>of</strong> being in relationship with<br />

those who share our values on this theoretical basis,<br />

there are pragmatic benefits that are built on top <strong>of</strong> the<br />

doctrinal and positional foundation.

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I genuinely feel cared for and am confident<br />

that our leaders are invested in the growth and<br />

development <strong>of</strong> every church and its pastor<br />

in our Network. “Healthy Pastors. Thriving<br />

Churches,” isn’t just a vision statement - they<br />

live it with their actions.<br />

—Thomas Manning<br />

Lead Pastor<br />

Kinport <strong>AG</strong>, Cherry Tree, PA<br />

Through these past four years <strong>of</strong> being a credentialed<br />

minister and a Chi Alpha Campus Missionary & Pastor,<br />

my eyes have continually been opened to the ways my <strong>AG</strong><br />

credentials allow me to be better equipped for ministering<br />

to the students at Penn State Behrend. Every opportunity I have to<br />

attend a PennDel conference or meeting is another chance to learn.<br />

Those times are not just about the learning that comes from those holding<br />

a microphone, but the countless conversations with fellow credential<br />

holders. Having the unity <strong>of</strong> our shared doctrine allows for every<br />

conversation to be fruitful and encouraging.<br />

—Alycia Bini<br />

Chi Alpha Campus Missionary, Penn State Behrend<br />

g connected to the Assemblies <strong>of</strong> God?<br />

MISSIONAL ENG<strong>AG</strong>EMENT<br />

We have been called into ministry for a Divine purpose.<br />

Although we are to equip (Ephesians 4:11-13), care for,<br />

lead and feed the flock <strong>of</strong> God (John 21:15-22), we are<br />

also called to spread the good news <strong>of</strong> salvation to all the<br />

world (Matthew 28:18-20). These two foci <strong>of</strong> ministry,<br />

discipleship and evangelism, are actually two sides <strong>of</strong><br />

one call: to participate in the mission <strong>of</strong> God. From cover<br />

to cover (Genesis 12:3 to Revelation 5:9; 22:2) God’s<br />

redemptive plan is revealed. Without a missional focus,<br />

ministry is diminished in purpose and effort. We connect<br />

in ministerial fellowship because we are supported and<br />

energized in our relationships with others who share this<br />

missional engagement. Processing ministry challenges<br />

and strategies, praying for one another and enjoying the<br />

company <strong>of</strong> people <strong>of</strong> “like precious passion” make the<br />

journey sweeter.<br />

The belief and practice <strong>of</strong> our<br />

dependence on the Holy Spirit,<br />

who comes alongside to help<br />

us fulfill our call, is central to the<br />

Assemblies <strong>of</strong> God and critical to<br />

effective ministry. The synergy effect that credential<br />

holders enjoy in PennDel, is unapparelled.<br />

—Kwaku Owusu-Boachie<br />

Lead Pastor, Overbrook <strong>AG</strong>, Philadelphia, PA<br />


There are appreciable benefits beyond the doctrinal,<br />

positional and missional benefits <strong>of</strong> being an Assemblies<br />

<strong>of</strong> God minister. The rest <strong>of</strong> this issue <strong>of</strong> ConneXions,<br />

we will identify the pragmatic question, “What is<br />

the ongoing value <strong>of</strong> being an Assemblies <strong>of</strong> God<br />

credentialed minister?” We are constantly reviewing<br />

possibilities to bless our ministers and their families. We<br />

hope that this issue will inform or remind our ministry<br />

family <strong>of</strong> resources and relationships that are available<br />

which add value to our connection. May God bless you<br />

and make you a blessing as you fulfill His call on your life<br />

and ministry!<br />

I value my <strong>AG</strong> creditionals as it gives<br />

me freedom to lead with creativity and<br />

personality. I also love the collaboration<br />

and resources I have access to by being<br />

a credential holder. Being a credential<br />

holder brings accountability in my life and I am a better and<br />

more effective leader because <strong>of</strong> it. I am so thankful for the<br />

Assemblies <strong>of</strong> God as it has affirmed the call <strong>of</strong> God on my life.<br />

—Nabil Hirji-Walji<br />

Lead Pastor, Shrewsbury Assembly<br />

Shrewsbury, PA<br />

PennDel Ministry Network • CONNEXION

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(1 TIMOTHY 1:12)

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8-9<br />


10-11<br />


12<br />


13<br />


14-15<br />


16-17<br />


18-19<br />


STRENGTH, SECURITY, FUTURE........................................ 20<br />

INVESTING IN CONNECTION.............................................21<br />


COUNCIL OF THE ASSEMBLIES OF GOD......................... 22-23<br />


STEPS TO APPLYING FOR CREDENTIALS.......................... 26-27

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The PennDel Ministry Network<br />

believes its greatest asset is found<br />

within the skills and abilities <strong>of</strong> its<br />

ministers. It is our firm belief that<br />

we will have thriving churches<br />

when we have healthy pastors,<br />

and continuing education equips<br />

the minister to do the work <strong>of</strong><br />

ministry. Thanks to the vision <strong>of</strong><br />

Superintendent Immel and the<br />

Presbytery, the PennDel Ministry<br />

Network is able to <strong>of</strong>fer grants for<br />

continuing education. Grants are<br />

available under specific guidelines.<br />


1. A grant <strong>of</strong> up to $300 per year is available to General Council<br />

credentialed ministers residing in and holding credentials through<br />

the PennDel Ministry Network. The grant maximum is $1,000 per<br />

applicant, which is spread over a *3 or 4-year period. *Exceptions<br />

to this guideline are considered on a case-by-case basis.<br />

2. The following list <strong>of</strong> requirements are reviewed to be approved<br />

for the continuing education grant:<br />

a. Applicant must be credentialed through the PennDel<br />

Ministry Network for at least one year, minimum.<br />

b. Applicant must be a member in good standing with an<br />

Assemblies <strong>of</strong> God church.<br />

c. Applicant must be faithful with their commitment to giving as<br />

per our PennDel Constitution & Bylaws.<br />

3. This grant is to be applied towards courses, training for a degree<br />

or upgrading <strong>of</strong> ministerial credentials. The course is to be <strong>of</strong>fered<br />

by an accredited or approved institution.<br />

4. Applicants are limited to one $300 grant per year and<br />

must reapply each year for approval prior to registering for<br />

coursework. (Maximum overall benefit will not exceed $1,000.)

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To date, sixty-two (62) ministers have received reimbursements through the Continuing<br />

Education Grant. Here’s what a few <strong>of</strong> our ministers have said:<br />

PennDel gave me the assistance that<br />

I needed to pursue higher education.<br />

Returning to school gave me a wonderful<br />

opportunity to continue growing and<br />

learning. This refueled my calling and<br />

provided practical tools that enabled<br />

my ministry.<br />

—Megan Walsh<br />

Children’s Pastor<br />

Mountaintop Family Church,<br />

Mountaintop, PA<br />

PennDel provided financial assistance for<br />

my Master’s Degree (which was completed<br />

June <strong>of</strong> 2022) through the University <strong>of</strong><br />

Valley Forge. I appreciate the tangible<br />

support from our District/Network in my<br />

journey to grow and stretch as a minister<br />

and person. Thanks PennDel!<br />

—Lorna Albanese<br />

Campus Pastor<br />

Allison Park Church - Ohio River Campus<br />

Ambridge, PA<br />

PennDel helped me to reach my goal <strong>of</strong> completing<br />

a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership with<br />

an emphasis in Church Revitalization. This degree has<br />

better equipped me to lead the church I am currently<br />

pastoring and provided me with resources to help<br />

mentor others in leadership and church revitalization.<br />

I am grateful this grant helped make this degree more<br />

affordable.<br />

—Tim Halbfoerster<br />

Lead Pastor<br />

River <strong>of</strong> God Church, Enola, PA<br />


The PennDel School <strong>of</strong> Ministry is a convenient, fast-track, less expensive way that a person can satisfy the academic<br />

requirements for credentials with the Assemblies <strong>of</strong> God. You may enroll online, using your credit card for payment.<br />

Then, you will order your textbook from the source <strong>of</strong> your choice. You will have approximately one month to read the<br />

text and complete the Study Guide. You will then attend a one-day class, pass your exam and you will have completed<br />

that course toward the requirements for your credentials. We have four (4) convenient campus locations. Each campus<br />

<strong>of</strong>fers 27 classes totaling 108 across the PennDel Ministry Network.<br />

We are pleased to say that there are scholarships available for pre-credentialed students through PDSOM.<br />

Additionally, the Continuing Education Grant is available on a reimbursement basis for ministers who are upgrading<br />

their credentials and who meet the requirements mentioned earlier.<br />

PennDel Ministry Network • CONNEXION

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By Jason Tourville<br />

In 1992 I took a trip to visit my girlfriend (now wife) in Northern California. Upon<br />

arriving at the Sacramento airport, her family took me on a rather lengthy trip up<br />

the California coast line, up to Oregon and then back down Highway 1. The goal<br />

was not only to show me the beautiful cliff-lined Pacific Ocean, but to expose<br />

me, for the first time, to the Sequoia Redwood trees. Years later, I would have the<br />

chance to see the Sequoias again.<br />

While I had seen them in pictures and on television nature<br />

shows, I was unprepared for their sheer height and beauty.<br />

As an East Coast boy, I was thoroughly impressed. Like<br />

most parks and reserves, there is also a good bit to learn<br />

while on site. Sequoias can grow 30 feet in diameter and<br />

250 feet tall. With those statistics, one would assume their<br />

roots grow deep; however, the opposite is true.<br />

The root system <strong>of</strong> these marvelous trees are quite unique.<br />

Compared to their colossal size their roots are rather<br />

shallow, only going as deep 6-12 feet deep. Their roots<br />

extend over 100 feet from their base as they intertwine<br />

with the roots <strong>of</strong> the other redwoods. The interconnected<br />

nature <strong>of</strong> their root system increases their stability, allowing<br />

them to endure strong winds and floods.<br />

Did you catch that? It is their interconnected root system<br />

that provides the strength and stability needed for them<br />

to grow so tall. According to Dr. Don Lichi <strong>of</strong> Emerge<br />

Counseling Ministries, who has nearly 47,000 clinical<br />

hours logged, one <strong>of</strong> the greatest risks <strong>of</strong> spiritual leaders<br />

is isolation and lack <strong>of</strong> friends. In other words, while their<br />

faith may be deep, their roots are not intertwined with<br />

those <strong>of</strong> like faith.

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I’m thankful for all the voices <strong>of</strong> wisdom that God<br />

has placed around us. I also feel like the Network<br />

leadership actually cares about our health and<br />

the viability <strong>of</strong> our church. That’s a blessing!<br />

Jeff Henry<br />

Lead Pastor, Lighthouse Community Church,<br />

Mifflintown, PA<br />

As a credential holder in the PennDel Ministry Network, one<br />

<strong>of</strong> the benefits is the opportunity to connect with those on<br />

a similar journey, intertwining our roots with other spiritual<br />

leaders. Our commitment is to provide resources for you to<br />

strengthen your faith and your ministry. Consider the following:<br />



Providing the structure for the intertwining <strong>of</strong> our roots,<br />

we have a team <strong>of</strong> retired or semi-retired pastors who are<br />

regionally assigned the specific task <strong>of</strong> personally caring for<br />

ministers and their families. From a listening ear, to a prayer<br />

partner, to walking with a minister or their family through a<br />

crisis, these Minister Care Pastors are there for you.<br />

While the Redwood trees seem to naturally interconnect<br />

their roots system, the truth is, most <strong>of</strong> us have to be rather<br />

intentional. We can be as connected or disconnected as we<br />

desire. However, let me remind you… the strength <strong>of</strong> these<br />

trees during turbulent times is in their interconnected roots.<br />

We are all strong when we are connected to one another.<br />

Make the choice to allow your roots to grow wide and<br />

intertwine with others.<br />


Coaching has been a resource for ministers, missionaries and<br />

para-church leaders to process, grow and strategize personal<br />

and ministry topics. (PennDel Coaches) partners forward<br />

looking leaders with experienced coaches for the purpose<br />

<strong>of</strong> maximizing the leader’s potential and advancing the<br />

mission <strong>of</strong> the church. For more information, visit our website<br />

at penndel.org/coaching, or contact Bill Ellis by email at<br />

w.j.ellis@me.com.<br />


Also available is our Christian Counseling Center at our<br />

Mechanicsburg <strong>of</strong>fice and through Telehealth. At Emerge, we<br />

strive to counsel people towards wholeness and healing. We<br />

believe that God’s intention is that we do more than survive…<br />

He desires for us to thrive in life. Psalm 23 says, “The Lord is my<br />

Shepherd, I shall not want…” There is a fullness and freedom in<br />

life intended for each <strong>of</strong> us. The journey toward freedom is one<br />

we love to see people experience. Our Christian counseling is<br />

available for PennDel pastors and their families. While Emerge<br />

does accept some forms <strong>of</strong> insurance, when this isn’t available,<br />

there is an <strong>AG</strong> Fund to help alleviate some <strong>of</strong> the financial<br />

burden associated with counseling. We would be happy to<br />

serve you. You can visit our website at www.emerge.org/<br />

pa or for specific questions, you can email Jason Tourville at<br />

jtourville@emerge.org<br />


RETREAT:<br />

We also <strong>of</strong>fer a five-day retreat with other pastors and their<br />

spouses designed for spiritual and emotional renewal at a<br />

local Bed & Breakfast. Each retreat involves five couples. This<br />

retreat is <strong>of</strong>fered twice per year. To inquire, contact Jeff & Cathy<br />

Marshall at jeff@penndel.org.<br />


PASTORS:<br />

Being interconnected means we don’t have to take this<br />

ministry journey alone. Here in the PennDel Network, every<br />

first-time lead pastor is matched with a mentor pastor. This<br />

mentoring relationship is a one-year journey to support<br />

and encourage the pastor to develop in their leadership,<br />

personal and ministry skills. You can learn more at www.<br />

recalibratechurch.org/mentoring or contact Jason Tourville<br />

at jason@penndel.org with specific questions.<br />

Being a Minister Care Pastor is a way to serve<br />

those who are serving others, a way to encourage,<br />

support and listen. Most <strong>of</strong> all it provides the<br />

opportunity to ask the question, “How can I pray<br />

for you today?” Agreeing in prayer with others is a<br />

powerful way to care for them. I believe this is my calling<br />

in this season <strong>of</strong> my life!<br />

—John Holt<br />

PennDel Ministry Care Pastor<br />

PennDel Ministry Network • CONNEXION

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By Carl Redding<br />

My husband,<br />

LeRoy, and I, both<br />

<strong>AG</strong> ministers, have<br />

added the beautiful<br />

discipline <strong>of</strong> a yearly quiet<br />

retreat where we take two days<br />

in the spring and two days in<br />

the fall to retreat to seek God,<br />

receive, refresh, refuel & rest.<br />

BCC is the perfect place for this<br />

retreat as the accommodations<br />

and atmosphere are conducive<br />

to our needs. This includes the<br />

rooms, the friendly staff and the<br />

campus. The added bonus is<br />

our benefit <strong>of</strong> two free nights per<br />

credential holder per year! This is<br />

an abundant blessing as finances<br />

for ministry families are usually<br />

tighter which then makes it even<br />

harder to get away.<br />

—Wanda Bunker<br />

Family Life Pastor<br />

Newport <strong>AG</strong><br />

Early on in our ministry, I remember having feelings <strong>of</strong> inadequacy, desperation and deep<br />

need. I remember our checking account, the bills that we had to pay, and the paycheck<br />

that we received. Don’t get me wrong, we were thrilled to have a full-time ministry<br />

position, but we knew that the numbers, pressure and expectations were adding up. I knew<br />

that I needed a break before I broke. I knew that I had to take care <strong>of</strong> my family and I needed<br />

the strength to lead them the way that God had positioned us. Have you ever felt any <strong>of</strong> these<br />

stressors? If you have been in ministry for any amount <strong>of</strong> time, you have certainly experienced<br />

one or several <strong>of</strong> these feelings.<br />

The PennDel Ministry Network endeavors to provide a variety <strong>of</strong> support resources for its<br />

ministry family, and here at BCC, we would be honored if you would use our facility to provide<br />

personal support to you and your family, church or leadership team. Each <strong>of</strong> our credentialed<br />

ministers receives *two free nights at the Bongiorno Conference Center each year for a time<br />

away. You can use these complimentary stays as a personal retreat, a mini-vacation or a few<br />

days <strong>of</strong> family time. Please take advantage <strong>of</strong> the amazing benefits that BCC provides to you<br />

personally. Additionally, we provide space for staff training and departmental retreats at a<br />

significantly discounted rate for our Network Assembly <strong>of</strong> God churches. The Bongiorno<br />

Conference Center serves our Network events but can easily resource your church for training<br />

and spiritual refreshment needs. We would love to talk to you, give us a call, or better yet, put<br />

us in your speed dial options for a later date. For more information contact 717-243-7381 or<br />

visit www.bongiornocc.com.<br />

*Because <strong>of</strong> high demand, complimentary days are not available to be used in conjunction with Network events.

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A note from Robin Immel<br />

It is my joy to care for, love on<br />

and support women around me in<br />

ministry. I ’m cheering you on!<br />



Women grow stronger when they spend time together ~ there is power<br />

in community! WIM retreat is created to bless our credentialed women<br />

and ministry wives with TIME APART to CONNECT with gals from across<br />

our Network and to be LOVED ON by the Lord.<br />

The Women in Ministry Retreat <strong>of</strong>fers SOUL CARE<br />

AND SELF CARE in a variety <strong>of</strong> ways:<br />

CONNECTION with gals who understand your unique life; they “get you”<br />

WORSHIP with excellent and sensitive worship teams<br />

INSPIRATION with ministry FROM other ministry gals TO ministry gals<br />

RESTORATION through prayer and altar times<br />

FELLOWSHIP at the C<strong>of</strong>fee Bistro and Lancaster Cupcake Truck<br />

(both <strong>of</strong> these provided by HIS Fund)<br />

COUNSELING AND COACHING private sessions are <strong>of</strong>fered<br />

WORKSHOPS for hobbies and leadership topics on Saturday (optional)<br />

The PennDel Ministry Network values our women in ministry and<br />

provides almost 40% <strong>of</strong> the retreat costs to bring the price point to a<br />

level that ensures our women can attend.<br />


Our PURPOSE is to provide a network <strong>of</strong> support for<br />

pastors’ wives and to partner with them on a journey<br />

toward the best that God has for them.<br />

Our DESIRE is that women will THRIVE and experience<br />

JOY in their UNIQUE ROLE as the wife <strong>of</strong> a pastor.<br />

Our PASSION is that these precious women will use<br />

the UNIQUE OPPORTUNITIES AND GIFTINGS <strong>of</strong> their<br />

role to have an influence for Christ in their church and<br />

community.<br />


May I have a private room?<br />

YES! There are a variety <strong>of</strong> accommodations <strong>of</strong>fered<br />

from private rooms to group suites.<br />

If there financial help if I can’t afford the retreat?<br />

YES! Many churches sponsor the retreat costs for their<br />

gals, but if finances are keeping you from attending,<br />

there are some scholarships available.<br />

Do we play games? (This is the #1 question we are<br />

asked.)<br />

NO! We want to create an environment that is sensitive<br />

to everyone’s comfort level.<br />

At WIM Retreat I found a PAUSE…there were<br />

no chores, no errands and no distractions.<br />

Instead, I found time to sleep in, rest, relax<br />

with a book, visit with friends, a cupcake<br />

truck, c<strong>of</strong>fee bar and gift giveaways. The<br />

worship, prayer and altar time filled me to<br />

overflowing! So Ladies, take a PAUSE!<br />

—Rhonda Jackson<br />

Pastor’s Wife<br />

Genesis Church, Aliquippa, PA<br />

Something shifts in the atmosphere when women from all over our Network<br />

gather together. I experienced rest, rejuvenation and encouragement, but<br />

most <strong>of</strong> all, I experienced building friendships with women I had never met<br />

before. The blessings <strong>of</strong> our WIM retreat travel far beyond our September<br />

weekend because the FRIENDSHIPS TRAVEL WITH US!<br />

—CeCe Manning,<br />

Pastor’s Wife<br />

Kinport <strong>AG</strong>, Cherry Tree, PA<br />

PennDel Ministry Network • CONNEXION

14<br />



By Liz DeFrain<br />

We believe credentialed women are vital to<br />

the PennDel Ministry Network and the church<br />

at large. Almost 25% <strong>of</strong> our Assemblies <strong>of</strong> God<br />

credentialed ministers are women, and as time<br />

goes on, this percentage continues to increase.<br />

More and more <strong>of</strong> our churches are selecting<br />

women to fill the role as their lead pastor.<br />

Additionally, it is easy to find women fulfilling<br />

their call to ministry by serving in a variety <strong>of</strong><br />

staff positions in our churches and ministries.<br />

As women credential holders in the PennDel Ministry<br />

Network, we are part <strong>of</strong> a larger group, the National<br />

Network <strong>of</strong> Women Ministers. The Network <strong>of</strong> Women<br />

Ministers, originally named The Task Force for Women<br />

in Ministry, was created at the urging <strong>of</strong> the General<br />

Superintendent, and placed under the direction <strong>of</strong> Dr.<br />

Beth Grant in 1999 to provide support and training for<br />

credentialed women and those looking to fulfill their<br />

ministerial call. As a result <strong>of</strong> this initiative, the ratio <strong>of</strong><br />

women ministers to men ministers within the Assemblies <strong>of</strong><br />

God is at an all-time high. Crystal Martin assumed the role<br />

<strong>of</strong> Director <strong>of</strong> the Network <strong>of</strong> Women Ministers in 2017.<br />

(Taken from the NWM website)<br />

The Assemblies <strong>of</strong> God has given their full support to<br />

credentialed women, called by God, as shown by the<br />

following <strong>of</strong>ficial position paper:<br />

The Assemblies <strong>of</strong> God has been blessed and must<br />

continue to be blessed by the ministry <strong>of</strong> God’s gifted<br />

and commissioned daughters. The Bible repeatedly<br />

affirms that God pours out His Spirit upon both<br />

men and women and thereby gifts both sexes for<br />

ministry in His Church. Therefore, we must continue<br />

to demonstrate the gifts <strong>of</strong> women in ministry and<br />

spiritual leadership. (Taken from the Role <strong>of</strong> Women in<br />

Ministry – adopted August 9-11, 2010)<br />

Because <strong>of</strong> the value placed on credentialed women, the<br />

Presbytery Leadership Team includes a female presbyter. In<br />

addition to this, our Network has created a NWM PennDel<br />

Leadership Team to help women fulfill their ministerial call<br />

by advocating, collaborating and training. Our female<br />

presbyter is part <strong>of</strong> this team.<br />

<strong>Credentials</strong> have provided essential ministry<br />

friends and colleagues who have provided<br />

guidance and counsel in the skill sets I am not<br />

yet an expert. Ordination is important to me<br />

because I always want to be ready to walk into<br />

the opportunities God has prepared for me.<br />

—Jessica Jones<br />

Lead Pastor, Faith Assembly<br />

New Cumberland, PA<br />

God’s plans for my life were far bigger than<br />

I ever dreamed! Pursuing credentials was so<br />

valuable in my journey because it prepared<br />

me for things I didn’t even know were coming. The<br />

Network support and care I’ve received through the PennDel<br />

family continues to be so critical in my ministry story.<br />

—Nichole Schreiber<br />

Lead Pastor, Erie First Assembly<br />

Erie, PA

15<br />

How can the PennDel NWM team serve you? We have found<br />

that there are different types <strong>of</strong> needs based on your current<br />

expression <strong>of</strong> service, whether that be lead pastor, co-pastor<br />

or staff pastor OR you are in the initial journey <strong>of</strong> discovering<br />

your calling.<br />


First, you can connect with the National Network <strong>of</strong> Women<br />

Ministers website, where you will find many resources.<br />

(www.womenministers.ag.org) On the national website<br />

you will find:<br />

• Training Opportunities: The Network <strong>of</strong> Women<br />

Ministers looks to provide opportunities both online<br />

and in person to help you develop in your giftings.<br />

• Links to their Social Media: You will find the NWM<br />

active on social media channels, inspiring throughout<br />

the week by posts and live engagement opportunities.<br />

LOCALLY:<br />

Next, you can receive support locally by reaching out to<br />

NWM@penndel.org so we can connect you within the<br />

Penndel Ministry Network. Our goal is to <strong>of</strong>fer the resources<br />

listed to our female credentialed women.<br />

• Mentorship: Our desire is to encourage you to excel<br />

in ministry and to pair you with someone that is already<br />

serving in a similar capacity.<br />

• Connection Opportunities: Our goal is to provide<br />

opportunities for credentialed women to connect with<br />

one another at both our regular ministry events and<br />

other times throughout the year.<br />

• Flourish Events: Our goal is to provide opportunities<br />

where you can be both inspired and challenged to<br />

grow in your calling by bringing in guest speakers both<br />

online and in person.<br />

At PennDel we want you to know and understand that YOU are a valuable part <strong>of</strong> our<br />

Network, and our goal is to help you succeed and grow in your calling.<br />

PennDel Ministry Network • CONNEXION


16<br />

By Jeremiah Gruber and Joe Cali<br />

We <strong>of</strong>ten hear from the pastors’ kids and missionaries kids (PKs and MKs) in our Network that their<br />

favorite event on the calendar is PKMK Retreat. We tend to agree. The PKMK Retreat is a special<br />

free benefit extended to the children <strong>of</strong> credential holders in the PennDel Ministry Network. It is<br />

a three-day retreat built specifically for kids whose parents serve in ministry.<br />

Ministry can be challenging, and our children also share a portion <strong>of</strong> that challenge. PKs <strong>of</strong>ten feel as though<br />

they live life under a microscope, which can lead to a restrictive and overly pressured existence. At the<br />

PKMK Retreat, however, students and children feel free to be who they are. They get to meet and make<br />

friends with other PKs who share similar experiences and burdens in ministry. For those few days, they can<br />

come out from under the microscope and be themselves with friends who “get it.”<br />

The PKMK Retreat is held each March. It starts on a Saturday afternoon and ends on Monday morning. Like<br />

a typical kids or youth retreat, we have services in the evenings and the mornings. The speakers typically<br />

grew up as PKs and communicate from that perspective. The PKs worship together, seek God at the altar<br />

together, play together and hang out together. We do our best to afford the students special privileges they<br />

don’t normally get at home—like starting Sunday morning service later so they can sleep in just a little longer<br />

than normal. In addition to this, we have games, activities, hayrides, s’mores and more fun. Many PKs who<br />

come year after year will tell you they have made lifelong friends at this retreat.<br />

I love seeing my<br />

friends every year and<br />

having so much fun with<br />

them. This is the best weekend!<br />

Ivy Asper<br />

Christian Life Assembly<br />

Camp Hill, PA<br />

My favorite part <strong>of</strong> PK is<br />

worshiping with all <strong>of</strong> my<br />

friends and the awesome<br />

activities!<br />

Ariah Wenrich<br />

Cross Roads<br />

Community Church<br />

Mechanicsburg, PA

17<br />


This retreat is usually smaller in nature compared to some <strong>of</strong> the larger kids and youth retreats our Network<br />

facilitates. As a result, the PKs get more individualized attention from both our Children’s Ministries Director<br />

and our Youth Director. The Children’s Ministries department facilitates the PK Retreat for children in grades<br />

2-6, while the Youth Ministries department facilitates the PK Retreat for teenagers in grades 7-12. The kids<br />

and youth PKMK Retreats take place simultaneously in separate spaces at the Bongiorno Conference Center.<br />

Chaperones that have been screened and cleared are provided by the Network. Many chaperones are adult<br />

PKs who come back to serve the succeeding generations.<br />

We look forward to the opportunity to serve your family in this way. Your children are not alone; let them<br />

experience the freedom and fellowship <strong>of</strong> joining together with other PKs at our next PKMK Retreat. Did we<br />

mention that this event is FREE? It’s our way <strong>of</strong> investing in the health <strong>of</strong> our ministers.<br />

You get to create bonds with other<br />

PKs that are unbreakable, and get<br />

opportunities to be a light for Jesus<br />

that other people don’t really get to<br />

experience.<br />

—Ava Giunta<br />

Navigate Church, Fairless Hills, PA<br />

I get a lot <strong>of</strong> opportunities to invest in<br />

other people and to be a leader for<br />

other people to expand the Kingdom<br />

<strong>of</strong> God. I love that I get to build<br />

relationships with other PKs, and<br />

relate on a different level. We get<br />

each other.<br />

—Layla Weidman<br />

Freedom Life Church, Christiana, PA<br />

PennDel Ministry Network • CONNEXION

18<br />



By Jeff Marshall<br />

God calls people to ministry at different times in their lives. Some he calls to pr<strong>of</strong>essional<br />

pastoral ministry, some to lay ministry and others to serve the world as missionaries.<br />

In 1914, the Assemblies <strong>of</strong> God was formed following a fresh outpouring <strong>of</strong> the Holy<br />

Spirit. Early <strong>AG</strong> leaders had an immediate concern for the lost, compelling them to take<br />

the gospel into all the world. This small, fearless group <strong>of</strong> men and women committed<br />

themselves in writing to “the greatest evangelism the world has ever seen.” They believed<br />

both Jesus’ command to reach the whole world and His promise that they would receive<br />

the Holy Spirit’s power to do it. Have you ever felt God calling you to be a missionary?<br />

The Assemblies <strong>of</strong> God continues to be one <strong>of</strong> the foremost<br />

sending agencies in the world for those called to serve<br />

as a world missionary. The first line <strong>of</strong> contact is the local<br />

pastor and the world mission’s director/coordinator at<br />

the local church. Also available is the PennDel Ministry<br />

Network World Missions Director to assist with the process<br />

<strong>of</strong> exploring and applying for missionary appointment.<br />

<strong>AG</strong>WM (Assembly <strong>of</strong> God World Missions) is the portal to<br />

apply, clarify, evaluate, train and support those feeling called<br />

to world missions (wideopenmissions.org). Together with<br />

the PennDel Ministry Network, <strong>AG</strong>WM assists with training,<br />

fund raising, language school and much more. Missionary<br />

training culminates with a commissioning service at the<br />

conclusion <strong>of</strong> “Missionary Renewal” in Springfield, MO with<br />

a phenomenal celebration, including the laying on <strong>of</strong> hands<br />

and prayer. The missionary will then continue their itineration<br />

for a total <strong>of</strong> 12-18 months, raising funds for their missions’<br />

adventure! If you believe that God is calling you to take the<br />

gospel to the world, we see it as our mission to help you!<br />

Even though my<br />

journey in ministry<br />

and missions started<br />

years ago, receiving my ministry<br />

credentials has felt like a<br />

slingshot through open doors<br />

and opportunity. I feel like I’ve<br />

joined a family <strong>of</strong> new friends<br />

and mentors who I can truly<br />

depend on and learn from.<br />

David & Lauren Perdan<br />

<strong>AG</strong> Missionaries<br />

Japan, Asia Pacific

19<br />



Short Term Missions Abroad (STMA) –<br />

these are one to six months mission trips<br />

for credential holders by invitation <strong>of</strong> an<br />

Assembly <strong>of</strong> God World Missionary.<br />

Missionary Associate – one to two year<br />

journey assisting Career Missionaries.<br />

This is a foundational experience for<br />

those considering the possibility <strong>of</strong><br />

a career in missions. MA's have time<br />

to build stronger relationships with<br />

local friends, learn the language and<br />

assimilate into the culture. <strong>Credentials</strong><br />

are not required but recommended to<br />

become a MA.<br />

Career Missionary – Individuals who<br />

have decided to dedicate their lives<br />

to fulfilling the Great Commission<br />

overseas as a career missionary. Career<br />

missionaries have diverse ministries and<br />

represent a wide range <strong>of</strong> educational<br />

and ministry backgrounds, but they all<br />

express a clear lifetime call to missions.<br />

To serve as Career Missionary one must<br />

be licensed, ordained or in the process<br />

<strong>of</strong> credentials, have a lifetime call to<br />

missions, be baptized in the Holy Spirit<br />

and be endorsed by the Assemblies <strong>of</strong><br />

God World Mission’s department.<br />


Ministers and churches desiring to<br />

expand their foreign missions program<br />

can access our PennDel Missionary and<br />

MA’s Itineration list by logging onto<br />

their mypenndel account. Included is a<br />

document listing when missionaries are<br />

itinerating and when they are abroad.<br />

Ministers can view this document to<br />

schedule a missionary <strong>of</strong> their choice for<br />

a service.<br />



Each section has a World Mission’s<br />

Representative who is available to<br />

assist pastors/churches with specific<br />

information concerning PennDel<br />

Missionaries.<br />




• Assist in planning world missions trips<br />

• Find a short term (one to two week)<br />

missions trip in their section for<br />

individuals to attend<br />

• Inform when a missionary has retired<br />

or been reassigned<br />

• Assist in planning a world missions<br />

convention<br />

• Provide updates and Mission<br />

moments for missions services<br />

Whether you are feeling led to explore<br />

engaging your call to missions, or you<br />

desire missions resourcing for your<br />

church or ministry, as a PennDel minister,<br />

you have access to our Network<br />

leadership and resources for assistance.<br />

Contact our Network World Missions<br />

Director for more information: jeff@<br />

penndel.org.<br />

As we plant the church among those who don’t yet know Jesus, we are humbled<br />

and deeply grateful for the opportunity to serve as an extension <strong>of</strong> our PennDel<br />

churches overseas to help fulfill the Great Commission. In return, PennDel and<br />

<strong>AG</strong>WM have been arms underneath us, helping to hold us up and sustain us in<br />

a third-world country with financial support and prayers.<br />

—Brett & Rebekah Zeiler<br />

<strong>AG</strong> Missionaries , Cambodia, Asia Pacific<br />

PennDel Ministry Network • CONNEXION

20<br />



STENGTH,<br />


FUTURE<br />


A wise person knows that savings and retirement planning are prudent financial practices.<br />

Proverbs gives much fiscal direction to those who serve the Lord, including the wisdom<br />

<strong>of</strong> ants who apparently have a savings plan! (Proverbs 6:6-8) The Assemblies <strong>of</strong> God<br />

fellowship have provided an retirement instrument (403b) that will aid our ministers<br />

after their season <strong>of</strong> full-time ministry. Additionally, our Network has stable savings and<br />

retirement options available through Heritage Investment Services (HIS Fund).<br />

The resources <strong>of</strong> HIS<br />

Fund, MBA and Cerran<br />

Enterprises (Randy Rhoads)<br />

have helped to navigate me<br />

into my retirement years. The<br />

seminar PennDel Network<br />

provides for those planning<br />

to retire also helped me in my<br />

preparation!<br />

Dennis Sproull<br />

Pastoral Care Pastor<br />

Christian Life Assembly,<br />

Camp Hill, PA<br />


<strong>AG</strong> Financial (Ministers Benefit Association) <strong>of</strong>fers a 403(b) retirement plan for credentialed<br />

ministers endorsed by the General Council <strong>of</strong> the Assemblies <strong>of</strong> God. The MBA is an exclusive<br />

benefit to Assembly <strong>of</strong> God employees and ministers. Participants in this plan may choose to<br />

contribute to their retirement account pretax or Roth after tax. This plan allows ministers to<br />

have distributions declared as housing allowances which gives the minister a significant tax<br />

savings during retirement. (For more information www.agfinancial.org.)<br />


There are few Kingdom-based savings opportunities that <strong>of</strong>fer a higher interest rate than HIS<br />

Fund. HIS Fund investments are available to Assemblies <strong>of</strong> God constituents, including <strong>AG</strong><br />

ministers. Money invested in HIS Fund is used exclusively for ministry purposes – building and<br />

remodeling churches and ministry facilities, lines <strong>of</strong> credit and loans for church vehicles. Thus,<br />

an individual’s investment is used for furthering the gospel and strengthening the church. It<br />

yields a highly competitive return to the investor and gives the most flexibility for shorter term<br />

savings and higher yields for longer term investments. These financial benefits are available to<br />

you as part <strong>of</strong> the Assemblies <strong>of</strong> God family! (For more information www.hisfund.com.)<br />


Randy Rhoads, John Holt and Stan Williams are available resources to assist credentialed<br />

ministers in finances, including retirement. Each member <strong>of</strong> this team has experience in<br />

ministry and finances. All are available to speak with you and/or your church leadership<br />

team to give information and coaching toward healthy minister compensation, savings and<br />

retirement optics. Additionally, our Minister Care Lead, Paul Lynn, is available to help direct<br />

our ministers to financial coaches or consultants. You can start the conversation by emailing<br />

him at paul@penndel.org.



By Jeff Marshall<br />

21<br />

I<br />

was not raised in an Assembly <strong>of</strong> God home. In fact, from the time I can<br />

remember I attended a United Methodist church. I even had all the medals<br />

for perfect attendance at our Sunday School and attended Jumonville, our<br />

Methodist church camp for years. This is where I accepted Christ as my personal<br />

savior at a young age. I struggled through my teen years but rededicated my life<br />

to Christ at age sixteen. I then attended Asbury College in Kentucky, a Christian<br />

liberal arts college. Following college I attended an independent Pentecostal<br />

church, where I eventually became the Family Life Pastor. I received my credentials<br />

with the “Independent Assembly <strong>of</strong> God International”. I served in that position<br />

for five years until I felt the Lord’s leading to pursue other avenues. When I left<br />

the church where I served, I discovered what “Independent” actually meant,<br />

independent. I was on my own, my credentials were not recognized by other<br />

fellowships and I had no network <strong>of</strong> support. I was somewhat isolated and on my<br />

own to follow the call <strong>of</strong> God I felt on my life.<br />

It was during this time that I met Pastor Robert Owen at South Hills Assembly<br />

<strong>of</strong> God in Bethel Park, PA. After spending some time with Pastor Owen, he<br />

encouraged me to pursue credentials with the Assemblies <strong>of</strong> God. I attended an<br />

<strong>AG</strong> church while I was in college and was very comfortable with their beliefs. I<br />

did some more research and was pleased with what I discovered. They (the <strong>AG</strong>)<br />

referred to themselves as a fellowship, not a denomination. That interested me, as<br />

I felt alone being part <strong>of</strong> an independent church and credentialing body. I followed<br />

Pastor Owen’s advice and journeyed through the credentialing process. I took and<br />

passed the *grueling exam <strong>of</strong> six-and-a-half hours for license with the interview. All<br />

twelve <strong>of</strong> the presbyters were sitting at the table with me at one end and Brother<br />

Bongiorno at the other end. After a few years, I pursued ordination. The exam<br />

was still several hours long but the interview much more comfortable. With my<br />

entrance into the Assemblies <strong>of</strong> God fellowship, I became part <strong>of</strong> something so<br />

much bigger than I ever imagined. I became part <strong>of</strong> 38,000 pastors with 13,000<br />

churches nationally and nearly 1,200 pastors and 400 churches in Pennsylvania<br />

and Delaware alone.<br />

I was no longer “independent.” I was part <strong>of</strong> a fellowship <strong>of</strong> like-minded ministers<br />

from around the USA and the world. With this fellowship came responsibilities<br />

and accountability. I had a support system, who knew my name, cared about me,<br />

encouraged me and was available to me. And when I went to other <strong>AG</strong> churches,<br />

I was accepted and recognized with open arms. To me, the Assemblies <strong>of</strong> God is<br />

not just a credentialing body, but a place to belong, to build relationships and to<br />

receive support. Additionally, I can speak into the lives and ministries <strong>of</strong> others. We<br />

need and benefit from one another. We are not independent, but interdependent,<br />

benefiting from each other’s strengths and experiences. I thank God that He called<br />

me into the ministry and directed me to the Assemblies <strong>of</strong> God.<br />

*NOTE: The exam is less strenuous these days, and can be completed in under two<br />

hours, depending on the individual’s level <strong>of</strong> anxiety!<br />

It was one <strong>of</strong> the best weeks <strong>of</strong> my life.<br />

Along with five other ministry couples, we<br />

laughed a lot, got to know one another<br />

and prayed for each other. And Double<br />

Honor paid for it all.<br />

—Robin McKinley<br />

Lead Pastor<br />

Calvary Christian Center<br />

Pottstown, PA<br />

What my wife and I discovered by<br />

attending the Double Honor Retreat is<br />

that we were absolutely not alone in<br />

the challenges and discouragements <strong>of</strong><br />

pastoring today. We also experienced<br />

healing through Spirit-led fellowship with a<br />

group <strong>of</strong> strangers who have now become<br />

lifelong friends. The love, understanding,<br />

and caring <strong>of</strong> this new found family, along<br />

with the guidance <strong>of</strong> our hosts, restored<br />

a wholeness and an encouragement for<br />

ministry we thought we had lost. We were<br />

truly Doubly honored!<br />

—Jim Ricci<br />

Lead Pastor<br />

The Joy Center <strong>of</strong> Fountain Hill<br />

Fountain Hill, PA<br />

PennDel Ministry Network • CONNEXION

22<br />



Church health and growth<br />

strategies.<br />

Acts2Journey.com<br />

Inspiring the next generation<br />

into contagious compassion<br />

for the lost.<br />

BGMC.ag.org/Sessions<br />

Discipleship curriculum<br />

for all ages.<br />

BibleEngagementProject.com<br />

Equipping those called to<br />

vocational ministry.<br />

Called.ag.org<br />

All the tools you need to do<br />

ministry well!<br />

ChurchMultiplication.net/Partners<br />

ChurchMultiplication.net/Funding<br />

Free guide <strong>of</strong> 7 measurable<br />

outcomes for churches to<br />

develop discipleship strategy.<br />

Discipleship.ag.org<br />

Equipping both pastors and<br />

churches for financial health.<br />

EmpoweringStewardship.com<br />

Activity-based small group<br />

for girls and young ladies,<br />

ages K-12.<br />

NGM.ag.org<br />

Digital learning community<br />

for KidMin leaders.<br />

KidMinHydrate.org<br />

A team-based tool to help<br />

kids learn God's Word and<br />

build faith that lasts a lifetime.<br />

BibleFactPack.com<br />

Strategize, train and resource<br />

ministries designed for<br />

children.<br />

KidMin.ag.org<br />

Providing evangelical<br />

resources for missionaries<br />

and missionary partners.<br />

LFTL.ag.org<br />


23<br />



VBS curriculum that focuses<br />

on evangelism and impacts<br />

your community.<br />

MEGASportsCamp.com<br />

A national network <strong>of</strong> men<br />

taking a stand for Christ<br />

and resourcing local men's<br />

ministries.<br />

Men.ag.org<br />

Equipping spirit-empowered<br />

people through discipleship<br />

tools, curriculum and other<br />

resources.<br />

MyHealthyChurch.com<br />

Activity-based small group<br />

for boys and young men,<br />

ages K-12.<br />

RoyalRangers.com<br />

Resources to assist the local<br />

church in providing quality<br />

ministry to senior adults.<br />

SAM.ag.org<br />

Raising an unconventional<br />

generation <strong>of</strong> students to<br />

reach the lost around the world.<br />

SpeedTheLight.com<br />

Championing and equipping<br />

women to know Jesus and walk<br />

in their God-given purpose.<br />

Women.ag.org<br />

Mobilizing students to reach<br />

other students & empowering<br />

churches to connect with their<br />

local schools.<br />

Youth.ag.org/Participate/<br />

Youth-Alive<br />

Equipping the church until<br />

all students know Jesus,<br />

including Bible Quiz, Fine Arts<br />

and more.<br />

Youth.ag.org<br />


PennDel Ministry Network • CONNEXION

24<br />




“<strong>Credentials</strong>” are a way <strong>of</strong> life to contemporary culture. You need a<br />

license to drive an automobile on public roads. You need a pilot’s<br />

license to legally fly an airplane. You are required to have a license in<br />

most places to hunt or fish on public lands or waters. You can do all <strong>of</strong><br />

these things (drive, fly, hunt or fish) without a license, but doing them<br />

legally in public settings makes the difference.<br />

In the pr<strong>of</strong>essional world, a variety <strong>of</strong> trades and<br />

pr<strong>of</strong>essions require credentialing. Nurses, doctors,<br />

teachers, attorneys and cosmetologists all need<br />

credentials. Likewise, some electricians and mechanics<br />

need certifications for their particular fields. Once again,<br />

you can get a hair cut from a non-certified beautician, and<br />

you can get legal or medical advice from someone who<br />

has not had pr<strong>of</strong>essional training or completed state board<br />

testing…but to function pr<strong>of</strong>essionally, credentials are<br />

<strong>of</strong>ten required.<br />

Ministry <strong>of</strong>ten relies on an individual church or organization<br />

to determine standards for recognizing pr<strong>of</strong>iciency and<br />

evidence <strong>of</strong> a Divine call. In the United States, because<br />

<strong>of</strong> the first amendment, the government has very little<br />

say in this process. Thus, an individual can declare<br />

themselves called and equipped, or a religious body<br />

can establish standards <strong>of</strong> credentialing as seems best to<br />

their understanding <strong>of</strong> what may be required biblically<br />

and ecclesiastically. Because <strong>of</strong> the subjective nature<br />

<strong>of</strong> ministerial credentialing, the standards for being a<br />

recognized minister vary greatly from minister to ministry<br />

setting. Some would argue that credentials are completely<br />

unnecessary, stating that it is God who calls individuals into<br />

ministry, and that man’s credentialing processes are flawed<br />

and faulty. However, an equally strong argument could be<br />

made that an individual’s claims have been observed to be<br />

flawed and faulty as well.<br />

The Assemblies <strong>of</strong> God has developed a credentialing<br />

process that regards the pr<strong>of</strong>ession <strong>of</strong> an individual as<br />

confirmed by Spirit-filled, experienced elders. Ministry<br />

preparation options make way for a balanced approach<br />

to formal training in basic competencies in a variety <strong>of</strong><br />

settings that range from formal college-level degree<br />

programs to in-home, self-paced training options. The<br />

individual preparing for ministry has the discretion to<br />

determine which training pathway is financially and<br />

practically applicable to their life context. Approved<br />

ministry preparation pathways include courses on the<br />

Bible, how to interpret and teach it, and other practical

25<br />

ministry competencies, such as pastoral counseling<br />

and administrative issues. In 2 Timothy 3:14-17,<br />

the Apostle Paul reminds his younger student to<br />

be mindful <strong>of</strong> the training that he had received,<br />

especially in the scriptures, to fulfill his call to<br />

ministry. Ministry preparation and recognition by<br />

spiritual elders is easily recognized throughout<br />

the New Testament (Acts 13:1-3, 1 Timothy 4:14,<br />

et al.). Ministerial coordination, cooperation and<br />

accountability are also identified in practice by<br />

the early church (Acts 11:1-18, Acts 15:6-31, et al.).<br />

Although formal ministerial credentials were not<br />

issued in the biblical record, the process <strong>of</strong> formally<br />

recognizing a Divine call to ministry is certainly<br />

evidenced.<br />

My credentials have propelled me into a level <strong>of</strong><br />

successful ministry that has added esteem and great<br />

aplomb to the call <strong>of</strong> God on my life. Due to this, my<br />

ability to shepherd the flock is no longer in question and<br />

has been affirmed.<br />

Luke Yoder<br />

Youth Pastor<br />

Celebration Community Church, Dillsburg, PA<br />

There are many practical benefits to ministerial<br />

credentials. <strong>Credentials</strong> affirm that the call to<br />

ministry is not a self-proclaimed aspiration, but<br />

is recognized and affirmed by others who have<br />

substantial training, experience and discernment.<br />

Ministerial credentials provide evidence <strong>of</strong> training<br />

and recognition to those in the church and in<br />

the marketplace where such evidence may be<br />

necessary to function as a minister, chaplain or other<br />

clergy-specific roles. <strong>AG</strong> ministerial credentials<br />

provide a functional “letter <strong>of</strong> introduction” to our<br />

wide network <strong>of</strong> churches in the United States.<br />

They give a level <strong>of</strong> assurance <strong>of</strong> “good-standing”<br />

because they are renewed annually. The level<br />

<strong>of</strong> credential (certified, license or ordained)<br />

demonstrates a level <strong>of</strong> diligence to continued<br />

development and completion <strong>of</strong> rudimentary<br />

preparation and affirmation standards. Ultimately,<br />

as with any credential in any field, the value <strong>of</strong> the<br />

credential is affirmed or debated on the basis <strong>of</strong> the<br />

quality <strong>of</strong> ministry demonstrated by the credential<br />

holder.<br />

Being called to ministry by the Lord is a humbling<br />

privilege. Receiving the affirmation and recognition<br />

<strong>of</strong> this Divine call is a distinct honor. Faithfulness<br />

in service, fruitfulness in ministry, and receiving<br />

a credential to serve as a ministry opens doors<br />

<strong>of</strong> possibility in churches and other ministry<br />

assignments. We invite you to explore your call to<br />

ministry and engage that call within the Assemblies<br />

<strong>of</strong> God Fellowship. You can contact us at<br />

717-795-5921, or visit our website for more<br />

information at www.penndel.org/credentials.<br />

PennDel Ministry Network • CONNEXION

26<br />

You feel the call <strong>of</strong> God<br />

upon your life, now what?<br />

The first step is talk with your Lead Pastor, then log onto the PennDel<br />

website which is www.penndel.org – select Resources – Ministerial<br />

Credentialing and Steps to Apply, which is a credential inquiry form or<br />

scan the QR code. You will find a step by step process for credentialing<br />

with the Assemblies <strong>of</strong> God as well as a wealth <strong>of</strong> information<br />

regarding the qualifications needed for credentials, education, exam<br />

and interview requirements as well as other tools to assist you in your<br />

journey to obtain credentials. Our Network <strong>of</strong>fice is available to guide<br />

you through each step <strong>of</strong> the credentialing process as you fulfill the call<br />

<strong>of</strong> God upon your life.

27<br />





Please complete the Applicant Inquiry Form and someone from our <strong>of</strong>fice<br />

will contact you. An initial interview with your Lead Pastor and Sectional<br />

Presbyter will be required.<br />

My credentials have a great deal <strong>of</strong><br />

value for me and the community in which<br />

I serve. It provides more opportunities<br />

to minister to vulnerable populations<br />

and serve the Lord in a more meaningful<br />

matter. It gives a sense <strong>of</strong> responsibility,<br />

accountability, credibility and unity. It also<br />

shows that I am not left alone, and that<br />

the support <strong>of</strong> the entire <strong>AG</strong> community is<br />

available to me.<br />

Reginald Nesamoni<br />

Lead Pastor<br />

Harvest International Church,<br />

Philadelphia, PA<br />

This whole process has been<br />

amazing! From the course work<br />

to the exam preparation. It has<br />

challenged me to uncover the why<br />

behind all that we do.<br />

—Robyn Geisler<br />

Children's Ministry<br />

Christian Life Church, Bensalem, PA<br />

For more information<br />

scan the QR code or visit<br />

penndel.org/credentialing:<br />


After you received approval from your lead pastor and sectional presbyter,<br />

you may move forward with the application process. Please have an <strong>of</strong>ficial<br />

transcript <strong>of</strong> your education sent to Janice Garmen at janice@penndel.<br />

org. An education review will be conducted.<br />


When all the educational requirements have been met, then an application<br />

packet will be emailed to you. All forms must be completed in their entirety<br />

(no unanswered questions will be accepted) and returned to the PennDel<br />

Ministry Network along with your credential application fee.<br />

STEP 4 EXAMS<br />

After an applicant’s references have been received along with a satisfactory<br />

Background Check, all information will be reviewed. The applicant will<br />

receive an email with approval and instructions on scheduling their<br />

credential exams.<br />


After successfully completing the credential exams, applicants will be<br />

notified via email <strong>of</strong> their interview date with the PennDel Credential<br />

Committee. Upon receiving the Credential Committee’s recommendation,<br />

the applicant’s materials will be sent to General Council for their final<br />

review and approval.<br />

PennDel Ministry Network • CONNEXION

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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