UpBuilding Men, Women, and Children in Practical Christianity

July 2009 Monthly Letter

Dear Partners in UpBuilding Ministries,

A lot of feelings and thoughts are whirling within me as I write this letter to tell you that UpBuilding Ministries is winding down in its present form.

Having a total hip replacement in May required me to slow down. That was hard for me to do, but the experience was good. God allowed me to completely heal and to have some un-hurried times with Him and Evie. The future of UpBuilding Ministries was one of the topics the three of us considered.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am not about to sit in a rocking chair and practice my goose call. "Re-tire-ment" from ministry is NOT in my vocabulary. "Re-treading" is. When a tire is retreaded, a new rubber "tread" is added to an old tire base. I was sensing that a time of "retreading" was on the horizon for this 67 year old tire.

My weariness from travels, the hesitation of financially-strapped churches to book future dates, and the economic difficulties many of our Ministries' supporters are now facing, were all considered. Were these signs from the Lord indicating a time for some realignment? I needed discernment and sought our Board's prayers, counsel, and wisdom. Each member is a "positive possibility person." We knew the Lord would lead and direct us.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 spoke in a fresh way: "For everything there is a season." I spent considerable time with the Lord reflecting on the various seasons of ministry He has established since my ordination in 1967. Each had a theme of "investing His Word in the lives of others." Each had a beginning and an ending as seasons do.

First, there was a five year solo pastorate at First Presbyterian in Mora, Minnesota where we saw God double the congregation size and enable the people to build a new sanctuary. Then came 18 years at College Hill Presbyterian, marked by several distinct seasons of ministry, three of which became national and international in scope:

• serving as an associate pastor with a most gifted and unique staff

designing and leading HELPER evangelism clinics

spawning small groups (Growth by Groups)

activating inactive member (AIM)

serving as a regular chapel speaker for the Reds, Bengals, and Dodgers!

disciple-making of new members (my Doctor of Ministry thesis)

partnering with Christ's Community in College Hill, a ministry to the poor

leading cross-cultural mission trips to 10 countries

founding and developing the FATHERS Ministry in 1981

authoring Won By One and For Fathers Who Aren't In Heaven

speaking at Promise Keepers in stadium and after-stadium leadership events

birthday calling of membership and partners in ministry since 1984

co-pastoring beginning in 1984

In 1989 the season for UpBuilding Ministries began. Over two decades, we have "upbuilt" over 500 congregations. Tens of thousands of men, women, children, couples, families, leaders, and pastors have been impacted as evidenced through the many "God-cidences" in the monthly letters.

After two month's of praying and discussing the if's, how's, and when's of such a major decision, the Board unanimously confirmed that now is time for this Ministry to end and affirmed that a new season is emerging within me. So what is it? We believe the Lord is calling me to re-invest the gifts and experiences given to me

in small to medium sized congregations located in the Ft. Myers area, and

in the lives of young pastors from around the nation by offering periodic mentoring sessions in Ft. Myers.

There is a burning desire within my heart to approach pastors and churches to whom the Lord will lead me and say: "Here's a resume of what the Lord has done in my life over 42 wonderful years. How can I serve you and your congregation? My Social Security and Pension now enable me to offer the talents and experiences God has given me to you and your congregation at no cost. Would you be willing to pray about this offer?" I would have jumped at this offer when I was serving as a solo pastor at Mora, Minnesota.

On behalf of the Board, I thank you for your belief in UpBuilding Ministries and for providing faithful intercessions and financial support to make it possible for me to share my gifts with those who could benefit. You have been a vital part of UpBuilding Ministries and what you have allowed the Lord to do through it. I encourage you to prayerfully seek another ministry to which you can now redirect your support.

UpBuilding Ministries will officially cease as a 501(c)(3) at the end of 2009 when all outstanding bills have been paid. Contributors will receive a year-end receipt. We are no longer seeking contributions from our partners in ministry. I will fulfill all of the UpBuilding Ministries' Weekend commitments for the remainder of 2009.

This has been a longer-than-usual letter, but I felt there was much to say. As my next "season" unfolds, I want you to know I am not saying goodbye. I will still seek to be in contact with occasional email and snail-mail letters, reporting on what the Lord will continue to do through my life. I hope to hear from you as well. Our Florida address is 19400 Cromwell Court #208, Ft. Myers, FL 33912-0385

. I will continue to pray for you, and as God brings me to mind, please pray for me. Each Weekend of late when I had been limping, people would ask , "Ron, from where do you get your energy?" My standard answer has always been: "The joy of the Lord is my strength, AND the strength of the prayers of over 200 committed partners is my joy."

May God bless each of you as much as you have blessed me. Your servant in Christ. Ron

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