Dear Congregational Family,

1. School for pastors NEEDS to be in session! I was dismayed yesterday to read that recent national surveys reveal the sad state of affairs among pastors and their spiritual education. On September 3rd, Christian Post reported the following:

“At least a third of senior pastors in the United States believe one can earn a place in Heaven by simply being a good person.…

Researchers found that in addition to believing that people can merit salvation based solely on their good works, one-third or more of senior pastors surveyed also believe the Holy Spirit is not a person but rather ‘a symbol of God’s power.’ Others said that moral truth is subjective; sexual relations between two unmarried people who love each other is ‘morally acceptable’ and biblical teaching on abortion is ‘ambiguous.’

The latest report analyzed research across all major U.S. denominations and found that a ‘loss of biblical belief is prevalent among pastors in all denominational groupings.’

39% of Evangelical pastors surveyed said there is no absolute moral truth and that ‘each individual must determine their own truth.’ Roughly the same percentage (38%) didn’t answer in the affirmative when asked if ‘human life is sacred,’ while 37% said having faith, in general, is more important than in what — or more specifically, Whom — one has faith.

Perhaps most startlingly, three in 10 Evangelical pastors (30%) didn’t answer in the affirmative if their salvation is based on having confessed their sins and accepting Jesus Christ as their savior.

George Barna, director of the research, said the results could be linked to another trend he observed in the data.

‘While studying the spiritual behavioral patterns of pastors, it became evident that a large share of them do not have a regular spiritual routine,’ Barna said. ‘There was a correlation between possessing biblical beliefs and a consistent regimen of Bible reading, prayer, worship and confession. In some of the denominational groupings, a majority of pastors do not engage in those foundational spiritual practices on a regular basis,’ he added. ‘Yet, among the pastors who have the most consistently biblical beliefs, there is also a daily routine that incorporates all of those disciplines.’

The data from this latest report came from a nationwide study of about 1,000 Christian pastors across several segments of churches and/or denominational families and was conducted between February and March of 2022.”

• It is certainly imperative that pastors spend time in the Word of God, but it is also important for anyone who wants to stay strong in their faith and grow spiritually!!

2. Sunday School Rally Day: Within the next couple of weeks, our fall ministry schedule will be in full swing! This Sunday is Sunday School Rally Day! It is wonderful to see many of our children return to Sunday School! Think of who you can invite to come with you! This Sunday there will be a time of food and fellowship in the Fellowship Hall for our families with children and an opportunity for you to meet your child’s/children’s teacher/s.

In the Adult Sunday School class, I will be sharing about my experiences going to different churches during my Sabbatical weeks, as well as discussing our worship style and structure here at Ruthfred. All are welcome!!!!

3. Increasing the dividends of Sabbath Rest: After thinking a good deal about “Sabbath Rest” and spiritual renewal on Sunday, I thought about how much we put into the Sunday worship service and how quickly it goes by in the minutes we are together. Let me encourage you to take a few minutes later in the week to listen to the message again (online) or simply to take the bulletin and read through it, both the Scriptures and the hymns, and pray for God to refresh your soul again by His life-giving and sustaining Word.

4. Compassion International: Last Sunday during Adult Sunday School, Tom Swan gave a presentation about Compassion International. If you forgot or were unable to sign up to sponsor a child last week, and would like to do so, there will be another opportunity to do so this Sunday! There will be a table near the elevator where you can sign up if you desire. Our world is filled with children who need to be fed, both physically and spiritually! Through Compassion International, we feed them in the name of Christ!

Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes a little child in My name, welcomes Me.” – Mark 9:37

5. Sermon: Title: “God Shepherds His People”
Text: Ezekiel 34:11-24

God bless you as we continue,

“Growing Together in our Faith as the Family of God.”

Pastor Carlson