MINISTRY HIGHLIGHTS – Third Quarter 2015

Networking Leaders/Impacting Our Community

American Bible Society (ABS) This is, perhaps, the most significant opportunity and assignment I’ve had since leaving my lead pastor position at Word of Grace. The American Bible Society, two hundred years old and founded by such notables as our second president, John Adams, have made a 21st Century commitment to reverse the alarming trend of Bible illiteracy in America. They have chosen three cities to ‘test-market’ their efforts: New York, Philadelphia, and yes, Phoenix. ABS has reached out to me to lead their efforts in Phoenix, which according to the Barna Group, placed a shameful 92nd in biblical literacy among American’s 100 largest cities. We will be working with local churches and city movements in the Valley, in partnership with ABS and the Barna Group, which means I have the opportunity to serve in ministry with my son, David. As most of you know, David is the principal owner and President of the Barna Group (www.barna.org and www.cities.barna.org).

  • Catholics. Since the first of May, God has been opening one door after another. As you likely know, God has given me unusual favor with the Catholic Community. In a personal meeting with Bishop Olmstead, I encouraged him to launch a Bible engagement movement in the Phoenix dioceses. Here is his response:

Gary,

Thank you for following up with my secretary about the Bible Engagement initiative of the American Bible Society. I appreciate our recent conversation about this and other matters, and I assure you of our interest in this ecumenical initiative to promote the Word of God.

The individual from the diocesan offices that has agreed to serve as the point person for the Diocese of Phoenix is Angela Gaetano, Director of Parish Leadership Support in Family Catechesis. I am sure that you will find her most capable of working with you on this project.

May the Lord bless you and these efforts to make Him better known and loved.

+Thomas J. Olmsted

P.S. Thank you for the books by your son David on what the new generation thinks about Christianity. I find Chapter 6 of UnChristian to be especially thought-provoking

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  • Veterans. We are also reaching out to the veterans’ community in the Valley. Did you know that 1 out of 10 adults in Phoenix is a veteran! We’ve established a team of top-tier leaders to form a faith-based team to work through local churches to reach and empower vets and active military. See www.arizonacoalition.org and www.armedservicesministry.org.
  • Trauma Healing. Interested in serving others like Jesus, setting the captives free? Consider attending the Trauma Healing Institute in December. I’ve been assisting key leaders in the Valley to organize and implement this movement. See http://thi.americanbible.org/.

John 17 Movement. We had over 2000 people attend our John 17 special event at the Phoenix Convention Center on Pentecost weekend (see photo below). Worship was extraordinary, both Phoenix Bishops attended, I spoke on “Nothing but Jesus” and Pope Francis shared a personal nine-minute video with us. You can read more about this on our website www.john17movement.com.

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Chair of Congressman Matt Salmon’s Council on Faith and Community. Congressman Salmon wrote to me, “I wanted to take a moment and express my appreciation to you for accepting my invitation to serve as Chairman of the Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnership Advisory Council. Your service will not only be of great benefit to me and my office, but also the constituents of Arizona’s 5th Congressional District.” Our Council is focusing its efforts on mental health issues—and personal and community trauma.

Personal

image2The best times of our lives. Our nine grandchildren together mid-summer at our son David’s home. Annika made the sign: WELCOME TO CAMP KINNAMAN

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L. Our son Matt (far left) with the Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, at the dedication of the keel laying of the newest US submarine. R. Our second grandchild Annika graduating from 8th Grade at her Christian school. Where does the time go???

image5At Glacier Point in Yosemite last spring. We camped a night here on our honeymoon in another century.

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