Tag Archives: Tim Moyer

Jesus is the Center

by Tim Moyer & Diane Bleam, Bally congregation, with Andrés Castillo

Over the last year, Bally (PA) Mennonite Church has been moving toward a “centered-set” rather than “bounded-set” approach to church. After about 6 months of processing on the theory of being centered-set and how it might work, we discovered the book Blue Ocean Faith by Dave Schmelzer. This book offered insights into practical applications of how churches can function as centered-set.  

Pastor Tim Moyer explains centered-set vs. bounded-set to Conference staff at a recent staff meeting held at Bally.

A bounded set can be depicted as a circle with congregational members (us) inside the circle and all other people outside (them).  Congregations spend huge amounts of energy defining and defending the boundaries.  When the boundary needs to be redrawn, people get hurt, angry, and disillusioned.  It creates a split between people.  A bounded set environment is more prone to tension. Since much energy goes into the boundary, accomplishing things can be unnecessarily hard, because some people see defending the boundary as defending their faith.

In a centered-set approach, all energy points towards Christ, who is the center. People are treated as equals and are either moving towards or away from Christ. Everyone is being constantly challenged and supported to draw closer to the center. People feel more comfortable in a supportive environment and tension diminishes.

Centered and bounded sets are not reflective of theological positions, instead, they are mindsets adopted by congregations that guide them in the way that they express their faith.

A diagram demonstrating “centered-set”

Bally congregation has intentionally shifted to a centered-set approach to expressing our faith after significant congregational processing.  For four and a half months we designated our Sunday school hour for congregational input and discussion.  We presented the centered-set concepts, facilitated discussion in small groups, collected ideas from the congregation, and envisioned new ministries.

Since adopting a centered-set model of expressing our faith, we’ve found that spontaneous ministries and changes have surfaced among us. For example, at one of our Council meetings while discussing our facility’s rental fees, we confronted ourselves with the question, “Why do we have lower rates for members than we do for all other people if we are a centered-set church?” We realized that our fees were a boundary and now charge the same for members and all other people who desire to use our facilities.

Another example would be our practice of inviting attendees to share testimonies and short sermons regarding how Christ is working in their lives.  We also launched a monthly Sunday morning breakfast where we started inviting VBS families, our church’s preschool families, and families we encounter from other ministries. The breakfast runs during Sunday School, and people are welcome to attend church; however the main purpose of the breakfasts is to establish relationships.

“Community Outreach” now seems an outdated term at Bally.  “Community Connections” is now the title for that committee which better describes how we interact with the broader community. Not only have we changed our view of the community surrounding our church, but we have also noted changes within our congregation–there seems to be much more energy and enthusiasm for ministries and relationship building.  

In centered-set congregation, the additional energy is used  to encourage all to move toward Christ. Instead of programs and rules, the focus should be on building relationships so that people can walk alongside and support each other in faith. Perhaps the most important part of a centered set, however, is to remember that Jesus is the center.

Learning and Celebrating Along the Way

by Randy Heacock, Leadership Minister

In my work both as a pastor and for the conference, one of my greatest rewards is the opportunity to learn from and with others working in God’s Kingdom.

This display from Sandy Landes’ ordination represents God‘s power to transform what was once a barren desert into a lush land.

In the first congregation I served as a young minister in the United Methodist Church, the board of ordained ministry was wise enough to pair me with an older minister (younger than my current age) to mentor me.  Charles and I were very different both in our theological perspective and in our view of worship; however, he taught me the importance of accepting affirmation and “to let it sink deeply into your entire being.  Challenges and criticism will come frequently enough and you will need to have a strong bank account of affirmation to keep your balance.”  Fast forward to my current work, I file notes of affirmation and appreciation with a prayer of gratitude as evidence of God’s grace.

More recently, in working with the pastoral search committee at Towamencin, a person called to share concern regarding our process.  As I listened, I gained a fuller understanding both of what happened at our last meeting and how we could find our way forward.  Grateful for the honest feedback, I reached out to some other people for wisdom and discerned an approach for our next meeting.  The meeting was vastly improved with more vigorous engagement.  On the ride home, I thanked God for the varied gifts people contribute to the church. 

I recently met with Tim Moyer, pastor of Bally congregation, for breakfast at his house.  Let me first say that Tim knows how to fix breakfast!  As we talked, his excitement and energy was contagious.  The Bally congregation is working to learn about and practice a centered-set approach.  Tim shared how this focus is uniting the congregation.  They are also rethinking and reshaping who they are as a church.   I give thanks for the fresh wind of God creating new expressions.  I look forward to what God is yet to do at and through Bally. 

At Doylestown, where I serve as pastor, we recently celebrated the ordination of Sandy Landes.  Sandy’s ordination was a tribute to God’s constant pursuit and Sandy’s willingness to say “yes.”  Many people present would have witnessed Sandy’s transformation through the process of refusing, then reluctantly leading, and now leading boldly in a public setting.  Former members, family, neighbors, colleagues, and friends celebrated Sandy’s faithful example of answering God’s call.   The day after Sandy’s ordination, I rejoiced for the many people who nurtured and participated in this work of God. 

The photo above is a display that was present during Sandy’s ordination.  It represents God‘s power to transform what was once a barren desert into a lush land.  As in the little stories I have shared, it visually reminds us of God’s life-giving power.  May we all give thanks for the ways we have witnessed God’s transformational power.  May we continually learn to wait on God. 



Introducing Vincent Mennonite Church

Vincent Mennonite Church

Vincent Mennonite Church is located at 39 Seven Stars Rd., Spring City, PA.   We have been in existence for 277 years, founded 40 years before our country gained its independence.   Our current church was built in 1974 and is situated on a rural lot with a pavilion built in a grove of trees.

Our current pastor is Pastor Tim Moyer.  Our current leadership structure consists of 3 teams:  Elder Team, Lay Ministry Team, and the Administration Commission.

Our Vision for Vincent Mennonite Church is “For all people to become followers of Jesus Christ with us, and to nurture one another in a Christ-centered life of Worship and Service.”

Vincent is a unique and exciting church; a harmonious blend of believers from a diversity of backgrounds and ethnicities who support one another as we collectively follow Christ.  We are a warm and friendly congregation that nurtures an atmosphere where visitors quickly realize that they are valued and welcome.  We are committed to maintaining our core foundational beliefs while at the same time endeavoring to present the message of Christ in a manner that is relevant to each person.

Some of the weekly events that we offer to our church and community include Youth Group activities, Son Seekers, (ages 10 through 8th grade), Ladies Support Group, and Sunday School.  Monthly events include Ladies Sewing Circle and Children’s Church.  Yearly events include Vacation Bible School, The Country Fair/Antique Tractor Show, Mother/Daughter Banquet, Father/Son Baseball Picnic, Harvest Party, potluck fellowship meals, and a Reading Phillies Excursion.  We also have special services during the year centered around Good Friday, Easter, Communion, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  Seasonal events include Adult Choir and Children’s Choir.

The Orphan Ministry is a new ministry at Vincent.  The purpose of this ministry is to inform and make available opportunities for the congregation and the community to provide for the needs of orphans in this country and abroad.  It is in response to God’s mandate to bring justice, care, and protection to the fatherless and oppressed.  The Orphan Ministry will be spearheading one to two projects per year to aid orphans.

Introducing Vincent Mennonite Church (pdf)

Franconia Conference launches new website

Harleysville, Pa.–Franconia Mennonite Conference has launched a new website design as part of an ongoing restructuring that will provide better communication and a clearer presentation of the purpose and function of the conference.

The new site continues to provide popular features like the conference calendar, photo galleries, and a redesigned directory of conference congregations, conference related ministries, and staff.  In addition, it now includes cleaner navigation, localized video and audio pages, an easy-to-search church locator, and integration with conference social media like Twitter and Facebook.

“The new website offers a clear visual and virtual image of the real postures of ministry of Franconia Conference,” says Director of Communication, Steve Kriss.

The new design by graphic artist Tim Moyer (timoyer.com) incorporates the conference’s core values of being formational, missional, and intercultural with rotating photographs on the homepage, submitted by Conference congregations.  Clicking on the photos takes web visitors to a feed of articles related to each core value.

Ertell Whigham, Franconia Conference’s Executive Minister, encouraged the design team to draw attention to these values.  “It’s for two reasons, really,” he said.  “First, so that everyone who is a part of Franconia Conference gets a consistent message and second, so that we all have clarity on the conference’s direction.”

In addition to the beauty and functionality of the new design, the site has also been cleaned up on the back end (the structure of the site that ordinary visitors don’t see), which will lead to improved site performance and security as well as more efficiency for staff.  “It will take less time to maintain the site while being easier to keep up to date,” says Emily Ralph, Associate Director of Communication.  “That means it’ll be more cost effective in the long-run.”

“It’s been a labor of love, creativity, and persistence,” said Kriss.  “We hope that it not only informs and shapes the Conference identity, but also invites into an ongoing conversation through more effective connectivity, equipping, and empowering.”

Continue the conversation:

  • Submit photos of how your congregation has been formational, missional and intercultural for possible inclusion in the homepage rotation. (eralph@franconiaconference.org)
  • Share meaningful quotes or experiences from congregational and conference life on Twitter using #fmclife. (Follow @FranconiaMC)
  • Tag Franconia Conference in Facebook posts (Facebook.com/FranconiaMC)
  • Share videos from your congregational life on Vimeo or YouTube.  (send suggestions to FranconiaMC)

Conference Assembly 2010 Reflections

Franconia Conference Assembly 2010 kicked off with the music of James Crumbly of Tampa, FL, along with a multiethnic worship team and multilingual worship to help celebrate the life of the conference community. Featuring input from Mennonite Church USA Executive Director, Ervin Stutzman, the highlight of the first night included welcoming a new congregation–Greensburg (Pa) Worship Center–into membership of the conference and Mennonite Church USA.

Saturday’s sessions included conversation around key issues for the ongoing life of Franconia Conference together as well as an invitation to dream of a future together. Congregational leaders told stories of how the LEAD platform for congregational oversight continues to emerge and shape the life of conference churches. New leaders were recognized and introduced to the assembly as well, including persons credentialed for ministry in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Georgia. Executive Minister Noel Santiago led a process of introducing and blessing new Conference-Related Ministries’ leaders.

Moderators John Goshow and Mim Book invited those gathered to continue toward a healing journey and hopeful future for the conference in the midst of a difficult time. Melissa Landis was recognized for her ongoing work in shaping Conference Assembly over the four last years. Randy Nyce, finance committee chair, opened the floor for questions around conference funding and responded as he was able, admitting that not all questions would be answered but that further responses would be developed by the conference board finance committee and shared with delegates in coming days.

Assembly 2010 Photos

Assembly Highlight Video


Conference Assembly 2010 from Tim Moyer on Vimeo.

Greensburg Worship Center Profile Video

Greensburg Worship Center Profile from Tim Moyer Media on Vimeo.» Access online docket materials

One invitation leads to another

On Friday night, I received an invitation from my friend Andrew Liemon to hand out blankets and sweaters to the homeless in Philadelphia. As we were walking through the Center City neighborhood we had some trouble finding people to give stuff to. Many homeless had been shooed into the dark corners and crevasses of the city; my guess is that this “migration” had a lot to do with city officials who want to make a good impression on the hundreds of people who come to Center City on Friday nights. During our adventures we talked about homelessness and how it’s far more complex than we’d like to admit. I wonder why society defines people by what they are without — “Home-less.”Again, at the invitation of Andrew, I rode down to Rockville, MD to photograph an evangelistic gathering coordinated by Pastor Benny Krisbianto of Nations Worship Center. It was hosted by the Chinese Bible Church of Maryland, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was told that someone very famous would be performing–a woman named Lidya Nursaid who is as well-known in Indonesia as Brittney Spears is here (but in a good way). The night before the event, she and Pastor Benny had met with the Indonesian embassy and shared the Gospel with them. A few of the officials accepted an invitation to the gathering.

blog4.jpgAs I took photos, I noticed the variety of religions and cultures represented in the audience. Though I had never heard of Lydia Nursaid, she was obviously very famous, and it reminded me how God uses art and fame to draw people to Himself. Throughout the entire weekend, I experienced an incredible amount of generosity. I realized that while it’s easy for me to be hospitable towards people I’m close to, it’s hard to extend that to people I’ve just met. Being with people from other cultures challenges me to be patient and hospitable. When we try to connect with people we don’t know, we have to communicate and this can be an awkward process. “Body language” may be 80 percent communication, but sometimes the other 20 percent can make all the difference.

blog2.jpgAfter the event, I was escorted to the train station by Abraham Oetoyo, who owns a limousine company. As we were driving I learned that Abraham’s career started with a job at 7/11. I was inspired by how God blessed his faithfulness through connecting him with the right people and giving him solid ideas. When we arrived at the station I realized I had no cash with me and asked him if they accepted cards for the Metro train. He quickly pulled out his wallet and when I refused his offer of cash, he sharply responded, “We’ve got to help each other!” I accepted reluctantly, wondering how I could return his generosity.

I’ve learned this weekend that one invitation usually begets another. When Christ invites us to know him, He doesn’t just leave it there. After that initial invitation, we are called accept additional invitations to things that aren’t so comfortable. As a Euro-American Mennonite, I’ve been conditioned to decline things when they are given without strings attached, but I’ve come to realize that we’d better get used to receiving. Grace is a gift, the clothes on your back are a gift and the computer you’re viewing this through is a gift. We will spend all of eternity accepting the love of God because of one invitation. I invite you to be generous–and watch how it makes you better at receiving. Do it with more stuff than just money.


Tim Moyer

mapflight.jpgToday we finally arrived in Israel. We experienced God’s favor and traveling mercy. There were a lot of things that could have slowed us down but didn’t. The most challenging leg of our journey was the flight from JFK airport to Budapest. The air quality and cramptness proved tested the limits of my mental facualties. We were re leaved to rendezvous with our leader David Landis at Budapest, Hungry.

Though Israeli security proved easier than we anticipated, one member was briefly interigated. (we prayed whilst this was happening).
After eating a cambodian dinner prepeared by a S.T.A.T. team from EMM we hiked up a very steep hill and to overlook Nazareth. It was a very sereal moment. Dave provoked in depth reflection with his questions.

Our group is exhausted and our bodies have no idea what time it is. Our hostel, Fauzi Azar Inn, is very peaceful and offers a quality view. It is highly recommended by Lonely Planet. I am looking forward to feeling rested in the morning. Good night 🙂