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Ohio Ministry University Help Members Overcome Self-centered Living

By Nancy Barnett

The Ohio Conference recently brought together nearly 200 lay leaders and pastors from across the conference for a weekend of spiritual enrichment and learning. Called Ohio Ministry University, the weekend focused on nurturing and empowering volunteer church leaders throughout the conference.

Over the weekend, attendees focused on “dying to self” in personal life and moving “outside the box” in church life. Clarence and Dianna Schilt, a pastoral couple with a long history of leading spiritual retreats and marriage enrichment weekends, presented “Coming Closer to Christ: Getting Beyond the Self-centered Life,” and Peter Roennfeldt, a veteran evangelist and church-planter in Europe and Australia, spoke on “Next Generation Adventism.”

“Probably the most helpful seminar that I have ever attended,” wrote one participant at the close of the weekend. “Enlightening, eye-opening,” said another. “We need more of these meetings,” responded a third. “The whole weekend touched me very much,” wrote a fourth person. “I have been truly blessed.” And a fifth enthused, “Better than camp meeting!”

Yet another lay leader appreciated the Sabbath and Sunday morning presentations for focusing on “the continual need of asking God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit to fill my heart, mind, and soul,” and for “reminding us we still have much to do to share the good news.”

“These were maybe the most helpful and hopeful presentations I've heard in Adventism. I bought the CDs for my entire church leadership team,” said Mike Fortune, pastor for the Toledo First church.

Pastor Marcellus de Oliveira of the Marion church shared, "My soul was refreshed by the meetings and my spirit was challenged in seeking God's leading in my life."

Conference leaders are discussing the possibility of expanding OMU next year. A choice of equipping sessions may be added with topics such as how to lead a small group or how to get involved in the local community.