Vision & Stewardship meeting

Please make plans to join Dwell leaders for the annual Vision and Stewardship Meeting Friday, February 5th. They will be presenting their budget plan for 2021, as well as recapping how God has used Dwell member's sacrificial giving in 2020.

This year's meeting will be available online. Links to access the meeting have been sent to home church leaders. They will provide that to their respective groups. In addition, there will be a small, socially-distanced in-person audience, observing all COVID protocols.

While in a different format, Operations Division Coordinator Steve Bauer says the meeting is still vital for all Dwell members. "It is so important to share in the common vision put forward in this meeting, and to remain engaged in what it takes to makes this church the incredible conduit it is in God's hands." He says they will work hard to make the meeting concise, focused, and edifying in this online format.

Steve says Dwell leaders will be laying out a very conservative plan for 2021. "There will be some growth proposed in budget and a few Strategic Initiatives for the FST to vote on, yet we understand we need to take a very measured approach. That being said, God still wants to take new ground. 2021 plans will still include forward-thinking kingdom work, with flexibility as we expect circumstances to change and improve this year."

By the Dwell Missions Staff

Cote d’Ivoire training

The heart of Missions at Dwell is our Global Partners. We work in collaboration with them to foster church planting movements around the world. An important facet of these partnerships is ongoing biblical equipping of the leaders and house church planters so these ministries can thrive in the long-term.

For the next couple of weeks we have the joy of visiting with our Global Partners in Côte d’Ivoire for a training seminar. Jim Leffel is offering several days of instruction for the church leaders in their network where they will study the book of John and learn how to construct  teachings from narrative passages of scripture. Please pray for the seminars that they would enrich and equip the local leaders. Pray also that the trip would serve as an encouragement to our Global Partners in Côte d'Ivoire and that they would be built up. Continue praying for more house church leaders; this network in Côte d'Ivoire has grown to almost 9,000 people and it is hard to have enough leaders to oversee this growth.

In addition to fellowshipping with our partners in Côte d’Ivoire, this trip also allows us to visit another growing church network in Burkina Faso. In Burkina Faso Jim, along with Jean-Paul Tiendrebeogo who is also a Dwell member, will meet with a network of believers to share with them about the New Testament house church model. While this ministry is not an official Global Partner, their ministry is important and we hope this time is mutually beneficial and builds up the work God is doing among them. Pray for this time and for the local leaders there to get a vision for how God can use them moving forward.

square calumet logo

This month Calumet Christian School is rolling out some updates: a new website, a new enrollment process, and a new logo. They're designed to make things easier for parents, and to better communicate its mission.

The new enrollment process is in place as families prepare for the 2021-2022 school year. Families of current Calumet students will get instructions next week for how to re-enroll their children. The priority enrollment period is from January 19th-29th, and is open for current students and new students from Dwell families. Enrollment for other new students will start February 1st.

Calumet Principal Tyler Wriston says he thinks parents will find the simplicity of the new process to be an improvement. “Parents have been so supportive of the school and have made so many sacrifices to make this year work, so we wanted to do everything we could to make signing up for school as straightforward as possible for them. As with anything new, there is a learning curve that we'll have to navigate, but I think in the long term this new process is going to save people a lot of time and confusion."

Tyler says the school’s revised more user-friendly, and is updated with Calumet’s new mission statement and core values. He says the language throughout the site has been revised to be more clear and concise.

The revamped website features Calumet’s new logo, pictured here:

Pacesetter painting

Over the holidays, Dwell’s Pacesetters ministry was invited to share some special Christmas cheer with residents at Friendship Village Columbus, a senior-living community near Dwell’s main campus. Over 40 volunteers, young and old, braved the cold to paint holiday decorations on the residents’ windows.

Pacesetters Director Ben Foust says it was exciting that the Friendship Village staff initiated the idea. “We have developed a warm relationship with them this year during the pandemic, as Dwell members have written hundreds of letters of cheer to the quarantined residents this year. Recently, the staff has begun distributing Gary’s Pacesetters Weekly Devotional readings to residents who can’t attend church because of COVID.”

Pacesetter painting

The decorations were painted around the windows’ edges so residents could continue to see guests at the windows--the only place they’ve been able to have visitors since March. Also decorated--the windows of rooms where COVID patients are being treated. Friendship Village Community Life Director Linda McNeal-White says her staff is thankful. “Friendship Village really appreciates your church being willing to come help. The residents really enjoyed looking at the artwork this season.”

And the staff has asked Pacesetters volunteers to return in February to decorate for Valentine’s Day! If you’d like to volunteer, contact Theresa Lyons at

grief group

The Dwell Grief Ministry is offering its Navigating Your Grief workshop starting January 20th. It's a 6-week version of the workshop, modified for the Zoom format. It will be from 7:00-8:30 pm for 6 consecutive Wednesdays. Each week, there'll be a 10-15 minute video, followed by group discussion. 

This workshop is beneficial for anyone dealing with grief--those who have had a recent loss and those with a loss in the remote past; for those who have experienced an unexpected loss and those whose loss was after an extended illness; and for those who have a strong faith in God and those who are confused about their faith.  

Here is a brief summary of what will be covered.

Cote d I

From the Dwell Missions Staff

This year has been full of disappointments, setbacks, as well as hope and growth. Due to the pandemic many of our Global Partners faced the cancellation of in-person fellowship and many individuals in their networks faced joblessness and food insecurity. In addition to the medical and economic strain caused by COVID, some of our partners also faced flooding, some faced political turmoil, and another is grappling with civil war.

But the Lord is faithful and His love endures even in crisis. In 2020 our partners have found creative and bold ways to show the love of Christ to the communities they serve. Several partners were able to distribute food and supplies to families in need. Many partners were able to mobilize church planters to visit or call members in their network to provide support and friendship. And throughout the year all of our partners found creative ways to continue meeting for fellowship. Some met in small groups in-person, some tuned into live teachings on Facebook and other platforms. This year our Global Partners’ house church networks have grown to a total of over 20,000 people! We are so grateful for our Global Partners and their perseverance in sharing Christ all around the world. God’s work cannot be thwarted, even by a global pandemic.

"But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread Your protection over them, that all who love Your name may be filled with joy. For You bless the godly, O LORD; You surround them with Your shield of love." (Psalm 5:11-12)

We want to thank the Dwell members who helped make this eternal work possible. We are so grateful to God that our church remained extremely generous amidst unprecedented financial strains.  In 2020, our financial goal for the Global Partnership Fund $583,400; thanks to the incredible generosity of our church, we were able to exceed our goal by over $60,000. Thank you for praying, for financially supporting, and for advocating for our Global Partners. You have played an important role in helping 20,000 people all over the world come to know Christ.

Click here for a brief overview of Dwell's Global Partnerships:

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119:105

Bible study

One of the best ways to stay close to the truths of the Bible is to memorize it. Ryan Weingartner is offering the Bible Memorization Class next month as a way to help you succeed at storing up Scripture in your mind, giving you access to it in any situation. Ryan shares more about the class, which starts January 6th:

What are you doing in the class?

“This winter is going to be tough. We'll be stuck inside quite a bit more. We can come out of this winter just barely surviving, or we can come out having 'made the most of our time'. Specifically, I am urging students to pick a passage of scripture of consecutive verses (whether a paragraph, chapter, multiple chapters, or even a whole book) to memorize. During the week, you will work at memorizing the passage. Then on Wednesday evenings, I will give a short teaching on 'why' and 'how' to memorize and then we will break into small groups and share what we've memorized so far.”

What do you say to people who feel defeated about memorizing?

"Certainly, everyone has different levels of ability in memorizing. However, if we can take our eyes from horizontal comparison to a vertical desire to please the Lord, everyone is capable of some memorization. I'll convince you of that in class!

The class will encourage you to memorize based on your own ability and stage of life. The mother of young children not gifted at memorizing should not assume she will memorize the same amount as the single college student who is gifted at memorizing. So we will each set our own personal goal, realizing that we may need to decrease or expand it. But if we come out of the winter having memorized anything, that is certainly a win."

What's the value of memorizing Scripture?

By John Montgomery with the Dwell Grief Ministry

Grief and the holidays

In November, the Dwell Grief Ministry provided two workshops on Navigating Holiday Grief--one in-person and one on Zoom. More than 90 people attended the two sessions, including several from other cities, states, and countries. 

While no simple guidelines exist that will make the holidays painless for those in grief, this workshop provided many practical, hope-inspiring ideas to help deal with the many challenges that come this time of year. Here's a brief summary of some of the practical considerations for grieving during the holidays.

Talk About Your Grief

While many people use the words "grieving" and "mourning" interchangeably, there is an important distinction. Grief is the many internal thoughts and feelings we experience when a loved one dies; mourning is the outward expression of our grief. Rather than trying to avoid your grief, lean into it. Expressing your grief can be an important way out of the pain.

Be Tolerant of Your Physical and Psychological Limits

Grieving takes energy and you may not be up to the physical and mental challenges of the many activities in which you usually participate. Give yourself permission to have "up and down" feelings. Don't feel guilty if you're not happy all the time. It is very normal and acceptable to have feelings of pain and joy simultaneously and to cry and laugh even while you grieve. Don’t be afraid to ask God for comfort and peace. He is the God of all comfort who comforts us in our suffering.

Eliminate Unnecessary Stress

Simplify what you customarily did in the past. You might decorate but on a smaller scale. You might reduce gift giving or decline some party invitations. If you feel you've taken on too much, sit down with family and friends and discuss how to share some of the responsibility. Eliminate things that are no longer important. 

Talk About the Loved One Who Has Died

Remembering our loved ones is essential to our good health and healing. Holidays are a time for reflection. Stories and memories will be with us for our lifetimes and are a true source of pleasure. Teach others that love lasts forever, that you need to remember, and that this is your reality for handling grief.

Ornament on tree

Instead of its usual in-person Christmas Eve celebration, Dwell will be offering a video presentation, A Celtic ChristmasThe video will be available Christmas Eve on Dwell's YouTube channel.

This video will be ideal for any family gatherings you have this year, but also will be great to share with friends and family you’re not able to gather with. The program will include festive music from the Drowsy Lads, songs reflecting on the meaning of Christmas, and an amazing children's choir, recorded by kids from Dwell. 

Dwell Elder Scott Risley will be sharing a short message from the Bible, and says that Christmas creates an open door to sharing the hope of the gospel, particularly in this format. Scott says, “We know that people are more willing to listen to a Christian message around Christmas time. People who never go to church find themselves more likely to go to church at Christmas. This video teaching makes it easy to invite someone to watch on their own time.”

Scott will be sharing from Isaiah 9, that when Christ was born, the people of God (and the whole human race) had been under a time of deep darkness and despair. Scott says, “The promises of God were not looking very promising after such a long time of silence, but then, as Isaiah says, ‘For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine... For a child is born to us... and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.’”

Scott says this message rings loudly in a year of hardships. “2020 has been a difficult year, but Isaiah promises ‘that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever.’ People need to look to Christ as the light that shines in the darkness and their eternal hope. Because we know that heaven will last forever if we have a relationship with him.”

Please plan on watching this celebration, and share it with your family and friends!


Christmas books

As you work on finding just the right gift for friends and family, consider giving them something great to read. Dwell Bookstore Manager Katie Nunn says the bookstore is a great place to look because you can rely on the quality of the books they've curated, and you can find something for all ages and spiritual interests. “We have a selection of materials that covers a wide range--from enhancing Bible study and teaching prep, to focusing on spiritual growth in key areas, to seeker-friendly evangelistic reading.” 

On the Bookstore’s website you’ll find a special list of gift items like books, book bundles, and study materials. There are materials for adults and also kids and tweens

Here are some specific suggestions: