By Liza Kittle
A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. Proverbs 22:1
Dr. Jim Heidinger is a leader, statesman, pastor, mentor, and friend who possesses a good name. His good name is esteemed as an advocate for the historical doctrines of Christianity and a champion for the evangelical foundations of Methodism. As Jim steps away as president of Good News, it seems impossible that a name so firmly associated with renewal of the United Methodist Church could ever be separated from the cause that has characterized his life and ministry.
Woodrow Wilson said, Absolute identity with ones cause is the first and great condition of successful leadership. Most members of the United Methodist Church and beyond would attest that Jim has met this criterion for successful leadership due to his absolute identity with the renewal movement of Good News.
Jim has always been a stalwart supporter of the Renew Network from its inception. Faye Short, founder and past president of Renew, said, I well recall sharing the vision the Good News Womens Taskforce had for starting a network for evangelical women with Jim in l989. He was 100 percent for ityet, acutely aware that we were taking on a tall order. He pledged his support and prayers at that time, and always stood by that commitment. Serving in the renewal movement with Jim Heidinger has been a privilege I will always cherish.
All of us at Renew have wonderful memories of our association with Jim. His grace-filled demeanor and kind-hearted humility have been present even in the midst of tumultuous trials and opposition. His encouragement and support will be greatly missed, but there is little doubt that God will continue to use Jim as an instrument of goodwill, defender of the faith, and supporter of Renew.
Katy Kiser, member of the Renew Steering Committee and Good News board member, writes, Jim Heidinger is one of the great Christian leaders of our time. He has provided the United Methodist Church with insightful commentary on the challenges we have faced and called us to be faithful to our Wesleyan understanding of the gospel. His commitment to doctrinal integrity was always motivated by a deep desire to see Christ realized in the lives of our members. Jims legacy will endure long past his retirement.
American writer Walter Lippman wrote, The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind in others the conviction and the will to carry on. Jim Heidinger leaves behind an army of Christian servants inspired by his service ready to carry on the spiritual battle for the heart and soul of United Methodism. As Rob Renfroe begins his leadership of Good News, we at Renew are confident that Jims passion for uplifting Christ and standing boldly for the truth of Gods Holy Word will continue to be the defining foundation of the Good News movement.
From all of us at the Renew Network, may God bless you, Jim and Joanie, in your much deserved retirement.
UPDATE: Renews website continues to grow and the e-store is open! We are encouraged by those finding us on the web. Let me also mention to recent remarkable events.
A Women of Grace event was held in Atlanta. This event was a joint effort between two womens ministry groups at Dunwoody UM Churchan evangelical group called Women of the Word (WOW) and United Methodist Women. Guest speaker was the Rev. Carmen Fowler, a former Methodist who is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and executive editor of The Layman. There was a powerful testimony by an Iranian man who converted to Christianity from Islam. Rounding out the event was a performance by the Mary Hall House Singers, a group from a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center that is a mission project of the WOW group. The women displayed their love for the Lord and thanksgiving for their redemption through a deeply moving performance.
Another successful event was held in the beautiful Catskill Mountains in upstate New York. The first womens retreat was organized by a group of six small churches in the Mountain Valley Parish under the leadership of Carol St. John. Lisa Schmidt gave wonderful teaching on the book of Ruth and how modern women can relate to their biblical sisters by showing Amazing Love in their own lives. One attendees husband commented to his pastor that he wasnt certain what went on at the retreat but he had a different woman living with him now! What a testimony to the impact this kind of event can have on the lives of women and their families. Read more on our website.
We appreciate the prayers and support of others who have a heart for womens ministry at the local church level. We would love to hear from you.
Liza Kittle is the President of the Renew Network. In addition to visiting their website (www.renewnetwork.org ), you can write to the Renew Network at P.O. Box 16055, Augusta, GA 30919, or call them at 706-364-0166.