2104 Campbell Street
Valparaiso, IN 46383
Office: (815) 464-9181
Mobile: (765) 237-7678
President: Jason DeVries (New Thing)
Vice President: Bob Wierenga (Wisconsin)
At-Large Members: Dale Buettner (Illiana-Florida), Scott Stephan (Illinois), Chad DeJager (Chicago)
New Emotional Maturity/Having Difficult Conversations Workshops will be held in our region. On September 7 at Bethany Reformed Church in Sheboygan, WI and November 23 at American Reformed Church in DeMotte, IN. Also during these workshops, participants will have a chance to examine and discuss the 3 scenarios put forward by the Vision 2020 Team of the RCA. Jim Herrington and Trisha Taylor facilitate the Vision 2020 team and will lead us in these workshops. Lunch will be provided and there is no cost for these events. You are encouraged to bring as many people from your church as possible.
Often we engage in destructive conflict and make things worse or we walk away, resigned and cynical. How can we hold on to what we believe and also stay connected to those who see things differently? How do we stay calm and thoughtful when the emotions in and around us are so powerful?
In this workshop, we will learn principles and practices for managing ourselves as the tension around us and in us rises. We will learn how God will help us grow our own maturity in the face of conflict in ways that help us to be healthier and more effective in our congregations, our classes and our families.
For the Wisconsin Event, please RSVP by emailing Chad by September 3. For the Indiana Event, RSVP by emailing Chad by November 18.
The RCA and the CRC are collaborating to Equip Churches for Renewal – The Reformed Partnership for Congregational Renewal (RPCR), a collaborative effort between the CRCNA and RCA to focus on equipping and supporting congregations as they journey through renewal. The RPCR is considered a “third space” for the denominations; as of January, it became a separate legal entity, with neither denomination holding ownership. Learn more about this exciting partnership by clicking HERE.
Learn more about short-term mission trips through the RCA’s Volunteer Engagement Office by checking out their Facebook page and viewing a recent video that can help you learn more about volunteering with RCA Global Mission and also give you a glimpse into the volunteer experiences that are available
The RCA’s Mission 2020 will be held in Orlando, FL January 16-18, 2020 and will be a festival to God’s goodness. Throughout the three-day event, attendees will celebrate God’s goodness over 377 years of mission and together imagine the future of RCA Global Mission. Registration is now open by visiting mission2020.rca.org.
Last month, General Secretary Eddy Aleman and Chief Operating Officer Jill Ver Steeg took to Facebook Live to answer common questions about synod and the future of the RCA. If you missed it, you can still catch the archived recording by clicking here.
The Summer 2019 RCA Board of Benefits Services Newsletter is out and can be read by clicking here.
The RCA’s Board of Benefits Services Employee Assistance Program provides free, confidential Christian counseling either at at an outpatient clinic in your area or via an online telehealth session. Up to 3 sessions per issue are provided at no cost to any employee of an RCA church. Some common issues addressed are depression, anxiety, work-related problems, marital issues, family issues, substance abuse, and others. The 24 hour hotline number is (833) 244-2490. For more information click HERE.
NEWS FROM CAMP MANITOQUA
Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center is currently hiring lead cooks and food service assistants. Shifts needed are mid-week days (ideal for moms with children in school), mid-week evenings and weekends all days. High School students and college students are ideal candidates as well! Fall season begins immediately after summer and stays busy through mid-November. Visit Manitoqua.org/jobs or contact firstname.lastname@example.org or the office at 815.469.2319 for an application.
Teachers and Parents: Have your preschooler’s class attend our Fall Preschool Days, an educationally fun day for preschool groups, at Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center, Wednesday, October 2 and Thursday, October 3. This outing includes a native animal hike, campfire stories, playing our kid-sized Candy Land game, our pumpkin patch, and more. For more information visit Manitoqua.org/events, or call our office at 815.469.2319. RSVP required for this classroomattendance, minimum group size is six.
Storm the base, capture the flag, and win the game! Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center invites you out to one of the most epic days of paintball you will ever experience on October 19 from 10am – 4pm! Come play a full day of paintball on our wooded course. Space is limited; registration processed on first come first serve basis. Cost is $36 (includes marker and mask rental, 1000 paintballs, and a box lunch). Register online at Manitoqua.org/eventsby October 15. Ages: 7thgrade and older. Questions: call the office at 815.469.2319.
THOUGHTS FROM WAYNE
Doing Church Announcements Well…
Almost every church that I have ever attended for a Sunday worship service has a time of church announcements. I need to be honest with you and say that I don’t remember most Sunday morning announcements. A pastor may be speaking to a room full of people, but it is quite possible that not many are listening. It’s not that announcements aren’t important in inviting the church community to be engaged in the work of God. But people come to church to worship and to reconnect with friends, not to listen to a monologue of church announcements. So what do you do about church announcements? It is still important for the community of your church to know what is going on during the week or what is coming up. It is still important for people to keep informed and engaged in the life of the church. It is still necessary to ask for volunteers to show the community the power of God’s love. Even though many pastors struggle with announcements there are ways of doing them well.
Bud Brown gives this example in a blog called: “One Reason People Don’t Volunteer.” He talks about planning for a big Christmas Dinner for 47 families in need – the first time the church had ever tried something like this – but they don’t have enough volunteers to pull it off. He paints a picture of two scenarios.
Scenario 1: Pastor Gumball steps up to the podium and starts: “Right now the church is short about 20 volunteers for the Christmas Dinner. We’ve got lots of opportunities to serve. We could use a set-up crew to set up tables and chairs, prep cooks in the kitchen, expediters to deliver food to the tables, bussers to clear tables after the meal, and some folks to help clean up when the meal’s over. If you’d like to help, call Sister Susie at the church office on Tuesday.”
Scenario 2: Same need but this time Pastor Gumball is direct and personal: “Friends, as a church we have taken on a serious mission to our non-believing friends in the community. At this Christmas Dinner we will show folks who’ve had a rough go in life the generosity, grace and love that God has shown to us. I need your help to pull this off.”
“Right now I want you to take that card that’s in the bulletin and look at it with me. I need six of you to peel vegetables, chop lettuce and prep relish trays. I need 10 of you to carry food from the kitchen, deliver it to the tables, and clear the tables when the meal is over. Finally, I need 10 of you to show up early to put up and set tables and chairs, and ten of you to stay late to clean the place up.”
“Put your name at the top of the card and put a check-mark by the item you’ll be helping me with. I have to say, I’m feeling stress over this because we want to put our very best foot forward to show these people God’s love. Thanks in advance for volunteering this morning. Ushers will stand at the doors to collect your cards on the way out.”
Now what do you think? Which of these scenarios do you think will be the most effective? My mother used to say if you want the grandkids to find the cookies, put them on the bottom shelf.
Bud Brown goes on to make these suggestions about announcements and the need for volunteers.
Make your request specific. Many people never move from the abstract (the church needs people to do a few tasks) to the specific (they needmyhelp.
Make your requests personal. Don’t use vague phrases like “the church needs” or “we agreed to” or “a few people to.” Use the personal pronouns “I” and “you.” People will respond to a personal request from someone they respect.
Make your requests missional. Explain why this menial task matters. Are you asking people to sweep the floors before the big event, or are you asking them to show world class hospitality to guests?
Close the sale! Ask them to commit then and there; and provide a way to make that commitment known. If you give people an opportunity to forget to volunteer (“call Sister Susie at the office on Tuesday”), people will forget if you mingle your request with a bunch of other announcements.
So what are your thoughts on doing church announcements well? Likely announcements will be a part of your worship service next Sunday. How will you do them more effectively?
— Wayne Van Regenmorter
LINKS YOU MAY FIND USEFUL
Handling Anonymous Criticism – Every church leader will undoubtedly receive an anonymous letter of criticism in her or his ministry career. These helpful thoughts from Thom Rainer give us some options in regards to these types of letters.
Why I’m Not Pushing For Church Growth Any More – Many church leaders push for growth in their congregations. These thoughts from Karl Vaters help us move in the direction of preparing for growth (by becoming healthier) rather than focusing and pushing on growth.
Overcoming Obstacles to Change – Leading change in congregations is a challenging task. We are leading people and every person is different. We must be careful to attack problems, not people. Explore some ways to lead past the common internal and external obstacles to change.
A Church Invests in Mental Health – A 6,400-member congregation in North Carolina has created a “wellness director” position after experiencing six suicides in five years. While this is a larger church creating a staff position, what really is changing is the culture and perception around mental health and dealing with suffering.