|News from the Regional Synod of Mid-America|
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IN THIS ISSUE:
RSMA Annual Session News
Flourishing Churches Grants
RCA Assistance Programs
Camp Manitoqua Events
Thoughts from Wayne
Links You May Find Useful
The Regional Synod of Mid-America held its Annual Session on April 11, 2019 at Camp Manitoqua. At this annual session the Synod Assembly heard reports on the ministry of the regional synod as well as hearing stories from some of our new church plants in Florida and the amazing ministry God is doing there. The Cornerstone Church was transferred to New Thing Classis effective June 30, 2019 and a new Vice-President was elected in Bob Wierenga. We appreciate the work of the Synod Assembly and are thankful for their service to our region! Minutes can be found on our website.
Flourishing Churches Grants: There are six $50,000 grants available to help congregations repair or improve their building for outward-focused ministry to the community. Last year, seven congregations were served out of over sixty applications. More information can be found at www.rca.org/flourishing-churches-grant. Please consider applying for this grant and get your application in before May 15.
The RCA’s Board of Benefits Services Employee Assistance Program provides free, confidential Christian counseling either at at an outpatient clinic in your area (Pine Rest in Grand Rapids), 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.
The RCA’s Ministerial Excellence Fund is a grant initiated by the Lilly Endowment to help pastors eliminate debt, get the tools and resources that lead to financial health, and thrive in ministry. The Board of Benefits Services has provided matching funds for this grant, allowing us to give away at least $300,000 in grants this year. If you are an ordained minister or commissioned pastor in the RCA with debt, learn about and apply for a grant here. If you have any questions, Bill Norden at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
News from Camp Manitoqua
Registration for ‘Summer Camp 2019’ is open. Remember to register early for preferred dates. Visit Manitoqua.org for additional information and registration. Call our office at 815.469.2319 if you need any assistance
Good Friday Prayer Walk – Please join Camp Manitoqua and Retreat Center for our Good Friday Prayer Walk on April 19, 2019. Come walk our grounds as you read through the events leading up to the crucifixion of Christ. You and your family are welcome to check into the office between 11:00am and 3:00pm where you will be provided with scripture readings and ultimately end at the cross on top of the hill. This is a FREE event. We would like to bless your family with time to remember what Christ did for us on the cross as you prepare to celebrate Easter! This is a great event for your whole family.
Camp Manitoqua Work Day – It would be difficult for us to imagine what the ministry of Camp Manitoqua would be like if we did not have the support of local churches and our brothers and sisters in Christ co-laboring alongside us on a day like Work Day on April 27 from 9am-2:30pm. This is especially true considering that a part of the purpose of Manitoqua Ministries is to provide support to the churches in order to call people to “a personal commitment to Christ as their Savior and Lord”.
Calling all adventurous soles, we are having a 12,000’ run. This is a dirty, gritty, yet family-friendly obstacle course through the grounds of camp. Obstacles will range from crawling under ropes, running through mud, stepping in between tires, carrying logs up a hill, to running through our pond. The run starts at 9:30am and is for adults and kids, aged 5 and up. There will be a post run raffle, refreshments and a t-shirt for the participants. To register go to Manitoqua.org, adults are $20 and kids 5-11 are $15.
AFTER THE RUN, stay for our FREE Spring Into Summer event. You and your family can swim in the pool, play lots of games, go on a tour of camp, get your face painted and eat grilled food. Spring Into Summer begins at 11am and goes through 4pm. For more information go to Manitoqua.org/SpringIntoSummer. THOUGHTS FROM WAYNE It’s DONE…
Sunday is a big day! It’s not just the celebration of the resurrection on Easter, it is a “holy day”. If we have children or grandchildren, most of us will spend some time in preparation for Easter. It might mean boiling and coloring eggs, hiding them and maybe even hunting for them, putting out the baskets, cooking and cleaning. This coming week is also to great time of preparation in our hearts as we reflect back on our own faith stories. Often times we gloss over the sin and the passion in the middle of our faith story. We think of the happy thoughts of faith while we forget the cost of discipleship, the nature of sin, and the call to take up the cross and follow Him.
There is no truly authentic experience of Easter without pausing to remember that it is I – and you – who betrayed our Lord and nailed Him to that cross. I hope that we will all pause and make some quiet space to consider the profound nature of the mysteries of the cross and resurrection. Easter is indeed the greatest day of the year!
The good news is that as Christians, the one thing that separates us from all other religions of the world is that our faith is centered not on what we do but on what God has done. God granted us the victory through the resurrection of Christ. DONE! He has given us living light for our darkness, living water for our thirst, living bread for our hunger, and living hope for our lives. DONE! He has paid the price for our sin. DONE! Through the three universal and timeless events of the incarnation, the crucifixion, and the resurrection, God has given us life and life abundantly. All we have to do is accept it – and live in its joy.
We pause and reflect this week to get ready. It’s DONE. What an incredible gift! Thank you, Jesus Christ!
— Wayne Van Regenmorter LINKS YOU MAY FIND USEFUL Rural Churches Can Thrive Beyond Numbers – Missional metrics are useful to look beyond traditional metrics counted in churches. Instead, this article poses questions about assets a church can offer to the changing community like: What are the needs we can meet? How might we be incarnational within our community? What does it mean to be a leader in this particular community? Where do we fit in the current ecosystem?
For the Pastor Who May Be Suffering From Burnout – Pastor burnout is a common problem in the church today. Ron Edmondson hear from pastors on a regular basis facing the stress of ministry. This includes the more severe issues of mental health and depression. Soul care is so important for all of us. Find out more, including a link to the Full Strength Network whose mission is to help with pastor’s whole health through their ministry and their app.
How to Get More Bang for Your Event Buck – Churches are good at doing things big. But bigger isn’t always better, especially when it comes to events. Sometimes we’d get more bang for our buck if we spread out the effort into a series of events. Maybe your church should consider a series of multiple events instead of one behemoth event. It worked for one church—and at Christmas no less.
Should We Rethink the 30 Minute Sermon Lecture? – Recently, Ed Stetzer led a workshop for part of a year-long initiative by the Center for Excellence in Preaching at Calvin Seminary and examined the question: “Should we rethink the 30-minute sermon lecture in light of the many different ways classroom teaching is currently conducted?”
Don’t Go to Church, Be the Church – Is it mere semantics? Perhaps ‘go’ vs. ‘be’ isn’t a minor distinction. Going to church implies a physical action, traveling to a specific location. Being the church implies something more, actually embodying the idea of church.
Contemplation, Relationships, Emotional Maturity and Self-Care Are Key to Pastoral Thriving– Theological training doesn’t offer ministers everything they need to flourish. Pastoral peer groups that develop additional competencies can fill the gap, writes a minister who is director of ministry outreach at Pepperdine University.Copyright © 2019 Regional Synod of Mid-America, RCA, All rights reserved.
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