10088 Prairie Knoll Ct.
St. John, IN 46373
Mobile: (941) 302-1281
2104 Campbell Street
Valparaiso, IN 46383
Office: (815) 464-9181
Mobile: (765) 237-7678
President: Bob Wierenga (Wisconsin)
Vice President: Vacant
Past President: Edie Lenz (Illinois)
Growing Young Event – Wisconsin Classis and the Regional Synod of Mid-America are sponsoring an event with Dr. Steven Argue (Professor at Fuller Theological Seminary). Dr. Argue will be speaking at Remedy Church in Sheboygan on May 11 during the day and at Alto Reformed Church in Waupun in the evening. Dr. Argue’s work has focused on churches reaching out to younger generations and was one of the main researchers for the book: Growing Young. For more information, contact Lyle Zumdahl.
The Regional Synod of Mid-America’s Annual Session is May 2, 2017. This annual gathering is a time to evaluate the RSMA’s work, vision, and mission with delegates from each classis attending. Please be in prayer for our annual session and look for a recap in next month’s newsletter.
RCA General Secretary Tom DeVries is leaving to take a new position as president and CEO of the Willow Creek Association. He will conclude his service with the denomination on June 15. General Synod Council Moderator Evan Vermeer says the GSC will appoint an interim general secretary. The GSC will also form the search committee for De Vries’s successor and will be accepting applications from people who are interested in serving on that committee. When the search committee has a top candidate, he or she will be presented to the GSC and then to the General Synod for approval. Vermeer and the GSC hope a new general secretary will be approved and installed at General Synod 2018. De Vries began his tenure as general secretary in June 2011. In that time, the RCA completed Our Call and embarked on Transformed & Transforming, its 15-year vision for ministry.
Coaching Offered by RSMA – If you are in need of a coach, the Regional Synod of Mid-America offers ministry coaching for pastors needing coaching on specific areas of ministry focus. Contact Chad for more details.
News from Camp Manitoqua Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center invites you to our Spring Into Summer event on Saturday, June 3, 2017. With a 12,000’ family friendly obstacle run to start the day, there will also be free swimming, food, and activities for kids and adults alike, as we kick off our 2017 summer camp season. Click HERE to register for the 12,000’ Obstacle Run and click HERE for more information about the rest of the day!
Cooks & Summer Kitchen Assistants: For cooks, food service experience and sanitation license is preferred. No experience needed for summer kitchen assistants. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for an application or call the office at 815.469.2319.
Registration for ‘Summer Camp 2017 begins February 1st. Remember to register early for preferred dates. Visit Manitoqua.org for more information and to register, or call our office at 815.469.2319.
STORIES OF CELEBRATION
We share stories of celebration to glorify God. This month’s story comes from Rev. Matthew Van Maastricht and Calvary Reformed Church in New Berlin, WI. We hope these stories inspire and encourage others in our region. If you’d like to share what God is doing in your church (or classis), please email Chad.
What impact could a tiny church composed mostly of folks in their golden years have on its community? This is a question that the Calvary Reformed Church of New Berlin has been wrestling with for some time. Between the large Roman Catholic churches and the Evangelical megachurches, what impact can this small, aging, Protestant church have on its community? To most, perhaps, the answer would be “nothing.” But this is an answer from a false narrative and one that we would not accept.
One of our members spent some time in a local assisted living facility, though he has since moved to a different facility. In addition to that, one of our elders volunteers with a local hospice organization and has had patients in that facility. It is a relatively small facility, run on a shoestring budget, and while it is nice, it is fairly spartan. We can’t save the world, we thought, but perhaps we can make a small difference by focusing our outreach efforts to one end, starting small, but striving to do it well.
Our hospice volunteer elder had an idea of making centerpieces for the tables where the residents eat their meals. The places where they sit three times a day are quite bare, having only their name plaques. What if we could create centerpieces, and regularly make new ones to go with the changing of the seasons? We reached out to the staff there and offered this idea, who were very receptive to it.
This past Advent, we gathered at church on a Saturday morning and made Christmas-themed centerpieces, one for each table, and we scheduled a noon hour where we could go, deliver them, and spend some time visiting with the residents. It went incredibly well, the residents loved it, the staff loved it, and we loved it. And so, we have continued — every couple of months, we gather on a Saturday morning and make new seasonal centerpieces for the residents there.
Small things, which are actually big things. Because it’s not really about centerpieces for the tables. These are really only the vehicle. It’s about time to connect with people who often find themselves warehoused. Many of the residents have lost spouses, have family who are scattered, and who only infrequently receive visitors. Many of these folks can’t make it out to church (or anywhere else) to fellowship with others. And this provides an opportunity for us to visit with people, share of ourselves with them, and serve as conduits for the grace which God has lavished upon us.
This is a small thing, but it has re-energized us with a sense of mission, it has offered us a fresh wind of life in a time when that can be so rare. And, we hope, that it is bringing even a bit of the light of Christ to the hearts of the residents with whom we share of ourselves.
THOUGHTS FROM WAYNE
Wayne is at the Hispanic Church Planting Summit this week.
LINKS YOU MAY FIND HELPFUL
Tools for Engaging the Next Generation – Does your church want to do a better job engaging young adults? Leadership Network has many tools to help local congregations. This article has many helpful ideas and links as well as information on an upcoming conference. Also see the RSMA news above for a local conference coming to Wisconsin in May.
Why Leaders Should View Themselves As Servants – Todd Wolfenbarger writes about how people can truly serve as they lead. This article is not solely about pastors, who often model this way of leadership, and can help church leaders gain understanding is some simple ways to serve as they lead.
Why You Most Certainly Will Fail to Reach Your Secular Friends – According to the Pew Research Center, those who select “none” as their religious affiliation are growing at record rates. They not only think that they don’t need God, but many have never been given a single reason as to why He is relevant to their lives. In this article you will find some simple ways to engage your friends.
Concerning Racial Reconciliation, Pastors Need to Talk Less and Do More – When it comes to racial reconciliation in the church, there is a wide gap between the vision of the pastor and the opinions of his or her congregation. If your church has a prompting from the Holy Spirit to engage in racial reconciliation, this article offers some helpful places to start.
Lots of Programs, Lots of Confusion: Evaluate, Understand, Bundle, Repeat – This article uses language of “consumer” which we do not endorse and ideas of the church only existing for its members, but the idea around evaluating church ministries is a valuable one. Sometimes ministries exist that have no purpose, sometimes ministries exist that are not achieving the desired goal. There are helpful insights here that can serve your church as you evaluate ministry.