2104 Campbell Street
Valparaiso, IN 46383
Office: (815) 464-9181
Mobile: (765) 237-7678
President: Jason DeVries (New Thing)
Vice President: TBD
At-Large Members: Dale Buettner (Illiana-Florida), Bob Hofman (Illinois), Bob Wierenga (Wisconsin), TBD (Chicago)
A Small Church Essentials Learning Community is starting soon. The Regional Synod of Mid-America will be studying Karl Vaters’ book Small Church Essentials: Field-Tested Principles for Leading a Healthy Congregation of Under 250. A description of the book can be found here.
The learning community will take place online and will be discussion-based with an emphasis on getting into action in response to what we are reading. It’s kind of like a book study, but with an emphasis on reflecting on what we’re learning from the book and putting the new information into practice.
We will be meeting every other Thursday from 11am-12pm beginning August 30. We’ll plan on meeting for approximately 9 sessions ending just before Christmas. All meetings will take place online, via Zoom Online Video Conferencing.
If you are interested, please email email@example.com to sign up and order the book wherever you buy your books..
The Reformed Church in America is partnering with the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI) to host a Growing Young Cohort in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This is an incredible opportunity for up to 30 RCA churches to transform their ministry to teens and young adults using research-based strategies to help young people love your church. The Growing Young Cohort includes:
– Two in-person summits
– Regular online webinars
– One year of personalized coaching
– Comprehensive online diagnostic tests
*Registration is already underway and will end on November 20. To learn more about this opportunity and how your church can register, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A New RCA Monthly Newsletter for Deacons is now available. If any of the deacons in your church are asking for clarity about their role, looking for more ways to connect your church with the community, or thinking about how to better equip the rest of the congregation, let them know about this newsletter. They can sign up 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 (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.
For Church Treasurers: Remitting pastor’s retirement to Fidelity will be going exclusively online at the end of 2018. Paper remittance with contribution checks will no longer be accepted. More information will be coming later this year to help churches prepare to begin to make these contributions online.
The Regional Synod of Mid-America’s Ministerial Excellence Fund. The purpose of this Fund is to assist with alleviating some of the financial pressures facing clergy in their pastoral ministry. This fund is made available to both Ministers of Word and Sacrament and Commissioned pastors rostered in Illinois Classis, Wisconsin Classis, and Illiana-Florida Classis. Each classis began this fund with $10,000 which was matched by the Reformed Church in America for a total starting balance of $20,000 per classis. You will need to download and read the Ministerial Excellence Guidelines prior to filling out an application. Once the application is filled out, please email it to email@example.com.
News from Camp Manitoqua Teachers and Parents: Have your preschooler’s class attend our Fall Preschool Days, an educationally fun day for preschool groups, at Camp Manitoqua and Retreat Center, Wednesday, October 3 and Thursday, October 4. 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 www.manitoqua.org/events, or call our office Mon.-Fri. 8:30am-5pm at 815.469.2319. RSVP required for this classroom attendance.
Experience the Oak Leaf Festival, an autumn event for families, youth groups and more at Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center on October 6th, from 10am-3pm. Activities include tree climbing, creation exploration, family scavenger hunts, campfire, inflatable jumpies, wagon rides, autumn arts & crafts, and food treats. $6 admission fee (2 and under are free), additional costs may apply for treats and climbing. All details available at our website: www.manitoqua.org/events.
Storm the base, capture the flag, and win the game! Camp Manitoqua and Retreat Center invites you out to one of the most epic days of paintball you will ever experience on October 20 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 www.manitoqua.org/events by October 15. Ages: 7th grade and older. Questions: call the office at 815.469.2319.
Retreat season has begun at Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center. At this time, we are offering groups a 15% discount on any retreat booked for December 2018 or January 2019. Please contact Todd at 815.469.2319, or at firstname.lastname@example.org for availability.
STORIES OF CELEBRATION
We share stories of celebration to glorify God. This months story comes from Christ Community Church in West Palm Beach, FL. If you’d like to share what God is doing in your church (or classis), please email Chad.
When Hurricane Irene hit Florida about a year ago Christ Community Church in Pompano Beach, Florida was right in the path of the oncoming storm. Church members and friends scrambled to prepare, but there is little anyone can do to protect a roof from hurricane force winds and falling trees and tree limbs. CCC was spared the worst of the storm as its center meandered, first west and then northeast of us, but Irene was a wide storm, and it still did substantial damage in the Pompano Beach area, including damage to the roofs of both the church and fellowship hall.
The fellowship hall lost a good deal of its shingles and sustained water damage and rot in the plywood beneath the shingles. The rot was, in part, caused by damage done during Hurricane Irene in 2011 and exacerbated by Irma. There is no way the small congregation of CCC would have been able to fix the damage absent the generous help of the RCA.
Before the storm hit, the Illiana-Flordia Classis contacted CCC’s pastor to assure him that the entire church stood beside the Florida churches that were in Irma’s path. The Classis not only gave the church money to compensate for the collection missed when Sunday services needed to be canceled on September 10, 2017. the national church also let the pastor know that it would give us the help we needed to recover from the storm.
The denomination was as good as its word!
Irene hit Florida with the highest wind speed of any storm in the last 14 years, and the most intense pressure since Hurricane Wilma in 1992: the devastation in South Florida was widespread, and while CCC was spared the worst of it, there was still a great deal of damage done to the church’s buildings and infrastructure. The best estimate we received for roof repair was $76,400, money the church just didn’t have. Through the grace of God and the generosity of the Reformed Church, though, the denomination gave CCC a grant to cover the entire cost of the needed repairs.
Workers are currently busy replacing rotted plywood and re-shingling the whole roof. Those workers, with all their hammering and banging, are reminders to us at CCC of how important it is to be a part of a larger church family. We are spiritually and temporarily connected; we belong, one to another, all of us blessed so that we might, in turn, bless others.
Thanks to all who helped us weather the storm! And thanks be to God!
THOUGHTS FROM WAYNE
Being An Inspiring Leader…
Last week I attended the Global Leadership Summit and one of the speakers was Craig Groeschel, the pastor of Life Church – one church in many locations. One of the things he talked about was an IBM study conducted with 1,700 CEOs in 64 different countries in which they discovered that one of the top three qualities a leader can possess is the ability to inspire people to action. If you ever worked for an inspirational leader no doubt you felt enthused, encouraged, energized, motivated, engaged, and appreciated. You knew that what you did and that you believed you were making a difference. Being an inspiring leader is one of those areas in the life of leading a church, an organization, a small group, or simply a group of volunteers where many of us have room to improve.
Now, motivating people is important but inspiring others is something that is very different. Motivation often feels like someone is pushing you. But inspire comes from the words “in spirit”, which implies something that is internal or a leader helping you find a greater purpose inside of you. Motivational leaders push you to do more, while inspirational leaders pull the best inside of you, out of you. Groeschel says that the ability to inspire is not a gift you were born with, but a skill that can be learned. In other words, each of us can discover our own approach on how we uniquely inspire other people to action and then improve on how we are uniquely wired to inspire.
The Bain Company surveyed 2,000 employees and they asked: “What qualities do your co-workers or leaders embody that regularly inspire you?” What they discovered was that there were 33 most consistently mentioned traits that inspirational leaders have. Here is the list: emotional expression, stress tolerance, emotional self-awareness, self-regard, flexibility, independence, self-actualization, optimism, vitality, humility, empathy, development, listening, assertiveness, expressiveness, commonality, shared ambition, openness, worldview, responsibility, follow through, recognition, unselfishness, balance, vision, focus, harmony, direction, empowerment, co-creation, servanthood, sponsorship and centeredness.
As you look at that long list you might be thinking I only have one or two of those traits to inspire people. Here’s the good news. The research showed that all you need is one or two well-developed traits or strengths to inspire people. So, what are the top three inspirational traits that inspire other people around you? You can inspire people by a positive attitude, keeping your word, leading with humility, expressing empathy, having a servant’s heart, or listening and valuing those you lead – all these things can be inspirational. Identify your top three inspirational traits or better yet, ask those around you to identify your top three traits. You might be great in some area that you don’t even think you are great at that brings value to others.
There is one quality that stands above the rest and matters more than any of the other traits to inspire and that is: centeredness. What is that? It’s leading from a state of assuredness or internal alignment. It’s a good leader who is being guided by values, driven by purpose, and obsessed by mission. It’s living a calling. It’s not trying to prove something, but it’s living from a heart of passion. Now people around you may not say you’re a centered person but they can feel it. Groeschel recommends that you leverage your inspirational strengths to help people feel and believe they are a part of something bigger than any one person by himself/herself.
To truly inspire people, you will need to live an inspired life from a deep level of centeredness. When Jesus Christ is at the center of your life as a leader you know clearly what you are trying to accomplish. You care about the people around you. You live and embody the mission and vision that Jesus commanded. You don’t need to inspire with people with great sermons, although you may do that. What matters most is living in the very presence of Christ. Your very presence—who you are in Jesus Christ—inspires! You don’t have to have a title. You don’t have to be a gifted speaker. You don’t have to have a big budget or a nice office. All you need is a vision from Jesus that is worth following.
Humble leaders inspire. Jesus was the ultimate example of an inspirational leader through his humility as described in Philippians 2:5-8: “Think of yourself the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—the worst kind of death at that: a crucifixion.” (The Message)
Five Key Things About Church Revitalization That Most Leaders Miss – Many churches are stuck and stagnant. That doesn’t mean God isn’t working in and through them, but it can be frustrating for a church to be stuck in the same place for a long time. Sometimes it can feel like no matter what the leadership or the church community does, they can’t get moving and growing again. This 2 part series from Ed Stetzer can help us get unstuck.
How to Break Free from Church Politics – Not all politics are negative. In a positive nature, politics are how you get things done in your church. Politics are the lubricant that oils your church’s organizational gears. It’s about people working together and setting their preferences aside for the greater good. However, when this process becomes corrupted, that’s when trouble begins, and your culture can become divided and even toxic. Learn some helpful ways to break free from these kind of toxic politics.
Cultivating Trust Is A Crucial Task for Leaders – To cultivate trust, leaders must contribute to a sense of safety, commit themselves to listening, empower others to act, learn from their mistakes, and promise only what they can deliver, writes the executive director of Leadership Education at Duke Divinity.