2104 Campbell Street
Valparaiso, IN 46383
Office: (815) 464-9181
Mobile: (765) 237-7678
President: Bob Wierenga (Wisconsin)
Vice President: Dale Buettner (Illiana-Florida)
At-Large Members: Jason DeVries (New Thing), Scott Stephan (Illinois), Chad DeJager (Chicago)
The Vision 2020 Team released their final report. To read it, you can click HERE. This report was scheduled to be considered and voted on at General Synod 2020, which was postponed due to COVID-19. A special session of General Synod was set for the fall, but that has also been called off because of the pandemic. Instead, the team’s final report will come to General Synod 2021 next June for consideration. The RCA will also be holding approximately 10 regional events with members of staff and the Vision 2020 Team. At this time, it is still uncertain whether these events will be in-person, online, or a combination of both.
Church multiplication teams for the Christian Reformed Church in North America and the Reformed Church in America have partnered with an international ministry called Fresh Expressions to help them move forward toward a newly imagined North American church-planting initiative. To read more about this exciting partnership, click HERE.
You can continue to find all of the RCA’s COVID-19 resourcesHERE.
The RCA is offering free Spiritual Direction (and coaching) during the Pandemic – to learn more, and find a spiritual director, click HERE.
Free Christian Counseling for Pastors and Church Employees – 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 is finishing up Day Camp for the summer. To get the most up to date information, please check out their updates HERE.
THOUGHTS FROM WAYNE
In A World of Disruption – HOPE… When COVID-19 first hit in March, governors issued quarantine orders and closed church worship services. Pastors and church leaders scurried around adjusting to new ways of streaming their church services and connecting with church members as well as new online visitors. They did what was necessary to face the challenges of a new weekly normal in the midst of a pandemic. I think in the back of their minds most pastors thought it would be a time of discombobulation for a season, but I wonder how many pastors planned on living with this craziness into the Fall or Christmas season and beyond.
The impact of this virus has been immense: 1) Do people wear masks at worship or not? 2) Do we re-open worship in person or go virtual or both? 3) Do we worship inside or outside on the parking lot or lawn? 4) Do we honor government officials or First Amendment rights? 5) Will our schools re-open with children or will learning be online? 6) Will a vaccine be ready in the fall or later or not at all? 7) Nationally, unemployment is still high and business closures continue. 8) The country is divided between who to chose for the next president – Donald Trump or Joe Biden. 9) Pastors and church members miss full worship services and times of non-social distancing fellowship. In my conversations with pastors there is a growing song of lament, feeling of fatigue, and creeping sense of discouragement setting in.
Discouragement is not the same as fear and doubt. When you’re discouraged, you are literally “dis-couraged.” It’s when a courage that you seemed to have had previously has been taken away. That’s what happened to Elijah in I Kings 18. God calls him to confront the prophets of Baal, a pagan fertility god. Without so much as a flinch of the eye, Elijah does exactly that. But Jezebel, the wife of the king Ahab, who was prone toward Baal worship, put out a contract on his life. So he ran. Elijah had mustered plenty of courage to face 450 prophets and have them killed, but he was scared to death of one woman. So afraid he went to hide in the mountains.
As I listen to pastors, there are signs of exhaustion, weariness, fatigue and a growing discouragement beginning to appear where courage had previously found a home. Most of the pastors I know give their all in being obedient to the call of God on their life. They love the church where they serve or the specialized ministry where they meet the needs of people. They roll up their sleeves and make the necessary adaptive changes in these challenging times like COVID-19. They take on extra responsibilities in connecting with people who they can’t see face to face. They accommodate others by logging too many hours trying to hold things together in a normal way. But pastors express that they are tired, fatigued and even discouraged in this season.
Hear these words from Galatians 6:9: “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Pastors, take care of yourself during the season of COVID-19. Take the time to find space for the rest that is needed, laid back time with family and friends, and renewal and prayer time for connecting with Jesus.
God’s answer to quarantines, racial tensions, riots, the demands of online services, the challenges of re-opening, dozens of unprecedented decisions, and discouragement is HOPE – “Heavenly Oriented Practical Experience”. It’s when we can get through the muck of life’s challenges and disappointments because our lives are orientated toward the Lord Jesus Christ. Hope is God’s message for the muck of COVID-19. Just as God appeared in sheer silence to the discouraged Elijah hiding in the mountains, God will not leave you alone in the muck.
Psalm 42:5 reads, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him.” It’s no surprise that the opposite of discouraging is “en-couraging,” or having courage put into our lives rather than taken away. That’s the business we’re in as the body of Christ, the harbingers of hope for one another and for a world full of disruption.
— Wayne Van Regenmorter
LINKS YOU MAY FIND USEFUL
Four Guiding Principles for Addressing Issues of Race – Words and actions go hand in hand as leaders lead in tumultuous times. How do we get what we need to say right? Are the right words more important than the right actions? Dan Reiland writes this article from a place of making sure we stay in action (and in words) regarding racism in our country.
Are You A Leader or A Commentator?– In our culture opinion and commentary seem to rule the day. Sam Rainer writes: “Commentary is not leadership. Just because a great conversation is occurring does not mean leadership is happening. I fear we might confuse the two. This confusion occurs because we’ve reduced leadership to mere influence. Leadership is not just influence. A marketing campaign is influential, and it may even lead you to purchase a product. But that’s not leadership. Both commentary and leadership are needed. Sometimes they overlap—a commentator may also be a leader.” Read on to see how they are different and how you may even become a better leader.
Churches Will Gather Again, but Digital Discipleship Is Here to Stay – David Kinnaman writes, “As we move cautiously into a new phase of gathering, we have to do so with the knowledge that digital church is here to stay. If we can move from merely hosting digital versions of live church services into a new era of digital discipleship, faith leaders can successfully grow their congregations and foster lasting spiritual change.”
How to Lead when Things Are Falling Apart – Disruption can be a good thing when it leads to needed change. But it’s hard. Here are five stages of a healthy pivot when the structures you’ve built no longer work according to plan.