Check out this awesome story of celebration and mission from Bethany Church in Sheboygan, WI. This video was shown at General Synod. Praise God for this fruit! Click HERE to watch the video.
Please save the date of Saturday, October 17, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for a KEZ event – Kingdom Enterprise Zone for the Misssional Cafe. One of our guest speakers is Dr. Soong-Chan Rah. Dr. Rah is associate professor of church growth and evangelism at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago. The American church is at a crossroads. Like the early church in Acts 15, we are faced with the challenge of prioritizing the gospel message over our own culture. Dr. Rah will talk about today’s culture and the current realities facing our churches. Dr. Rah spoke at a conference of RCA leaders in Phoenix in January of this year and also at General Synod in June.
The church care committee invites pastors, consistories and lay leaders to attend this opportunity to hear Dr. Rah speak. The church care committee is partnering with the Missional Café to bring this exciting opportunity to our church leaders in Chicagoland. The Missionsal Café is open to anyone to attend. We ask that you to spread the word and invite people you know who have the heart of missional work and want to understand the culture that is taking place in their community. When you sign up, the KEZ will provide you with the latest “Mission-Insite” report with information on your community. This is a $400.00 value.
Date: Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Chicago Classis churches will be eligible for a grant to continue their current missional programs or create and start new ones. More information on the missional grant will be sent out in the future.
The Spirit Awakening the Church Event – Join the Wisconsin Conference’s Christian Education/Faith Formation Commission for this great event featuring author Diana Butler Bass. Bring a group from your church! Two Locations: September 19, 2015 – 9:00am-4:00pm in Eau Claire, WI and September 20, 2015 – 2:30pm-6:00pm in Watertown, WI. Click HERE for more information.
Living the Story…
There’s power in story. I had the privilege of attending the beautiful wedding this weekend of Chris Poest and Elizabeth Bjorling – Congratulations! The ceremony was filled with the symbolism of God’s love, the love of two people who have become best friends, and the love and joy of family and friends. Elizabeth told the story of the ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. She identified herself in the story as one who has patiently waited on God for the bridegroom to come. Following the wedding ceremony friends and family gathered to hear more stories: stories from family members; stories from college and seminary friends; stories from congregational members; stories from other colleagues in ministry. Stories make for powerful memories. And it’s powerful memories that give meaning and context to life.
That’s even more true with the Bible. There is great power in learning and living the story of God’s grace in a way that brings life. In the church we often get caught up in spending our energy focusing on preserving our sacred traditions and preferred preferences. The sacrifice we make is that we lose our real power. It’s the power of story, the old, old story of God’s love.
It’s an honest story too. It’s a story of God’s faithful love in spite of the people who messed up and let God down. When addressing the Corinthian church, Paul makes no bones about the fact that they were messing up. They were struggling with living the Christian life in a pagan world. They were eating meat formerly sacrificed to idols (which Paul assures them is no problem) and tinkering with pagan worship while they were at it (which, on the other hand, is a big problem). And he uses the power of story to help them understand their own story of struggle.
He retells the story of Exodus, when the Israelites were led out of Egypt into the wilderness en route to the Promised Land. God was faithful but they really messed up. They worshipped idols and tinkered with pagan religions. And they paid for it, too. Paul was saying that “these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.” (I Corinthians 10:6) So straighten up, Corinthians. Let God’s story set you straight.
Most of us in the faith community are guilty of tinkering with things God would have us leave well enough alone. There are many good-hearted Christians who climb the success ladder, idolize money and things, gossip and lie, look at pornography, you name it. Sometimes a person cannot rid himself/herself of these things on their own. But God can heal all of us of our desires for evil. Get in touch with the story. He can do for you and me what he has done for others. Let God bring healing and cleansing and a way out of darkness. Paul reminds us: “No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.” (NRSV)
– Wayne Van Regenmorter
4: Ridder Conference Call
6: Meeting/Cedar Lake, IN
7: Meeting/Crown Point, IN
9: Sunday Worship
10: KEZ Conference Call
12: Meeting/Schererville, IN
14: Skype/Consistory Meeting/Reformed Community Church/Venice, FL
16: Preach/Faith Church Beecher Campus/Beecher, IL
The following are some links you may find helpful…
Balancing Attractional vs. Incarnational Church Strategies – Marcus Bieschke is convinced that we have a unique opportunity to represent the exquisite power and hope of Christ through synergized, connected, incarnational ministry and partnerships that more accurately reflect God’s very nature. And we haven’t a moment to lose. Enjoy this Conversation!
The Importance of Open Discussion in Leadership – Leaders get the best results for their organizations when they are open to ideas and suggestions; when they realize they aren’t the only ones with the good ideas. The more we can encourage input from others, the better off we will be. When people have the opportunity to contribute to the planning and decision making they have buy-in. They have a stronger desire for the organization to succeed and they will work harder to make that happen. When we shut the door on them and clearly communicate that we have no real interest in their input — we are encouraging them to detach from the outcome and to not work as hard.
How to Raise Up New Leaders – From the Church Leadership Center (where many of our commissioned pastors are trained): Without intentionally developing leaders, we are intentionally creating dependency on ourselves and ignoring the future leadership needs of our church or ministry organization. The importance of developing others is clearly identified in 2 Timothy 2:2: “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”
Don’t Let Discipleship Keep You From Being A Disciple – This video says, “We cannot let our discipleship occur at the expense of being a disciple. One of the evidences of knowing you’re a disciple is that you’re willing to give up everything in order to gain Jesus… You cannot call yourself a disciple of Christ and NOT be a disciple maker.”