2104 Campbell Street
Valparaiso, IN 46383
Office: (815) 464-9181
Mobile: (765) 237-7678
President: Bob Wierenga (Wisconsin)
Vice President: Jason DeVries (New Thing)
Past President: Edie Lenz (Illinois)
The Regional Synod of Mid-America wishes you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
The 2017 RCA Advent Devotions were written by Hispanic leaders in the RCA; they are available in both English and Spanish. Devotions reflect on the Revised Common Lectionary Scripture readings for each week. Subscribe using the form below to receive a devotion delivered to your inbox each day (excluding Sundays) from December 4 to December 24.
The Wisconsin Classis is Seeking a Full-Time Classis Coordinator: The Wisconsin Classis, a group of 25 churches, is seeking a full-time Classis Coordinator, with specific responsibilities to the core values of our vision and mission in the areas of Cultivating Transformation in Christ (Discipleship), Equipping Emerging Leaders of Today and Tomorrow (Leadership), Engaging in Christ’s Kingdom Mission (Mission), and Prayer. This position requires working with the Servant Team and the various commissions to advance the Kingdom work that has begun. This individual will partner with our pastors and churches, along with maintaining communication links, as we work together to continue growing deeper as a Classis in our relationships, in our communities, and in pursuing the gospel of Christ. For a copy of the job description or to submit an application, please contact Ken Hoogstra, Classis President, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (414) 559-1173. Closing Date is January 10, 2018.
A Youth Corresponding Delegate to General Synod is still needed for this year’s RCA General Synod taking place in Grand Rapids, MI at Calvin College from June7-12, 2018. This non-voting delegate is one who is somewhere around traditional college age. In addition to participating in the regular business of the General Synod, the youth corresponding delegates meet and do things together. It is anticipated that the youth delegates have given some thought about the possibility that God may be calling him or her into ministry, but that does not necessarily mean that a decision has been made. It is an intention of the participation in General Synod as a youth delegate to help that person discern hearing the Holy Spirit’s voice. Do you know of someone who might be a candidate for this youth delegate? Please contact Chad.
Consider Supporting RSMA Urban Ministry Grants – The Regional Synod of Mid-America gives grants to ministries in, and/or for areas considered urban in geography of our regional synod. 2018 will be the last year we provide these grants and we are asking our churches to consider giving to this grant fund generously for one final year. The asking is $4 per member and that amount can be sent to the RSMA at any time during the year. Thank you for your generous support to these grants over the years. Many churches and blessed many people with the fruit of these grants!
The Regional Synod of Mid-America has launched the 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 Is your church holding a retreat soon? Consider having it at Camp Manitoqua! Reasonable rates, excellent location, and the beauty of God’s creation will surely enhance your experience. If interested, please email Nathan@manitoqua.org or call the office at 815-469-2319.
Summer Staff: Have you considered spending a summer in ministry? Applications for 2017 summer staff at Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center are available online at www.manitoqua.org/jobs and are being accepted now.
STORIES OF CELEBRATION
We share stories of celebration to glorify God. There is no story this month. If you’d like to share what God is doing in your church (or classis), please email Chad.
THOUGHTS FROM WAYNE
Yearnings for Christmas…
What are you yearning for this Christmas? Is it peace on earth? The Lord knows we could certainly use peace with all the rumors and threats of war and conflict between nations and international leaders. Is it a particular gift? Is it the need for healing in your family or your relationships? Is it health? Is it a sense of purpose? Life is full of yearnings. A yearning is much deeper than a wish, for a yearning comes out of the depths of our hearts. It is a deep need for fulfillment.
When you get down to the bottom line of what Christmas is all about, it has very little to do with our wishes and all the world to do with our yearnings. Our lives are incomplete. We need God, and we need to experience His love and grace personally and powerfully. That’s why Jesus came as God in the flesh to dwell among us. God had a yearning, too, for connection with us. God acted in history in the person of Christ to overcome the gulf between divine and human. So through Christ, our yearnings can be fulfilled!
The book of Isaiah has some beautiful passages of vision and prophesy about the coming of Christ, the Messiah. I love to read them every Christmas because I become aware of the yearnings of people for connection with God. We yearn for peace, wholeness and purpose. We yearn for a real and relevant relationship with Him. We yearn for a time when God’s presence is known in its fullness, like the water covers the sea. “They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” Isaiah 11:9 (ESV)
The good news I want to share is that Christ fulfills all these yearnings of your heart. He fulfills a fundamental yearning we all have for spirit and life — and WOW, we need it! Go to the manger this Christmas. As John the Baptist promised about Jesus when He was baptized in the Jordan: “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” Jesus can refine your life and fill you with breath and vitality. It starts at the manger. Go and see, take your simple gift and behold God’s grace. Worship the One who has come to fulfill all the deep yearnings of our lives.
Wishing all of you a wonderful and joyous Christmas!
— Wayne Van Regenmorter
LINKS YOU MAY FIND HELPFUL
7 of the Most Dangerous Church Cultures I’ve Observed – Why do some churches seem to have such a hard time keeping church staff for any significant length of time? It usually has something to do with the culture of the church. Why are some churches more resistant to change than others? It will almost always reflect back to the culture of the church. Why do some churches have a history of church splits? Culture.
Creative Leaders Embrace the Reverse Pilot – Good leaders stay on top of their game by remaining dynamic. While it is not always about embracing every new, shiny theory, it does require effort, practice and some attempt to stay current. This three-part series for creative leaders will highlight a few non-traditional strategies to add to that leadership bag of tricks. We will start by discussing the reverse pilot. Simply put, the idea is to strip away useless or productivity-killing activities.
The Need for Culturally Agile Leaders in the Church – While this article is focused on church planting, it applies to all church leaders. We’re in one of the best times in history to start globally-minded churches in North America—churches that are rooted in North American cities, but effectively minister to and minister through global citizens. This isn’t just for cities like New York or Chicago. Immigration and the rise of the information-based economy are turning cities like Tulsa and Minneapolis into globalized cities. Leaders of church planting organizations and networks are realizing that the global reality is changing how they should now lead and develop church planting strategies for North America.