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)
An RCA Elder and Deacon Leadership Development Resource is available to download and use to further enhance your church’s ministry as your elders and deacons are trained to be active leaders in the congregation, rather than simply a board of managers. This comprehensive resource will help congregations develop and equip their elders and deacons for effective church leadership.
Ridder Church Renewal will be launching again in late September and undergoing a name change as well as a structure change. In the past, once you completed the two learning modules you were “done” with the process. Now, we will be offering continual learning for churches who are not only new to the process but also churches who have already been through it. With new content and a greater focus on smaller groups of learning we hope that churches will consider being a part of our one day events as well as receive pastoral coaching and learn together as cohorts. More information will be available soon! If you’d like to watch a short video the Regional Synod of the Heartland put together on the impact of Ridder, click HERE.
A new directory of RSMA churches and ministers is now available as a digital copy. You can download the directory by clicking HERE.
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 June 7-12, 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.
Times of Transition Workshop – February 24, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Faith Church, Dyer, Indiana. A keynote address by Jeff McNair on supporting teens and young adults with disabilities during times of transition will be followed by six workshops. These workshops will look at a variety of topics related to transitions for individuals with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities. This free event is sponsored by Joni and Friends and Elim Christian Services. Click HERE for more information.
Kids and young adults who do mission work can get financial support from the Next Generation Missional Engagement Scholarship Fund. Scholarships are available for mission trips, mission internships, disaster response work, and more. Participants must be 25 or younger. (Hats off to the RCA Church Growth Fund and others for providing financial support that makes this possible.) Click HERE to apply by February 1.
Faithful Innovation in an Uncertain World Conference March 2-3, 2018 at The United Methodist Church, 600 Wilshire Ave, Stevens Point, WI – In today’s dynamic cultural environment, churches have to be more than faithful–they have to be agile. That means embracing processes of trial, failure, and adaptation as they form Christian community with new neighbors. And that means a whole new way of being church. Taking one page from the Bible and another from Silicon Valley, priest and scholar Dwight Zscheile brings theological insights together with cutting-edge thinking on organizational innovation to help churches flourish in a time of profound uncertainty and spiritual opportunity. Picking up where his recent bestseller, People of the Way left off, Zscheile answers urgent and practical questions around how churches become agile and adaptive to meet cultural change. Click HERE for more information and to register.
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’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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
News from Camp Manitoqua Join Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center for a one-day paintball event, March 17, 2018 called Operation New Horizons, for ages 7th grade and up. Experience a full, memorable day of paintball built on our wooded course. For more information or to register online visit www.manitoqua.org/paintballdays or call the office at 815.469.2319
Summer Staff: Have you considered spending a summer in ministry? Applications for 2018 summer staff at Camp Manitoqua are available online at www.manitoqua.org/summerstaff or call the office at 815.469.2319.
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.
STORIES OF CELEBRATION
We share stories of celebration to glorify God. If you’d like to share what God is doing in your church (or classis), please email Chad.
The NAACP Far South Suburban Branch is pleased to announce that Rev. Wanzette Ann Bilbrew is the 2018 recipient of the Juanita Simpson award. Ms. Juanita Simpson, one of the early pioneers of the NAACP, who worked endlessly to serve those in need and fought against injustices.
Rev. Bilbrew will be honored at their 2018 Freedom Luncheon on Sunday, March 18, 2018. Congratulations Pastor Ann!
LINKS YOU MAY FIND HELPFUL
5 Things Every Church Leader Should Unlearn – But the best leaders don’t just learn new things, they unlearn old things that are holding them—and their teams—back. Unlearning a few things might be one of the best things you can do this year, especially if you want to be able to reach the next generation. This is true not only of reaching them with the message of the Gospel. It’s also true of any leader who wants to build a staff or volunteer team of young adults.
Developing Lay Leaders for Community Ministry – Strong lay leadership is critical for community ministries. Rather than launching and running them with paid staff alone, churches can empower lay leaders to add the gifts, perspectives and hours of labor that are needed to truly serve the community well. Strong lay leadership can also keep ministry sustainable and growing even when the professional staff changes.
Are You An Emotionally Anxious Leader – Sometimes as leaders, we can characterize emotionality and anxiety one-dimensionally as defensiveness. But chronic anxiety, the low level anxiety we seem to never shake, fuels emotionality and shows up multiple ways.
How To Communicate the Boring – People eagerly read stories of lives changed by Jesus, but sometimes other things we need to communicate might be perceived as boring. How do we communicate these things better?
Should the Leader Advocate for Change? – The desire to make change is one of the main reasons people become leaders in the first place. New seminary graduates, freshly educated in the latest concepts of improved and modernized religion, are especially prone to look at their first congregation and see all the ways it could be better than it is. But a congregation, large or small, is still an institution, and institutions tend to resist change. In the flush of new beginnings, leaders frequently forget this obvious but nonetheless important fact.