Dear Friends: Our life rhythms are often ones of two steps forward and one step back. Sometimes we feel like we are making progress on a goal only to trip and stumble and seemingly go back to square one. But we must keep walking, we must keep moving. There is a very real temptation to “check out” or not engage new things, relationships, conversations, or even learn when we feel worn out. I encourage all of you, brothers and sisters, to engage. Text or call the person you haven’t heard from in a while. Have that hard conversation you’ve been putting off. Get involved in learning or growing in your faith or leadership. Take a day off and don’t spend it in front of screen. If we keep moving two steps forward and two steps back – we are still making progress, we are still engaging. Real change in our lives can be a slow process, but we must keep moving! — Chad
Read General Secretary Eddy Aleman’s vision for the future of the RCA as well as the Vision 2020 Recommendations and other information about General Synod by clicking HERE.
Dismantling Racism Prayer Gatherings – a diverse group of RCA leaders from churches across the country gather every other Tuesday 12:30-1:30 CST to pray together with a focus on living into Jesus’ call to love one another. Click HERE to register.
Developing A Multiplication Mindset Webinar – Jeff Allen, discipleship team leader for the RCA, provides an interactive discussion centered on Psalm 1 and John 15, focusing on this question: “What are some of the tangible signs that demonstrate that disciples in my context are living into a multiplication mindset?” This webinar will be held February 18, 2021, at 1:30 pm.(CST)/2:30 p.m.(EST). Sign up by clicking HERE.
New Growing Young Cohorts Launching Soon – Growing Young brings churches together to take a good look at how they include people from different generations and develop leadership both now and in the future. This year-long learning commitment revolves around six essential strategies to engage young people. Leaders that have done Growing Young in the past have shared stories of honest conversations between all generations of leaders and stronger relationships between them. This year’s cohort is being hosted virtually. Summits are March 15-16 and October 4-5. Registration isn’t open yet, but email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details or if you’re interested in signing up.
Burnout or Breakout – Join Regional Synod of the Great Lakes Executive John Messer for 4 ninety-minute virtual sessions that will cover the following questions and ideas: What is a system? What are the big ideas of systems thinking? How is the church a system? How does systems thinking help me be a better church leader? Systems thinking vs. linear thinking. How can systems thinking help me avoid burnout? Is systems thinking biblical? What are the best systems thinking tools? First Learning Community starts February 15 from 1-2:30 PM. A second starts April 12 from 7-8:30 PM. Click HERE to learn more.
Ministerial Excellence Fund Grants Available – The Board of Benefits Services believes that pastors who get out of debt and become financially healthy are able to serve in ministry with less stress and with greater impact. This grant is an opportunity to begin or continue your journey toward financial health. The application window is only open to February 28. To read more about this opportunity, and to apply, visit the Ministerial Excellence Fund webpage.
New Podcast: “Lavish Hope” launched by Faithward, the RCA’s online hub of inspiring stories, and helpful articles about faith and practice. Faithward has many worthwhile articles, and the new podcast can be found wherever you listen to your podcasts or by clicking HERE.
New Online Store from the RCA – Beginning in 2021, resources specific to the Reformed Church in America (RCA) will be available through an online store rather than being housed and distributed through Faith Alive Christian Resources. The RCA’s online store will have selected resources specific to the Reformed Church in America: liturgical resources and certificates (downloadable); churches are encouraged to continue looking to Faith Alive for wider ministry resources.
There is a new RSMA Directory of Ministers and Ministries available for 2021. Please keep this document private and do not share it anywhere online. You can download it HERE.
The RCA continues to offer free/reduced fee Spiritual Direction (and coaching) during the Pandemic – to learn more, and find a spiritual director, click HERE. To hear General Synod Vice-President, Phil Assink, share about his experience with spiritual direction, 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.
You can continue to find all of the RCA’s COVID-19 resourcesHERE.
NEWS FROM CAMP MANITOQUA
To get the most up to date information about Camp Manitoqua, please check out their updates HERE.
LINKS YOU MAY FIND USEFUL
Lessons from COVID-19 – Rev. Chad Farrand, The Executive Leader of Classis de las Naciones wonders “how will the Church be forever changed? What will we, the Church, learn from COVID-19?” Rather than purely seeing COVID for its destruction, perhaps we can see how it might change the way we think of “Church.” These reflections will help you as examine your church and your ministry.
Leadership Exhaustion and a Spirit of Adventure – Tod Bolsinger gives some helpful things to focus on when we are exhausted. Surprisingly, some of them are very counter-intuitive: for instance, rest may not be what you need when you are exhausted.
Disciple Out Racism Podcast – Albert Tate was the guest on Steve Carter’s Craft and Character podcast where they discussed how racial reconciliation is an act of our spiritual formation.
Seven Disruptive Leadership Challenges – Carey Nieuwhof expounds on these trends in leadership as we enter 2021. COVID-19 has changed life as we know it and these challenges will be there for any of us that are in leadership.
Church Live-Streaming vs. Online Campus – this fascinating and cutting edge article explores the differences between live-streaming church services and developing community in a new digital world.