2104 Campbell Street
Valparaiso, IN 46383
Office: (815) 464-9181
Mobile: (765) 237-7678
President: Jason DeVries (New Thing)
Vice President: Bob Wierenga (Wisconsin)
At-Large Members: Dale Buettner (Illiana-Florida), Scott Stephan (Illinois), Chad DeJager (Chicago)
Vision 2020 Team Presses On – The Vision 2020 Team recently met in Chicago to continue their work discerning the future of the RCA. You can read more about that meeting and the emerging option still being worked out by clicking HERE.
The Ministerial Excellence Fund of the RCA is again taking applications (for February only) to help reduce or eliminate clergy debt. This grant is an opportunity to begin or continue your journey towards financial health. To read more about this opportunity, and to apply, visit the Ministerial Excellence Fund website.
2020 RSMA Directory of Minsters and Ministries is now available to download by clicking HERE. We appreciate the assistance of all who help keep this directory as up to date and accurate as possible.
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 Registration for ‘Summer Camp 2020’ begins TODAY, February 3, 2020 at 5am. Remember to register early for preferred dates. Visit Manitoqua.org for additional information and registration. Call our office at 815.469.2319 if you need any assistance.
Looking for some fun winter activities? Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center is hosting family game nights. The game nights will include rotations based on age and activities (1st grade through adults). Cost is $5 per person per child each date (parents are free). Dates & times are Feb 10, 17 & 24 from 6:00pm – 7:30pm. To register online, visit Manitoqua.org or call 815.469.2319. Payment can be submitted upon arrival. Space is limited so RSVP soon!
Summer Staff: Camp Manitoqua is looking for ministry-minded college aged students to work on staff for summer 2020 at Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center. Starting in November, applications for 2020 summer staff at Camp Manitoqua are available online at Manitoqua.org/jobs.
Stand Out Youth Leadership Retreat – Stand Out seeks to help answer questions about what it means to lead like Jesus did as a youth. During this high school leadership retreat, we will be focusing on many leadership topics with an emphasis on becoming a successful Christian leader. For more information, go to https://www.manitoqua.org/standout
THOUGHTS FROM WAYNE
Struggling with God: Burden or Blessing…
Life is a journey which is often filled with joyous blessings and challenging burdens. One of my favorite lines from the old classic movie Forrest Gump is, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Yes, life is like a box of chocolates. It’s a mysterious journey and we need to be ready for the surprises of God as He continues to reveal more of Himself to us. And who knows what kind of mysterious shapes and forms of chocolates He’s going to reveal in us as we’re living for Him.
Early in the movie, Forrest is often bullied because of his physical disability and marginal intelligence. But while fleeing from some bullies, his braces fall off, revealing Forrest to be a very fast runner. This newly found talent leads to an ironic series of fantastic life experiences. Near the end of the movie, Forrest and his partner, “Lieutenant Dan”, own a shrimp boat and are struggling to make a living. Then a giant storm hits the bay, and Lieutenant Dan sits on top of the boat yelling at God and daring Him to sink it. After the storm is over, their boat is the only one left of the shrimping industry. So guess what? All of a sudden shrimping is fun and easy. The “Bubba Gump Shrimp” company becomes a multi-million dollar corporation. The great storm, which at first was a personal struggle between Lieutenant Dan and his Lord, became a great blessing.
The Bubba Gump Shrimp story reminds me of the ancient Bible story of Jacob wrestling with God. He had been a crook all his life, stealing the birthright and blessing from his brother Esau and outwitting his double-crossing father-in-law Laban. Yet for the first time, he had to face Esau to find forgiveness. But guess what? On the road toward reconciliation, he had to meet God.
“Jacob was left alone; a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket…Then he said, ‘Let me go, for the day is breaking.’ But Jacob said, ‘I will not let you go until you bless me.’ …then the man said, ‘You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans and have prevailed.’” (Excerpts from Genesis 32:21-20. NRSV)
For Jacob, how did the blessing come? Through the struggle with God. I want to encourage you not to fear struggling with God! Claim it! It can be a blessing! Here are three affirmations:
IT’S UNAVOIDABLE! Scott Peck starts his famous book, The Road Less Traveled, with this sentence: “Life is difficult.” Whether because of loss, crises, loneliness, or emptiness, at times in our faith journey we struggle with God. It‘s not wrong to be angry, as long as we let God work with us!
GOD INITIATES IT! Just like Jacob, God desires relationship with us, and even insists on it. At times on the road to peace, it’s as if He’s standing in the way, saying, “Deal with me first!”
GOD BLESSES THROUGH IT! The self-serving, self-hating Jacob had to die for a new Jacob (Israel) to be born. He was given the blessing already granted to his father Isaac and grandfather Abraham. But now he realized that the blessing was his through God’s grace, not through his own crafty swindling.
— Wayne Van Regenmorter
LINKS YOU MAY FIND USEFUL
A Plan Beats an Idea Every Time – Mission statements and vision casting are helpful opportunities for churches. They paint a picture that can inspire and excite people to join the team, give and serve. However, many churches get stuck after these statements are created. This short article helps us do the continuing work of mission and vision: planning.
Why We Need Networks – This article with Dave Fergusen is part of a series and in this article he details the blessings of becoming a part of, and or starting networks of pastors and churches.
Church Leadership Trends for the 2020s – With more than 30 years of coaching and consulting with churches, Bob Whitesel makes some predictions (observations?) for church leadership as we enter a new decade. Some may surprise you.
Are Churches Counting What Counts? – This question has begun to be asked more and more over the last decade and continues to cause us to pause, especially during this time of consistorial reports. What does your church value? This article by Nathan Kirkpatrick may help you reexamine your metrics.