Our 15-year vision is moving forward with good momentum, but many churches still aren’t sure where they fit in to Transformed and Transforming. What is it? How might we get involved? Is there anything useful for our church? Check out a new section of our website to explore more and see how your church might benefit from the initiatives being formed.http://www.rsmam.org/transformed-and-transforming/
CCDA Rural Summit: The Christian Community Development Association will be hosting a Rural Summit from Feb. 23 to 25 in Memphis, TN, at Service Over Self (SOS). This Summit will offer rural churches desiring to live missional within their unique context practical responses to organizational, leadership, volunteer, funding and cultural challenges. You will learn from peers and those with some expertise in this field. To find out more information and to register, click HERE.
Regional Prayer Summit: Do you believe in the power of God to transform your life, your church, your community, and your nation? Then join with others for the first CRC/RCA Chicagoland Regional Prayer Summit, Feb 25-28 at Camp Manitoqua. This will be a time of Scripture Fed, Spirit Led, Worship Based Prayer, seeking the Face of God and expectantly waiting for him to move among his people. Click HERE for more information or to register or contact Jon Hoekema.
Another Way of Doing Life 2015 Winter Forum with Shane Claiborne; February 27-28, 2015 in the Wisconsin Dells. Christians are meant to be radical non-conformists, interrupting the patterns of our world with prophetic imagination—a holy counterculture. Join the Wisconsin Council of Churches and Winter Forum Presenter Shane Claiborne for a weekend of exploration around what it means to be both disciples and church in a culture that seems increasingly at odds with the heart of the gospel. The retreat will focus on: The Irresistible Revolution, Christian Troublemakers, The Economics of Rebirth, and Resurrecting Church. For more information or to sign up, click HERE.
News from Camp Manitoqua
Come play a full day of paintball on Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center’s wooded course on Saturday, March 28, 2015 from 10am – 4pm. Space is limited; 7th & 8th graders must have a participating parent or guarding with them.. Cost is $36 (includes gun and mask rental, 1000 paintballs, and a box lunch). Register online at Manitoqua.org. Please call the office for more information, (815) 469-2319.
Fathers and sons, join Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center for our Forge weekend retreat, March 13-15, 2015. Designed to give fathers the opportunity to commission their sons to begin the process of becoming men through biblical teaching and hands-on learning. Visit www.manitoqua.org for information or call the office for information and to register, (815) 469-2319.
Partner with other volunteers for Manitoqua Ministries 12th Annual Camp Work Day. Camp Manitoqua and King’s Camp work day is scheduled for Saturday, April 18, 2015 Lunch is provided. More information can be found on our web page, www.manitoqua.org. Please RSVP by April 5 for Camp Manitoqua to 815.469.2319 or for King’s Camp to 815.645.8277
Summer Staff: Have you considered spending a summer in ministry? Applications for 2015 summer staff at Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center are available online at www.manitoqua.org and are being accepted starting November 1.
A God Who Can’t Wait…
A week ago my extended family gathered in northwest Iowa to celebrate my mother’s 90th birthday. It was a good time of sharing memories of the impact that mom had on each of our lives and thanking God for her. But it was also a time to have the opportunity to see the grandkids once again and catch up on what was happening with them as they shared all the stories in their worlds. What is etched in my mind is seeing our grandkids running to the glass doors of the recreation hall and being greeted with little hands opening the door, sneaky grins, and shouts of joy saying, “Grandpa’s here!” I’ve got some hugs and kisses to catch up on. You see, any kid could wait and continue to play with his/her toys until I come in and greet them with a kiss. Not my grandkids. As soon as they saw me through the glass doors their feet hit the floor running.
That’s what God’s love is like. God doesn’t wait around until we go to the trouble of coming to Him. We worship a God who can’t wait to see us, who goes out to meet us. Max Lucado writes it this way in his book, The Applause of Heaven: “Certain things about God are easy to imagine. I can picture Him creating the world and suspending the stars. I can fathom a God who knows me, who made me, and I can even fathom a God who hears me. But a God who is in love with me? A God who is crazy for me? A God who cheers for me? That’s hard to imagine. But that’s the message of the Bible.”
The Prodigal son is a story about a kid who wastes away his inheritance and comes groveling back home. He is met with open arms beyond his wildest dreams. His dad kills the cow and throws a party of such major proportions that his brother is purple with jealousy. The one detail that really strikes me is that the father hits the ground running as soon as his son is in sight, as soon as he is so much as a speck on the horizon. Dad just can’t wait to get his arms around him. God isn’t a God who waits around for us to get our act together. God is a God who loves unconditionally the “prodigal” in each of us. He is a God who wipes away the tears. God is a God who throws a big party when we come home, and yes, He’s the God who lovingly deals with the big brothers and party poopers who always seem to mope in the corner. It’s the applause of heaven. All of heaven rejoices when we come home.
–Wayne Van Regenmorter
9: Meeting/Faith Church, Dyer, IN
10: Wisconsin Servant Team Meeting/First Reformed Church/Cedar Grove, WI
11: Illiana-Florida Executive/MLT Meeting/Living Springs Community Church, Glenwood, IL
Lead Me On: When Stephen Colbert Says That’s Not Good Enough – “Good enough” looks enticingly similar to “good” and can make you think you have traveled all the way over to an elusive finished product known as a “breakthrough.” Right up until the very exact moment that you realize you…haven’t. The story of Elijah illustrates this point, with some Colbert mixed in.
Why Church Growth Is Actually About Multiplication – Missional community pioneer Alex Absalom talks about the temptation to consider worship attendance as the most important growth marker but instead gives us other criteria to count and how to count it.
10: STM Meeting/Merrillville, IN; Local Missional Engagement Team Conference Call
11: Illiana-Florida Ministry Leadership Team Meeting/Living Springs Community Church, Glenwood, IL