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)
HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM THE REGIONAL SYNOD OF MID-AMERICA!
Youth Corresponding Delegate to General Synod 2020 Still Needed – If you know of any young adult in your church that may be interested in being a youth delegate to General Synod 2020, please email Chad. In addition to participating in the regular business of the General Synod, the youth corresponding delegates meet together for discussion and equipping. It is anticipated that the youth delegates have given some thought about the possibility that God may be calling him or her to be a pastor or in some kind of active Christian ministry. 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. General Synod 2020 is at Northwestern College (Orange City, IA) June 11-16, 2020. All expenses are paid for this trip.
The IRS Mileage Reimbursement Rate for 2020 decreased to $.575.
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.
Growing Young Cohort forming – This yearlong process helps facilitate strategic planning in your worshiping community and uses six principles to help your congregation grow young. You will learn from leading voices and researchers at the Fuller Youth Institute, engage in collaborative learning with other congregations investing in the same work, and begin implementing new innovative strategies to engage the entirety of your church in intergenerational ministry. All this will be accomplished through coaching, webinars, and two in-person summits. Sign up closes January 10. Click HERE for more information.
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.
There will be a Faithwalking Retreat on February 7-8, 2020 at Grace Valley CRC in German Valley, IL. (8210 E Edwardsville Rd, German Valley IL 61039). Faithwalking is a personal discipleship process that can deepen your faith and help you get into action as you seek to live for him in all areas of your life. If anyone is interested in attending the cost is $50 and they can contact Scott Stephan for more information or to register.
NEWS FROM CAMP MANITOQUA Registration for ‘Summer Camp 2020’ begins 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.
You are invited to our Summer Camp Open House at Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center. Join us on Tuesday, January 28, 2020, anytime between 4pm and 7pm starting in the Chapel. Come take a tour of our facility and meet staff. Summer campers, now is the time to bring your friends and introduce them to Camp!
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
You Can’t Drive Forward Without a Rearview Mirror…
Have you ever seen a medical emergency vehicle with the word AMBULANCE painted in mirror-image on the front? The first time I saw one I was walking near a school where an ambulance was parked with flashing lights. As I walked by the front of the vehicle I wondered, “Why in the world did they paint the word ‘ambulance’ backwards?” It was humbling a few weeks later when I was driving in my car and glanced in my rearview mirror to see an ambulance behind me and I finally figured it out.
Years ago I remember driving my dad’s old pickup truck when suddenly the rearview mirror fell down. I thought there was no need for this piece of equipment so I stored it in the glove compartment, thinking I could do without it. It wasn’t long until I was holding the broken mirror up in the air to keep myself from experiencing some neck strain. You can imagine the looks I got from other farmers driving on the gravel roads!
You can’t get a complete picture while driving without a rearview mirror. It’s just as necessary to know what’s behind you as to know what’s ahead. What I’ve discovered is that how you look in the rearview mirror of life is as important as seeing what is ahead for you.
Think about the old story of Moses and the parting of the Red Sea. God had performed great miracles to move the people from bondage to freedom. Yet when the people were backed up to the edge of the Red Sea by the Egyptians in pursuit, how did they look back on their immediate past? They said to Moses, “Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us, bringing us out of Egypt? …it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” (Exodus 14:11-12)
As bad as it was, they longed for the past! They preferred the slavery they knew well to the fear of the unknown! Thankfully, God was determined that they find freedom and parted the waters. God has a future for us, as God did for them, yet so often we arrive at the sea of change looking at our past with either harsh anger (which is not good) or deep longing (not good either).
For the church in our culture, driving a healthy balance of respect for the past and a readiness for the future means that we love our traditions, but we don’t live in them. We share the memories of those who have gone before, but we are living in an age in the church that requires deep change, renewal, and awakening. For each of us in our personal journeys, this means that the struggles we faced in the past are part of who we are. We must claim that, seek restoration through that, and then move beyond that to a new freedom and new future.
Remember that the purpose of the small rearview mirror in your car is to keep you aware of the past, but not block your vision of the future. May you experience the joy of seeing the blessings God as you move into the future of a new year – 2020.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)
— Wayne Van Regenmorter
LINKS YOU MAY FIND USEFUL
7 Things to Do When a Church Is in Decline – Ron Edmondson is always very practical as he helps churches – even when there are no cookie cutter answers. Each church is a unique expression of the body of Christ and so there are often different reasons for decline. These steps may not instantly reverse trends, but they are a great place to start.
Millennials Are Leaving Religion and Haven’t Come Back – This is a fascinating study from FiveThirtyEight and shows, among many things, the importance of parents in the religious upbringing of children. For a long time studies were waiting to see if millennials would come back to church after marrying and having children (which they were doing later in life their the previous generation) and new information is now out that churches may want to study.
How to Lead Change in the New Year – The need for change in the local church is always in play. The issue is whether you are out in front, just keeping up or playing catch-up. These are not chiseled in stone steps but good reminders to us as we engage in the ever-changing process of leading change. Also, importantly noted here is how we support those who are not on-board with the change.
Biblical Hospitality: Inviting Outsiders to be Family – Hospitality is a Christian practice that extends all the way back to the Book of Genesis. Often in our culture people use the term to mean catering a meal or putting on a party but hospitality means far more as a Christian practice. Hospitality is the offer to extend the privileges of community to those who do not have the standing to expect it, especially those who are vulnerable because they are strangers. This article from Scott Cormode encourages us to engage further in hospitality with some helpful practices.