Dear Friends: It’s easy at this time of year to have ups and downs. The weather can’t decide what it wants to do: it’s either sunny and 50 degrees or 35 degrees and sleeting or 20 degrees and snowing. Add to that the time change and our circadian rhythm getting messed up and you’ve got a recipe for feeling good one day and a bit depressed the next (or even hour to hour sometimes!). One of our hallmarks as Christians is that we are a people of hope. We hope for the day when Jesus comes again, we hope for all things to be made new, we hope for reconciliation in relationships, we hope for growth as disciples…and we know from Scripture that hope does not disappoint. There may be things in your life that are up and down or causing you to be cynical. It may even be your church or our denomination. But let us remember that we are people of hope and God knows the plans he has for us. — Chad
The RCA Restructuring Team has been conducting regional update meetings and you’re invited! Join members of the RCA restructuring team and GSC staff leadership for an in-person, roundtable event at Christ Community Church, 13400 Bell Rd, Lemont, IL 60439-8131 on Saturday, April 1, 2023 at 9-11 a.m. (Central). During this time, attendees will hear what the restructuring team has been working on and the outcomes around which they feel called to restructure, after much discernment. There will also be a time for attendees to ask questions and provide feedback on what is presented. This invitation is for RCA members in your area, especially young people with a heart for the RCA’s future. No RSVP is necessary.
Flourishing Churches Grants are back. These grants are generously funded by the RCA’s Church Growth Fund and are intended for thriving RCA churches that need facility upgrades for continued flourishing ministry. This year, the RCA will be awarding five grants of up to $50,000 each to RCA churches that have been organized for more than three years and intend to stay in the denomination. Visit the Flourishing Churches Grant webpage for more details about eligibility criteria. Grant applications are due May 31.
Scholarships for youth on mission: The Next Generation Missional Engagement Fund helps make it possible for children, youth, and young adults to engage in Christ’s kingdom mission around the world. The fund supports scholarships for RCA groups and individuals serving on domestic or international mission trips. These trips engage volunteers in Christian service with a focus on spiritual transformation and long-term impact on the partner and community. The next application deadline is April 15. Find out more HERE.
Pre-synod prayer gatherings on Zoom: General Synod president Dwayne Jackson invites leaders and members of RCA churches to join in a time of prayer leading up to General Synod, to prepare our hearts for synod, on the third Friday of March, April, and May, from 2:00-2:45 Eastern time. The prayer focus is recovery, with Psalm 118:5-7 as a grounding Scripture passage. Sign up to get the Zoom link HERE.
Toolkit for planning mission trips: Whether you’re getting ready for your first mission trip, or you’ve participated in many trips, it’s important to be prepared. This toolkit from RCA Global Mission guides you through the mission trip planning process and equips you with tools to use on your trip and after you come home. Resources include travel tips, devotions, fundraising advice, cultural awareness training, and more.
NEWS FROM CAMP MANITOQUA Good Friday Prayer Walk – Come walk our grounds anytime on Good Friday (April 7) between 11:00am and 3:00pm as you read through the events leading up to the crucifixion of Christ. Click HERE to learn more.
Work Day! It would be difficult for us to imagine what the ministry of Camp Manitoqua would be like if we did not have the support of local churches and our brothers and sisters in Christ and so we invite anyone to come and help at our annual work day happening this year on April 15. Click HERE to learn more.
LINKS YOU MAY FIND USEFUL
5 Ways to Restore Attendance– Some recent research was sobering for many about how many regular attendees must be replaced every year just to maintain worship attendance. This article helps spark ideas for how to do that.
7 Surprising Post-Pandemic Trends – We are very aware at how our churches changed during the pandemic, but what is happening now that things have gotten somewhat back to “normal” in our world? These trends may be insightful to you.
Should Churches Be Slow or Quick to Embrace New Technology – The pace of change in the digital age is staggering. Every year sees the emergence of new platforms, apps, and technologies that each bring possibilities, problems, and power to reshape culture. What should the church’s posture be toward new technologies?