The Regional Synod Annual Session is April 8, 2015 at Camp Manitoqua. Delegates from each classis will come together to hear reports, examine vision and direction, and work on ways to help our region get more involved in Transformed and Transforming. Please be in prayer for this event.
This year, as you may know, the RCA General Synod will be held in Chicagoland, as it returns to Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights. In order for Synod to happen well, your help is needed, and there are several ways to be involved.
Rev. Christopher Poest is one of the point-persons for our region in coordinating volunteers and you can contact him either to volunteer or to get more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Drivers, and church buses/vans, are needed Wednesday, June 10 & Thursday, June 11 to to shuttle people from O’Hare to Trinity.
Golf Cart Drivers:
This is often one of the most enjoyable ways to volunteer at Synod. Throughout the week, there will be golf carts to help transport people across Trinity’s campus, but the carts need drivers.
Host Churches (Sunday, June 14):
Synod delegates will worship at area churches the Sunday of Synod. If you are willing to host delegates, and provide transportation for them to/from church and Trinity, please let me know.
Shopping at IKEA:
Yes, you read that right! Women’s Transformation & Leadership staff are hoping to create a living-room type hospitality area in the vendor display space. We’re looking for a couple of people who can purchase the furniture (you’ll be fully reimbursed), assemble it, and get it to Trinity. Probably a couple of comfy chairs, a coffee table, and the like.
General Synod will be back again next year at the same location, so if you cannot help now, keep this in mind.
News from Camp Manitoqua
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
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/
So…Who Is the Greatest…
Do you ever find in the context of the church where you serve that it is often a challenge to recruit people for nursery, Sunday School, Kid’s Club, children’s worship, youth groups or whatever? I think most pastors would say that’s a common scenario. A pastor friend of mine was confronting this challenge in the midst of ministry in the church and wrote this article about it. I appreciate his perspective and pass it on because it’s a great reminder of the opportunity we have to experience the Kingdom of Heaven through the eyes of children. I know I have had that experience through my grandchildren. Pastor Ken writes:
“At first glance, in Matthew 18, we find the disciples in what seems to be a bit of a competitive argument amongst themselves as to who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. If Matthew has a bit of a chronologic order to it, then some of the disciples have just witnessed Jesus’ transfiguration, and all of them have been confronted with Jesus’ second prediction of his death. Now if I was them and the person I’d been following around for a few years – and witnessed all the miracles and teachings he had done – told me, “it’s been a great ride, but eventually this is going to end – and I’m going to be crucified.” I’d be a little leery as to who is going keep things going! The question seems, at first glance, to be a very selfish one, but pragmatically it, really is a very thoughtful and logical question. And of course, Jesus doesn’t say, “Well, I gave it some thought, and Peter will lead you when I’m gone.” Not even close!!! He grabs a child and tells them, “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” The disciples ask a serious question and Jesus basically says, stop being soooo grown-up and you’ll have a chance to experience the Kingdom…and then, once you’ve thrown off some of your “adultness” and embraced a little more childishness; the greatest part only comes through humility. “Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Children can be cute, and funny; they can also be obnoxious and ornery, and downright naughty! Innocent – sure, vulnerable – yep, sinless – not a chance! Yet Jesus seems to be saying that kids somehow have the inside track on the Kingdom! Many of us have long abandoned our childishness in favor of being “adults” – grown-ups. We set goals and make budgets, and buy things we can’t afford and stress out over things that we can never change – but that’s what being an adult is. Right? Well, to the world-at-large, yes! But, to Jesus, and in the Church – things don’t seem to be so cut and dry. Age isn’t something where we can just turn back the clock, we can’t just become children again. But what we can change, is how we act, the way we view things, our approach to life! Jesus says, “unless you change and become like little children.” This word change is the really the word for repent! Turn around! Metaphorically, stop being so grown up and turn around and regress a bit! Repent from your adult-ly attitude walk in the direction of a child! Change who you are, and the Kingdom is yours! Can you imagine if our churches were full of people that really took Jesus at his word! Many of us grew up in an era where the impulse of the Gospel was the promise of Heaven, so we walk around stone-faced and serious all the time. BUT Jesus didn’t say, repent and be like a child and you will go to heaven! He said, the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand…near…at your finger tips! The Kingdom of Heaven doesn’t have to wait till this life has passed; the Kingdom of Heaven stirs right in our very midst! But many times we are just too “grown-up” to see and experience it!”
I wonder, if we really took Jesus seriously how many of us would need to regress a bit and simply spent a little more time with our children, our grandchildren, or the kids in our churches – the nursery, the Sunday School, the children’s worship, the youth groups, the whole world of children and youth people. It’s not about jumping in with the kids and giving them instructions on how to be good church people – how to be more adult-like. Rather, it means taking the anxious step into a room of kids and experiencing what they are! Seeing the Bible story, the songs, the toys, whatever, through the eyes of children, and not our eyes. Jesus said, be like kids and you will find me…and guess what – I BELIEVE HIM!
–Wayne Van Regenmorter
7: Meeting/Faith Church/Dyer, IN
8: Synod Assembly/Camp Manitoqua/Frankfort, IL
9: Meeting/St Paul’s reformed Church/Ohio City, OH; Meeting/Christ’s Community Church/Fort Wayne, IN
The following are some links you may find helpful…
Cultivating Resilience in Christ-Shaped Leaders – Resilience is a necessary ingredient in leaders. We often think of resilience in individual terms: this or that person is resilient. But communities of hope — the calling of all Christian communities — are actually places that have resilience written into their being. They are founded on hope, and their very existence testifies to the fact that getting back up is not simply a matter of the individual will. We can be helped back up, and can learn how to help others up.
10 Questions First-Time Guests Are Asking – What we don’t often realize is the incredible anxiety most of them are feeling as they walk through our doors. Their minds are racing with questions. The answer to those questions will most likely determine whether or not they ever come back.
Stop Just Going to Church – Most people will spend one third of their lives at work and at least another third in or around their homes; that means that more than two-thirds of our lives are considered non-ministry space. In addition, most still believe church is a place you go for one-to-four hours a week where most of the discipleship happens. This means a very large majority of Christians see only a very small percentage of their lives dedicated to the mission of making disciples. It’s no wonder so few believers are fruitful in ministry.
Ways Your Feedback Is Making Things Worse – The quality of your feedback has the power to make or break results in your organization, strengthen or dissolve connection, build or break trust, and elicit creativity or carefulness. What’s the quality of your feedback?
2: RCR GL Implementation Team Meeting
3: Good Friday, Office Closed
8: RSMA Annual Session/Camp Manitoqua/Frankfort, IL
Recently Ben gave our church planters 3 proven practices that deliver results.
1. Get the names of people you minister to. Dump water bottle hand outs and any other give away program that is not relational with the receiver. Give aways are cheap and anonymous….a bad impression. Develop systems and ministries that are intensely personal. Scrap most everything else.
2. Never have meetings without a time for participants to report how they have experienced God in the last week. Teaching people to share their “God story” in a safe place is the first step toward teaching them to share their faith with a pagan. Critical.
3. Do not have services without a time for attendees to hear an authentic personal God story in worship. Cut your sermon back a bit, interview a person, give up the pulpit once in a while. Get authentic or be irrelevant.
Ben Ingebretson has been facilitating the church planting movement since 2013.