The RCA’s Commission on Nominations is looking for individuals to serve on the RCA’s commissions, agencies, and boards. Visit www.rca.org/nominations to learn about the work of each commission, agency, and board and to see if one or more fits your skills and interests. Then, download a profile, fill it out, and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org before December 31. You may also send questions to email@example.com.
The Regional Synod of Mid-America is looking for 2 Corresponding Women Delegates and 1 Corresponding Youth Delegate for General Synod 2021. These delegates attend all the sessions of General Synod and have the privilege of the floor but do not vote. There are also a few special opportunities for these delegates at General Synod. The Corresponding Women Delegates is open to any woman who is a member of an RCA church and the Youth Delegate is open to anyone connected to an RCA church with a sense of call from God to go into ministry. Usually, these youth delegates are college-aged and discerning a call to ministry in any form. General Synod 2021 will be held June 10-15, 2021 in Pella, Iowa. Lodging and food is covered by the RCA and travel will be reimbursed by the RSMA. Email Chad Schuitema if you know of someone or you yourself are interested in serving in this role.
RSMA to host Vision 2020 conversations – In January, each classis will be invited to participate in a Zoom online meeting to hear from members of the Vision 2020 Team, RCA Staff, and have an opportunity to discuss the proposals together as a classis. More information will be coming soon and specific times and dates will be released by your classis.
RSMA Staff to transition to new roles: Beginning in 2021 Wayne Van Regenmorter will be transitioning to a part time role as the Coordinator for Multi-Ethnic Church Partnerships and Chad Schuitema will be transitioning to the Regional Synod Executive role. To read more about this transition in a letter from the RSMA President, click HERE.
The RCA Board of Benefits Services (BOBS) is encouraging churches and plants to take a special offering for your pastor and qualify for assistance/prizes. The Thanksgiving or Christmas season is often the perfect time to participate. BOBS would like to join you in blessing our pastors in two ways. First, if you plan on taking a special offering for your pastor, you will be eligible to receive one $250 Amazon gift card for your pastor. (One per church.) To learn how, click here. Second, if the gift to your pastor will go to pay down student loans or medical debt, and if you are already commissioned or ordained in the RCA, BOBS will match that gift, up to $2,000. Visit this page for details.
The RCA continues to offer free/reduced fee Spiritual Direction (and coaching) during the Pandemic – to learn more, and find a spiritual director, click HERE. To hear General Synod Vice-President, Phil Assink, share about his experience with spiritual direction, click HERE.
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.
You can continue to find all of the RCA’s COVID-19 resourcesHERE.
NEWS FROM CAMP MANITOQUA WinterBlast will be two separate times in December for kids in 1st-6th grade. WinterBlast seeks to introduce children to Christ and His message of salvation as well as to provide a setting and community where their lives are enriched through high energy and intentional programming. We hope that during their winter break, your child’s experience is a real blast! For more information and to sign up, click HERE.
To get the most up to date information, please check out their updates HERE.
THOUGHTS FROM WAYNE
Choosing to Trust God and Give Thanks…
How are you doing mentally, emotionally, and spiritually as weeks have dragged into months and months into almost of year of challenges amid a COVID-19 pandemic? Many pastors will tell you that this has been their most difficult year of ministry. COVID has required not only changes in preaching and ministry structure, but it has added increased personal challenges in dealing with anxious congregational members and handling stress in meeting the needs of their marriage and family. This has been a year when pastors have had to honestly and humbly admit their need for God and renewed faith. So I wonder, is your faith becoming stronger, and are you enjoying a closer walk with God than ever before? Our faith grows when we choose to concentrate on our faith rather than our fears. The choice is ours.
As we enter this Thanksgiving week I am drawn to this passage in Psalm 50:14-15 where the Psalmist says, “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” (ESV) The other interesting aspect of this passage is that it says, “Give thanks, give thanks, and in the day of trouble, call on me.” How do you make that connection? You would guess ordinarily that at Thanksgiving time you’re just celebrating. You’re saying, “Thank you, thank you!” But why does the Psalmist put this thanksgiving in close connection to the realization that there are troubles and that we may call with confidence on God because He promises to deliver us from our difficulties or in our difficulties.
This is what I think that means. We began the year with a real sense of apprehension and uncertainty, didn’t we? There was mask wearing, social distancing, lockdowns, helping to homeschool young children, learning new forms of technology and communication, feeling isolated and lonely because there wasn’t the normal connection with people. Then there came the economic questions, the shutdown of businesses, church finances, unemployment questions, violence in our city streets, acts of injustice – terrible things. What is the connection between giving thanks and confidence? Giving thanks underscores for us the realization that God can be counted on. That God is in fact mindful of our challenges and problems in January, but He is also there for us in November. Giving thanks to God on Thanksgiving Day in 2020 prepares us to be more confident for what unexpected concerns there are in the days or hours that are ahead for us. Giving thanks not only connects us to the giver, it connects us to our future so that we are able to understand that in the day of trouble, He who was there for us, will be there for us.
Jesus teaches us that the eye of the Heavenly Father is upon the smallest sparrow, so think of how much more He cares for you. Jesus also says, “…my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27 (ESV) As you turn the troubles of the world over to Jesus, I pray you are trusting Him more and daily gaining the assurance that Jesus will be with you always—even to the close of the age. No matter what happens—ever—your life is in His hands and they are good hands—proven so by the nail scars of love for us.
I encourage you in this week of Thanksgiving to give thanks. Call on Him in the day of trouble. Give your thanks to God. Praise and come before Him. Recognize that He’ll be there.
— Wayne Van Regenmorter
LINKS YOU MAY FIND USEFUL
Leadership Practices that Lead to Breakthrough: Dialogue – In our leadership, most of us face complex, emotionally charged challenges. To face these challenges, dialogue is a key skill we must develop. In this 23-minute video, Jim Herrington and Trisha Taylor from The Leader’s Journey offer some training on developing or increasing your capacity with the skill of dialogue.
Giving Thanks in A Difficult Season – In the midst of a pandemic, our political climate, and many other issues creating a difficult season, it can be difficult to give thanks. This story from a writer recovering from brain surgery may help us with developing a grateful heart for what God has done for us.