The Illiana-Florida Classis Revitalization Team will be hosting an Engaging Your Community in Mission event with Blaine Newhouse, RCA Coordinator for Local Missional Engagement January 30 from 10am-4pm Central Time at First Reformed Church of South Holland.  Some of the highlights of the event will be:
  • Allowing space for congregations and/or congregational leaders to introduce themselves and share their current local mission engagement reality.
  • A time of vision/values casting/content delivery by Blaine.
  • An interactive experience inviting congregations and/or congregational leaders to identify local ministry strengths and growing edges (where are we stuck or having greater difficulty), acknowledge how God has prepared them historically AND where/how/why God may be inviting them to engage during the next season of the churches ministry.
  • Introduce and/or build on the concept of Asset Based Community Development (ABCD)
  • Develop a basic action plan around possible next steps.
  • Report out to the group and determine if/how we might hold one another accountable for these outcomes.
If you are interested in attending, please contact Chad Schuitema.

The recent Missional Cafe event in Chicagoland featured Dr. Soong-Chan Rah speaking about the future of Christianity in America.  Here are some videos from the event as well as some information on who to contact if you are interested in exploring this further.  A person need not to have been in attendance to take advantage of these great resources.

      Your Local Mission
  • Mission Insite study of your community.   This can help your church look at ministry from the perspective of outsiders especially immigrant and ethnic groups.  Contact Peter Kelder or Ben Ingebretson.
  • Connect to your neighbors and stir missional efforts in your community. Coaching and other resources available. Contact Eric LeRew.
  • Reach out to local ethnic church leaders for conversation and learning. Contact Tim Hoekstra.
  • Cultural Intelligence assessment and training.  This tool and training can help you prepare to work more effectively across cultures and can come to your leadership team meetings.  Contact Ben Ingebretson
      Church Planting
  • Meet with RCA/CRC leaders to consider partnering with others to plant a church (we will facilitate the process). Contact: Peter Kelder or Ben Ingebretson.
  • Consider becoming a host to an ethnic church plant. Weekend emphasis and discussion in your congregation about this opportunity is available. See attached brochure and contact Ben Ingebretson.
  • Seeking a hispanic planter?   Eddy Aleman from the RCA has identified qualified and assessed Hispanic church planters that may be willing to relocate to Chicagoland.

Members of RCA churches are encouraged to serve on different commissions within the denomination.  To be eligible, you need to have filled out a Profile form.  The Profile form is available on the RCA website at (Also available at that address is a document entitled Commissions and Agencies Descriptions which contains brief descriptions of the various RCA commissions, agencies, and boards.) To guarantee consideration in this year’s process, the form should be submitted by November 27, 2015. This will provide adequate time to prepare materials for consideration at the Commission on Nomination’s January meeting.

News from Camp Manitoqua
Have a BLAST this winter break – Registration has begun for our WinterBlast day camp program, a break from school, not from fun, at Camp Manitoqua and Retreat Center.  Held during winter break for grades 1-5; featuring classic camp activities, winter snow games, hot lunches, and more.  Additional information (including downloadable brochure) available at, or call our office at 815-469-2319.

Enjoy a taste of fall at the Red Oak Luncheon, a pleasant occasion for seniors, at Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center on Wednesday, December 2th.  Coffee & Rolls will be served at 10:30am.  Our program will begin at 11:00am with lunch to follow at 12:00pm.  Tours of the grounds will be available after lunch.  Cost for the event is $10.00.  Please make reservations at 815-469-2319 by November 25.

Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center’s fall retreat season has begun.  At this time, we are offering groups a 15% discount on any retreat booked for December 2015 or January 2016. Please contact Ken at 815.469.2319, or at for availability.

Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center is now hiring cooks, kitchen assistants and part-time housekeeping staff. Cooks must have food service experience; sanitation license preferred. Call 815-469-2319 for an application or contact for kitchen positions and for housekeeping.

Traits of Church Bullies… 

Bullying behavior in schools is a worldwide problem which cuts across socio-economic, racial/ethnic, and cultural lines.  It has negative consequences for the general school climate and affects a student’s ability to learn in a safe environment without fear.  Researchers claim that bullying begins as early as preschool and can intensify during the transitional stages of school life.  If a child is a victim of bullying, he/she may suffer from lifelong physical and emotional consequences.  But bullies are also affected, even into adulthood, and may have difficulty forming positive relationships.  Students who engage in bullying behaviors seem to have a need to feel powerful and in control.  They appear to derive satisfaction from inflicting suffering on others and tend to have little empathy for their victims.   Bullying in schools is a social problem that is coming into the light and being addressed in the school system.  But I wonder in the church how well we are addressing the issue of church bullies common in many congregations.

Thom Rainer takes on this issue and says that church bullies are wreaking havoc, stirring up trouble and creating dissention in the church and aren’t happy unless they are fighting a battle.  Typically they maneuver their way into an official leadership position in the church, such as the chairperson of the Elders or Deacons or the church treasurer.  Bullying in the church is not a new phenomenon; it has been around through church history.  But the stories I hear of church bullying seem to be increasing so maybe this issue of church bullies needs to be put in the space and recognized before more relational damage occurs.  Rainer identifies nine traits of church bullies:

“1. They do not recognize themselves as bullies.  To the contrary, they see themselves as necessary heroes sent to save the church from herself.

2. They have personal and self-serving agendas.  They have determined what “their” church should look like.  Any person, ministry or program that is contrary to their perceived ideal of the church must be eliminated.

3. They seek to form power alliances with weaker members in the congregation.  They will pester and persuade as they seek to convince groups, committees, and individuals to join them as allies in their cause.  Weaker staff members and church members will succumb to their forceful personalities.

4. They tend to have intense and emotional personalities.  These bullies often use the intensity of their personalities to intimidate others and get their way.

5. They are famous for employing the phrase: “People are saying…”  They love to gather tidbits of information and shape it to fit their particular agendas.

6. They find their greatest opportunities in low-expectation churches.  Many church members have an “entitlement” view of membership.  Instead of seeking to do missions and focus on those outside the body of Christ, they seek to fulfill their own needs and preferences.  Therefore, they won’t trouble themselves with confronting and dealing with church bullies.  That leads to the next issue, which is a consequence of this point.

7. They are allowed to get away with bullying because other members will not stand up to them.  I have spoken with pastors and church staff who have been attacked by church bullies.  While the bully brought them great pain, they experienced even greater hurt because most church members stood silent and allowed this to take place.

8. They create chaos and wreak havoc.  A church bully always has his (or her) next mission in mind.  While he or she may take a brief break from one bullying cause to the next, such people are not content unless they are exerting the full force of their manipulative behavior.

9. After doing their damage, bullies often move to another church. Whether members finally put their foot down and force them out, or they get bored, bullies will move elsewhere with the same kind of mission in mind. Some bullies have wreaked havoc in three or more churches.”

Church bullying can be a serious obstacle in a church because it gets in the way of being intentional about building a network of relationships, a fellowship which celebrates its gifts and confesses its failures, and where all people and ministries are valued.  It can affect a congregation’s ability to be focused on ministries outside their doors because so much energy is consumed with intimidation within the walls of the church.  If we are to be a church that is transformed and transforming and living and loving like Jesus, church bullying must be halted.

— Wayne Van Regenmorter

November Schedule:
9:  Ridley Assessment/Oakbrook, IL
10:  Meeting/Trinity College/Palos Heights, IL
11:  Coaching; Meeting/Valparaiso, IN
12:  Office
13:  Conference Call/Reformed Community Church Consistory/Venice, FL
14:  Travel to Mason City, IA for Church Anniversary
15:  Preach/125th Anniversary/Zion Reformed Church /Sheffield, IA
16:  Office
17:  Meeting/Crown Point, IN; Classis Intervention Team Meeting/Faith Church/Dyer, IN
18:  Catalyst Meeting/First Reformed Church/Friesland, WI
19:  Office
20:  Conference Call
21:  Off
22: Sunday Worship

Wayne’s contact information:
10088 Prairie Knoll Ct.
St. John, IN 46373
Mobile: (941) 302-1281

The following are some links you may find helpful…

7 Causes of Team Idleness and A Few Suggestions to Help – Every team, regardless of their health, can go through times of team idleness.  Church consultant Ron Edmondson explores reasons for this and gives suggestions to help move a team forward.

From Myths to Ministry – Adam Copeland examines the myths surrounding young adults and what they do and don’t want from church.

Community Engagement and the Rural Church – In declining rural communities, churches are some of the few viable institutions. They can use this position to help strengthen the wider community, writes the rural church fellow at the Institute for Emerging Issues.

How Not to Make DisciplesWant to know how NOT to make disciples? In this humorous and insightful 2 minute video clip from the Verge Conference, Francis Chan begins to answer the question, “How can we make true disciples of Jesus?”

November Schedule:
9: Office
10: Office; Coaching
11: RSMA Staff Meeting/Valparaiso, IN
12: Vacation
13: Vacation
16: Vacation
17:  Classis Intervention Team Meeting/Faith Church/Dyer, IN
18: Office
19: Office
20: Vacation

Chad’s Contact Information:
2104 Campbell Street
Valparaiso, IN 46383
Office: (815) 464-9181
Mobile: (765) 237-7678

Ben Ingebretson has been facilitating the church planting movement since 2013.

Ben’s Contact Information:
765 Eastridge Dr. NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49525
Mobile: (616) 481-7566

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