DATE CHANGE: Creating Congregational Cultures of Generosity (CCCG) is an opportunity for any RSMA church to be in an RCA learning community led by Ken Eriks and the Lake Institute focused on growing a culture of generosity in congregations. In three one-day seminars, pastors and ministry leaders learn to unearth and energize congregational generosity by exploring the significant and necessary steps to creating lasting cultural change. Interactive segments of CCCG explore theology, the role of adaptive leadership, fiscal transparency, and the importance of donor care. Participants leave with action steps for both laity and clergy to explore and experience generosity. The dates for this learning community are November Nov. 19, 2016, January 14, 2017, and March 4, 2017 and it will be held at Christ Community Church in Lemont, IL. For more information, click HERE. If your church is interested in joining this learning community, please contact Chad Schuitema.
A new website and a new tool to help your church find help for its mission and ministries is available from the RCA’s Transformed and Transforming staff. The updated Transformed and Transforming website can be found by clicking HERE. To connect with RCA leaders and resources to help your church, simply go to this quiz.
Green Standards is a company that has helped one of our region’s churches save thousands of dollars by providing access to safe, functional office equipment. Check out Green Standards online to get free, gently-used office furniture and equipment delivered for free.
The 2017 RSMA Salary Schedule, Rules, and Guidelines is now available. These guidelines are recommended to classes to adopt as their own.
There are many resources available on the Regional Synod of Mid-America’s website such as a pulpit supply list, information on personnel committees, prayer resources, and disciple resources. For more, visit: http://www.rsmam.org/resources/
News from Camp Manitoqua Teachers and Parents: Have your preschooler’s class attend our Fall Preschool Days, an edu-fun day for preschool groups, for an autumn hands-on learning experience, at Camp Manitoqua and Retreat Center, Wednesday, October 5, Thursday, October 6, or Friday, October 7. This outing includes a native animal hike, camp fire stories, playing our kid-sized Candy Land game, our pumpkin patch, and more – costumes encouraged! For more information visit www.manitoqua.org/events, or call our office Mon.-Fri. 8:30am-5pm at 815-469-2319. RSVP required for this classroom attendance.
Experience the Oak Leaf Festival, an autumn event for families, youth groups, and more, at Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center on October 8th, from 10am-3pm. Activities include tree & wall climbing, creation exploration, family scavenger hunts, campfire, inflatable jumpies, wagon rides, autumn arts & crafts, and food treats. $6 admission fee (2 and under are free), additional costs may apply for treats and climbing. All details available at our website: www.manitoqua.org/events.
Storm the base, capture the flag, and win the game! Camp Manitoqua and Retreat Center invites you out to one of the most epic days of paintball you will ever experience on October 22 from 10am – 4pm! Come play a full day of paintball on our wooded course. Space is limited; registration processed on first come first serve basis. Cost is $36 (includes gun and mask rental, 1000 paintballs, and a box lunch). Register online at www.manitoqua.org/events by RSVP by October 19. Ages: 7th grade and older. Questions: call the office at 815.469.2319.
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 2016 or January 2017. Please contact Ken at 815.469.2319, or at firstname.lastname@example.org for availability.
STORIES OF CELEBRATION
We share stories of celebration to glorify God. We hope these stories inspire and encourage others in our region. If you’d like to share what God is doing in your church, please email Chad.
THOUGHTS FROM WAYNE
Church Leaders Under Pressure…
If you have ever attended a Ridder Church Renewal event you have probably seen this demonstrated: take an ordinary can of Coke and shake it for a minute or so. Then ask someone to open it. Everyone knows before the tab is pulled what is going to happen. That’s the thing about pressure; you know that something messy is going to happen. When something or someone is under constant pressure, there are always messy consequences. Those consequences are often not easily managed. That’s true for objects but it is also true for people.
Mike Bonem writes about church staff members and volunteers in churches and ministries who are feeling the reality of pressure in the life of the church today. There may be pressure when things are growing and going well because the fruit of mission and ministry is easily seen and there is a desire to be even more fruitful. On the other hand, there is pressure in the struggles of ministry, especially when leaders have a passionate desire to turn things around and momentum is slow. In either one of these scenarios what should a church leader be looking for when people are under pressure? Bonem identifies four things:
“1. Look for signs. The slight bulge in the can is a warning that cannot be overlooked. What are the signs that a colleague is under pressure? A flash of anger? Withdrawing from group conversations? You can’t act to relieve the pressure if you’re not aware of the problem.
2. Recognize a fine line. You need to be passionate about your mission, and you want others to feel the same passion. You want people who are so committed to the organization that they will give 110 percent. But you need to realize that unhealthy pressure lurks just beyond healthy passion.
3. Consider other causes. The pressure in a Coke can is activated because someone shook up the can, not because anything the can has done. The people who work with you may be under pressure because of problems at home or financial difficulties, but pressure may appear in the workplace.
4. Remember that a “little” mess can be big. The amount of Coke that is sprayed onto you when a pressurized can is opened may be insignificant. But just a little spill can make quite a mess. The same is true of the ways that pressure affects people. You may think a situation is ‘no big deal,’ only to find that it turns into something much more serious.”
So as you take a look at your current context and situation, where are the pressure-induced “bulges” among your volunteers or church staff that you need to have some conversation about? What steps will you put in place to prevent the consequences of an unexpected mess?
— Wayne Van Regenmorter
LINKS YOU MAY FIND HELPFUL
How to Give Negative Feedback When Your Organization Is Nice – Many often hear feedback as criticism and in the church we definitely don’t want to hurt people’s feelings. But perhaps the biggest opportunity for improvement in our churches is to create a more candid and feedback-rich culture. What does everyone know that we are saying nothing about? What do you know that you don’t have the courage to say? What do others know about you that isn’t getting shared?
Welcome to the Church of Holy Chaos – Prepare to be blown away by the Spirit at this church in Asheville, North Carolina, where a radical experiment in street ministry is supported by a mainline denomination.
Why We Are No Longer A Welcoming Church – From the article: “Like so many congregations, we’ve sunk an amazing amount of time and energy into becoming a welcoming church. We changed worship styles, trained greeters and ushers, wore name tags, brewed coffee, went to workshops on hospitality and put our friendliest people in the most prominent places on Sunday mornings. My congregation realized that we had been misplacing our emphasis. Welcoming, from a missional perspective, is passive. It denotes waiting for visitors and guests to drop by.’
Asset Mapping Key to Congregation Growth and Vision – A lot of congregations are struggling because they’ve gotten into a rut doing the same things over and over again hoping for a different result. Asset mapping both your own congregation and the community can help give a fresh perspective to ministry.
The Need for Courageous Leaders – How often have powerful members of congregations been allowed to undermine the direction of a ministry? How often have rooted relationships, personal preferences or treasured traditions replaced God’s mission at the center of congregational life? How often has unchristian behavior been tolerated to keep from losing members of a congregation? How often has the “tail wagged the dog’ in congregational life? How often have the loudest, most anxious and immature voices carried the congregational day? How often have leaders lacked the courage to exercise discipline in congregational life? How often has the credibility of the witness of the church been compromised by inappropriate attitudes and behavior on the part of Christian folks?
*This blog is from the ministry arm of the Regional Synod of the Great Lakes. For more content like this, you can visit their site at www.luminexusa.org