2104 Campbell Street
Valparaiso, IN 46383
Office: (815) 464-9181
Mobile: (765) 237-7678
President: Jason DeVries (New Thing)
Vice President: Bob Wierenga (Wisconsin)
At-Large Members: Dale Buettner (Illiana-Florida), Scott Stephan (Illinois), Chad DeJager (Chicago)
Honoring Our Stories Women’s Retreat – The Regional Synod of Mid-America, Chicago Classis and Christ Community Church warmly invite all women to join us in Lemont, Illinois, for a day of spiritual refreshment, story sharing and meaningful fellowship with other sisters in Christ. We will gather on Saturday morning beginning with worship and prayer. There will be an interactive Bible study, workshops, reflections and plenty of time for connecting and conversation. All meals and materials will be included for a cost of $20.00. Register here: http://www.ccconbell.com/event/honoring-our-stories-womens-retreat/
Local retreat leaders are Rev. Jewel Willis Thomas, Rev. Caryn Baham, Pastor Pam Otten, and Rev. Marge Vander Wagen. For more information, contact Rev. Jewel Willis Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org or 630-257-7770.
New Emotional Maturity/Having Difficult Conversations Workshops will be held in our region on November 23 at American Reformed Church in DeMotte, IN. Also during these workshops, participants will have a chance to examine and discuss the 3 scenarios put forward by the Vision 2020 Team of the RCA. Jim Herrington and Trisha Taylor facilitate the Vision 2020 team and will lead us in these workshops. Lunch will be provided and there is no cost for this event. You are encouraged to bring as many people from your church as possible. We have held similar workshops in Illinois and Wisconsin and they have been very helpful.
Often we engage in destructive conflict and make things worse or we walk away, resigned and cynical. How can we hold on to what we believe and also stay connected to those who see things differently? How do we stay calm and thoughtful when the emotions in and around us are so powerful? In this workshop, we will learn principles and practices for managing ourselves as the tension around us and in us rises. We will learn how God will help us grow our own maturity in the face of conflict in ways that help us to be healthier and more effective in our congregations, our classes and our families. RSVP by emailing Chad by November 18.
Learn more about short-term mission trips through theRCA’s Volunteer Engagement Office by checking out their Facebook page and viewing a recent video that can help you learn more about volunteering with RCA Global Mission and also give you a glimpse into the volunteer experiences that are available
The RCA’s Mission 2020 will be held in Orlando, FL January 16-18, 2020 and will be a festival to God’s goodness. Throughout the three-day event, attendees will celebrate God’s goodness over 377 years of mission and together imagine the future of RCA Global Mission. Registration is now open by visiting mission2020.rca.org. Scholarship for the next generation of leaders are available by clicking HERE and the deadline is September 20 for applying for these scholarships.
Minutes of General Synod 2019 are now available by clicking HERE.
Board of Benefits Services Annual Insurance and Retirement Benefits Booklet is now available by clicking HERE.
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.
The 2020 RSMA Compensation Guidelines are available by clicking HERE. These guidelines are yet to be approved by our individual classes at their fall meetings but can help guide churches as they budget for this next year. Also available on this page of our website are helpful resources for church personnel committees.
NEWS FROM CAMP MANITOQUA Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center is currently hiring lead cooks and food service assistants. Shifts needed are mid-week days (ideal for moms with children in school), mid-week evenings and weekends all days. High School students and college students are ideal candidates as well! Fall season begins immediately after summer and stays busy through mid-November. Visit Manitoqua.org/jobs or contact email@example.com or the office at 815.469.2319 for an application.
Teachers and Parents: Have your preschooler’s classattend our Fall Preschool Days, an educationally fun day for preschool groups, at Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center, Wednesday, October 2 and Thursday, October 3. This outing includes a native animal hike, campfire stories, playing our kid-sized Candy Land game, our pumpkin patch, and more. For more information visit Manitoqua.org/events, or call our office at 815.469.2319. RSVP required for this event, minimum group size is six.
Storm the base, capture the flag, and win the game! Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center invites you out to one of the most epic days of paintball you will ever experience on October 19 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 marker and mask rental, 1000 paintballs, and a box lunch). Register online at Manitoqua.org/eventsby October 15. Ages: 7thgrade and older. Questions: call the office at 815.469.2319.
THOUGHTS FROM WAYNE
Job Descriptions… One of my favorite job description stories is about Rudy, a person who had been hired to be on staff at Frazer Memorial Church in Montgomery, Alabama. Having been hired to coordinate volunteers of the programs of the church, he asked Pastor John Ed Matheson for a job description. Upon his arrival at the church he asked for it again…and again. Finally, after weeks on the job, he came back and asked yet again. Finally, John Ed took out a loose-leaf sheet of paper and scribbled these words: “JOB DESCRIPTION – Don’t ever let me catch you doing anything a layperson can do.” And he handed it over. That was it. Yet that one sentence spoke volumes.
I know of a job description that even simpler and much more powerful. It’s just four words – LOVE AS GOD LOVES. That’s it. That’s the job description for everyone who is a follower of Christ.
On the one hand, you might say, “That’s ALL there is to it?” On the other hand, you may say, “there’s NO WAY I can love that much.” Actually, both are true. It’s as simple as loving as Christ has first loved us…period. God does not expect us to be successful, impressive, or destined for greatness. And yet it takes a lifetime journey to be transformed and challenged by the depths of that love, fully expressed in the life, teachings, and sacrifice of Christ.
Mother Teresa said, “We must grow in love, and to do this we must go on loving and loving and giving and giving until it hurts – the way Jesus did. Do ordinary things with extraordinary love.” I believe that last line is the mark of any church community.
There’s a wonderful story about a couple that took their young son to a restaurant. Surprised and pleased, they consented when he asked to say the blessing. “God is great, God is good. Thank you for the food, and I would even thank you more if Mom gets ice cream for dessert. Amen!” While his top-of-the-lungs prayer caused a few chuckles from nearby tables, one woman was not amused. “That’s the problem with our country these days, we don’t teach our children how to pray. Imagine that, asking God for ice cream. Well, I never…”
The boy looked up with tears in his eyes, “Daddy, is God mad at me?” While taking his son in his lap to comfort him, an elderly man walked up to the table. “I happen to know that God liked your prayer very much, and…” moving to a stage whisper, “I think she should pray for some ice cream, too. Ice cream is good for the soul sometimes.”
Naturally, they ordered ice cream for dessert. The boy looked down at his sundae thoughtfully, and then something happened that the parents would never forget. He got up, took the ice cream to the lady at the other table, and said, “Here, this is for you. Ice cream is good for the soul sometimes, and my soul is good already!”
Share a little ice cream with somebody. Practice ordinary things with extraordinary love. Be transformed into the image of the one who embodies Love itself.
— Wayne Van Regenmorter
LINKS YOU MAY FIND USEFUL
Scarcity Brings Clarity: 3 Ways to View Scarcity as an Asset – We often thing, during times of scarcity in the church that we have nothing to offer. However, scarcity can force us to consider options both in vision and strategy that we may not have necessarily seen before. We become more effective and efficient both in the short and the long term.
Trends Impacting Your Church (Whether You Know It Or Not) – What can we learn from cutting edge analytics in the church? One possibility is to look at the trends beyond the silo of Mainline church. Once you grant yourself the freedom to become curious about the shifts in our wider culture, suddenly the answers to these questions become obvious even as new questions become apparent.
How to Lead When You Don’t Know Where You’re Going – How do you lead an organization stuck between an ending and a new beginning—when the old way of doing things no longer works but a way forward is not yet clear? I call such in-between times liminal seasons—threshold times when the continuity of tradition disintegrates and uncertainty about the future fuels doubt and chaos. In a liminal season, it simply is not helpful to pretend we understand what needs to happen next. But leaders can still lead.
8 Faulty Assumptions of Non-Growing Churches – Let’s be honest, most churches are not growing. Not every non-growing church gives evidence of the following faulty assumptions; nevertheless, many do, and these assumptions help us to understand why the church isn’t growing. See if your church lives by (even unintentionally) any of these assumptions.
Hospitality Can Help Conquer Loneliness – One of the reasons hospitality was important in the early church was how dangerous it was to travel. In addition to all manner of risks from thieves and bandits, travelers faced great exposure to the elements by road and sea, and sometimes the hunger of wild animals. The parable of the Good Samaritan highlights this and the author of the article brings it into contemporary context.