10088 Prairie Knoll Ct.
St. John, IN 46373
Mobile: (941) 302-1281
2104 Campbell Street
Valparaiso, IN 46383
Office: (815) 464-9181
Mobile: (765) 237-7678
President: Bob Wierenga (Wisconsin)
Vice President: Jason DeVries (New Thing)
Past President: Edie Lenz (Illinois)
RCA Global Mission Responds to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria: if you would like to donate to the hurricane relief happening in Texas, Florida, and on the Islands of St. Croix and St. Thomas, you can click here.
Pastor Jim Stralow passed away passed away Thursday, September 21, 2017, at Freeport Memorial Hospital. Jim pastored the Reformed Church in Forreston, IL for 27 years until his retirement in 2009. Through the years he served at various times as Classis President, Vice president and Clerk. Funeral services will be held 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, September 26, 2017, at Silver Creek Reformed Church, 326 S Bunker Hill Rd, German Valley, IL, with Rev. Grant Mulder and Rev. Ken Zuithoff officiating. Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Monday at Burke-Tubbs Funeral Home in Freeport, 504 N. Walnut Ave., Freeport, IL. Burial will be in Silver Creek Cemetery. A memorial has been established for Reformed Church Missions and Forreston Fire Department. Please sign Pastor Jim’s guestbook and share a remembrance at www.burketubbs.com.
Reformed Benefits Association and Fidelity will be holding a retirement and financial planning online seminar Wednesday, September 27, 2017 at 1pm Central. Join Fidelity for an educational web workshop, where you’ll learn strategies and tips to help you manage your financial future with confidence and education on retirement options. This workshop will help you understand key investing concepts, common investment types, how to select a mix of different investments, the benefits of investing in your workplace savings plan and how to choose your investment approach. To register, click here.
Urban Ministry Grants from the Regional Synod of Mid-America are for ministries to, in, and/or for areas considered urban in geography of our regional synod. The minimum criterion is that it is a ministry to, in, and/or for the urban area with a vision, plans, and goals for outreach into the community. Those ministries applying for a grant that aren’t in a traditionally geographic urban setting should take into account that the ideal of the grant is that it be used for those living in geographically urban areas, multi-cultural areas, and lower socio-economic areas. The synod’s goal is to see lives changed through the work of Christ and the Gospel. 2018 will be the last year for Urban Ministry Grantsand the deadline to apply is September 29, 2018. You can read the guidelines and download an application by clicking here.
“Church finances don’t have to be overwhelming.” That’s the catchphrase of Church Excel, offered through the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. Thanks to a grant we received, you can subscribe for free to access tons of resources: webinars, ebooks, tax guides, and more.
The Regional Synod of Mid-America has launched the Ministerial Excellence Fund. The purpose of this Fund is to assist with alleviating some of the financial pressures facing clergy in their pastoral ministry. This fund is made available to both Ministers of Word and Sacrament and Commissioned pastors rostered in Illinois Classis, Wisconsin Classis, and Illiana-Florida Classis. Each classis began this fund with $10,000 which was matched by the Reformed Church in America for a total starting balance of $20,000 per classis. You will need to download and read the Ministerial Excellence Guidelines prior to filling out an application. Once the application is filled out, please email it to email@example.com.
News from Camp Manitoqua Is your church holding a retreat soon? Consider having it at Camp Manitoqua! Reasonable rates, excellent location, and the beauty of God’s creation will surely enhance your experience. If interested, please email Nathan@manitoqua.org or call the office at 815-469-2319.
STORIES OF CELEBRATION
We share stories of celebration to glorify God. This month’s story come from New Thing Classis. We hope these stories inspire and encourage others in our region. If you’d like to share what God is doing in your church (or classis), please email Chad.
The Regional Synod Assembly recently voted to move Trinity Reformed Church on Munster, IN from Illiana-Florida Classis to New Thing Classis. New Thing Classis is moving the Hammond Campus of Faith Church to the Munster location and will form a Munster Campus of Faith Church. The newly formed church launched September 24 and is led by Pastor Charlie Contreras.Faith Munster is a diverse group of people from different walks of life who are on a journey together to love God and love people. The church is made up of women, men, and children who are exploring faith in Jesus Christ and seeking to apply his teachings to everyday life. The church is called by God to be a blessing to Munster and the surrounding communities. This is done by building relationships, serving and demonstrating God’s love in tangible ways in the community. The Regional Synod celebrates the ministry of Trinity and ask for God’s blessings on this new Munster campus.
THOUGHTS FROM WAYNE
The Costs of Evangelism…
I’m certain that at one time or another we’ve all had that feeling deep inside that we should be telling someone about Jesus. Maybe that feeling of anxiety came from our desire of wanting to invite someone to a special service on a Sunday morning but we never actually did it. Have you ever wondered why sharing the gospel and inviting others to hear the “good news” is often accompanied with so much tension and uneasiness? Jesus’ command is clear: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you…I am with you always.” (Matthew 28:19-20) As God’s people we are to participate in God’s mission, which is to bring redemption and restoration to this world that God created. We are called to align ourselves with Jesus’ life and purpose. So why have church leaders grown strangely silent about evangelism in making disciples, much less actually doing it? Thom Rainer suggests that church leaders and others pay a high cost when they become intentionally evangelistic. Sometimes it is easier just to keep our mouths shut about the gospel. Rainer identifies these costs for being evangelistic:
1. “It is spiritual warfare. Satan and his demonic hordes do not want people to know the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though the manifestations of demonic opposition are many, you can be assured the evangelistic leader will confront such opposition again and again. 2. You will be viewed as narrow-minded. John 14:6 does not sit well with culture. Though Jesus himself said He was the only way, truth and life, leaders will be rejected and opposed for such ‘narrow-minded’ thinking. 3. Something else must be sacrificed when you are an evangelistic leader. Your time is limited. You have sermons to prepare, hospital visits to make, and counseling appointments. You have way too many meetings. Hardly a day goes by without a new and unexpected crisis arising. You must sacrifice something else to take time to share the gospel with others. 4. Some of your members will complain. You have some church members who will complain about anything that does not serve them personally. It may be headed under the passive-aggressive guise of ‘I’m not being fed,’ but you can be assured some of your members will oppose your leadership in evangelism. 5. New converts will be seen as threats or inconveniences in your church. True story. In one of the churches I served as pastor, a lady tried to get me fired because the ‘new people’ were ‘messing up our church.’ New Christians are needy. Some longer-term members don’t like to give up their comforts to help others. 6. Discussing theology is easier than doing theology. I wish we spent an equal amount of time sharing the gospel as we do talking and debating theology. Yes, we need to take bold stands for the truth. But we don’t need just to stand there; we need to do and go. 7. You will have to break out of your holy huddles. It’s more comfortable hanging out with people who are like us and who believe like we do. But you will not have that luxury if you become an intentional evangelistic leader in your church. You will discover new relationships with non-Christians, which means you can’t spend all your time with Christians.”
Yes, there are costs to being an evangelistic leader. But the benefits are far greater. Do we really believe that God can actually do something through us? Do we believe that we are his ambassadors here on earth? Do we believe that He is going to use us to transform lives and transform this world? Let’s be people who anticipate the powerful work of the Holy Spirit and believe that God can redeem and restore our families, friends, and neighbors. It will make an eternal difference!
— Wayne Van Regenmorter
LINKS YOU MAY FIND HELPFUL
Leading Small Teams – Whether we are running a department or an entire organization, leading small teams can have its own special challenges. Long-tenured staff have institutional knowledge and idiosyncrasies, newbies can have a hard time getting into sync with co-workers who finish each other’s sentences, and everyone knows the quickest and best way to get on each other’s nerves. To avoid slipping into comfortable, less-productive roles, consider these three secrets to ensure continued success leading small teams.
How Every Problem Is A Leadership Problem – The author states: “One of the things I learned from one of my mentors is that every problem is a leadership problem. At first, I took issue with this idea, since I’m a big fan of personal responsibility and feel people need to own their mistakes. As I’ve grown my team and my leadership abilities, I have come to realize the truth in this statement. Every problem truly is a leadership problem.”