The Multi-Racial Task Force of the Regional Synod of Mid-Americahas its next meeting meeting December 9, 12-4 pm at Calvary Reformed Church in South Holland, IL. This team works to help our regional and the RCA move closer to a multi-racial future freed from racism. If anyone would be interested in joining the team or checking out the next meeting, please contact Alfonzo Surrett.
Millennial Voice for Peace Washington, DC Advocacy Summit Wednesday January 7-9, 2015: Millennial Voice for Peace (MVP) is a coalition of young Christians committed to designing, organizing, and implementing a national campaign for peace and justice in the Holy Land. Convened by World Vision, this group has Christians from across the U.S., especially Millennials, who are becoming increasingly educated, aware, and engaged in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. The MVP Advocacy Summit in Washington, D.C., is an occasion for a process of discernment and action. It is an opportunity to meet young leaders from across the country, learn from experts in the field, share your message of peace, and discern how Christian Millennials can join together as an instrument for peace. For more information, email email@example.com.
Young Adult Delegate to 2015 General Synod: Next year’s General Synod will be held at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, IL from June 11-16. Each year we can send one young adult to be a corresponding delegate. That person participates like a regular delegate but is not able to vote. A young adult delegate is one who is somewhere around traditional college age. In addition to participating in the regular business of the General Synod the young adult delegates form around the country have activities together. Do you know of someone who might be a candidate for this youth delegate? Keep this in mind as you might see these folks during Thanksgiving and Christmas times. Contact Chad Schuitema with or for information.
Women Corresponding Delegates to 2015 General Synod: The regional synod can also send up to two women who would be corresponding delegates to General Synod. These delegates participate like regular delegates but are not able to vote. We hope the voice of women from this region can better be represented at General Synod and also that these delegates can share this experience with other women in our region. If you know someone who might be interested or are interested yourself, please contact Chad Schuitema with or for information.
Urban Ministry Asking: This year the regional synod received grant requests totaling more than $100,000! While we wish we could fully fund every request, we were only able to fund approximately $30,000 of those requests. The money to fund these urban ministries comes from an asking we have to every church of $4 per member and/or $2 per Sunday School participant. Would you consider helping to fund urban ministry within the regional synod in 2015? For more information please contact Chad Schuitema.
Ridder Church Renewal: If your church may be interested in Ridder Church Renewal a new group of churches and teams will be starting in the Fall of 2015. A preview event to learn more information, ask questions, and learn what RCR is all about will be held at Heidel House in Green Lake, WI February 6 & 7. For more information, contact Chad Schuitema.
Another Way of Doing Life 2015 Winter Forum with Shane Claiborne; February 27-28, 2015 in the Wisconsin Dells. Christians are meant to be radical non-conformists, interrupting the patterns of our world with prophetic imagination—a holy counterculture. Join the Wisconsin Council of Churches and Winter Forum Presenter Shane Claiborne for a weekend of exploration around what it means to be both disciples and church in a culture that seems increasingly at odds with the heart of the gospel. The retreat will focus on: The Irresistible Revolution, Christian Troublemakers, The Economics of Rebirth, and Resurrecting Church. For more information or to sign up, click HERE.
Children’s Ministry Director Position Open: Does working with children energize you? Are you looking to help create generations of kids and families that love Jesus and want to make a positive impact in their neighborhood and community? Join the staff of North Ridge Community Church to develop your career as the Children’s Ministry Director. North Ridge Community Church is a casual and contemporary bible based church that was planted in Eldridge, Iowa. For more information email the church.
News from Camp Manitoqua Enjoy a taste of fall at the Red Oak Luncheon, a pleasant occasion for seniors, at Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center on Wednesday, December 3th. 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 30.
Have a BLAST this winter break – Registration has begun for Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center’s WinterBlast day camp program, a break from school, not from fun. 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 www.manitoqua.org/winterblast, or call our office at (815) 469-2319.
Women, please join Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center for a Garden Getaway in the middle of winter as we dig into Ecclesiastes 3, reflecting on God’s timing in the seasons of our lives, on January 9-10, 2015. This overnight retreat for women, with biblical teaching from materials from Group Publishing, group worship, and small group discussions, will be a rich and rewarding experience. For more information visit www.manitoqua.org/womens-retreat, or call our office at (815) 469-2319.
SUMMER STAFF: Have you considered spending a summer in ministry?
Applications for 2015 summer staff at Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center
are available online at www.manitoqua.org and are being accepted starting November 1.
There is no story this issue. If you wish to be part of a future issue, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
*Telling our stories is a way for us to encourage each other and to share what the Spirit is doing through the churches and people of our synod. As you share yours, others may be empowered to do similar things or the Spirit may use it as a starting point for another idea to reach people for Christ. We encourage you to share!
A Grateful Heart…
Max Lucado once wrote: “The grateful heart is like a magnet sweeping over the day, collecting reasons for gratitude.” As followers of Jesus who have the privilege of serving the King of Kings and Lord of Lords we have realized the spiritual power of cultivating a grateful heart. Being engaged in the lives of people who are broken and wounded, sharing the Gospel message, loving the under-resourced can be challenging – even frustrating at times. It’s easy to focus on the complaints and criticisms that come our way as leaders, rather than counting the blessings that God pours into our lives every day. Having a grateful heart is a spiritual matter because it ultimately causes me to stop and reflect on the source of all that goodness – the work of God in my life. And if God is that source then expressing gratitude always changes my perspective away from life’s challenges and leaves me trusting God for the future. Let’s join the Apostle Paul in a shout out: “Give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:20 NLT)In another week or so many of us will be preparing to journey toward home and spend some time with our extended family. For many it will be a joyful time filled with warmth, love, good food and renewed connection. For others, going back home is filled with painful abusive memories, the loss of a loved one, or putting up with your slightly eccentric uncle. But it Thanksgiving Day and this is your family of origin. You will gather around a table graced with an overstuffed bird or perfectly cooked ham; the room will be overflowing with the smells of delicious, rich food which would make your cardiologist groan. In that moment when people gather for food and connection, is there a way to stop and allow the aroma of having a grateful heart fill the room? Alex Absalom in a blob suggests 10 practical ideas to allow people to express a spirit of thankfulness and gratitude to God – the Good Giver. His ideas are listed below. Maybe one idea could be chosen which would be appropriate to be shared before joining together in the family feast.
“1. Go around the table and invite everyone to name one thing, one person and one place for which they are thankful.
2. Have the table decide what is the funniest thing for which someone is thankful!
3. Bring a themed activity for the younger children – perhaps coloring, making a craft or building a Lego turkey – which they then share with the adults and explain what they’ve done and why.
4. Ask the children and teens at the table if they can suggest some benefits of being thankful. Don’t be satisfied with bland answers!
5. Copy the original Pilgrims – after their first brutal year, at Thanksgiving each person was given 5 kernels of corn beside their plate as a reminder of their starvation rations. They then named 5 things for which they were thankful to God.
6. As a family, commit to an act of service that lives out your thankfulness. (You might need to arrange this in advance, or agree to do it at a later date, or even have something practical ready for that day (raking the leaves of an elderly neighbor, etc).
7. As a family, collect a thankfulness offering of money, which you give to a needy person or cause with whom you are all connected.
8. A fun visual game: put a big glass vase in the middle of the table. As the meal winds down, each person takes a cup of water, says what they are thankful for, and pours the water into the vase. Eventually it will overflow – part of the fun is seeing who will be that tipping point person, so give them a prize or a forfeit! (If you put a big platter or tray underneath the vase then the mess will be easy to clear up.) The point is a simple one to highlight: God’s blessings to us are overflowing in abundance).
9. If you are an active sort of family, see if there is a sponsored 5k run that day (the local Turkey Trot, etc! – Alex must not live in Chicago). It might mean an early Thanksgiving morning, but you could run together and raise money for a cause that is important to your family.
10. ‘The Prayer’ – For some of your family, the grace at Thanksgiving is the only time they ever pray with others. If you are known as being a committed Christian, you might well be asked to lead the prayer, so come prepared! Use simple, non-religious language that points people to the source of all blessing, as you thank God your Heavenly Father.”
Alex says, just don’t go on too long – you won’t be thanked for food that has half-cooled! May you have a wonderful thanksgiving and enjoy giving thanks to God.
— Wayne Van Regenmorter
18: Meeting/Hammond, IN
19: Meeting/Christ’s Family Church/Davenport, IA; Meeting/Spring Valley Reformed Church/Fulton, IL
20: Meeting/Oak Park, IL
21: Coaching; Office
23: Sunday Worship
24: Meeting/Tinley Park, IL
26: Management Team Conference Call
Wayne’s contact information:
10088 Prairie Knoll Ct.
St. John, IN 46373
Mobile: (941) 302-1281
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
The following are some links you may find helpful…Hearing God Speak Communally – Lynne Baab writes on how to listen to each other in community in order to make better decisions as leaders in the church.
11 Practices of Missional Spirituality – These practices range from humility to worship and practicing loving your neighbor: by practicing presence, by practicing refuge, and by practicing hospitality.
Ten Antidotes to Christian Cliches – Christian cliches, those phrases many of us utter without even realizing that others have no idea what we’re talking about, can get in the way of our witness. This is the 4th article in a series and deals with ways to not use these overused words as ways to communicate the Gospel.