2104 Campbell Street
Valparaiso, IN 46383
Office: (815) 464-9181
Mobile: (765) 237-7678
President: Bob Wierenga (Wisconsin)
Vice President: Dale Buettner (Illiana-Florida)
At-Large Members: Jason DeVries (New Thing), Scott Stephan (Illinois), Chad DeJager (Chicago)
The RCA is launching a Solo Pastor Leadership Cohort – Solo pastors wear many hats and engage in many roles within the church – often feeling alone. The RCA Leadership team wants to walk alongside you and be with you through the ups and downs. This will be a cohort for solo pastors to receive training, hone leadership skills, and increase the focus and vitality of your church’s mission and ministry. The cohort will be a holistic journey that will develop self-leadership, team leadership, and organizational leadership. As a cohort, you’ll meet via a 75–90 minute video call twice a month for nine months. Each cohort will have up to six people, so space is limited! Apply to join the cohort today by clicking HERE!
The Regional Synod of Mid-America will be reducing its assessments by $1.00 per member in 2021. Due to some staff transitions and sound financial management, we will be reducing our overall assessment to churches to $16.50 per member. The RCA has also reduced its 2021 assessment by $2.29 per confessing member for a total assessment of $52.01.
The Salary Committee of the RSMA recently updated our Compensation Guidelines which we submit to each classis for their own approval. You can find those guidelines HERE. Please note: these guidelines are not official for your classis until your classis votes on them at their Fall meetings. The Personnel Committees section of our website continues to house good resources for all churches and you are encouraged to explore them.
The RCA recently recognized 16 new church plants – many of which are in our own Classis de las Naciones (Classis of the Nations). God continues to do amazing work in our denomination and these new churches and the people they are reaching, continues to signify that work. You can read more about these plants HERE.
You can continue to find all of the RCA’s COVID-19 resourcesHERE.
The RCA continues to offer free/reduced fee Spiritual Direction (and coaching) during the Pandemic – to learn more, and find a spiritual director, click HERE.
Free Christian Counseling for Pastors and Church Employees – 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.
NEWS FROM CAMP MANITOQUA
To get the most up to date information, please check out their updates HERE.
THOUGHTS FROM WAYNE
Is God Hiding From Us?
In most churches the first Sunday after Labor Day is considered “Kick Off” Sunday when churches launch the Fall season: people are back from summer vacations, new programs are introduced and there’s new energy and excitement in the air. But this Fall is different! Families and single folks are not all gathered at the church building, kids are not in their classrooms because many people are at home worshipping in a new online reality. For many pastors and church leaders this picture of Fall Kick Off has led to dashed expectations and disappointment of things returning to normal.
A pastor friend of mine, Tim Breen, shared some thoughts on this that I want to reflect on with you as he asked: “Is God Still Paying Attention?’’ He noted the expectations of various futurists, who by the year 2020, projected that most things would be figured out. In 2020, we’d be traveling from place to place in flying cars powered by hydrogen. Arthur C. Clarke imagined people wouldn’t need to travel for vacations because they’d live in flying houses. The Space Studies Board of NASA believed that by 2018 humans would land on Mars. Nikola Tesla, the electronic genius, thought that by 2020 people would stop drinking coffee. Got that one wrong! Ray Kurzweil predicted that by 2020 life spans would extend to 100 or more and people’s work weeks would be compressed to 26 hours – our lives would be harmonious and peaceful.
But we don’t live into that kind of current reality. An invisible virus in China made its way to every corner of our planet and has changed society in a variety of ways. Racism and injustice have divided our country, leading to rioting and protests, some which have grown violent and destructive. The wildfires in California, Oregon, and Australia have cost people’s lives and destroyed their homes. The bottom line is that 2020 has not met our expectations. We’re living in a VUCA world – Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. 1) Volatile – the stock markets rises and falls; COVID-19 number go up and down; 2) Uncertain – the upcoming Presidential election, need I say more; 3) Complex – we have more data than ever before and social media; 4) Ambiguous – two people look at the exact same scientific data but interpret it differently; should we wear masks or shouldn’t we. With all of this going on in the world and in our personal lives it begs these questions: Does God not see what’s going on in the world right now? Is God tuned out or on vacation? Why doesn’t God do something to change all this pain and suffering?
This is not the first time in history these questions have been asked. Habakkuk the prophet wrote, “How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you ‘Violence!’ but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.” Habakkuk 1: 2-4 (NIV) The prophet is asking, God, are you paying any attention at all to what is happening? I wonder if you ever felt like God is not paying attention. Isaiah the prophet wondered: “Truly you are God who has been hiding himself, the God and Savior of Israel.” Isaiah 45:15 (NIV) God, why are you not intervening in the pain and suffering of this world? Do you ever feel like God is hiding right now as you serve in ministry? Like He has taken a trip or fallen asleep.
This is the reason for faith. Faith is active and the strongest when it seems like God is hidden, when He is not intervening like we think He should. I encourage you with this thought: “Not seeing God doesn’t mean that we are unseen by God.” Just because we don’t see God the way we think He should work doesn’t mean that God is hiding. Our Christian faith has something to say to us personally that no other faith can say – God has entered into suffering with us. The hidden God was revealed to us in Jesus Christ. Jesus came in human flesh and engaged people who were suffering – the lepers, the sick, the blind, the deaf, the people hurting and in pain. At the cross the “hidden” God became completely exposed. At the cross Jesus reveals how much God cares about those going through pain because He experienced suffering Himself. He knows our challenges and struggles and only He can set us free from the weariness of pandemics.
Five Boring Problems You Can and Need to Fix – As we begin new seasons in our ministries, we dream big dreams. We encourage our churches to be creative and think outside of the box. We launch new programs, start new groups, or re-brand our services. Often we focus on big things, new things, exciting things – this article points out the simple (sometimes thought of as boring) aspects to ministry that also need our focus.
Budget Planning in a Pandemic – As many churches are in the midst of budget planning in early Fall, this article gives some insight into how we may do budgets differently in the midst of a pandemic.
5 Ways Churches Will Have Changed One Year From Now – Thom Rainer writes, “While it is admittedly difficult to project trends in typical times, it is exceedingly difficult to do so in a time of pandemic headed for, hopefully, a post-quarantine era. Because we hear from so many church leaders and church members, allow me to venture where local churches will be in one year.” Trends have been set and are now being analyzed – this article may help us understand how these trends will impact ministry in the next year.
State of Theology Study Findings – This most recent study by LifeWay Research into American’s theological beliefs is fascinating. It asserts that Americans hold complex religious beliefs and may even hold contradictory beliefs. For most Americans, the study showed, theological beliefs are not a matter of objective truth, but rather belong in the category of subjective personal opinion.