Dear Friends: I had to mow our lawn already last week. With the rekindling of that home ownership task I felt a sense of dread. This needs to get done at least once a week for the next 6-7 months. But with that dread is also a feeling of awe that what was dead and brown just a few weeks ago is lavishly green and alive. It’s the full realization that Spring is here and new life is beginning again. Sometimes we go through dry seasons in our church where things just seem dormant or maybe even dead, but what God teaches us through nature is that what previously seemed dry, brittle, and dead can come alive verdantly and beautifully. The same is true with our faith. Our God is a God of hope and even though things may seem dark or dry Spring comes. May you keep hope in our God’s life-giving power. — Chad
Flourishing Churches Grant – Many RCA churches have thriving ministries but lack the financial resources for necessary building improvements. The Flourishing Churches Grant provides funding for the facility upgrades RCA churches need to continue and grow their ministries. Five $50,000 grants will be awarded; applications are due May 14. Click HERE for more information and how to apply.
Clergy Financial Planning with Everance – Nearly everyone could benefit from working with a financial planner. That’s why the RCA has partnered with Severance. The cost for a year of financial planning with Everence is $1,500. Over the past few years, BOBS has been able to cover half of that cost and offer the service to clergy for $750. Thanks to a successful fundraising effort, BOBS will offer the service to anyone who signs up in the month of April for $375. BOBS will cover $1,125 of the cost. Email Billy Norden to get started or learn more.
Pre-General Synod Daily Devotions – In the month leading up to General Synod, synod president Phil Assink is inviting people across the RCA to join together in prayer for the denomination. A set of daily devotions will also be available by email; sign up HERE.
Pandemic Sabbath: A Virtual Experience for Clergy – In this 4-part series, 15 clergy will have the opportunity to pursue a “Pandemic Sabbath.” Blanton-Peale will lead this time of rest, renewal, and community-building to support clergy in finding a greater sense of emotional well-being. Through a 4-part virtual program, the group will engage in interactive topics such as emotional literacy, trauma-informed cared, and resilience in leadership. Pandemic Sabbath will be a 2-week virtual program during the weeks of May 7 and May 14. Each week will have two mornings (Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 AM – 12 PM) of interactive programming that includes the opportunity for community building with colleagues around topics relevant to leadership renewal. Click HERE for more information.
She Is Called: Women of the Bible Study Vol. 2 is out now – This RCA resource focuses on how Mary and Martha, Abigail, Junia, and more embraced God’s call for their lives in the second volume of the women of the Bible series. For more information or to check out Volume 1, click HERE.
Looking for Church Renewal? – Vibrant Congregations helps local churches discern the best path to their God-given, hope-filled future. It starts with a quick, free, online assessment HERE. Vibrant is a partner organization of the RCA and the Christian Reformed Church in North America.
Renovations Project: In 2019, the RCA gathered leaders from around the United States—missiologists, planters, leaders, pastors, and theologians—to share with us what they were seeing in the church, and how the church needed to pivot and adapt for the future. This diverse group of men and women, young and old, from various races and ethnicities, elevated seven themes that drive the Renovations Project, which is launching early this year. (Many of those experts came back as faculty for Renovations digital masterclasses.) Renovations helps churches to take the very best of their treasured traditions and reimagine them for flourishing ministry today and beyond; in a world constantly reshaped by the pandemic, Renovations gives a theological framework for disruption and practical tools for leadership and managing change. You can be the first to experience Renovations as part of the Renovations Cohort, a curated and personalized nine-month transformation process will build on your church’s strengths to transform your ministry. The journey will begin soon. To learn more, click HERE.
The Commission on Nominations is looking for committed, talented, passionate individuals to serve on RCA commissions, agencies, and boards. They may have more vacancies to fill than usual this year and the Church needs your help. If you are interested in serving our denomination, visit this link and download a profile to fill out and email back to the commission at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 Camp Manitoqua Work Day is April 23 from 8:30-11:30am. Sign up to help with this important ministry by clicking HERE.
Camp is looking for ministry-minded college students who love kids and have a desire to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are taking applications and would encourage you to apply today! Before you begin the application process, we would like to strongly encourage you to read over our core values and beliefs regarding our summer ministry. After reading that letter please read the job descriptions.
If you have any questions regarding the positions or application process, please email Collin Puckett, Program Coordinator.
Camp Manitoqua is looking to enrich the land God has provided with new trees. If you would like to donate to this project, click here.
LINKS YOU MAY FIND USEFUL
Change and the Small Church – Are death and decline inevitable for smaller rural churches? While smaller churches are often skeptical of change imposed from the outside, many find new life and energy for ministry when a new vision emerges from within the congregation itself. This article explores a possible future of small and rural churches.
With Church Attendance Down, this Pastor Suggests a Holistic Approach – “The next generation that maybe are getting their spiritual edification from other communities, whether it be from the gym, from, you know, different clubs…People are starting to see, ‘Hey, I can get my—I can watch a sermon online but I can do community at my gym club,’” Carter said. He also says that situation is something churches can respond to by focusing on community engagement. Learn more about this approach.