Stories of Celebration

We share stories of celebration to give glory to God and celebrate his work among us.  This issue’s story of celebration comes to us from Trinity Reformed Church in Brown Deer Wisconsin.

As part of our vision to be a Community Focused Church, I have been meeting with the Village Manager (Mayor) of Brown Deer for meals quarterly for about two years, along with our chief of police to build relationships with them, and keep open communication around how Trinity can support their work in town.  For the last two years our communication has been almost only at our breakfasts or seeing each other at town functions.  Until about a month ago.

The story as I was told, is that last time I met for breakfast with the Chief of Police and Village Manager I painted a vision for a different way of doing church and community life, reflected in Jay Pathak and Dave Runyon’s book, “The Art of Neighboring.”  I spoke about how much good could be done just by knowing our neighbors.  They affirmed the vision, and shared how they wanted to see more of this done in town.  Flash ahead, we hosted a block party here at Trinity for our community that they loved, and wanted to see more done like it in town.  They wanted to have something in the winter to bring people together and thought, let’s have a tree lighting ceremony, but our town resources are tapped out right now, who could help coordinate?  Then the Village Manager shared about our breakfast meeting and block party during a council meeting at village hall, which led to a call asking if Trinity would coordinate this event, with their support and financial backing. This event is occurred this past Saturday.

Then another call comes to church.  The Chief of Police asked if Trinity would like to be part of their major Christmas event “Shop with a Cop,” where they take needy students out shopping, and then wrap all the presents for the students to bring home to their families.  The grant that has funded this in the past was discontinued, so they now needed nearly $2,000 for this event, and people who can help wrap the gifts and spend time with the students that night.  I shared this with our consistory and they rallied.  A week later Trinity had partnered with a local business and raised over $2,500 dollars.  Trinity also sent people to help the students wrap gifts that day.

Praise God for his faithfulness!


The Illiana-Florida Classis Revitalization Team will be hosting an Engaging Your Community in Mission event with Blaine Newhouse, RCA Coordinator for Local Missional Engagement January 30 from 10am-4pm Central Time at First Reformed Church of South Holland.  Some of the highlights of the event will be:
  • Allowing space for congregations and/or congregational leaders to introduce themselves and share their current local mission engagement reality.
  • A time of vision/values casting/content delivery by Blaine.
  • An interactive experience inviting congregations and/or congregational leaders to identify local ministry strengths and growing edges (where are we stuck or having greater difficulty), acknowledge how God has prepared them historically AND where/how/why God may be inviting them to engage during the next season of the churches ministry.
  • Introduce and/or build on the concept of Asset Based Community Development (ABCD)
  • Develop a basic action plan around possible next steps.
  • Report out to the group and determine if/how we might hold one another accountable for these outcomes.
If you are interested in attending, please contact Chad Schuitema.
News from Camp Manitoqua
Have a BLAST this winter break – Registration has begun for our WinterBlast day camp program, a break from school, not from fun, at Camp Manitoqua and Retreat Center.  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, or call our office at 815-469-2319.

Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center’s fall retreat season has begun.  At this time, we are offering groups a 15% discount on any retreat booked for December 2015 or January 2016. Please contact Ken at 815.469.2319, or at for availability.

Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center is now hiring cooks, kitchen assistants and part-time housekeeping staff. Cooks must have food service experience; sanitation license preferred. Call 815-469-2319 for an application or contact for kitchen positions and for housekeeping.

December Schedule:
7: Office
8: Synod Executive Meeting/Camp Manitoqua/Frankfort, IL
9: Office; Coaching
10: Leadership 202 Google Hangout
11: Reformed Community Church Consistory Meeting/Google Hangout
12: Chicago Coordinating Committee/Downers Grove Community Church/Downers Grove, IL; Meeting/St Louis Planters/North Ridge Community Church/Eldridge, IA
13: Sunday Worship
14: Vitality Pathways meeting/Calvary Reformed Church/Orland Park, IL
15: Office; Meeting/Beecher, IL
16: I-Plant Management Team Conference Call
17:  Office
18:  Coaching/Conference Call
19:  Off
20:  Sunday Worship

Wayne’s contact information:
10088 Prairie Knoll Ct.
St. John, IN 46373
Mobile: (941) 302-1281

The following are some links you may find helpful…

Measuring What Matters: The Challenge of Church Metrics – Churches typically measure attendance and offerings.  But what other things should we be measuring?  What are the challenges of this?  This article is a good starting point for those looking to measure beyond the traditional metrics.

Five Secrets to Building Ministry Momentum – How do you build momentum?  How do you sustain it once you build it?  These 5 insights can help you as you seek to build momentum in your ministries.

Contextualization at Home: How Should We Do Church? – We understand the importance of contextualization when it comes to foreign missions. We know that you need to plant churches in Africa that reflect the current culture of that place. But contextualization is just as important in our Western culture.  This is part 2 of a 3 part series.

December Schedule:
7: Office
8: RSMA Executive Team Meeting/Camp Manitoqua
9: Office; Coaching
10: Office
11: Office
14: Vitality Pathways Meeting/Calvary Reformed Church, Orland Park, IL
15: Office; Coaching
16: Office
17: Office
18: Office

Chad’s Contact Information:
2104 Campbell Street
Valparaiso, IN 46383
Office: (815) 464-9181
Mobile: (765) 237-7678

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

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