Dear Friends: We are halfway through the first month of 2022 and so far there hasn’t been much change from 2021 or 2022. COVID-19 continues to dominate the news and many people we know are testing positive and getting sick. It can all seem overwhelming and with so much emphasis on change and making 2022 a better year over the last month, it can also seem demoralizing. Nothing has changed. We could focus on how God hasn’t changed: that he is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow – and that is Gospel fact to hold on to fiercely! But instead, I wonder, have you changed? How are you living in this chaos? How is your faith? How is your response to this adversity? God doesn’t change, but we can. It may seem like the stress of our world won’t change (it will), but we can change. We can hold on to God with faith, we can respond to the trials and tribulations we face with trust. We can respond to the world around us with love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and self-control. May the God who doesn’t change give us the grace we need so we can. — Chad
As a reminder, the RSMA has made some staffing changes – Wayne Van Regenmorter will be continuing in his role as Facilitator of Multi-Ethnic Church Partnerships and Chad Schuitema will be continuing as Regional Synod Executive, but in a much more part-time role. We will continue to be a resource to our classes and churches, and because of these changes, we will be lowering our Regional Synod assessment rate to $5 per confessing member for 2022.
The IRS mileage reimbursement rate has changed to $.585 per mile.
One of the recommendations at General Synod 2021 had to do with opportunities for anti-racism training within the denomination. We would like to offer you an opportunity for a six-session Lecture Series on How to Become Anti-Racist. Starting MLK Jr. Holiday we will meet for one hour via zoom with a small cohort of leaders, pastors, and parishioners learning about what it means to be an anti-racist church. You can register using this link.
Dismantling Racism prayer gathering: January’s Dismantling Racism prayer gatherings will explore the impact of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s teachings. The January 11 Zoom gathering will feature the Rev. Kelvin Spooner as speaker; he is moderator of the RCA Commission on Race and Ethnicity and pastor of Cambria Heights Community Church in Queens, New York. A second gathering on January 25 will offer additional prayer time. Calls are second and fourth Tuesdays, from 1:30-2:30 Easterm time. Register for the Zoom link HERE.
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 in early 2022. To learn more, click HERE.
Delegates to General Synod 2022 – We are still looking for 2 Corresponding Women Delegates and a Youth Delegate to General Synod 2022 at Central College in Pella, Iowa from June 9-14. 2022. Corresponding Delegates participate in all the discussions of General Synod and have a voice, but not a vote. If you are interested in serving our denomination in this way, or know of someone who might be, please have them contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
General Synod 2021 made some decisions for our denomination. You can read a recap of those decisions here. If you prefer to read the journal (minutes) you can click here.
The RSMA’s 2022 Compensation Guidelines are available HERE. These guidelines are created by a team and then sent to all our classes for approval. Some classes have met and approved these already, others will be meeting soon to do so.
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 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
10 Dangerous Myths About Church Growth – Myths about church growth are rampant because there’s a lot of discussion that goes on about church growth: What causes it; how to generate it, prepare for it, launch it, build it, cultivate it and even, to some degree, manufacture it. Many of the discussions are helpful, but there are a number of subtle beliefs that still creep up that aren’t healthy. In fact, they’re downright superstitious and, at times, dangerous to the church.
How to Lead Meetings People Want to Attend – Many people hate meetings and I’ve heard from pastors that it is difficult to get people to attend meetings. I’ve also heard from church leaders that meetings often don’t seem worth it. These suggestions may help you create meetings people enjoy attending and are even more fruitful.
Don’t Neglect the 4–14 Window of Children’s Ministry – Much of our formation happens between the ages of 4-14. Research shows 63 percent of Christians accepted Jesus Christ between the ages of 4 and 14. Children are considered both the most receptive to evangelization and the most effective at evangelizing their peer group between the ages of 4 and 14. These suggestions may help you maximize your church’s efforts in discipling those in this window.
6 Ways to Overcome The Great Resignation in 2022 – In our chaotic world many people are feeling a deep sense of resignation. Nowhere is this felt more than with pastors. This article offers some help for church leaders to try and minimize what is being called The Great Resignation.