10088 Prairie Knoll Ct.
St. John, IN 46373
Mobile: (941) 302-1281
2104 Campbell Street
Valparaiso, IN 46383
Office: (815) 464-9181
Mobile: (765) 237-7678
President: Bob Wierenga (Wisconsin)
Vice President: Vacant
Past President: Edie Lenz (Illinois)
The IRS mileage reimbursement rate for 2017 has changed to $.535 per mile.
The RCA is featuring a new resource from Todd Billings, professor of Reformed theology at Western Theological Seminary. In these three videos, Todd examines what it means for Reformed Christians to read and interpret the Bible as the Word of God. The accompanying study guide is intended to help small groups engage with and process Todd’s teaching. The videos are designed to be used either in one 90-minute session or in three separate, one-hour sessions—whatever better fits your context. The videos and study guide, entitled “A Light to My Path: Interpreting Scripture as Reformed Christians,” are available on the RCA website.
The Third Annual Celebration of Women in Church Leadership will be held Saturday, March 4, 2017; 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan. Come for a day of celebration, encouragement and equipping. All RCA, CRC and ecumenical sisters welcome!
. A Youth Corresponding Delegate to General Synod is still needed for this year’s RCA General Synod taking place in Holland, MI at Hope College from June 8-13, 2017. This non-voting delegate is one who is somewhere around traditional college age. In addition to participating in the regular business of the General Synod, the youth corresponding delegates meet and do things together. It is anticipated that the youth delegates have given some thought about the possibility that God may be calling him or her into ministry, but that does not necessarily mean that a decision has been made. It is an intention of the participation in General Synod as a youth delegate to help that person discern hearing the Holy Spirit’s voice. Do you know of someone who might be a candidate for this youth delegate? Please contact Chad.
Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism
The Wisconsin Council of Churches will be putting on this event led by Dr. Drew G. I. Hart. Dr. Hart is a professor in theology, an author, and an activist with ten years of pastoral experience. This event will be held March 3-4 at Sun Prairie United Methodist Church, 702 North St, Sun Prairie, WI. You can learn more about this event by clicking HERE.
Mass Incarceration RCA Gathering – As requested by General Synod 2016, the RCA is planning a meeting about the issue of mass incarceration. RCA members who are interested in working on and engaging this issue and can attend the meeting. The meeting will be held on March 10 and 11, 2017, in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Louisiana incarcerates more people per capita than any other state or province in the United States or Canada.)
Here are some of the goals for this gathering:
1. Increase awareness of mass incarceration.
2. Root responses to criminal behavior and mass incarceration in our identities as followers of Jesus.
3. Equip people to share fruitfully with others about mass incarceration.
4. Identify ways for congregations and individuals to address mass incarceration.
5. Invite people to be part of a mass incarceration learning community or advocacy effort.
Be on the lookout for more information in early January 2017. If you have questions about the upcoming meeting, please feel free to email email@example.com.
The RSMA annually gives out Urban Ministry Grants. In 2017 we will be supporting ministries such as: a Director of Multi-Cultural Worship, a Violence Prevention ministry in the inner-city, and other ministries that seek to reach out to people who are typically thought of as “the least of these.” These ministries seek to missionally impact urban areas within our region. Your church can help support these ministries by giving to our Urban Ministry Fund. This “asking” is $4 per church member and $2 per Sunday School participant. Any amount given is used completely to fund these ministries. For more information, contact Chad.
News from Camp Manitoqua Fathers and sons, join Camp Manitoqua and Retreat Center for our Forge weekend retreat, March 10-11, 2017. Designed to give fathers the opportunity to commission their sons to begin the process of becoming men through biblical teaching and hands-on learning. Visit Manitoqua.org/forge for information and to register or call the office at 815.469.2319. Summer Staff: Have you considered spending a summer in ministry? Applications for 2017 summer staff at Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center are available online at www.manitoqua.org/jobs and are being accepted. Cooks & Summer Kitchen Assistants: For cooks, food service experience and sanitation license is preferred. No experience needed for summer kitchen assistants. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for an application or call the office at 815.469.2319. Registration for ‘Summer Camp 2017 begins February 1st. Remember to register early for preferred dates. Visit Manitoqua.org for more information and to register, or call our office at 815.469.2319. Looking for some fun winter activities? Come enjoy a game night at Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center on Monday nights! For children in first grade through freshmen year in high school, the game nights will include rotations based on age and activities. Cost is $5 per child per week or $15 if you come all 4 weeks! Dates & times are Feb 6, 13, 20 & 27 from 6:00pm – 7:30pm. Parents are invited to come join in the fun at no extra cost or relax and watch the action! To RSVP, please contact Nathan@manitoqua.org or call 815.469.2319. Payment can be submitted upon arrival. Space is limited so RSVP soon!
STORIES OF CELEBRATION
We share stories of celebration to glorify God. This month’s story comes from Trinity Community Church in Brown Deer, WI and Pastor Bill Flavin. We hope these stories inspire and encourage others in our region. If you’d like to share what God is doing in your church, please email Chad.
As a church we wanted to create opportunities for people to stretch themselves and serve our community, and to find ways to serve in our community where opportunities already existed vs. creating new ones. With a sidewalk being installed in front of our church last year, we thought Trick of Treating for Halloween could be a great chance where we will already have foot traffic passing by. So we invited people at church to bring some candy, camping chairs, and a card table; dress up if they wanted, and just interact with our neighbors.
We made a campfire, brewed up some apple cider, and waited. For the first 30 minutes it was quiet, maybe 15-20 students came past. Then the sidewalk became a highway, and in the next window of time we had 150-200 students come past, ran out of 7.5 gallons of cider and all of our candy in the next 1.5 hours.
The event ended about 30 minutes before we had hoped, as we ran out of candy and cider, because of the large volume of people who had come through. As we were cleaning up a Mom and Grandma with their two small children came by. So I went out to apologize that we had run out of candy and supplies, and they made sure to stop me and just thank the church. They told us how they heard what we were doing from other families who were out in the neighborhood, and they were so grateful we did this, and asked if we would do it again next year.
So now as we packed up we had a chance to reflect on what just happened, how it worked or didn’t work, and our joy at how many people came, and the impact it had on the community.
THOUGHTS FROM WAYNE
Eliminate Clutter and Create Clarity…
The new year of 2017 can be just another year of sunrises and sunsets. But the way we think about the New Year makes a difference in our lives and ministries. There are practices that we can make priorities as we reflect on life and start over again. Just living life and doing ministry has its share of clutter and confusion that needs to be eliminated. Dan Rockwell identifies 13 questions we should be asking that help us eliminate clutter and create clarity. Here is the list:
“How did my life reflect what’s important to me?
What distracted me from things that matter most?
What did I try to accomplish today?
What actually got accomplished?
What am I proud of?
What did I learn about myself and others?
How did I bring out the best in others?
Who did I affirm, reward, honor, or recognize?
What did I do to sabotage my fulfillment, progress, or success?
What will I NOT do tomorrow?
What behavior would I like to see more of, in myself?
What will I let go?
How will I start fresh with people and projects, tomorrow?”
I would add a 14th question: How did I honor and glorify God today? Which of these questions are most helpful for you? I hope you can celebrate New Year each and every day in 2017 with clarity, optimism, faithfulness and fruitfulness. And may you enjoy a new uncluttered way of leading in your home, family and ministry.
— Wayne Van Regenmorter
LINKS YOU MAY FIND HELPFUL
Developing A 7th Sense for Christian Leadership – This seventh sense, the author writes, is “the ability to look at any object and see the way in which it is changed by connection.” With this sense, people can discern in objects potential that is invisible to the rest of us.
Church Trades in Membership for Discipleship – The problem, he said, is that the concept of church membership — in fact, membership in anything – doesn’t resonate with most young people. What Shandon United Methodist Church did was join the discipleship movement, which encourages lay people and ministers to focus on their callings rather than on their status within an institution.
Iowa Church Transformed and Revived by Outreach to Refugees – An Iowa church has been transformed and revitalized after they heeded God’s call to reach out to refugees within their community. Today if you visit Zion Lutheran Church of Des Moines Iowa, you would find a diverse congregation that is excited about worshipping God. There is food and fellowship and an uplifting community of believers. But that wasn’t always the case. Seven years ago, the 150-year-old church was struggling. They were convicted that they weren’t making a true impact on their community, so they decided a major change was needed.
Grow Your Church or Impact Your Community – Growing a church and impacting a community are not mutually exclusive. In fact, these two complex endeavors are highly interrelated. However, a strategy to grow your church may or may not have an impact on your community. In contrast, an intentional plan to impact your community will be highly likely to help your church grow.
Low Budget Leadership Development – How do you develop leaders in your organization without funding? The executive director of the Massachusetts Council of Churches offers 10 ideas for leadership development on a shoestring.