• Inspire 2017
  • Mediation Skills Training Event
  • Reclaiming the Gates Training
  • Story of Celebration from Silver Creek Reformed Church in German Valley, IL.
  • Thoughts from RSMA Visionary Leader Wayne Van Regenmorter
  • Links You May Find Useful

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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: Jason DeVries (New Thing)
Past President: Edie Lenz (Illinois)


The Christian Reformed Church has invited all RCA members to Inspire 2017.  Inspire 2017 is an event put on by the Christian Reformed Church in North America intended to inspire, energize, inform, and pour into the volunteers and leaders in local churches. In this video, Dr. Steven Timmermans extends a warm invitation to members of the RCA. Join us for this unique opportunity to connect. If you’re involved in ministry at any level in your church, this event is designed for you.

Mediation Skills Training Institute for Church Leaders – The Lombard Mennonite Peace Center will be holding a training event intended to equip church leaders with the skills necessary to deal effectively with interpersonal conflict, congregational conflict, and other forms of group conflict.  It includes lectures, discussion, and guided practice in role plays, and is designed to be active and practical in focus.  The sessions emphasize hands-on skills training and role-plays based on the types of conflict faced by participants. This training is useful for pastors, lay leaders, and others who serve with church-related ministries.  You can visit the LMPC website at to download the brochure or register online.  For more information or hard copies of the brochure, please email LMPC at or call 630-627-0507.

Reclaiming the Gates is a new 6-week training program for men high-school-aged and older involves 45 minutes of instruction and 45 minutes of small group interaction. Our vision is to empower men to empower leaders of the next generation. To accomplish this vision, we must:

  • Identify those men who want to be a part of the solution of building the next generation of leaders.
  • Equip them to heal from the wounds that hinder them from helping.
  • Inform these men of opportunities to to serve young men.
  • Deploy them to areas where they can make a difference.

Contact Jason Perry about leading your Men’s Group or young men through this 6-week series.

The Regional Synod of Mid-America has launched the Ministerial Excellence Fund. The purpose of this Fund is to assist with alleviating some of the financial pressures facing clergy in their pastoral ministry.  This fund is made available to both Ministers of Word and Sacrament and Commissioned pastors rostered in Illinois Classis, Wisconsin Classis, and Illiana-Florida Classis.  Each classis began this fund with $10,000 which was matched by the Reformed Church in America for a total starting balance of $20,000 per classis.  You will need to download and read the Ministerial Excellence Guidelines prior to filling out an application.  Once the application is filled out, please email it to

News from Camp Manitoqua
Summer Camp, 2017 at Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center is here!  Starting on Monday, June 12 and running through Friday, August 18. We ask for our church supporters to pray for counselors and children who will be on our campus for these 10 weeks as we teach the kids to “Abide” in Christ.  Be praying that the Word of God takes hold in their lives and that these campers and counselors can take this back to their homes, churches and home environments!

Save the Date: Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center is organizing its first Project MTB.  From September 23 – 25, those 18 years and older can enjoy an adventurous mountain biking experience in the upper peninsula of Michigan at Copper Harbor.  Additional information can be read at  If interested, please email or call the office at 815-469-2319.


We share stories of celebration to glorify God.  This month’s story comes from Rev. Grant Mulder and Silver Creek Reformed Church in German Valley, IL.  We hope these stories inspire and encourage others in our region.  If you’d like to share what God is doing in your church (or classis), please email Chad.

Silver Creek Reformed Church is a congregation in the rural town of German Valley, IL. This congregation has been in German Valley since 1851. Throughout its history Silver Creek has been an intergenerational congregation. But, with the age of the congregation growing older, Silver Creek saw a need to do something to help the congregation engage the next generation. So, Silver Creek’s Pastor, Grant Mulder, reached out to Rick Zomer, the Director of Next Generational Engagement for the RCA.  On April 18, Rick Zomer came to talk to Silver Creek, Baileyville, and Forreston Reformed Churches, about reaching and doing ministry alongside the next generation. The evening was filled with great videos, stories, discussions, and a lot of helpful and interesting information regarding the millennial generation.

From that gathering, Peter Smith, Silver Creek’s Youth Director, and Pastor Grant began working through the book Growing Young together, to discuss their role in helping Silver Creek grow young. As they began discussing the book, they realized the need to get more people from the congregation involved. In the upcoming weeks, Silver Creek will begin a book study of Growing Young with a small group of the members, in hopes to look at how they can incorporate these ideas into the life of Silver Creek.

Peter and Pastor Grant have begun working towards equipping young leaders through calling out gifts, and working towards getting the youth more involved in the worship service. The hope is that through this study Silver Creek can be a church reaching and doing ministry alongside youth, young adults, and young families, allowing them to more fully live into being the intergeneration congregation they have always been. 


Changes in Church in the Past 10 Years…

It was Robert Quinn who asserted that organizations tend to lose their focus on mission over time and become stagnant.  When this happens, he says, organizations must make a conscious decision to change.  If they do not, the result is that they will continue down a path of decline.  He refers to this dilemma as “deep change or slow death.”

Thom Rainer affirms Quinn and acknowledges from his life experience that this has been the reality of too many congregations in the past 10 years.  The rate of church closures has accelerated as some have tried desperately to survive, some have entered a stage of hospice and others have died and left a legacy.  But Rainer also notes that major changes have also taken place in congregations that are doing relatively well.  These congregations have developed new eyes for seeing a world that has changed; therefore, they have adapted to new realities?  Yet in the midst of changes, these healthy churches have not compromised doctrine, diminished the centrality of preaching, or abandoned sharing the gospel.

Rainer identifies 8 changes that have occurred in healthy churches in the last decade.  Here is what he noted:

“1. Today: Smaller worship gatherings
Ten years ago: Larger worship gatherings
There are several factors impacting this change.  Among them are more multi-site churches, more non-traditional worship times, and a desire among millennials to be a part of smaller gatherings, rather than larger gatherings.

2. Today: Smaller church facilities
Ten years ago: Larger church facilities
There are three major issues at work here.  First, church leaders are more hesitant to spend funds on largely unused facilities.  Second, churches are building with less space for adult small groups or Sunday School.  They are choosing to have those groups meet off-site or on non-worship days.  Third, the smaller worship gatherings noted above means smaller worship centers.

3. Today: First priority staff person hired: children’s minister
Ten years ago: First priority staff person hired: worship leader
This shift is largely influenced by the large millennial generation and their children.  Millennials are looking for a church that is safe, sanitary, educational, and fun for their children.

4. Today: Ministry degree optional for church staff members
Ten years ago: Ministry degree strongly preferred for church staff
Churches today are more likely to call someone on staff from within their congregations.  That person may not have a Bible college or seminary degree.

5. Today: Emphasis on congregational singing
Ten years ago: Emphasis on performance singing
Healthy churches are now seeing an awakening of congregational singing.  Ten years ago, contemporary churches emphasized the performance of the praise team and band, while traditional churches emphasized the performance of the choir and soloists.

6. Today: Community focus
Ten years ago: Community myopia
Too many churches the past two decades all but abandoned their communities and are paying the price for their short-sightedness today.  Healthy churches realize that the community is their place of ministry, their “Jerusalem” of Acts 1:8.

7. Today: Vital importance of groups
Ten years ago: Marginal importance of groups
Healthy churches today make groups (community groups, home groups, Sunday School, life groups, etc.) a high priority.  Ten years ago, many church leaders did not see how groups could enhance the health of the church in discipleship, evangelism, prayer, ministry, and fellowship.

8. Today: Church leaders are continuous learners
Ten years ago: Church leaders were “degree and done”
For several decades, church leaders essentially ended their education process with a college or seminary degree.  In today’s ever-changing world, leaders of healthy churches have intentionally established a discipline of continuous learning.”

In the Ridder events over the years, Jim Herrington and Trisha Taylor have often given church leaders a question to ponder:  “If you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’ll keep getting what you’ve been getting.  Can you live with that?”  I am positive that there are many more changes coming as we seek to live and love like Jesus in mission.  How are you living into the call of God in your life and preparing for the pace of change in the future?

— Wayne Van Regenmorter

                            LINKS YOU MAY FIND HELPFUL

5 Keys To Authentic Leadership – Hardly theoretical, authentic leadership is something that can be used and applied on a day-to-day basis, and it is needed now more than ever. In a nutshell, it’s more about being true to your word and demonstrating by example than it is about getting people to follow you or telling others what to do.  Here are some practical ways to improve your authentic leadership skillset.

5 Leadership Habits All Great Bosses Share – Doing tasks by yourself is sometimes easier than leading a team.  However, great leaders involve others and delegate tasks.  Helping your leaders grow, tackling projects as a team, and building strong relationships are all very rewarding. And, seasoned leaders will tell you that it gets easier the longer you do it, because you’ll learn as you go.

To Do New Things Well, Congregations Must Learn – For a congregation to achieve or accomplish something new, it’s not just a matter of doing something. It’s almost always a matter of learning to do something new. There are many things that happen in a faith community in which something new doesn’t have to be learned. But in today’s age, congregations must learn their way into a new future.

5 Surprising Discoveries About Growing Churches – Thom Rainer studied 1000 growing churches and here are some of his insights about those churches.

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