• Ridder: Churches Learning Change
  • New Wisconsin Classis Leader
  • Story of Celebration
  • Thoughts from Wayne
  • Links You May Find Useful 

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9140 Cleveland Street; Apt #102
Merillville, IN 46410

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)


Ridder: Churches Leading Change is re-launching in our region this fall.  This transformational process has been going through significant changes since its inception in 2010.  Change in the church is hard.  RCLC will help you keep your focus on mission while navigating the adaptive challenges of leading change.  Whether you were a previous participant in the Ridder Church Renewal process or have never even heard about it, we would like to invite you to 1 of 2 informational online/conference call meetings on either April 12 at 10am Central or May 1 at noon Central.  You will hear about what to expect from the process, stories of transformation from previous participants, details, and have an opportunity to ask questions.  If you’d like to watch a short video the Regional Synod of the Heartland put together on the impact of Ridder, click HERE.  If you would like to sign up for one of these informational meetings or ask any questions, please email Chad.

The Classis of Wisconsin has hired Mike Gaffa to be their classis leader.  We celebrate a fruitful search process with the classis and pray blessings on Mike as he begins God’s work in this role.

Consider Supporting RSMA Urban Ministry Grants – The Regional Synod of Mid-America gives grants to ministries in, and/or for areas considered urban in geography of our regional synod. 2018 will be the last year we provide these grants and we are asking our churches to consider giving to this grant fund generously for one final year.  The asking is $4 per member and that amount can be sent to the RSMA at any time during the year.  Thank you for your generous support to these grants over the years.  Many churches and blessed many people with the fruit of these grants!

The Regional Synod of Mid-America’s 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
Is your church holding a retreat soon?  Consider having it at Camp Manitoqua!  Reasonable rates, excellent location, and the beauty of God’s creation will surely enhance your experience.  If interested, please email or call the office at 815-469-2319.

Summer Staff: Have you considered spending a summer in ministry? Applications for 2018 summer staff at Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center are available online at and are being accepted now.


We share stories of celebration to glorify God.  This month’s story celebrates the work of God in the life of Cornerstone Church’s pastor Bob Grysen.   If you’d like to share what God is doing in your church (or classis), please email Chad.

The Cornerstone Church (RCA) of Bourbonnais and Manteno Illinois would like to announce that its pastor has received his Doctor of Ministry degree from Trinity Evangelical School.  His capstone project was on the Biblical basis and practice of church planting as a means for fulfilling the Great Commission. Congratulations to Rev. Dr. Robert Grysen!


Becoming A Hero Maker

It happened again the first weekend of March Madness.  Donte Ingram has the ball, he dribbles…three…two…one…Ingram shoots and scores.  Loyola-Chicago wins the game!  The first bracket-busting upset of the tourney.  Ingram’s last second shot has won the game.  With hands raised and the excitement and thrill of victory the other players jump on Ingram, their new hero.  I’m certain that if you ever played basketball there were times when you dreamed of that moment of becoming a hero yourself.  If it wasn’t a last-second game winning shot, how did you imagine yourself as a hero somewhere?

Two weeks ago I attended the Exponential Conference in Orlando, Florida.  The theme of the conference this year was Hero Maker.  Over 5,000 people were in attendance as we engaged in listening to main stage speakers and then were given the option to participate in different workshops such as:  Pursuing Multiplication, Church Planting, Healthy Ministries, Mobilization, Discipleship, Missional, Leadership, Marriage and Family, City Movements, Urban Planting, Multi-Ethnic, Multisite, Revitalization, Personal Calling and Holiness.  Dave Ferguson is the Exponential president and co-author of a new book entitled:  Hero Maker: Five Essential Practices for Leaders to Multiply Leaders.  The book focuses on at least five practices that derive from the characteristics seen in the life and ministry of Jesus.

Jesus was the ultimate hero maker as he stretched out his arms and gave his life for us on the cross.  In obedience to his Father in heaven he said, “Not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).  Throughout his ministry Jesus was not only a hero but he invested his time and energy to being a hero maker.  Whether he was speaking to the crowds on the Sermon on the Mount, or feeding the five thousand or spending time with the twelve disciples he was teaching and modeling hero making.  Jesus said, “The greatest among you will be your servant” (Matthew 23:11).  One Bible researcher reports from the Gospels that the ratio of time Jesus spent on training his twelve disciples versus time spent with the many was almost three to one.  The point is that Jesus’ ministry focused on mentoring his twelve “apprentices” to do “greater things” (John 14:12) by making other disciple makers to share the Gospel.  Here’s the paradox:  If we focus on being a hero, we may do some great thing on this side of eternity.  However, if we focus on being a hero maker, we’ll see the fruit of greater things happen through the people we mentor or coach or invest in through other ways.

In his book Ferguson shares five essential practices of Hero Makers:

·        Multiplication Thinking – “Think it!”  Hero makers practice the shift in their leadership from thinking the best way to maximize ministry in through their own individual efforts, to understanding that effective ministry actually happens through developing the leadership of others.  Jesus casts vision for sharing the Gospel to the ends of the world as he tells his followers, “You will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8).  Mission happens when others, equip others, who continue to equip others.
·        Permission Giving – “See it!”  Hero makers take the focus off their leadership and begin to see the potential in people around them.  They begin to say yes to leaders in development and give new leaders permission to fully engage in the mission.  Jesus said to a ragtag group of guys, “Come follow me” (Matthew 4:19).  They never saw in themselves the potential for teaching and leading, but Jesus saw people who could change the world.
·        Disciple Making – “Share it!”  Hero makers not only share what they know to help others follow Jesus but also share their life and begin to invest time in the development of leaders who will do the same for other leaders.  Jesus spent three years of his life primarily with twelve people (John 3:22).
·        Gift Activating – “Bless it!”  Hero makers not only ask God to bless the gifts he has given them, but they also ask God to bless the leaders they have developed and sent out.  Jesus turned over the leadership of a movement to his closest followers and tells them, “I have all authority and will use it through you as you go!” Matthew 28:16-20)
·        Kingdom Building – “Count it!”  Hero makers are no longer only concerned with who is showing up at their thing; they also count who is doing God’s thing.  Jesus told his followers, “Seek first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33 RSV).  The disciples listened to these instructions, and all that mattered was what God was keeping track of as Jesus mission was being advanced around the world.

What kind of hero maker are you becoming?  Are you mentoring or coaching or investing your time, energy and knowledge in developing an emerging leader?  Who is he or she?  Could it be that “greater things” will happen in the church or ministry where you are serving if there is a greater mobilization of leaders as more leaders today make heroes of others?

— Wayne Van Regenmorter

                            LINKS YOU MAY FIND HELPFUL

Here’s Why the Future Church in America Will Look Vastly Different, According to Research – According to a report released by the Dallas-based Leadership Network titled “How a New Generation of Pastors Is Shifting to Strategies That Reproduce and Multiply,” the vast majority of pastors younger than 40 (83 percent) value not just reproduction, defined as “starting a new church or campus,” but multiplication, or “starting new churches or campuses with the vision that they, too, will start new churches or campuses — who also do likewise.”

Going After the One: Leadership Lessons for Church Planters (and all pastors) – The pastor must like and love those outside the church more than he or she likes and loves the churchiness of church.  There is nothing wrong with churchiness, but if the pastor is to convene community around something other than the churchiness they know, they must remember two important principles: God is not limited to one mode by which God may encounter us, and we are not the only ones God plans to encounter.

Liturgy in the Valley of the Shadow of Death – Read how one church used the beauty and comfort of liturgy to help them through grief.

5 Hard Truths About Healthy Church Growth – There are many conversations about growing churches with opinions on both sides.  This article helps put this conversation in perspective.

Churches Take Steps to Modernize – From mobile food pantries to explaining all aspects of the worship service, these churches have taken steps to become more modern and attract people to visit.

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