Dear Friends: In the midst of the season of Lent, I’ve tried to think back on my formative years in the church in terms of this special church season. I do not remember observing Lent when I was a kid. We went to church every Sunday and nothing from worship or Sunday School ended up leaving any lasting memories. I remember thinking people who got ashes on their forehead on Ash Wednesday were weird. I don’t know why we didn’t do anything as a family or why I don’t remember it, but I know that as an adult I have found real meaning in observing the 40 days of Lent. From ashes to giving something up or adding in a spiritual practice over these 40 days – these things can strengthen our faith and draw us nearer to God. And, for me, one of the biggest yields of Lent is that it makes Easter that much more meaningful too. May you have a meaningful Lent, and may you have an Easter that not only brings joy to your heart but strength to your spirit. — Chad
Read about Bi-Vocational Ministry with one of our own region ministers from Classis de las Naciones, Rev. Dr. Patricia Simmons by clicking HERE.
Pandemic Sabbath: A Virtual Experience for Clergy – In this 4-part series, 15 clergy will have the opportunity to pursue a “Pandemic Sabbath.” Blanton-Peale will lead this time of rest, renewal, and community-building to support clergy in finding a greater sense of emotional well-being. Through a 4-part virtual program, the group will engage in interactive topics such as emotional literacy, trauma-informed cared, and resilience in leadership. Pandemic Sabbath will be a 2-week virtual program during the weeks of May 7 and May 14. Each week will have two mornings (Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 AM – 12 PM) of interactive programming that includes the opportunity for community building with colleagues around topics relevant to leadership renewal. Click HERE for more information.
Fresh Expressions of Church- [Re]Mission – A Church for the Future, A Future for the Church: Register for (re)mission: A Church for the Future, A Future for the Church where you will gather with fellow sojourners to hear from seasoned practitioners and helpful thought leaders who are navigating this new terrain. United through Jesus’ blessing of peace in uncertainty, we will discover new opportunities for congregations, consider how to navigate ongoing changes, and renew our call to lead our churches to join God’s mission today. The practice of (re)misson will pave the way to the Church for the future and a future for the Church. For more information, click 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 soon. To learn more, click HERE.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 Work Day is April 23 from 8:30-11:30am. Sign up to help with this important ministry by clicking HERE.
Camp is looking for ministry-minded college students who love kids and have a desire to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are taking applications and would encourage you to apply today! Before you begin the application process, we would like to strongly encourage you to read over our core values and beliefs regarding our summer ministry. After reading that letter please read the job descriptions.
If you have any questions regarding the positions or application process, please email Collin Puckett, Program Coordinator.
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
Try Something New for 30 Days – Technologist Matt Cutts encourages us in this short TED Talk to embrace setting and achieving goals in a new way.
What Is Your Congregation’s DNA? – By investigating a church’s founding mission — its DNA — today’s leaders can reconnect with the congregation’s history to help it grow and thrive. Read this story of how one church went from floundering to flourishing by returning to their original DNA.
The New Leadership Code: Adapt, Empathize and Provide Purpose– This article from Forbes has much carry over to the church. Leading with empathy, adaptability and purpose is critical in today’s changing world. This author shares how these skills took on new meaning and priority for her, how they have inspired her to be a better leader, and can speak much into how we function as a people of God.
Keys to Moving from Online Worship to Online Ministry – Many of our churches have incorporated online worship of some kind over the past two years. For some this has been very beneficial. Some churches are also finding its effects to be waning. What if we haven’t embraced a great opportunity through online vehicles and could begin online ministry?