News from the Regional Synod of Mid-America

RCA Assistance Programs
Camp Manitoqua Events
One Sunday Information
Thoughts from Wayne
Links You May Find Useful

The RCA’s Board of Benefits Services Employee Assistance Program provides free, confidential Christian counseling either at at an outpatient clinic in your area (Pine Rest in Grand Rapids), 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

The RCA’s Ministerial Excellence Fund is a grant initiated by the Lilly Endowment to help pastors eliminate debt, get the tools and resources that lead to financial health, and thrive in ministry. The Board of Benefits Services has provided matching funds for this grant, allowing us to give away at least $300,000 in grants this year.  If you are an ordained minister or commissioned pastor in the RCA with debt, learn about and apply for a grant here.   If you have any questions, Bill Norden at:

General secretary Eddy Alemán has set a goal of planting 1,000 churches in the next 20 years—a huge vision to double our denomination and reach more and more people with the love of Jesus! It takes a lot of resources to live out dreams that big. If you’d like to invite your church to support church planting, One Sunday is an easy way to do it. Take a special offering on Pentecost to support church planting, investing in new churches while you celebrate the rapid spread of the gospel on the first Pentecost.  Get details here.

News from Camp Manitoqua
Registration for ‘Summer Camp 2019’ is open. Remember to register early for preferred dates. Visit for additional information and registration. Call our office at 815.469.2319 if you need any assistance
Join Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center for a one-day paintball event, March 16, 2019, called Operation New Horizon for ages 7th grade and up.  Experience a full, memorable day of paintball built on our wooded course.  For more information or to register online visit or call the office at 815.469.2319.

Good Friday Prayer Walk – Please join Camp Manitoqua and Retreat Center for our Good Friday Prayer Walk on April 19, 2019.  Come walk our grounds as you read through the events leading up to the crucifixion of Christ.  You and your family are welcome to check into the office between 11:00am and 3:00pm where you will be provided with scripture readings and ultimately end at the cross on top of the hill.  This is a FREE event.  We would like to bless your family with time to remember what Christ did for us on the cross as you prepare to celebrate Easter!  This is a great event for your whole family.

Camp Manitoqua Work Day – It would be difficult for us to imagine what the ministry of Camp Manitoqua would be like if we did not have the support of local churches and our brothers and sisters in Christ co-laboring alongside us on a day like Work Day on April 27 from 9am-2:30pm. This is especially true considering that a part of the purpose of Manitoqua Ministries is to provide support to the churches in order to call people to “a personal commitment to Christ as their Savior and Lord”.

Apply for Summer Staff at Camp Manitoqua!  We are 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!  For more information visit our   

Overcoming the Voice of Experience…

“The negative impact of experience is a closed mind,” writes Dan Rockwell in one of his blogs.  He then goes on to explain what he means, which I think has great impact for those of us who are pastors and leaders in a church.  Let me share some of his key thoughts.  Let’s start with the story in I Samuel 17 which gives us the height of Goliath, the Philistine champion, as being “six cubits and a span.”  Scholars can only take a guess at the giant’s height but needless to say he was a big tall guy – an absolute colossal of a man compared to the height of other people in Bible times.  

The Philistines had a proposal to settle the dispute they had with the Israelites – Goliath shouted, “Choose a man for yourselves and let him come down to me.  If he is able to fight me and kill me, then we will be your servants.  But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.”  (I Samuel 17: 8b, 9) David was merely a lowly shepherd boy, but he was the only person courageous enough to fight Goliath.  Why?  Because he was convinced that the Lord would be with him.  But also, because he was willing to try some new strategies to face a new challenge.  Rockwell says the voices of experience told David to face Goliath using the more traditional strategies and approaches – clothed with heavy armor, a shield of bronze on his head, strapped with a sword over his armor.  The experienced soldiers knew that the “this is the way we always done it” battle tactics would likely fail.  But that’s how Saul was going to send David out because from experience he knew that’s how others should face new challenges.  David says, “No, I’ll go into battle with only a sling”.  The Lord will deliver me.  

•    Experience becomes the enemy when we close our minds to trying new creatives approaches. 
•    Experience can blind us to new ways of seeing things.
•    Experience can over-value what we’ve always done with our current skills and under-value trying on some new things.
•    Experience believes that the older approach is always transferable to new challenges.
•    Experience is foolish enough to walk right up to Goliath and fight with a sword; but experimenting new approaches opens the door to kill Goliath with a single shot to the head.
•    Experience laughed a David’s tactics because they judged him through the lens of traditional approaches.  The soldiers knew that Goliath would pulverize David because they couldn’t imagine how trying something out of the box might work.  

David won the battle that day because he played full out as he ran up the hill at the giant.  He used an unexpected strategy that exposed Goliath’s weakness – speed and agility versus strength and being slow.  David fought with a confidence which came from a superior faith, because he was willing to consider that the risks he was taking had divine support.  His victory was made possible by his faith in God.

What is dangerous about the voices of experience in your church or in the place where you work and serve?  In what ways can experienced pastors and leaders can open their minds to situations that require risk and demand change?  What new approaches are needed to bring change to my challenging situation?  Have courage, the Lord is walking with you.       

— Wayne Van Regenmorter              
LINKS YOU MAY FIND USEFUL                                   
Conflict and Christian Discipleship – In a time of intense polarization, both inside and outside the church, Christians are called not to run from conflict but to engage it, drawing upon ancient practices of the faith, says Michael Gulker, the president of The Colossian Forum.  (If you would like to explore more with the Colossian Forum [located in Grand Rapids, MI] you can click here.

Be A More Approachable Pastor on Sunday Morning – Some pastors are naturally approachable. They have a certain charisma that draws people. Other pastors draw in people like an open casket viewing. People approach but with nervous hesitation. Most of us are somewhere in between these two extremes.  Here are some skills we can all develop.

The Necessary Characteristics for a Church Revitalizer – Church revitalizers must have a unique set of skills that are necessary for them to be successful in their roles. This article from Ed Stetzer highlights five necessary characteristics for a church revitalizer.

How We Can Talk about Real Things Better in Church – Many churches and church members seem to “have it all together” and come off as perfect to others.  This article examines mental health in the church and how we can talk about it more openly.

Immigration and Diversity – This interview with Rich Nathan, pastor of The Columbus Vineyard Church, examines how one church is engaging immigration, diversity, and building relationships. 

Cultural Humility Can Help Us Become Better Leaders and Better Christians – Cultural humility requires us to adopt a posture of learning from those who are different from ourselves, writes Ismael Ruiz-Millan, the director of the Hispanic House of Studies, Global Education & Intercultural Formation at Duke Divinity School.
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