Dear Friends: I have been reminded a number of times recently of the quote from Mike Breen that says: “If you make disciples, you always get the church. But if you make a church, you rarely get disciples.” When I talk to ministry leaders it seems like I always hear and excitement that people are able to worship again without restrictions. After such a long pandemic, it does feel good to get together again and worship! However, we must remember that worship is not the sole goal of the church. Jesus’ Great Commission was to go and make disciples. That is our mandate as followers of Christ. It is out of joy and gratefulness that we worship, and, it is our mandate to make disciples. Keep the main thing the main thing and focus on making disciples and your church will be just fine. — Chad
Second annual day of fasting and prayer for justice and reconciliation – As racism continues to devastate lives and communities, it’s so important for Christians to be part of addressing it. In The RCA we are encouraging congregations to host prayer gatherings on the second annual day of fasting and prayer for justice and reconciliation, scheduled for May 25, the second anniversary of George Floyd’s death. Rev. Sharon Atkins and Rev. Kelvin Spooner provided an order of worship for such a prayer service last year.
Christian Educators, Reformed Church in America (CERCA) is offering scholarships to RCA members who work in education and discipleship ministries and are seeking opportunities for personal and professional growth. Apply HERE.
The Theological Education Scholarship Fund for Racial-Ethnic Students is now accepting applications through June 30, 2022 for the 2022-2023 academic year. This scholarship fund supports racial-ethnic students pursuing ministry. Click HERE for the details, process and application.
Clergy Financial Planning with Everance – Nearly everyone could benefit from working with a financial planner. That’s why the RCA has partnered with Severance. The cost for a year of financial planning with Everence is $1,500. Over the past few years, BOBS has been able to cover half of that cost and offer the service to clergy for $750. Thanks to a successful fundraising effort, BOBS will offer the service to anyone who signs up in the month of April for $375. BOBS will cover $1,125 of the cost. Email Billy Norden to get started or learn more.
Pre-General Synod Daily Devotions – In the month leading up to General Synod, synod president Phil Assink is inviting people across the RCA to join together in prayer for the denomination. A set of daily devotions will also be available by email; sign up HERE.
She Is Called: Women of the Bible Study Vol. 2 is out now – This RCA resource focuses on how Mary and Martha, Abigail, Junia, and more embraced God’s call for their lives in the second volume of the women of the Bible series. For more information or to check out Volume 1, click HERE.
Looking for Church Renewal? – Vibrant Congregations helps local churches discern the best path to their God-given, hope-filled future. It starts with a quick, free, online assessment HERE. Vibrant is a partner organization of the RCA and the Christian Reformed Church in North America.
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 Spring Into Summer – Throughout Spring Into Summer, our grounds are open and available especially for your enjoyment and connecting with others in the surrounding community. Swim in our pool, eat some snacks, go on a tour of camp, or simply enjoy the beautiful grounds that God has created for us! Please RSVP HERE and support the local businesses who have sponsored the 2022 Spring Into Summer!
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
Why Are So Many Pastors Burnt Out, And What Can We Do? RCA minister Annalise Radcliffe examines the pressures on churches and pastors in our world today. This honest look at burn out may be helpful to you to avoid it, begin to work out of it, or to look for it in your pastor and church. Rural Churches Can Thrive Beyond Numbers – Pastors are often led to believe that success in their congregations is contingent upon increasing worship attendance. Missions and evangelism become tools by which to reach this growth rather than efforts by which to recognize and participate in the restless change that God is creating. This article helps us focus.
Compassionate Leadership: Doing Hard Things in a Human Way – The greatest challenge for most leaders is to do hard things in a human way. How do leaders take care of the difficult actions that come with leadership (such as managing crises, quick pivots, layoffs, and hard conversations) while also recognizing our shared humanity, connecting with others, and inspiring people through authenticity?
You Are A Leader, Is It Hard to Get People to Follow? Leaders provide focus and join people together to build, maintain, create change, or accomplish what otherwise would not be. People are looking for someone they trust, among other things. This article examines many of the aspects essential for people to want to follow you as a leader.