Dear Friends: I recently read Isaiah 49:16 which says, “I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” When you engrave something, it’s permanent. It’s not something that can just be erased. This makes me hopeful about God’s love for us! It goes right along with Romans 8:38 that says, “Nothing can separate us from the Love of God that is in Christ Jesus.” I also noticed that it doesn’t say that God has engraved your NAME on the palms of his hands, it says God has engraved YOU on the palms of his hands. YOU means everything about you – your victories, your failures, your strengths, your fears – everything. I pray this is helpful to you in so many ways as you think about your own relationship with God, your church’s relationship with God, and the RCA’s relationship with God. All of who we are is engraved on God’s palm and it isn’t getting erased any time soon. — Chad
General Synod: General Synod takes place on the campus of Central College in Pella, Iowa from June 8 until June 13. If you are attending and are from our region, we will be having lunch together on Friday (look on your badge for location). If you aren’t attending this year but still want to watch the proceedings on the livestream, click HERE. If you’d like to check out the workbook for this year, click HERE. As always, please be in prayer for this important event in our denomination’s history.
Pre-synod prayer gatherings on Zoom: General Synod president Dwayne Jackson invites leaders and members of RCA churches to join in a time of prayer leading up to General Synod, to prepare our hearts for synod, on Friday May 19, from 2:00-2:45 Eastern time. Sign up to get the Zoom link HERE.
Flourishing Churches Grants due soon! These grants are generously funded by the RCA’s Church Growth Fund and are intended for thriving RCA churches that need facility upgrades for continued flourishing ministry. This year, the RCA will be awarding five grants of up to $50,000 each to RCA churches that have been organized for more than three years and intend to stay in the denomination. Visit the Flourishing Churches Grant webpage for more details about eligibility criteria. Grant applications are due May 31.
NEWS FROM CAMP MANITOQUA
Spring Into Summer is a great time for you and your family to enjoy some lemonade and cookies, swim in our pool, go on a tour of camp, get your face painted, and simply enjoy the beautiful grounds that God has created for us! Community, simply put, is vital to our growth. Our FREE Spring Into Summer event provides our community with a chance to connect and enjoy much needed time outside with friends and family. Click HERE for more info.
LINKS YOU MAY FIND USEFUL
Reorganizing, Now That You’re Smaller– Many congregations are finding that their structure no longer fits their reality. There are vacant or unnecessary leadership positions or service opportunities that may need to be examined to see if they are still needed in today’s church. There are some pitfalls to changing structure to be prepared for, and this article may help with those.
Perspective Could Lessen your Leadership Anxiety – In leadership you need to put things in perspective. Sometimes the thing that is causing you stress right this very minute may seem huge, but it’s only huge because it’s new, or unknown, or because someone is trying to make it huge. Perspective may help us as we lead.
Research: 5 Ways Hispanic Congregations Are Leading the Way in Outreach – One of the most comprehensive studies of the Hispanic American Protestant church was conducted this past fall. Lifeway Research partnered with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse to conduct a study with more than 25 denominations and networks, inviting pastors of Hispanic congregations to complete a survey about their ministry. The study yielded several key outreach takeaways that should be helpful to all churches in North America. This is some very exciting research!