2104 Campbell Street
Valparaiso, IN 46383
Office: (815) 464-9181
Mobile: (765) 237-7678
President: Jason DeVries (New Thing)
Vice President: Bob Wierenga (Wisconsin)
At-Large Members: Dale Buettner (Illiana-Florida), Scott Stephan (Illinois), Chad DeJager (Chicago)
You don’t want to miss this! RSVP ASAP for Growing Your Emotional Maturity/Having Difficult Conversations Workshop will be held in our region on November 23 from 9am-3pm (CENTRAL TIME) at American Reformed Church in DeMotte, IN. Also during these workshops, participants will have a chance to examine and discuss the 3 scenarios put forward by the Vision 2020 Team of the RCA. Jim Herrington and Trisha Taylor facilitate the Vision 2020 team and will lead us in these workshops. Lunch will be provided and there is no cost for this event. You are encouraged to bring as many people from your church as possible. We have held similar workshops in Illinois and Wisconsin and they have been very helpful.
What you will learn in the workshop:
A different way of listening to those with whom you disagree.
Everyone contributes to the results we are getting in conflict, even me. “You’re not stuck in traffic, you are the traffic.”
How to engage in conflict in a healthy way. Often we engage in destructive conflict where we make things worse or walk away, resigned and cynical.
How can you hold on to what you believe and also stay connected to those who see things differently.
The ability to act out of our deeply held values despite the pressure to do otherwise.
How do we stay calm and thoughtful when the emotions in and around us are so powerful.
Principles and practices for managing ourselves while the tension around us and in us rises.
How God will help you grow in your own emotional maturity in the face of conflict in ways that help you to be healthier and more effective in your congregation, the classis, the workplace, our families and in our marriage.
FCC Changes to Wireless Microphone Bands – you may have already noticed some interference in your wireless microphones. That’s becauseWireless microphones that operate in the 600 MHz service band will be required to cease operation sort by no later than July 13, 2020, and may be required to cease operation sooner if they could cause interference to new wireless licensees that commence operations on their licensed spectrum in the 600 MHz service band. Your church may even be fined if it continues to use these service bands. More information can be found HERE and HERE. Churches are encouraged to consult with their wireless microphone providers for more information and help with this change.
Churches Learning Change – a new monthly learning community model beginning January 22, 2020 will help pastors and churches looking for tools and skills to more successfully navigate change. Pastors will receive monthly online training, coaching, and churches will receive great monthly content to help equip leaders, increase discipleship, and learn adaptive leadership skills. All for the low price of $250! Any questions, email Chad.
The RCA’s Mission 2020 will be held in Orlando, FL January 16-18, 2020 (just 8 weeks away) and will be a festival to God’s goodness. Throughout the three-day event, attendees will celebrate God’s goodness over 377 years of mission and together imagine the future of RCA Global Mission. Registration is now open by visiting mission2020.rca.org.
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.
The 2020 RSMA Compensation Guidelines are available by clicking HERE. These guidelines have been approved by all classes and can help guide churches as they budget for this next year. Also available on this page of our website are helpful resources for church personnel committees.
There will be a Faithwalking Retreat on February 7-8, 2020 at Grace Valley CRC in German Valley, IL. (8210 E Edwardsville Rd, German Valley IL 61039). If anyone is interested in attending the cost is $50 and they can contact Scott Stephan for more information or to register.
NEWS FROM CAMP MANITOQUA Enjoy a taste of fall at the Red Oak Luncheon, a pleasant occasion for adults, at Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center on Wednesday, December 4th. Coffee & rolls will be served at 10:30am. Our program will begin at 11:00am with lunch to follow at 12:00pm. Tours of the grounds will be available after lunch. Cost for the event is $10.00. Please make reservations at 815.469.2319 by December 2.
Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center is currently hiring lead cooks and food service assistants. Shifts needed are mid-week days (ideal for moms with children in school), mid-week evenings and weekends all days. High School students and college students are ideal candidates as well! Fall season begins immediately after summer and stays busy through mid-November. Visit Manitoqua.org/jobs or contact email@example.com or the office at 815.469.2319 for an application.
THOUGHTS FROM WAYNE
It was Thanksgiving Day as the family gathered around the table, admiring the holiday bird. From the oldest to the youngest, each person expressed what he/she was thankful. When it came to the 5-year-old in the family, he began by looking at the turkey and expressing his thanks to the turkey, saying although he had not tasted it, he knew it would be good. He then went on with a more predictable line of credits, thanking his mom for cooking the turkey and his dad for buying the turkey. Then he went beyond that. He joined together a whole hidden multitude of benefactors, linking them with cause and effect. He said, “I thank the checker at the grocery store who checked out the turkey. I thank the grocery store people who put it in the cold box. I thank the farmer who made it fat. I thank the man who made the feed. I thank trucker who brought the turkey to the store. He traced it all the way back and then at the end he solemnly said, “Did I leave anybody out?’” By this time his older brother who is completely embarrassed by all of this responded, “God!” Without skipping a beat, the 5-year-old piped up, “I was going to get to Him.”
Well, isn’t that the question about which we ought to think about at Thanksgiving time? Are we really going to get to Him this Thanksgiving?
The story in the 17th chapter in Luke’s Gospel speaks of ten lepers who knew healing from the hands of Jesus, but only one turned back to express gratitude. This story finds Jesus on His way to Jerusalem to die on a cross. He’s almost there when a group of ten lepers interrupt Him – the largest group of lepers in the New Testament. Perhaps they thought by their sheer number they could impress Jesus with their need. And even though the ten of them were together in their misery, only one of them stood apart in his willingness to give back to Jesus an expression of genuine and authentic thanksgiving.
There are very few things in the New Testament that surprise Jesus. He seemed to have known what was going to happen before it ever happened, but in this instance our Lord registered surprise. It is fascinating to me that the thing that can cause the Son of God to register shock and surprise is when those who ought to show gratitude do not even think of it. In verse 17 Jesus asked, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine?” That is the irony in this story. Those who had the most for which to be thankful gave no thanks, and the one who had the least about which to be thankful came expressing the greatest gratitude. Luke shares this unusual twist – the nine lepers were Hebrews; the one who turned back to give thanks was a Samaritan. From that perspective, the Hebrews had the Temple. They had the Law of God. They were the covenant people. They were the people of highest religious privilege. On the other hand, the Samaritan was socially and religiously wrong in their eyes. He worshipped at Mount Garizim in Samaria, not the Temple in Jerusalem. He was socially wrong because he was an outcast. From the Jews’ perspective he had little to thank God about, but the other nine had much to thank God about. The irony of this story is the one who had least to thank Jesus about thanked Him the most.
There are some principles here that can help us as we move into Thanksgiving. We are sincerely and genuinely interested in making this Thanksgiving more than just a time of turkey and football games. We want to express our thanks to God in a loud voice. Thanksgiving is not a matter of what has happened to you this year nearly as much as it is how you see what has happened to you this year. If this has been a difficult and challenging year for you, will you still see it as grounds for expressing gratitude to God? Or will you hold an attitude of bitterness, revenge and cynicism. As God’s people, He gives us a way of seeing. There are really two kinds of seeing when it comes to thanksgiving, and our Lord said we should avoid the nearsighted vision of the nine and learn how to see like the one person who took time to really perceive what God had done for him.
In 1636, it was the midst of the Thirty Years War – one of the worst wars in the history of mankind in terms of the sheer number of deaths, epidemics and economic results. There was a godly pastor whose name was Martin Rinkert (Rinckart), and incredibly in a single year this pastor buried 4,000 people in his parish – almost 11 a day. He lived with the worst that life could do. And yet if you look in a hymnal, you will find that in the middle of that time, he wrote as a table grace for his children, a Thanksgiving hymn: “Now thank we all our God, with hearts and hands and voices, who wondrous things has done, in whom His world rejoices.” I asked myself as I read that story if I had spent the year holding 4,000 funerals of the people that I loved and served, could I write for my children a song of thanksgiving and say, “Now thank we all our God…” It is an unusual thing that throughout history many of those who have the least to thank God about thank Him the most. Just reflecting on what kind of thanker I am.
— Wayne Van Regenmorter
LINKS YOU MAY FIND USEFUL
Churches in England Use Tech for New Ways to Connect – Leaders often ignore emotions or don’t deal with emotions in their proper time. Sometimes leaders minimize emotions and other leaders are often ruled by emotion. This article helps us articulate what is going on within us.
Money Saving Tech Tips for Your Church – These simple, money-saving tech ideas may help your church save money. Many social media networks offer free ways to connect and communicate with members and your community. There are also free graphics and online tools available to nonprofits, as well as more volunteers to be recruited.
It Used to Work So Well – In congregations, success can lead to demise. There are many reasons why such downfalls occur. At some point, the creativity and adaptability that made congregations vital in the first place become frozen in place. They stop being responsive to the changing situation and circumstances in which they function. What at one time was a great strength — clarity about key values, priorities and commitments — now leads to weakness.
There Is No Such Thing As Church Revitalization – Churches in decline or in need of renewal often seek “revitalization” in an attempt to return to their former glory. But many things that initially contributed to growth, including cultural norms, socio-economic conditions, and the population in the neighborhood, no longer exist. Real renewal comes from rediscovering their mission, reengaging their mission field, and refocusing their resources to support the mission, not from trying to revive the past.
How to Eliminate Unhealthy Values from Your Church – Core values are the hidden hand in your church. Your values make decisions for you when you operate out of default. The actual values of your church determine most of the choices you make. The problem is that what you actually value may not line-up with the statements on your website or bulletin.