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Dear Friends: Happy Thanksgiving from the Regional Synod of Mid-America! Over this last year I have tried to develop a gratitude practice. Multiple times each week I journal using the prompts: I am grateful for…What would make today great…Daily Affirmation. I haven’t had any big epiphanies from this practice, but it has helped in me becoming someone who doesn’t get too worked up over things and someone who knows God is in control and his purposes will be worked out. Gratitude helps soften the sharp points of stress. It helps smooth out the roughness of disappointment and frustration. It leads to more contentedness. Thanksgiving is a time when we think of what we are grateful for and I pray that in doing that, God will show you a peace that surpasses all understanding.
We are in need of a layperson to serve as our representative on the Commission on Nominations. The Commission on Nominations nominates members for the General Synod Council and all other General Synod commissions and agencies. A complete description of this role can be found HERE. If you are interested in serving, or would like more information, please email Chad. We need this person by December 31st!
Bless Your Pastor: This season, from pastor appreciation month in October, Thanksgiving in November, and Christmas in December, we want to encourage churches to be generous by taking a special offering to bless their pastor. The added bonus? If a church takes a special collection to help a pastor pay down student loans or medical debt, the Board of Benefits Services will match their gift up to $2,000. These matching funds are limited, and will be given on a first come, first serve basis. Click HERE to learn more.
A Complete List of RCA Advent Resources can be found HERE.
The Vision And People Behind The New Center For RCA Ministry: The denomination team for the RCA was recently highlighted and features excellent leaders from across the RCA including Rev. Dr. Fredy Aviles and Rev. Chad Farrand from our very own Classis de las Naciones. Read more about this team and how they can support your church and Classis HERE.
Speaking of the New Center…The Reformed Church Center is hosting a conversation around the question “Is the RCA Planting International Churches, and What Does that Mean?” on
Thursday, December 8, from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm Eastern Time via Zoom. Staff from Global Missions and Church Multiplication along with local pastors and a commissioned missionary, will explain the plane and ask questions about it, followed by a time for everyone present to join in the discussion. Click HERE to register for the conversation.
We are looking for a youth delegate to General Synod 2023 (June 8-13, 2023 at Central College in Pella, IA). The Youth Corresponding Delegate has the privilege of the floor to speak and engage in all activities of synod except voting, and also has special activities related to sensing a call to ministry. Typically this is a college-aged person who has already felt a call to some form of ministry. If you or someone you know would be a good fit for either of these corresponding roles, please email Chad.
Jesse Tree family devotions book: these popular online Advent devotions for young families, written by Rev. Grace Claus, are now available as a book, The Jesse Tree Story: A Family Advent Devotional. Journey through the stories on Jesus’s family tree to get ready to celebrate Christ’s birth. This family Advent devotional brings 25 Bible stories about the ancestors of Jesus to life for kids and families. Read these devotions daily leading up to Christmas. Each devotion tells the story of someone on Jesus’s family tree and corresponds to a symbol that your family can make and hang on your own Jesse Tree. Learn more by clicking HERE.
Does your church need a Fresh Start? This RCA resource details 8 different ideas and stories about churches who made a fresh start in order to bear more fruit for the Lord and in their communities. If this resources sparks ideas for you, make sure you contact 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
Winter Blast! During winter break send your kids to camp! There are two opportunities: December 26-30, 2022 or January 2-6, 2023. The cost is $260 and Winter Blast is for grades 1-6. For more information, click HERE. LINKS YOU MAY FIND USEFUL Is Your Congregation Making an Impact? – The pandemic definitely changed our churches. Whereas prior to 2019 our most looked at metric may have been church attendance or church membership, today that metric may need to change. This article helps us look at other things that might be focused on.
The Future of the Church in Europe and What the North American Church Can Learn from It – I n many Western European countries, Christianity has declined more steeply than in the United States and Canada. Religious “nones” now make up more than half of the population in the Netherlands. Even for a Western European country, this is an above-average level of secularization. Yet if current demographic trends continue, the U.S. might not be that far behind. The Pew Research Center recently projected that Christians could make up less than half of the U.S. population within a few decades. So, what can North American churches learn from what’s happening in Europe right now? And what does the future hold for the church in Europe?
Today’s Leaders Must Embrace the “AND” – This article from a Human Resources website goes in-depth on some of the lessons being learned about leadership in our post-pandemic times. While theoretical and technical at times, there may be a lot for us to learn here about the “Genius of the AND.”
Did Faith Fall Off A Cliff During COVID? – When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many Americans lost the habit of churchgoing after almost every church in the country closed down their in-person services and shifted online. But did people give up on their faith in God? This new study may surprise you.
Relationships Not Resources Are Key for Church Engagement with Families Post-Pandemic – More research and questions for the church post-COVID, this time from the U.K. Looking at models of church and a church’s primary role pre-pandemic and looking at what is happening now, they see some changes that may need to take place. Copyright © 2022 Regional Synod of Mid-America, RCA, All rights reserved.
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