2104 Campbell Street
Valparaiso, IN 46383
Office: (815) 464-9181
Mobile: (765) 237-7678
President: Bob Wierenga (Wisconsin)
Vice President: Dale Buettner (Illiana-Florida)
At-Large Members: Jason DeVries (New Thing), Scott Stephan (Illinois), Chad DeJager (Chicago)
In an especially challenging season of life and ministry we need new tools to reach our neighbors. Join us on Saturday, Nov. 21 (9-3pm CST via Zoom) for a virtual vision day with Fresh Expressions US, RCA Church Multiplication, the Classis of Illinois, and the Regional Synod of Mid America. Fresh expressions of church are nimble, adaptable, mutually benefit the established church, and are perfectly suited to our current reality. Any of our established churches can plant a fresh expression plant. Read how RCA and CRCNA leaders are leaning into Fresh Expressions of church and join us. All are welcome, click HERE to register. Tickets are $10.
RSMA to host Vision 2020 conversations – In January, each classis will be invited to participate in a Zoom online meeting to hear from members of the Vision 2020 Team, RCA Staff, and have an opportunity to discuss the proposals together as a classis. More information will be coming soon and specific times and dates will be released by your classis.
RSMA Staff to transition to new roles – Beginning in 2021 Wayne Van Regenmorter will be transitioning to a part time role as the Coordinator for Multi-Ethnic Church Partnerships and Chad Schuitema will be transitioning to the Regional Synod Executive Role. To read more about this transition in a letter from the RSMA President, click HERE.
The RCA Board of Benefits Services (BOBS) is encouraging churches and plants to take a special offering for your pastor and qualify for assistance/prizes. The Thanksgiving or Christmas season is often the perfect time to participate. BOBS would like to join you in blessing our pastors in two ways. First, if you plan on taking a special offering for your pastor, you will be eligible to receive one $250 Amazon gift card for your pastor. (One per church.) To learn how, click here. Second, if the gift to your pastor will go to pay down student loans or medical debt, and if you are already commissioned or ordained in the RCA, BOBS will match that gift, up to $2,000. Visit this page for details.
The RCA’s Commission on Nominations is looking for individuals to serve on the RCA’s commissions, agencies, and boards. Visit www.rca.org/nominations to learn about the work of each commission, agency, and board and to see if one or more fits your skills and interests. Then, download a profile, fill it out, and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org before December 31. You may also send questions to email@example.com.
The Regional Synod of Mid-America is looking for 2 Corresponding Women Delegates and 1 Corresponding Youth Delegate for General Synod 2021. These delegates attend all the sessions of General Synod and have the privilege of the floor but do not vote. There are also a few special opportunities for these delegates at General Synod. The Corresponding Women Delegates is open to any woman who is a member of an RCA church and the Youth Delegate is open to anyone connected to an RCA church with a sense of call from God to go into ministry. Usually, these youth delegates are college-aged and discerning a call to ministry in any form. General Synod 2021 will be held June 10-15, 2021 in Pella, Iowa. Lodging and food is covered by the RCA and travel will be reimbursed by the RSMA. Email Chad Schuitema if you know of someone or you yourself are interested in serving in this role.
The Regional Synod of Mid-America will be reducing its assessments by $1.00 per member to $16.50 per confessing/active member in 2021. The RCA has also reduced its 2021 assessment by $2.29 per confessing member for a total assessment of $52.01.
The Salary Committee of the RSMA recently updated our Compensation Guidelines which we submit to each classis for their own approval. You can find those guidelines HERE. Please note: these guidelines are not official for your classis until your classis votes on them at their Fall meetings. The Personnel Committees section of our website continues to house good resources for all churches and you are encouraged to explore them.
You can continue to find all of the RCA’s COVID-19 resourcesHERE.
The RCA continues to offer free/reduced fee Spiritual Direction (and coaching) during the Pandemic – to learn more, and find a spiritual director, click HERE.
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 WinterBlast will be two separate times in December for kids in 1st-6th grade. WinterBlast seeks to introduce children to Christ and His message of salvation as well as to provide a setting and community where their lives are enriched through high energy and intentional programming. We hope that during their winter break, your child’s experience is a real blast! For more information and to sign up, click HERE.
To get the most up to date information, please check out their updates HERE.
THOUGHTS FROM WAYNE
A New Way of Speaking…
In most churches the first Sunday after Labor Day is considered “Kick Off” Sunday when churches launch the Fall season: people are back from summer vacations, new programs are introduced and there’s new energy and excitement in the air. But this Fall is different! Families and single folks are not all gathered at the church building, kids are not in their classrooms because many people are at home worshipping in a new online reality. For many pastors and church leaders this picture of Fall Kick Off has led to dashed expectations and disappointment of things returning to normal.
A pastor friend of mine, Tim Breen, shared some thoughts on this that I want to reflect on with you as he asked: “Is God Still Paying Attention?’’ He noted the expectations of various futurists, who by the year 2020, projected that most things would be figured out. In 2020, we’d be traveling from place to place in flying cars powered by hydrogen. Arthur C. Clarke imagined people wouldn’t need to travel for vacations because they’d live in flying houses. The Space Studies Board of NASA believed that by 2018 humans would land on Mars. Nikola Tesla, the electronic genius, thought that by 2020 people would stop drinking coffee. Got that one wrong! Ray Kurzweil predicted that by 2020 life spans would extend to 100 or more and people’s work weeks would be compressed to 26 hours – our lives would be harmonious and peaceful.
But we don’t live into that kind of current reality. An invisible virus in China made its way to every corner of our planet and has changed society in a variety of ways. Racism and injustice have divided our country, leading to rioting and protests, some which have grown violent and destructive. The wildfires in California, Oregon, and Australia have cost people’s lives and destroyed their homes. The bottom line is that 2020 has not met our expectations. We’re living in a VUCA world – Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. 1) Volatile – the stock markets rises and falls; COVID-19 number go up and down; 2) Uncertain – the upcoming Presidential election, need I say more; 3) Complex – we have more data than ever before and social media; 4) Ambiguous – two people look at the exact same scientific data but interpret it differently; should we wear masks or shouldn’t we. With all of this going on in the world and in our personal lives it begs these questions: Does God not see what’s going on in the world right now? Is God tuned out or on vacation? Why doesn’t God do something to change all this pain and suffering?
This is not the first time in history these questions have been asked. Habakkuk the prophet wrote, “How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you ‘Violence!’ but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.” Habakkuk 1: 2-4 (NIV) The prophet is asking, God, are you paying any attention at all to what is happening? I wonder if you ever felt like God is not paying attention. Isaiah the prophet wondered: “Truly you are God who has been hiding himself, the God and Savior of Israel.” Isaiah 45:15 (NIV) God, why are you not intervening in the pain and suffering of this world? Do you ever feel like God is hiding right now as you serve in ministry? Like He has taken a trip or fallen asleep.
This is the reason for faith. Faith is active and the strongest when it seems like God is hidden, when He is not intervening like we think He should. I encourage you with this thought: “Not seeing God doesn’t mean that we are unseen by God.” Just because we don’t see God the way we think He should work doesn’t mean that God is hiding. Our Christian faith has something to say to us personally that no other faith can say – God has entered into suffering with us. The hidden God was revealed to us in Jesus Christ. Jesus came in human flesh and engaged people who were suffering – the lepers, the sick, the blind, the deaf, the people hurting and in pain. At the cross the “hidden” God became completely exposed. At the cross Jesus reveals how much God cares about those going through pain because He experienced suffering Himself. He knows our challenges and struggles and only He can set us free from the weariness of pandemics.
— Wayne Van Regenmorter
LINKS YOU MAY FIND USEFUL
Why it’s Important to Talk about Race – In this six-minute video, four leaders from City Church of Compton, California (RCA), share about their multiracial church, including what cross-racial relationships have meant to them personally and what that has meant for their witness in their city.
Avoiding Burnout in A Difficult Year – 2020 has been a year full of unforeseen challenges, to put it mildly. You’ve probably had to shift gears repeatedly to deal with the latest curveball thrown your way. If you’re feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and always on alert for the next battle, you’re not alone. Ministry isn’t easy in a typical year, but this year has been anything but typical. These helpful tips should not only encourage you, but also give you permission to take care of yourself during this difficult time.
Shifting the American Church: Learning to Operate from the Margins – This article examines what the pandemic could teach us about the shifts happening to the church. The church is more commonly finding itself in the margins and they may continue or even increase in the near future. How could the church use this as an opportunity? This article may help.
Perspective Shifts Great Leaders Have Adopted During the Pandemic – Today’s culture is demanding a different leader. A leader who has the emotional intelligence to lead himself or herself well, to navigate the critical moments for your organization, and the ability to discern the emotional current of the team and the culture. These shifts may help as you continue to lead.
The Struggle to Live in Unity when Everything’s Divided –
In an examination of the swords and plowshares text, this article examines unity from the perspective of change as it pertains to loss. The author writes: “Sometimes change can feel like nothing but loss. But right now the world is showing us how violent intransigence can be. Is Christianity more than stubborn tradition? Does the incarnation mean that transformation is always possible, that humanity is more than holding on to the world we knew?”
We Need to Reset the Rules of Cultural Engagement – Now that shared common ground seems to be disappearing and we are being asked to take a few steps back to get to a place we used to just assume existed. We all know our culture has changed. We feel it and see it. Social media shows it. In the last half century, the Judeo-Christian net that surrounded much of our Western culture has disappeared. We no longer live in a Christian world. This article could be helpful to not only lament that, but work within it for the cause of Christ.