Synod News

This issue’s featured blogger is Jeff Klein.  Jeff video blogs at  Each week a new thought-provoking video is put up about the way we live for Christ in the world.  He most recent blog takes a look at the power of our words, especially on social media.  Jeff says, “Today, more than ever, the world is listening to our words – let’s make sure we’re telling them the right story.”  Check out Jeff’s blog!
(Recently, we asked those who blog regularly to send us your blog’s web address.  If you have not done so, please send it to Chad Schuitema.  We will feature a different blog from around the synod each newsletter.)

News from Camp Manitoqua:
Fathers and sons, join us for our Forge weekend retreat, March 14-16, 2014. Designed to give fathers the opportunity to commission their sons to begin the process of becoming men through biblical teaching and hands-on learning. Visit for information or call the office for information and to register, 815.469.2319.

STORM the base, CAPTURE the flag, and WIN the game! Camp Manitoqua and Retreat Center invites you out to one of the most epic days of paintball you will ever experience! For High School and older only, join us on April 5th for a one-day paintball event from 10am – 4pm.  Call the office for additional information, 815.469.2319.

Come partner with other volunteers at Manitoqua Ministries Annual Camp Work Day.  Camp Manitoqua and King’s Camp work day is scheduled for Saturday, April 12, 2014   Lunch is provided. More information can be found on our web page,  Please RSVP by April 5 for Camp Manitoqua to 815-469-2319 or for King’s Camp to 815-645-8277.

Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center is looking for Camp Counselors for the summer of 2014.  Check our web page at to apply online or call our office at 815-469-2319.

*Starting a 2nd Worship Service Webinar*

Multiply your impact and your ministry with a second service!

The Synod is providing opportunity to learn and design a second service strategy for next fall or 2015!   Three Monday 90 minute webinars March 17, April 28 and May 19 at 2 pm CST.   Together these webinars will cover discerning readiness, laying a foundation, identifying a target, launching strategies, biggest mistakes made, assimilation and much more.  If you’ve even wondered about starting a second service, you’ll gain insight and be helped.  The training features experienced pastors and is being coordinated through the synod by Ben Ingebretson.

There is no charge for these events.  Register by emailing Chad Schuitema.

This issue’s story of celebration comes from First Reformed Church, South Holland, IL and pastor Matt Waterstone

What do you think the term “revitalization” means?  It’s a tough one to nail down, isn’t it?  Revitalization looks different in different contexts.  There’s isn’t an easy 1-2-3 step plan for healthy and sustaining revitalization.  And often is the case, revitalization seems to be the arch nemesis of church multiplication.  But what if I told you that church revitalization and church multiplication are not mutually exclusive, but rather like first cousins once removed (which by the way before serving First Church, South Holland, I never knew that people actually kept track of family genealogy!).  Anyway, in a lot of ways, church revitalization is church multiplication.  In some ways, it’s planting a church within a church.  When I came to pastor First Church of South Holland, IL in 2008, I was a church planter.  I just had a beautiful building, a core of 175 people and plenty of resources ready to plant a new church, cast a new vision and embark on a unique journey of transformation.

So how did we get to being a multi-cultural, multi-racial and multi-generational church? How did we revitalize?  Sure we added staff, updated rooms, laid new carpet, bought a church “app” and continued to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ.  But maybe the most important thing we did, you can’t really pin down or put a label.  It was simply changing a culture to a more welcoming, gracious and hospitable place where handshakes have been replaced by hugs, where endowed pews have been replaced by scooching in to make room for latecomers, and where 80 year old Dutch farmers have realized that they have a lot more in common with 30 year old African Americans than they originally thought.

It just might be a small of a thing as getting your Consistory in the Narthex before Church, milling around, laughing together and greeting everyone as they walk in.  It just might be as small a thing as taking the time to build the pastoral capital with your Senior Saints, so while they may not like every change, they trust you and the working of the Holy Spirit.  And it just might be as small of a thing as avoid using the word “change,” and instead continue to celebrate the rich past of your congregation while subtly making Spirit-prompted changes in the life of your church.

*Telling our stories is a way for us to encourage each other and to share what the Spirit is doing through the churches and people of our synod.  As you share yours, others may be empowered to do similar things or the Spirit may use it as a starting point for another idea to reach people for Christ.  We encourage you to share!



February 24:  Travel to St John, IN
25:  Office/Conference Call
26:  Management Team Conference Call
Illinois Executive Team Meeting/Second Reformed Church/Fulton, IL
27:  Coaching/Office/Confrence Call
28:  Office
March  1:  Off
2:  Sunday Worship
3:  First Call Meeting/Chicago, IL
Illiana-Florida Classis Gathering with Tom De Vries
4:  Meeting/Gregg Mast
First Call Meeting/Chicago, IL
5:  Office
6- 19:  Christ at the Crosspoint Conference/Isreal/Palestine
20:  Illiana-Florida Classis Meeting/American Reformed Church/DeMotte, IN
21:  Office
22:  Off
23:  Sunday Worship
24-27:  General Synod Council Meeting/Phoenix, AZ
27-29:   RSGL/Mid-America Ridder Church Renewal Event/Muskegon, MI
30:  Sunday Worship
31:  Transformed and Transforming Launch Team Meeting/Vancouver, Canada

The following are ministry links you may find helpful:

7 Ways to Guage the Effectiveness of Your Local Church – this is a very helpful article in terms of the measurements churches use to gauge if they are being effective and fruitful.  We often just count worship attendance and offerings – but this article not only gives us some other helpful things to count but also puts the emphasis on the real role of the church beyond just holding worship services.

365 Spiritual and Strategic Insights for Transforming Congregations – George Bullard is blogging every day of 2014 and providing incredible insights for transforming congregations.  This is a blog to keep track of daily – you will learn something that has the potential to transform your congregation and community.  This link is for January’s insights.  To follow it daily, click here.

How to Reach more Hispanics in Your Community – Leadership Journal has released a new kit that is a highly practical program that features a mix of presentations by front-line Hispanic pastors, Q&A with them, and factoids on Hispanic demographics.  It was created from a Leadership Network forum for Hispanic pastors of very large bilingual churches.

The Case of the Declining Congregation – this is a great piece that examines church health from more than a Sunday morning attendance factor and helps us see church attendance from a different perspective.

February 24: Lafayette Office
25: Lafayette Office
26: Lafayette Office/Coaching
27: Off
28: Off
March       3: First Call Pilot Program – Chicago;
Illiana-Florida Classis Gathering with Tom DeVries
4: Meeting with Gregg Mast
First Call Pilot Program – Chicago
5: Lafayette Office
6: Lafayette Office
7: Lafayette Office

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