Comment Stream

Monica Brands March 9, 2017

So glad you're working with Safe Church, Eric! And this: "I believe God is continuing to raise up leaders in the church to be shepherds — specifically to protect the flock" -- absolutely love this. 

Here's the Worship Team mandate from Trinity CRC in Rock Valley IA.

 

Objectives

 

      To achieve the stated purpose, the following objectives have been adopted:

  1. The Team will administer the worship at Trinity.
  2. The Team will promote the use of relevant worship at Trinity.
  3. The Team will provide opportunities for members of Trinity to learn more about worship.

 

Membership

 

      The membership of the Team will consist of seven (7) members of Trinity. A Church Council member will also be appointed to serve as a member of the team and as a liaison with the Council. The Pastor(s) will serve in an advisory role on the Team.
      Gifts that will be valuable for this team are creative communication, administration, leadership, helps, and discernment.

 

Terms of Service

 

      The terms of service will initially be for three (3) years and will be staggered. The Council may ask a team member to serve for more than one (1) term.

 

Areas of Responsibility

 

      The areas of responsibility include:

  1. Maximizing meaningful participation and use of member’s gifts in worship.
  2. Develop leadership in worship.
  3. Supervise and coordinate the worship planning team.
  4. Receive yearly report from a Children in Worship representative which includes a synopsis of the past year, positive, negatives and requests for assistance.
Staci Devries March 8, 2017

Welcome, Eric!

Staci Devries March 8, 2017

Thanks for sharing this opening, David!

Adom Postma March 8, 2017

This service gives you the ability to practice the song with your instrument either higher or lower in the mix. Doesn't give instruction as to how to actually play the song. So more effective from a rehearsal perspective, not as much from a learning perspective. Definitely has a place though.

Adom Postma March 8, 2017

I just had our worship coordinator point us in the direction of this service instead http://www.multitracks.com/products/rehearsalmix/.

I think it's a bit more mature - has the ability to practice in multiple keys, links with PCO, etc.

Worship Ministries March 8, 2017

We'd love to hear what you think - pros and cons.

Adom Postma March 7, 2017

This is an interesting website! Have not used online training before as I always go with the play by ear option, but I think I will have to give their free account a try to see what they have to offer.

Joe Serge March 7, 2017

  Paul sees things differently. "I urge, then first of all , that requests, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone - for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. (Tim 2:1-2). 

posted in : Worship Reality Check
Kristen VanderBerg March 7, 2017

I'm so excited to see how God will continue to use both of these ministries for His Kingdom.  My prayers are with you, Reggie, as you take on this new role.  I pray that God will give you wisdom and discernment as you juggle the mandates of both offices and as you work to integrate them when appropriate.  My prayers are also with all of your staff.  Change - even good change - is always tricky during the time of transition.

Staci Devries March 7, 2017

I LOVE this idea, Felix. How cool to have a prayer of blessing from your church family as you enter a new year. 

Felix Fernandez March 7, 2017

We keep it simple in Miami.  We have a birthday cake available in our fellowship hall on the first Sunday of the month.  We invite those who have a birthday in that particular month to gather around the birthday cake for a special prayer of blessing for the new year by a Council member and then they get first dibs on a slice of cake.  If we missed anyone's birthday from our printed list, that's the time for us to update our directory.  Works like a charm and it incorporates anyone who wants to be recongized regardless of age. 

Hubert Krygsman March 7, 2017

Thanks, Bernadette.  Great post!  I expect that there are as many stories to Canada's history -- many of them painful -- as there are different people groups and cultures.  I'm reminded of John's beautiful vision in Revelation 21-22 of the new creation, where all the nations are drawn to the light of God's glory and bring their own splendor to worship the King of kings, and where the leaves of the tree of life bring healing to the nations.  Making Canada's "mosaic" more like this rich and healing tapestry would be  a beautiful way celebrate Canada's 150th and transform its future.

Doug Vande Griend March 7, 2017

What I hope, and pray, is that under new leadership, political lobbying and other political spoutings off about what government is doing, as opposed to what we are doing, becomes a much, much lower priority for OSJ.  After all, it is not the case that CRC members are in lockstep as to their theories of the role of government, economics and international relationships, and it is the case that the CRC has Article 28 in its Church Order.

How this institutional church (CRC) and its members might respond to those suffering from injustice, hungry, and in need of mercy is beyond a big enough task for us to take on.  We don't need to also take on political lobbying, as if there is nothing else that we can uniquely do (because there is lots of that) or as if we haven't covenanted together to be an ecclesiastical, and not a political, institution (because we have, see CO Art. 28).

Staci Devries March 7, 2017

Thanks, Lynnsey! Looks like a really neat opportunity. 

Dan Winiarski March 6, 2017

Edwin Walhout's ideas are not new, not in line with CRC teaching, and not particularly interesting or robust.

Obviously, the worst example is his support for the idea that Jesus Christ is not divine.  How can someone abandon this bedrock Truth of Christianity and still claim orthodoxy?

Walhout's over-reliance on modern "science" also leads him to faulty theology.  In fact, some of the scientific theories he elevates above Scripture have already been abandoned and/or modified by secular scientists, demonstrating why the Church should never alter its teachings to fit the fickle scientific theories of the day.

Read his writings to gain an understanding of poor theology; read Scripture for Truth.

Lynnsey Hough March 6, 2017

Complete application package found on the website noted above.

Jeff Brower March 6, 2017

Bruce,

 

I've benefited from what Gordon-Conwell has offered--they have several programs, and it looks like it would not be too far from where you serve.

Angelyn Kuiper March 6, 2017

I just happened to stumble on this post today, and wanted to say thank you, David/Gary. As a mother who unexpectedly lost her 4-week-old daughter 5 months ago, I found the points in this post to be so accurate. 

I especially liked your point: "Bereaved parents can be parents who have lost children in utero, at birth, while an infant, while a youth, or even as an adult. The age doesn’t change things—children will always be sons and daughters of parents." 

While I know that everyone means well when trying to offer words of comfort, the words often have the opposite effect. As you pointed out, grief is a journey, and others' attempts to help us "move on" or somehow lessen the significance of her death are not at all what bereaved parents need. We will always grieve the loss of our daughter, and until we're reunited with her in heaven, there will always be a big part of us that's still actively hurting. I think these suggestions, though, are really helpful for friends and family looking to show compassion and care to bereaved parents.

 

Staci Devries March 6, 2017

Love this idea! It's a tangible and helpful way to stick with a Lent plan. 

Staci Devries March 6, 2017

Hi Gillian, 

Did you want to add more in the comments? Let me know if I can help. 

Thanks!

Staci

posted in : Faith as Power?
Gillian Ferwerda March 5, 2017

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posted in : Faith as Power?
Kristen VanderBerg March 3, 2017

Thanks Elaine and Herb for your helpful responses.  As I said, I've seen a lot of CRC churches go the same route.  Some have gotten rid of their "Christian Reformed" middle name altogether (many replacing it with a new middle name of "community").  Some have decreased the size and prominence of "Christian Reformed" but continue to add it as a tagline ("a Christian Reformed ministry"). Others exclude it from the name and signage but do nod to their CRC heritage in the "about us" or "what we believe" sections of their website.  

Your explanations about the reasons behind this make a lot of sense. Churches should want to be more inclusive and accessible. If our names are a hurdle that block people from walking through our doors, then we should humble ourselves and change them. 

The flip side, however, is that when more and more churches remove their denominational name, it becomes harder and harder for people to understand what we're all about.  Herb mentioned that people don't understand the term "Christian Reformed" and think that it might be related to prison ministry.  How can we help the term have meaning when we use it less and less?

I'd love for the term "Christian Reformed" to become synonymous in our broad culture with a people called by God to live a life dedicated to faith formation, servant leadership, gospel proclamation, worship, mercy, justice and mission. I wonder how we can better build up that understanding when we downplay the words. 

Then again, maybe we need to humble ourselves and not worry about how well our denominational name is known or understood, but just focus on how well Christ is known and understood. 

 

Steve Grcevich March 2, 2017

This is a great resource! I'm sharing in a Facebook group our ministry launched for mental health ministry leaders.

Elaine May March 2, 2017

Thank you for your question Kristen. The brevity of the article doesn't adequately communicate the complexity of our decision. I'll attempt to fill in and clarify a few things. Although it's difficult to convey the tone of the healthy conversations that took place in Council and with the congregation through out this process.

First, it's worth mentioning that we didn't approach this decision with a desire to "get rid of our denominational identity", to be "more appealing", nor "to appear non-denominational".  The decision was part of a larger conversation to clearly communicate our commitment to and life in Jesus Christ. We chose to humble ourselves by removing our middle name to be inclusive and accessible to those who didn't grow up in our tradition. The motive for minimizing of our middle name was not an attempt to achieve something better. We lowered ourselves so others could experience the richness of reformed faith.

We are still Christian Reformed; we just don't lead with it. We lead with being followers of Jesus Christ.

Karen DeBoer March 2, 2017

Thanks for sharing this idea, Wendy. It's wonderful!

Vern Vander Zee March 2, 2017

Thank you, Mel. 

Mel Karr March 1, 2017

 this is our job description for the worship committee: 

Worship Committee

a. Mandate

The mandate of the Worship Committee is to enable the congregation to join together in celebrative worship that reflects the church’s vision, mission, and core values. The committee works under the supervision of Council, reports to the Administrative Committee, and is advised by the Elders.

b. Members

The Worship Committee shall consist of a minimum of three persons

recruited by the Administrative Committee and approved by the Council. One Elder shall serve as liaison to and member of the committee. One of the members shall be designated as Chair and one as Secretary. The term of service shall be three years; normally, members will not serve more than two terms. A simple majority of members shall be considered a quorum.

c. Responsibilities

Planning, carrying out, and reflecting on the worship needs of the church

Planning the annual calendar of services.

Arranging for the staffing and scheduling of the services.

Providing for sanctuary décor.

Providing resources to enhance worship services.

Preparing for administration of the sacraments.

Reporting to the Administrative Committee and presenting it with a brief, annual outline of priorities that includes its budget needs.

Denise Posie February 28, 2017

Hi Mark,

I like Boer's idea of spheres of leadership and the church as the body in which all parts are servant leaders without a hierarchical structure. Hope I have opportunity to read it and continue learning about leadership. Thank you.

posted in : Foolish Development
Herb Bax February 28, 2017

Talbot Street Church changed their name from the First Christian Reformed Church in London 4 to 5 years ago.  I voted for the change for several reasons.  There is no "Second CRC" by that name in London.  Our public do not have any association with the words Christian Reformed.  Ones that I have asked focus on"reformed" and think we have an association with reforming prisons or people in jail.  Some stumble on the idea of a church being "Reformed".  They cannot relate to it in any way. Finally, Talbot Street Church tells a "story". This is where we are located and our mission is to serve the downtown area by Talbot Street Church.

 

Hope that explains it from my perspective....Herb Bax

 

PS We were relatively new to London and had  no history to the church which perhaps made it easier.

Ron Klimp February 28, 2017

Alan Hirsch argues that the term "missional" should be understood to refer to alignment with the missio Dei that is bigger than just the church. He likes to say that we should think in terms of the mission having a church rather than the church having a mission. In that sense, adding "missional" to "church" implies that the church recognizes and aligns itself with something bigger than itself, rather than simply assuming "missions" is a vehicle to grow itself or extend its reach into the world. This perception can accept that God might use (in addition to the church) individual Christians in their workplace, para-church groups doing relief efforts, or even talking donkeys (ala Balaam) to advance his kingdom. He loves and nurtures and sends His church into the world, but His kingdom is bigger than the church and the church must constantly align itself with whatever God is up to.

Maybe this is a paradigm shift like Galileo convincing the world that though the earth is very special, it is not the center of solar system. The sun (or, in this case, the Son) is.

 

Carol Sybenga February 28, 2017

Hi Kathy - no, we don't list ages. I don't think everyone would be happy about that. :-) 

Kristen VanderBerg February 28, 2017

Thanks for your excellent post, Elaine.  As Director of Communications and Marketing for the CRCNA, I'm curious about why discussions about a church's identity led to a decision to get rid of the denominational identification?  This question isn't a judgment.  I think a lot of churches have reached the same conclusion. They feel that getting rid of the "Christian Reformed" part of their name somehow makes them more appealing. I'm just curious what the term "Christian Reformed" seems to communicate to the public that makes us want to avoid it?  Why has it become so appealing to appear non-denominational? 

Kathy DeKoter February 28, 2017

Thank you for the response and it sounds like the names for the birthday listings are solicitated...each member needs to give his or her approval to be included.  Do you list the ages as well?

alinajohn mike February 28, 2017

Lots of information! Professional content writing is not everybody’s cup of coffee. I think people should understand this and try to hone their skills. They should also look forward to using new vocab and get an escape from clichéd marketing phrases. 

MJill H February 27, 2017

Hi Dirk

I am praying that God will give you the help that you need.
In my healing journey I have been helped by friends, family, nurses, doctors, psychiatrists, counselors, and pastors.
God has used a combination of listening prayer, talk therapy, deliverance ministry, food, books,  music and some meds.
Ask Him for the help you need.
Blessings to you.

posted in : Deliverance
Carol Sybenga February 27, 2017

Hi Kathy - our church has a prayer calendar in which each day (Mon - Fri) we list a person/family that members of our congregation can pray for. On the other side of this calendar, we print a second calendar with names of those who are celebrating a birthday and the specific date. Not everyone submits their names for the birthday calendar, but many do. 

First CRC Office February 27, 2017

Hello Kathy,

Our church regularly publishes the names of those members of our congregation over a specific age who are celebrating their birthdays. One of our members receives that list through our church software and looks after the postings in our newsletter. On occasion, there is a special announcement for a member, for example, someone who is celebrating their 100th birthday.

Mark Stephenson February 27, 2017

Hi Dirk, I too pray that God will give you grace, strength, and peace, and that he will send people into your life who can help you move toward healing and increasing levels of mental health. Like you, I firmly believe that the Deceiver and his hosts are active in this world, and that they can wreak havoc in our world and in individual's lives. There are times that people need the kind of deliverance you write about. I also firmly believe that mental illnesses have a variety of causes including brain chemistry imbalances, prior trauma, stress and trial in life, and more. God uses many instruments to help people move toward recovery including professional counselors, social workers, and medical doctors including psychiatrists, as well as medication, support groups, hospital psychiatric units, spiritual direction and the encouragement and support of people who love and care for the person dealing with mental illness. Although some people have had to hide their mental illness from fellow church members, others have found their church to be a supportive and encouraging community that helps them move toward healing.  I pray that God will help you find the help you are looking for, and that God will give you hope and healing. 

posted in : Deliverance
Michele Gyselinck February 24, 2017

 Fine, but you should also seek the help of a psychiatrist.  There is no guarantee that prayers alone will make the mental illness go away.  To be sure, God CAN work miracles, but He doesn't cure all cases of mental illness.  He NEVER took mine away.  So don't put ALL your eggs in the same basket and seek treatment.  God may have other ideas about your illness.

posted in : Deliverance
David Vandervelde February 24, 2017

Eager to hear suggestions.

John Zylstra February 24, 2017

Larry I think you have given a good and agreeable reply in terms of the meaning of these words.  But without your explanation, these words are often misunderstood.  

The problem is that in many ways, capitalism is rather ruthless.  If you don't pay your loans, your property may be sold.  If you lose money at what you do, you may sell your business at a loss.  Larger entities usually buy up and absorb smaller ones, because they have the equity to do so.  A successful new business may end up putting other older businesses out of business.  

Yet, that does not mean that capitalists are necessarily ruthless at heart.  I understand there is a group of billionaires challenged to donate half or more of their income... is Warren Buffet or Bill Gates included in this?  

Materialism as a philosophical concept is certainly anti-Christian.  But most people do not understand it as a philosophical ideal, but simply as a part of reality, of common sense.  God created material, and he created us to live in the material world.  Material and goods are not evil, and even wealth has purpose.  It is very difficult for poor people to emply others or provide others with income.  

 

Anyway, thanks for your clarification.  

Paula Wigboldy February 24, 2017

Praying here too!

Paula Wigboldy

posted in : Deliverance
Doug Vande Griend February 24, 2017

Larry: Just as to your #1, abstract concepts ("ruthless capitalism") don't violate commandments, even if people do.  "Capitalism" literally and merely refers to the idea that if one does not consume all that one earns but saves some to invest, that "capital" will generally increase future return, proportionate to the amount invested and not consumed.  (Many poor people have used that methodology to become not poor -- I did, having literally nothing when entering my adult life).

OK sure, there are all kinds of other imprecise definitions of "capitalism," but those definitions are just political rants or epithets being thrown about.   A "free market economy," a phrased that many would syntactically equate with "capitalism," ruthless or otherwise, and one I would prefer to use instead of word "capitalism," means that the government declines to use the power of the sword to force its citizens to "not be selfish."  I think I ought not be selfish, that being selfish violates God's law, but yet I don't think government should restrain me (or others) if I (or others) choose to be selfish, by pointing a gun (or sword) at my head, even if government should restrain me from entering the home of another and taking his money.

This is the difficulty of preaching about broadly labeled political ideas.  It can be done, but ...
 

Staci Devries February 24, 2017

Hi Dirk, 

I just lifted you up in prayer after reading this.

Blessings, 
Staci

posted in : Deliverance
Larry Van Essen February 24, 2017

Dear Ed,

I'll try to answer your questions in the order they appear in your post.

1.  Ruthless capitalism is capitalism that violates the 8th commandment as defined by Lord's day 42 of the H.C.

2.  Materialism is the kind of materialism that precludes people from heaven because their first love is money rather than Jesus.

3. Irresponsible socialism is a socialism that ignores loving your neighbor as yourself, "working faithfully so that I may share with those in need." Q&A 111 0f H.C.  It also violates the sixth commandment as described by the H.C Lord's Day 40.

4.  I think that the pulpit should never bully except through the power of the preached word.  It may make me uncomfortable but then I need to ask is it my defiance of the Word or my obedience to God's word at bottom of this.

5.  Amen to Christlikeness.

Larry

 

Jeff Brower February 24, 2017

Doug,

I've found it helpful to think of missional as an aspect of one of the attributes of the church spoken of in the Nicene Creed--one, holy, catholic and *apostolic* church, an apostle being a sent one. The attribute of apostolicity doesn't only mean that we hold to the apostolic teaching but that there is a sent-ness to the church itself, missional simply being the current term.  Historically discussions of apostolicity seem to have revolved more around questions of authority and the missional aspect of it has often been overlooked.

Edward Gabrielse February 24, 2017

Thanks, Larry

Yes, you are overlooking the ones I am referring to. They are the endorsement through the Office of Social Justice and the drumbeat in the Banner of a one sided approach to Global Warming, Fossil Fuels, Open borders, Sanctuary Cities, etc. Recently, Rex Tillotsen, our new Secretary of State made the observation that the best way to lift a country out of poverty is a reliable flow of electricity and the best way to get that is through the use of fossil fuels. But you will not find that perspective in the Banner or in the Office of Social Justice.

When you feel the need to preach against "ruthless capitalism" just how is that defined? Have you, like many of us and our children, watched a business in which you invested your life and your life savings go into bankruptcy because you were not ruthless enough? Just drive through the thousands of shuttered stores in strip malls across the country and try to imagine the heartbreak behind those covered windows. Or is ruthless capitalism just another name for success? Was King David a ruthless capitalist? How about Abraham?

And what is this "materialism" of which you speak? Materialism employs people to make the material. Money always goes somewhere. What may look to you as squandering, may be an intentional and loving way to provide employment to others. Perhaps you remember the 1986 Tax Act. In it, a tax of 10% was levied on all luxury yachts. In this misguided assault on materialism, Chris Craft in Holland, Michigan went out of business and threw a lot of highly skilled Christian workers out of work. 

And "irresponsible socialism" needs a whole lot of explanation. To me the Office of Social Justice is irresponsible socialism.

I resent the use of the pulpit as a bullying position because members of the congregation may have a completely different motivation or set of facts than the pastor may suspect, but they have no opportunity to respond. I resent the use of my ministry shares to advocate for or against social policies closely aligned with one political party. To be sure, there will always be differences between a "tough love" vs "gushing love" approach to helping. But from the pulpit, I want to hear the part about "love" rather than one kind or another. Then I can find those who are committed to working to help as I am convinced Christ would have me work.

In short, I want a church that equips me to be Christlike, not a church that assumes it has the answers, especially when those answers are divisive, or in my mind often wrong.

Thanks for asking.

 

 

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