Comment Stream

Karen Deboer March 19, 2010

At my church we used to fluctuate between 1 and 9 kids each week. I always prepared for 12. Sometimes God surprised me with 15, other weeks God sent 1. The biggest thing I tried to remember was that kids are always taking their cues from me, their leader. So, I tried to teach that one child with the same energy and enthusiasm I would have used with a full house. After all, kids show up ready to hear about God and spend time with you---and you can provide that no matter how many of them there are!!!

Of course, the great thing about having 1 or 2 kids is that you can spend more time in one on one conversation--sharing faith stories, wondering aloud together about how the characters felt, or how and why God did something. You can also take time to get to know your kids on a personal level, praying together and building a relationship that may last a lifetime! Don't be afraid to drop some activities in order to do that. Use the goals listed at the beginning of each 'Step' to frame your conversation.

Something else that's helpful---at the back of each Kid Connection session there is a section called One on One Fun. It's filled with ideas on how to adapt each step when you're working with one or two kids. In your church, Nick, the leaders may find it helpful to check out those ideas as they plan a session so they'll have some options in mind for those weeks when there are really small numbers.

Mark Hilbelink March 19, 2010

Love it! Even if it doesn't result in any efficiency action (ie, combining some things), the conversation will bless us greatly, I anticipate.

Beth Swagman March 18, 2010

Thank you for the great suggestion. If a person in your local church or community has a story of healing or restoration that he or she will share, that story becomes a powerful witness to other people who have been abused and to the general church member who may be unaware of how abuse impacts a person's life. Are you thinking of a 3-minute video to be shown during a worship service? Perhaps through these blog comments, someone may be encouraged to begin a journey of disclosure that could be shared with the broader church.

posted in : Abuse Awareness Event
Beth Swagman March 18, 2010

Thank you, Fellowship CRC, those are clear and helpful ideas. I think offering a "cafeteria" of resources allows each church to pick what works best in their setting. I'll keep your suggestions at hand as we begin planning for Abuse Awareness.

posted in : Abuse Awareness Event
Kate Kooyman March 18, 2010

Hey Michael, The conference was a Saturday gathering of folks in the West Michigan area who wanted to talk about how to be engaged in justice right now. There were a number of workshops that covered topics like restorative justice, education, immigration, justice in Honduras, human trafficking, racial justice, and lots more. It was the second annual conference of this kind -- both this year's and last year's were sponsored by the Office of Social Justice and the Association for a More Just Society. The education conversation that Noah was referring to was part of a panel discussion on justice in education, where representatives of the Grand Rapids Public School board, Grand Rapids Christian Schools, Potters House, and a new school called Living Stones all spoke to seeking justice in our community's education system. Does that answer your question?

posted in : Religious Education
March 18, 2010

Thanks Jolanda! These resouces were very helpful!
The workshop will be held April 14 & 28 at 7 p.m. Please, pray for me and the attendees that this will be a beneficial workshop!

Paul VanderKlay March 18, 2010

Thank you for writing this (and whoever tweeted this). In my opinion this is one (among others of course) areas of the church where we have significantly failed. As Reformed people we've long asserted that the calling to serve the institutional church is no "higher calling" that every other honorable vocation present amidst our congregations. Every time I assert this publicly I get mostly skeptical looks and contradictory comments. Where have people picked up this skewed perspective? From the pastors.

It also comes from our implicit gnosticism of "heaven" and a deficient appreciation for the value of history. One of the reasons the church has spent so little time encouraging the cruciform and resurrection oriented development of the rest of the vocational spectrum is because a lot of alien theological and missiological packages we've grabbed hold of. History is not a soul-sorting apparatus that leads to either ethereal reward or fiery punishment, it is redemptive pursuit of celebrating the generosity of God embedded in creation and culminating in renewed creation. The wedding banquet of the lamb will celebrate the harvest of God-seeded culture from stories and cultures we've imagined to be lost.

As preachers we are called as part of Gospel proclamation to excite the participation of all vocations in preparation of this celebration. The banquet of the lamb will not be some poofed up turkish delight by a magic wand, that is the way of the white witch. The sitting at the table will be the final celebration of the chefs of God who cook, the farmers of God who supply the food, the engineers of God who design the farm equipment, the architects God who design the room, the carpenters of God who build the tables and the chairs, the designers of God who design the table settings, the composures of God who write the music, the musicians of God who play and sing, etc. etc. etc. pvk

Tim Postuma March 18, 2010

I didn't attend, but noticed this news story that gives some more information about it.

posted in : Religious Education
Michael Bentley March 18, 2010

I missed this conference, but I would like some clarification on what this was about – if anyone has the time.

posted in : Religious Education
Graham Seel March 17, 2010

Thanks, Kevin, for this critical insight. I've been increasingly struck in recent years by the lack of support, resources and encouragement provided by churches (not just CRC) with regard to practical Christian living in the workplace. As Reformed Christians we purport to have a holistic understanding of God's Kingdom as "already now but not yet"; we're big Abraham Kuyper fans; we understand God's sovereign redemptive grace to extend throughout His Creation, and yet we hardly talk at all about where most of our church members spend most of their waking hours - in their places of work.

I'm spending some time exploring this through Bible study, reading, and practical application in my own place of work (I'm called by God to be COO of a Mortgage Lender in San Francisco - a pretty good "rubber meets the road" calling!) In case anyone reading this is interested, I've just started a blog which will document some of the discoveries, challenges and joys of my flawed, fallible but Spirit-empowered attempts to live as one made in God's image in the middle of the financial and real estate worlds. It's at http://faithatworkplace.blogspot.com/. I would also be interested in seeing dialogue on The Network about how churches can help people in the workplace. I'll start another topic for that ...

posted in : Mission Monday
Graham Seel March 17, 2010

One resource for contemporary worship songs that is very helpful is SongDiscovery (http://www.songdiscovery.com/ - distributed by Worship Leader magazine). Every 6 weeks or so they provide a CD with recent worship songs, and include on the CD lead sheets (song melody, chords and lyrics) which are almost never more than two pages and sufficient for most "by ear" musicians. Copyright is addressed by them through your subscription so I believe you can make relatively unlimited copies of the music under a CCLI license for your use. Most important, your subscription gives you access to their archive, which is fairly substantial.

Regarding notation software, I use a very simple (and not very expensive) program called Noteworthy Composer (http://www.noteworthysoftware.com/) to create lead sheets when needed (or for new songs or arrangements we create within our church).

March 17, 2010

Hi Duane,

Our church too is starting the research for the tools, software, and methods to stream live audio and video on the web. We are also reworking our website (not evident on line as yet) so that it is more of a a portal to our community of faith and would like to include podcasts and RSS feeds.

Our technology budget is not large and so we are trying to get the most for the least.

If you don't mind, could we share our research so that each of us doesn't have to spend inordinate amounts of time on this phase?

Thanks,

Greg B
Third CRC Administrator
www.third-church.org

Tim Postuma March 17, 2010

A quick update...this week we launched the "My Church" feature that allows you to see who else in your church is using The Network. And we've added a page about how to spread the word to others in your church.

More ideas?

jeff stout March 17, 2010

I have to admit that I love the 'haus besuch' (even if we meet in a coffee shop most of the time). I've been an elder for only 2 years, but this is certainly the highlight of the job for me. Having an excuse to call on fellow members of our church and check in with them and share stories from each other's lives and see where God is (or is not) revealing Himself is pretty powerful.

I would certainly recognize the limits to a one-time bi-annual visit, but I believe there is power in the act of the church reaching out to individual members and asking 'how's life?'.

This has struck me as being especially true of the under 30 crowd as they don't generallly like to make longer term commitments (hesitant to sign up for small groups) and are asking if the church really cares about them. Not 'them' as a group, but 'them' as an individual or couple.

Anyway, just a thought.

(Elders)
March 16, 2010

Sounds interesting, how have you been able to compare it to Reformed so far?

posted in : Surprised by Hope
Chuck Adams March 16, 2010

I have an even better idea--let's find ways to make sure that the Christian day schools we support (whether in Grand Rapids or out here in the provinces) are capable of admitting children from every ethnicity, race, and income level. That way everyone has access to a Christ-centered education.

posted in : Religious Education
Jeannette Bosma March 16, 2010

I use Easy Worship 2009. Very easy to work with and projection is clear and immediate. Powerpoints can also be imported to this program.

Jolanda Howe March 16, 2010

I've been there too, Nick! One thing I find encouraging is to hang photos of all the kids that attend my class. I just used the little camera in my phone to take pictures of the kids. Whenever someone new arrives I snap their photo too. I print the photos out and cut them into a little circle just framing the child's face, and I stick it to the palm of a traced-hand cut out. Then I stick the new hands on the wall each week. Even on weeks when our group is small we can look on the wall and see all the kids that have been a part of our group throughout the last year. It's encouraging! And when the kids do come back they feel more like they belong because there photo is there with everyone elses. I don't list the kids names with their photos, even so, I think the photos have helped me remember kids names.

If you're wondering why we attach the photos to hands, that's something we started when we were using the Hand in Hand curriculum on Embracing Diversity. I cut out hands in a variety of hands in various colors to represent some of the diversity in God's kingdom. I tape the kid's and leaders photos to them in a random way so that the hands don't reflect the skin tones of the people in the photos--Instead they are there to reminder us that God make us alike and different in many ways and that we are all welcome in God's kingdom and in our class.

You could easily think of another way to display kid's photos in your class, if it was something your teachers would like to try.

Jolanda Howe March 16, 2010

Hi Holly, we spoke earlier, but I wanted to post these ideas for the benefit of others who might also be interested in sharing faith stories. It's an exciting project!

Here are a few resources that might be helpful:

  • The Faith Formation video from the Synodical Faith Formation Committee. 
  •  The Walk On Resource Guide (pages 25-28 are reproducible and talk about sharing your faith story, and include a worksheet to help prepare your story) and video. 
  • The book Celebrating the Milestones by Laura Keeley and Robert J. Keeley. This book includes a very good foundation for why sharing faith stories and marking milestones strengthens the faith of the whole community.
  • The student book Companions in Christ: A Group Experience in Spiritual Formation-- the study in Part 1, Week Four is about thinking of the ways that you see God at work in your life and preparing to share your faith journey with the group. Unfortunately there isn't anything reproducible in this book, but it may spark some ideas that you could use for the workshop. 
  • The book God in My Life by Marenc Tirabassi may also be helpful because it includes activities that can be used in cross-generational settings.

Let us know how it turns out!

Allen Kleine Deters March 15, 2010

How crazy would that be? Good challenge John.
I know that our church has been returning to some of the biblical readings and public prayer since I've come here. I've done some experimenting in the services with limited music. Our Maundy Thursday service will maybe only have two songs. But it is a very new concept to many folks.

I think we've created an environment where personal reflection and meditation on the word has so fallen by the wayside that it makes it hard for people to engage with a reading. It is evident that even long time attenders don't come to engage and participate in the service. They've been trained to stand, sing and listen. I do appreciate the move in modern worship to return to earlier worship practices and become more contemplative. It makes it hard for people to just "attend" and not participate. Personal reflection is part of being spiritually formed.

On another note I have found that while doing the contemporary worship well takes time, effort and necessary gadgets, the focus of much of it is to be real and honest with self in light of the grace of God. It seems the newer stuff, whether hymns (cf. Townhend and Getty, et al) or more alternative (cf Tomlin, Crowder, Hillsong, et al.) is riddled with intense passion to get serious with your relationship with God and participate.

With music having become such a powerful medium in our culture it certainly is hard to consider a service without it and without it being done well.

It is a conundrum.

March 15, 2010

Allen Likkel from CRHM.
Thanks Kevin for focusing the perspective on Christ's mission in the world on the calling each of us have to participate in that mission where we are. I do give thanks for sensing a significant shift in the last two decades in the understanding of many CRCNA members, congregations, and leaders to incarnational mission in their own "hoods." I also praise God for our international and domestic missionary pastors - such as yourself - who are leading the way in this mission.

Perhaps the last shift in understanding to fully occur in the CRCNA is the notion that our denominational endorsed missionaries go to international "hoods" rather than North American. I praise God Kevin that you are a "missionary."

posted in : Mission Monday
Karl Westerhof March 15, 2010

This is some fresh exegesis! I like it. It really helps undermine that sort of "second class citizen" syndrome so often associated with being a deacon!

posted in : Looking at Acts 6
Brenda DeRuiter March 15, 2010

I can attest to the fruit of the Alpha program. I had prayed for my brother for years to find the Lord. He attended the Alpha course and has accepted Jesus as his Saviour. He hungers to learn more. Praise be to God.

Noah Kruis March 13, 2010

I was struck by this reality when visiting a sponsorship organization's school in Kibera back in 2002. Not only did it strike me as tragic that only one family member could attend the school, but it was heartbreaking to hear the children go around the room reciting their thanks to (relatively) wealthy North American Christians by name. The resulting sense of dependence on the support of sponsors could only serve to limit the child's self-confidence and complicate their relationship to their parents.

It was also difficult to see the meeting of one of these children with one of my North American traveling companions who happened to be the child's sponsor. My companion brought a slew of gifts: coloring books, stickers, small toys, etc. I could sense that this encounter not only reinforced that sense of limited self-worth and reliance, while also cultivating resentment among other children who had not been visited by their sponsors.

Lastly, I've read that the overhead costs of child sponsorship that involves direct contact between sponsor and student are enormous, especially when translation is involved. These costs come out of the monthly sponsorship donation, along with costs for promotional material and other administrative costs, resulting in an astonishingly small percentage of the actual donation going towards the student's educational needs.

I'm glad that CRWRC works towards supporting entire families, and wonder if there shouldn't be more education denomination-wide about the unseen costs of child sponsorship.

Duane Klein March 13, 2010

The Mission/Vision concept is a good place to start. We first formed a "Cornerstone" committee to review our structures to see how we were organized. From there we formed areas of focus such as Fellowship, Education, Evangelism and Worship, and created Vision statements for each of these. This gave of the committee's as well as the elders a way of looking at our congregational life to further enhance to areas that were lacking.
We also used the "Natural Church Development" program to help determine our strengths and weakness's.
http://www.sussexcrc.org/Mission_and_Vision.html
http://www.sussexcrc.org/Cornerstone.html
http://www.ncd-international.org/public/index.html

(Elders)
Ben Hulst March 13, 2010

James, thanks for the review. I read this at the beginning of my ministry about four years ago and it was incredibly insightful and "necessary" reading for entering the ministry. It is so easy to give into the temptations to feel needed, to thrive on that, and to ultimately sell our souls to be necessary. As John the Baptist so truthfully stated, "I must become less, he must become more." May this be true of all our ministries, that Christ is the necessary one and not us.
Blessings,
Ben

March 13, 2010

Hi Guys and Gals,

Both my husband and I are MA. We are in Las Vegas as church planters. We have had a long path to where we are. Steve graduated from Calvin Sem in the early 90's with an Masters in Missions. He was Ordained as a MA in Zeeland Classis while we were in a church plant there. After moving to Las Vegas he was reordained as a MA in CA-South Classis.

I have been a youth pastor for over 25 years. I was mostly volunteer but a few places paid staff. I have a Bachelars in Religious Education from RBC (Now Kuyper). And two years ago I finished my Master in Missions on-line through Calvin Sem. I was not ordained as a MA until I finished my Masters and Synod changed the wording in the church order for women. Prior to that I was not advised to push it in the classis I was in. But I must say when a did go through the process I was wholeheartedly thoroughly embrassed.

Both my husband and I pastor at the church.

March 13, 2010

When using skype it helps to have a hi speed connection on both sides. If you have a projector for power point, an internet connection, I use wireless, and a way to hook into your sound system, you can make this work for you.
The next conference I want to do is with a Missionary in West Africa. When I get done I will leave feed back on how it went.

Mike

March 12, 2010

Please forward a link to the recorded presentation re: mentoring Black Teen Boys - 12 Key Plays for Black Teen Boys

Neil de Koning March 12, 2010

Hi Kris, thanks for the question. There are many resources but perhaps telling me more about the purpose and context would help me be more specific. One question would be - is there an agreed vision and mission statement? or is this part of the long range planning you are doing? Second question is what is the impulse for this planning? is it a routine process or are there particular challenges you are facing at this time? Third, is this a short period exercise (2 months) or a long one (6-9 months). As you can appreciate the process changes.

meanwhile, I have found the book HOLY CONVERSATIONS to be quite helpful. Techniques like brainstorming can ferret out the central concerns and begin to establish some goals as well. (I plan to post this in an article some time but haven't finished it, but you can find these on the www).

others I am sure have some great suggestions as well (hint to others).

(Elders)
Steve Nyenhuis March 12, 2010

Mark, I am currently the leader of our church's Friendship Group which is made up of approximately 12 intellectually disabled adults from 6 group homes in the neighborhood. Our class time includes singing (acapella), Bible lesson and prayer requests. During the last 2 years our class has participated in the morning worship service on at least 3 occasions by singing songs and reading scripture. Members of the class also enjoy being on the ushering and greeting schedule. My point is, when you say that growth is an important part of excellence, we need to realize that, no matter how poor it may sound to our ears, their active participation is a time of growth, both for them and for the rest of the congregation. I belive it is definitely a time of joy for God who receives their praise. When my class of disabled adults, or the young people of the church participate in the leading of worship they aren't just being thrown up on stage. They are being encouraged to develop their gifts to the glory of God. Most importantly, when you say that the participation of these people in the worship leadership is less than the giving of our first fruits, I feel this is a very hurtful statement. Worship, whether private or corporate is not about us and our abilities. It is about giving praise and honor to our Heavenly Father.
Steve Nyenhuis

Keith McKenzie March 11, 2010

I could certainly see a connection with the Calvin Institute of Worship's website and some of their resources, blogs and such.

Steve Van Zanen March 11, 2010

I was also going to provide the videoplayer URL. You have to look to see the length. Some of them are appropriate to offertory. Others are adult class length. This area needs strengthening, which I am working on. Steve

posted in : Video Resources
Renae Elgersma March 11, 2010

Hi Ruth - Our church has done both the 40 days of Purpose and 40 days of Community and in my opinion, it was great for the church. With the 40 days of Purpose, we met in homes on Sunday evenings instead of our evening worship service. With 40 days of Community, we still met in homes but also kept the Sunday evening worship service in place as well.

Currently, we are doing a 6 week series called Connecting in Christ Together from the Experiencing Christ Together series. Check out www.lifetogether.com. The cirriculum is less costly than the 40 days but written and produced by the same Purpose Driven company. We meet for a time of Praise & Worship in the Sanctuary and then view the DVD teaching. After that we break up into small groups using classrooms. At the same time there is a Kids Program for PreK-5th grade in the Fellowship Hall.

You can email me at memberdirector@shalomcrc.org if you have other questions.

posted in : 40 Days of Community
Viviana E Cornejo March 11, 2010

A través de este medio quiero dar gracias a los hermanos que han preguntado, orado y preocupado por la situación en Chile. Agradezco sus oraciones y les pido que sigan orando. Nos enteramos que varias iglesias en la zona del epicentro (Iglesias Presbiterianas), han sufrido bastante daño como también las casas de algunos pastores y hermanos/as. Gracias al Señor, según la nota de un pastor de Linares, no han habido pérdidas humanas por lo que damos gracias al Señor.

posted in : Saludos
Steve Nyenhuis March 11, 2010

Hi, I'd like to bring a new perspective to this post. I just began the process in January of studying to become ordained as a ministry associate. I'm taking the classes through Classis Greater Los Angeles. I spent the first 50+ years of my life growing up, getting married and raising a family. Our youngest is now in her first year of college on the opposite side of the country. I've been working at the same job for almost 25 years. My wife and I started praying, asking God what He wants us to do in the second half of our lives and this is the answer we received. I hope to be done with my classes within 3 years.
Even though I'm confident God is calling me into ministry I'm not sure what specifically he's calling me to do yet. It would help me if those of you who are already ordained can share your stories of how you developed your ministries. Did you know from the beginning what you would be doing or were you like me, not knowing right away. What are your age ranges? If you're older like me what has it been like for you to enter the ministry later in life? Did you keep your first job, work part time at both jobs, or did you quit and go full time into ministry? What has it been like getting funding for your ministry? Are you on staff at your church, does your Classis or Home Missions chip in financially, or have you gone after other sources? What has been the general reaction from friends and others to your ministry associate ordination? What about traditional ministers of the Word?
As you can tell, I have lots of questions. I'm sure in due time God will give me the answers I need. I do know that I am excited and nervous about the future. I also know I have a lot of learning to do. This forum is a good way for us to share and express what's on our minds. I look forward to hearing from you seasoned ministry associates. May God bless you in whatever your ministry is. Steve Nyenhuis

Henry Doorn March 10, 2010

Cash vs credit card proabably impacts discretionary spending, not necessary spending (i.e. Mortgage, utility bills, car payment, etc). My sense is that if I needed to go to the ATM machine and get cash each time I wanted to purchase clothes, go out for dinner, etc., I would likely spend less.

Allen Kleine Deters March 10, 2010

I see the value in it. I'd participate. I'm fortunate to have a professional graphics designer who does amazing work on our powerpoint slides for our sermon series'.

Chester VanderZee March 10, 2010

Re credit cards: If one pays it off, there is no diff for average person from paying with cash.

I realize that a few places give a cash discount, but those are rare.

Lorraine Woodward March 10, 2010

Hello Mavis!

I'm not a librarian, but I work for Christian Reformed World Missions, and we are working on developing a network of library volunteers to work with theological libraries all over the world. As I have learned, librarians come in many varieties, so the opportunities we have may or may not mesh with your experience, but if you'd like to read more, you can visit http://www.crcna.org/pages/crwm_libraries.cfm.

posted in : Any librarians here?
Mark Hilbelink March 10, 2010

Hey Dave......

I'm sensing that we need some real "lightening rod" topics to keep people's interest in this here "Network", so I have a suggestion for you.

What if you hosted a first-annual CRC web design Awards? Any church or official CRC office could be entered. If you didn't want to page through the hundreds of them, you could simply ask for nominees. Then, maybe allow people to vote, if the Network is capable of polls?

You could also do something like this for church-produced media projects, like short films or advertising schemes that are virtual in nature. Something like an online film festival?

Just a thought.......sounds like it could be some good iron-sharpens-iron stuff.

Jennifer Winter March 10, 2010

I'm Ministries Coordinator in Brockville and I think it would be great to connect, to share and support one another!
Jennifer

March 9, 2010

I've been the LAN Administrator at Brookside CRC for nineteen years. We use Microsoft Office 2003 with the Office 2007 Compatability Pack. We use QuickBooks for the church's financials, payroll, and accounts payable.

For anything else that could be considered a database function, I've put together an integrated system using Access. Since I work as a programmer in my regular job, this was a natural extension of my Brookside responsibilities and perhaps makes our situation a little unusual.

Member and visitor information, for both families and individuals, is central to the system and is available to be used throughout the system. That includes attendance for members and visitors, contributions, denominational reporting, telephone directories, photo directories, council reports, gift and service information, and separate Youth Ministries information. We can expand the functionality however we choose at any time. An example of this is an interface for the church administrator that supports the annual budget creation process.

Each staff member has an interface on their desktop that I call their "Data Mine". They can use it to extract information for themselves using Access's easy built-in filtering and sorting capabilities, eliminating the need for writing a formal report. If they want to spruce things up, they can bring their mined data over to Excel, and make their own "report" with titles, headers, footers, totals, or whatever they want. They always have the option of having me create a formal Access report for ongoing use as well.

We do have a large collection of formal reports available for regular use. The Access report writer allows quick creation of any report we might want to add to the permenant collection or any ad hoc reports that might be needed. Mailing labels are an example of a report that can be done either ad hoc or as a permenant report.

We've also created systems that are independant of membership data. A system for the pastor to keep a history of his sermons is a good example. It allows sermons to be classified by a series they belong to, the scripture passage, Heidelberg Lord's Day, and Belgic Confession, and the date. I mention this system to illustrate that with Access, you can create whatever you need for any purpose.

Tim Postuma March 9, 2010

It seems like I've been seeing "via Skype" more and more on the major broadcast networks. Especially in crisis situations (e.g. Haiti) but even for regular interviews. We're thinking of using it to enhance some of our CRC news stories as well.

For real-time video conferencing, I like a combo of video chat for the visual and a plain-old-telephone for audio. At least that's what we use with my kids and their grandma and grandpa :-) Audio blips/delays/echoes are terribly irritating. But if you've got good audio, the video is a sweet bonus.

Angela Elliott March 9, 2010

I've been thinking about this Sunday and wonder if we could focus on what makes a church healthy, so that it prevents abuse. Healthy individuals, families, church communities decrease the likelihood of abuse. Isn't that prevention also. It brings a more positive attitude the whole discussion and empowers people with things they can DO rather than don't do.

posted in : Abuse Awareness Event
March 9, 2010

I would like to suggest that the Abuse Prevention Team create a video about some "success" stories. We are constantly hearing the same information about the importance of doing thorough screening, proper procedures, etc. Are there any stories of success where someone who was abused has come to experience healing through the work of their church's Abuse Prevention Team? I know abuse is never a happy story, but healing ought to be.

posted in : Abuse Awareness Event
August Guillaume March 9, 2010

The best way to interface with us is to send an e-mail to our church's e-mail address fellowshipcrc.edmonton@gmail.com with appropriate resources pasted on the e-mail. Items such as short well worded litanies, and careful selection of songs would enable us to incorporate that into our worship service. The e-mail should arrive at least three weeks before the appropriate Sunday.

We do not like to use bulletin inserts or other paper based items intended for each member.

posted in : Abuse Awareness Event
Kris Vos March 9, 2010

Our elders are working on long range (5-year) plans. Any good resources/advice would be helpful.

(Elders)
David Koll March 9, 2010

Hi gang! In thought I'd enter the brave new network world and check out the network conversations. This Ministry Associate page is one I'm very interested in, and I'm hoping it will help build some bridges and bring some encouragement and even lead toward some improvement in the system.

I know a few of you who have entered comments -- greetings! I currently work as the Director of Candidacy -- after a lot of years as a local pastor I accepted this new position in the CRC, beginning in Jan 2008. My hope and prayer is we can take some good steps together in our ordination processes.

One of these is the working out of Ministry Associate ordination. Synod 2007 committed to "more use, more status and more support" of this office. I hope that is happening, and will happen in the future. You can check the Candidacy Committee report to Synod 2009 (Agenda for Synod 2009, p. 215 ff) to see some of the initial steps that have been taken, including an address to the comment re "insurance and pension". There IS a plan, and in the mind of some Ministers of the Word, the plan available to ministry associates is a better plan than the plan offered to ministers of the word. The problem (potential offense) is that the plan is called "the unordained staff" plan. Maybe an overture to synod or a few letters to the pension committee would help them consider adopting a better name for the plan.

Also, re the issue of "ordination concluding" when the task concludes. Maybe an overture or a conversation with the Candidacy Committee could help address this. Truth is, Ministers of the Word also have their "ordination concluded" if they leave a ministry and do not enter another ministry. Yet for them, they are given a time (1-2 years, and then renewable time) to look and be considered without the ordination status being dropped. Ministry Associates do not currently have this "in between ministries period" -- I wonder how that could be instituted? (Again, a discussion here can help....)

Finally, the issue of "re-examiniation" when moving from one classis to another or from one ministry to another has been mentioned -- it is addressed also in the 2009 report to synod referred to above.

I want to bless each of you who are doing ministry via Ministry Associate ordination. I hope we can find more and more ways to support and encourage you!

Now, I hope I haven't broken any network rules by writing too much....

David Koll

Allen Kleine Deters March 9, 2010

I've been thinking about something like this for our church too. It would come in handy sometimes especially with our missionaries in Zambia and Nigeria and elsewhere.
What type of webcam is best? Or should I ask, if even the cheap $20 webcams work well?

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