Comment Stream

April 21, 2010

thank you Liz for the great idea! Our network has recently been searching out different and meaningful ways to celebrate Easter with our children. This idea is both easy and valuable for the children and the congregation!

posted in : Kid's Art as Worship
April 21, 2010

What is often over looked is the Holy Spirit's leading of individuals to worship elsewhere. How painful it often is to leave a worship community and join another! There needs to be room for those who do not leave out of ilk or for a new "God experience", but because God has asked them to move, perhaps for reasons not yet explained. There must be room in this discussion for the acknowledgement of the cost of discipleship. Our denomination can be very hung up on congregants staying for life at one church and can often promote the idea that moving around is wrong - even self-indulgent. Is this truly reflective of what our role as church is?

posted in : On Justifying Self
Paul VanderKlay April 21, 2010

You could title this "What would Karma Do". Thanks for bringing this to our attention

Paul VanderKlay April 21, 2010

Excellent excellent excellent! If the network continues to put out stuff like this I think it should become a very valuable resource for the CRCNA and the broader church as well. Thanks for taking the time to treat this subject with wisdom and credibility. pvk

Chris VandenHeuvel April 21, 2010

[quote=dteitsma]I don't know about you but domains are addictive to buy. I'm up to my third personal domain now. I have several others that I want to secure, but I haven't convinced myself. What about you?[/quote]

Absolutely. I bought two this week actually. Most of them are usually for ideas I get for the next Twitter or something like that, and then I never actually do anything with them. I've gone through a couple "family" domains too. The hard part for us Dutch is that we've got all the tech-savvy Netherlands folk fighting for the same ones.

Tim Postuma April 21, 2010

I'm not too familiar with the details of webcast licensing, but here's a helpful link:

...from the people who sell WorshipCast. I couldn't find anything on CCLI's site about it, which seems strange.

Willem Verhulst April 20, 2010

I would be interested in what you find out about the copyright issue. Currently we record the entire service but cut out the sermon, for posting on the web. The only reason is because of copy right challenges. If anyone has more info in regards to this, I would love to hear about it.

Chad Meeuwse April 20, 2010

I think it would be awesome to develop a modern-worship CICW/Symposium! I know I could definitely use some additional training and my band would probably also find that very beneficial. I go to Symposium and glean knowledge and info based on what's offered there...if more was offered on this end of the spectrum I'd definitely check it out. I think I saw in another thread someone mentioned a small underground network of modern worship leaders (was that you?). How can we encourgage some mobilization with them and with others who would be interested in an effort like this?

Mark Stephenson April 20, 2010

Just read a report on disability and employment dated April 20, 2010. In short, as bad as unemployment is, it's 40% worse for people with disabilities.

Mark Stephenson April 20, 2010

:-) It helps to say them out loud. Here are a few more:
Gold bands form part
Bruce grips pink chips
Blue plant beach man sold log, threw sticks.
Mime whiz: funny

Alida van Dijk April 20, 2010

I never would have figured that out on my own. Thanks for decoding the proverb.

James Dekker April 20, 2010

Josh Benton wrote a good, thought-provoking response to the plagiarism article and I thought it deserved my own thought and a comment.

The main issue in preaching (or any writing) is not that we should be afraid to use other resources. There hasn't been a totally original thought around for a long while. That means we are, in fact, dependent on all kinds of on-going conversations about Scripture, church life, social issues and so on to keep ourselves up-to-date, interesting (we hope!) and useful as servants who, in the words of a long-time mentor, "always mediate the Word of God in some way or other."

What matters is HOW we use all that information and all those resources "out there"--whether "out there" means internet, books, libraries, newspapers, magazines, commercials or whatnot. It is certainly legitimate to get pushes and nudges from all the sorts of things that Josh mentioned. It equally illegitimate to fob that stuff off as our own work without attribution, acknowledgement, credit.

Funny--a retired preacher buddy read that plagiarism article a few weeks ago and said, "My pastor is always nipping other people's sermons, quoting from them, sometimes saying ahead of time, 'I can't say this any better than so-and-so.' But that's fine. He is scrupulously honest about giving credit to the authors."

I know we can overquote and bore people and even create a certain amount of distrust if ALL we do is quote. What is important is that we own, embrace, chew, digest the Bible passage so that the words of the semons are honest, resting on personal and Holy Spiritual integrity.

Jesus said some pretty strong words about the Father of Lies and his children. We are children of the Father of Truth, or the original and eternal WORD and in our own words are pretty strongly bound to honesty and integrity.

Karl Westerhof April 20, 2010

I usually like Wright a lot, and find him carefully biblical, and this book really resonated with me! By God's good grace, I read it very shortly before losing my daughter to leukemia (Nov 1). It was excellent preparation for that loss and the journey of grief. Truly we mourn, but not as those who have no hope. He is risen.

posted in : Surprised by Hope
Mark Hilbelink April 19, 2010

Hey Chad....

Thanks for the comments, its good to have folks like you and Joyce to give actual information to our discussions :).

I wasn't trying to bemoan CICW/Symposium for what they do......they do what they do well....perhaps the bigger problem is that we lack a strong leaders on the other end of the spectrum.....something like a modern-worship-CICW, be it a supplementary organization or whatever, within the CRC's who want to move from traditional towards something more modern are left without many good Reformed options.

Maybe those of us who are doing it need to create something of the sort? I'd love to have a regional or national gathering of CRC/RCA churches specifically targeted at a more band-based approach to worship. Greg Scheer and Paul Ryan led a workshop like that at Redeemer a few years back that was fairly well done, but imagine a whole "modern" Symposium.....that would be great fun for us modern worship junkies and be a great resource for congregations that are longing for it. I'm not sure trying to work that into the current Symposium is achievable without major concessions from both sides.

I think we probably will disagree about the hymnal however, be it philosophically or practically in nature - anything hymn-related I can usually find easily online or figure out the usually-easy chord progression so I just don't see the need locally. But like I said....if Faith Alive can make net profit on it, go for it. However, I also hear what Zach was saying....give a man a fish and feed him for a day or teach him to fish.....

Tim Roose April 19, 2010

We have just started streaming our services via Ustream. We are fortunate in that we have a Tricaster Pro into which we feed video from 3 cameras, PowerPoint slides from the projection computer and sound from the sound board. The Tricaster makes mixing all these inputs feasible. The Tricaster also uses Adobe Flash Media Encoder to stream live to Ustream.

Our experience with Ustream has been good so far. The stream has ads on the lower part of the screen occasionally but they haven't been too obtrusive.

Some of our shut-ins have quickly grown fond of the streaming feature of our web site and have asked us to please continue doing it.

One of our challenges is dealing with copyright issues. Special music often uses pre-recorded accompaniment. We are still researching ways to deal with that.

David Teitsma April 19, 2010

Great input. I skipped my mind about how many churches do have the same name. This definitely makes having prominence in search results difficult.

I don't know about you but domains are addictive to buy. I'm up to my third personal domain now. I have several others that I want to secure, but I haven't convinced myself. What about you?

Chad Meeuwse April 19, 2010

[quote=Mark]I'd be very interested to know what percentage of the advisory panel for the new hymnal comes from churches that have "full" and "modern" bands - guitar-driven, with electric guitars, keys, drums, bass, worship leaders, etc. who actually sing modern songs.[/quote]

*raising hand* I'm an advisory committee member who doubles as worship leader with a full band, triples as organist, lead vocalist, and choir director. My congregation worships in the styles of Tomlin, Hillsong, Iona, Getty, Haugen, Wesley, and Luther. It would be foolish for any of us to assume that most congregations worship exactly the way ours do (on any point of the spectrum from "traditional" to "modern"), and I also do not believe if other congregations worship differently that they're doing it wrong. I cannot speak to the total percentage of committee members who are of the "modern" church persuasion. However, at our advisory committee meetings I have observed a widespread diversity in terms of worshiping voice. So while Lift Up Your Hearts may not meet the needs for “modern” worship as some define it, most of our congregations will be very well-served by this collection. My own congregation may not even purchase the books for the sanctuary, but as a worship planner and leader I will certainly be able to use it well, even if only to introduce new hymns (yes, they may even be called "modern hymns") to the congregation, or provide condensed music for my song leaders who more often than not prefer music to chord sheets.

[quote=Mark] visit to CICW's website or to Symposium and you realize EXACTLY what side of the traditional/contemporary/modern/neo-traditional worship discussion they are on. Part of the tension we're feeling here is that the denominational "authority" on worship is firmly non-modern, if not in philosophy, definitely in practice. [/quote]

I have attended Symposium half a dozen times in the last decade and I find this assessment a bit unfair. I do understand what you are saying in that we don’t worship there in the same way as at a David Crowder Band concert, but using “non-modern” is hyperbolic. I believe there is more to modern than the latest hits on the CCLI list. The target audience for an event like Symposium is altogether different from that of a worship conference at Dallas Baptist University (maybe this separation is something that needs to be addressed). So perhaps worship is done a certain way at Synod or Symposium, but that does not dictate an official position for the denomination. Yes, a stronger resource is needed for the modern worship as some voices here define it, but I will not discredit the hard work of people like Paul Ryan, Ron Rienstra, and others by saying little has been done to understand or resource the genre change. I see Reformed Worship mentioned in this thread as well. Certainly it can be one arena for that "modern" voice. I know Joyce continually seeks to include new resources and submissions from worship planners. I think it would be great for "modern" worship leaders to contribute to RW, which could help expand its platform to serve other modern congregations or those transitioning to more “modern” styles of worship. Also, it should be noted here that an open invitation was offered to any and all who wanted to serve on this advisory committee. Like I said, I do not know the breakdown of those who hail from “modern” churches, but the opportunity for them to participate was equally given to those of any church.

I'd like to echo Joyce's initial reflections here in regards to employing styles of worship that may not be indigenous to our congregations. I consider myself fortunate to have talented instrumentalists in my congregation who can lead “modern” songs. These are guitarists, bassists, drummers, and vocalists who are dedicated to leading us each week in modern expressions of musical worship. At this point, our sound is not even close to that of Hillsong, Crowder, or Tomlin, but it is still done well and, more importantly, it is genuinely offered. Is that an injustice to the genre? I truly hope not. I've heard many bad organists slaughter hymn-accompaniments, and while it's unfortunate and it may distract ME, I think that is something I need to work through and get over in order to refocus on the bigger picture here. I just don't think we can really take such a purist stance on this.


Steve Vos April 19, 2010

What a fantastic topic- one that should resound with multiple generations. (I'm currently a sophomore at Calvin.)

It is possible? Of course it is! My suggestion: Start early. I remember standing in the pews of church tearing up to a hymn over the organ when I was a kid. Why, you might ask? I was moved. There are just certain songs that resonate with people. I might have rarely looked at the lyrics of the song as a kid, but these are the ones that stick in my head. "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation. O my soul praise him for he is your health and salvation. Come, all who hear, brothers and sister draw near, join me in glad adoration." Or even Martin Luther's fantastic hymn: "A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing. Our helper he amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing. For still our ancient foe does seek to work us woe; his craft and power are great and armed with cruel hate, on earth is not his equal." This list is much longer in reality!

I find that the more contemporary songs need to prove themselves, in a sense. I agree with Josh that some songs are making their way to almost a sort of canonization. The largest factor is time. This is for all songs. The second factor is musical preference. Whether it be traditional or contemporary, it's up to the individual congregation. Some songs sound better on the organ than on guitar, vice versa. The songs that sound great on both are the ones that are typically played more often, almost out of principle.

I'm excited for the new hymnal to come out. Certain congregations with all organ music will be playing contemporary songs with that pure pipe sound. How awesome will that be! Each congregation deals with the subject differently, and certain songs will just always be in our minds, regardless of if we really try to keep them there or not. :)



Joshua Benton April 19, 2010

I'm right there with you. I cut my teeth preaching in a nursing home with people in different stages of dementia and Alzheimer's disease. They would respond in different ways to the sermon. Some wouldn't respond at all. But within the first three notes of an old hymn it was like a choir singing. Only the family members seemed to use the song books. The two songs that they knew almost every word to was "Blessed Assurance" and "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms" which was almost fitting. They may not have heard or understood anything I said, but the congregation of the Lord Jesus Christ praised His name in song.

As for having a solid hymnody that can carry on, I think there are some praise songs from the 70's and early 80's that are starting to get to that point such as "Lord I lift your name on high" and I think Hillsong's "Shine Jesus Shine" is getting there as well. But I think there is also a need to re-introduce the older hymns in a way that is fresh and able to interact with the upcoming generation of leaders who will one day pass along the hymnody to their next group of leaders.

Chris VandenHeuvel April 19, 2010

Great article, David--can't really think of anything I'd add. My approach is to think of my mom and dad. For example, they don't understand the difference between .com, .org, etc. so even though we web people wish everyone followed the guidelines, to them it's not real relevant. If a domain name is good for the non-tech folk, that probably means it's just good.

And you're right about the memorability of a domain. Lots of churches aren't going to be easy to find in Google, especially considering how many duplicate church names there are. It's great if church members can actually pull the address of the site out of memory--not going to happen with

That said, I'd almost treat domains as if they don't cost anything. $10/year is a good benchmark and it's not hard to get them significantly cheaper than that. That's worth it if it will get even a few more people using your site. If you think people going to mistakenly enter your url a certain way, there's not much downside to registering the mistake and putting a redirect in place.

One more thing--telling the registrar to auto-renew the site can save lots of embarrassment.

Chris VandenHeuvel April 19, 2010

[quote=dkklein]Our church web site has been up for a few years, and gone through a few changes. Most of the site was written and still maintained with a text editor (Notetab Light.) There are not too many folks within the congregation that have done much web work which means to pass along the upkeep means we need to do some training or consider outsourcing.
It has only been in the past year or two that guests have mentioned that that they found the church and decided to visit because they had found us on the web. Our idea is to provide information to the congregation about what is going on through postings of the bulletin and calendar, and information for the visitor such as our history, activities, and Mission and Vision.
One suggestion for anyone who wants to post calendar events is that you may want to consider Google calendars. We're able to create and post information fairly quickly, and integrate it into the web site easily.[/quote]


One quick change you could make to improve readability would be to remove the bullets from the navigation menu on the left. This can be done by adding the following line to the file called "maincss.css" in the "css" folder on the web server:

div#left ul li {list-style-type: none;}

Not a big sweeping change to be sure, but quick and easy. If you're not able to make changes on the server yourself, it should be pretty straightforward for anyone who is.


April 19, 2010

Prior to entering ministry in a rural setting, I would've agreed wholeheartedly that the time for a printed hymnal has come and gone. It isn't that I don't love hymns and desire to continue singing them, but my experience in a larger church with greater resources made me think hard copy music wasn't needed.

However, I am now in a hymn-singing church with one hymnal to sing from. It is tattered, worn, and decidedly not Reformed in any way. This is the experience of a majority of the churches in the Reformed Church in America (I think one of my professors shared the statistic that 80% of RCA churches are rural, and many of them are declining). For a new hymnal I say -YES! I just hope that it won't be filled with new songs. A few new songs would be good, and I would like to see some of those songs come over from the Sing a New Creation! book.

Mark Hilbelink April 18, 2010

Hey JT, love the discussion topic - one of my favorite things to do is go to the nursing home and play hymns on the guitar, as well. My favorite (and theirs) seems to be "In the Garden" - they request it every time and I gladly oblige. Oddly enough, however, it seems that even in nursing homes, there's a large variation of what people know depending on what tradition they grew up in.

I think the "longevity" of songs is a legitimate issue, as is the idea of having a theoretical "songbook" - what my worship professor at Dordt would describe as the 40-100 songs that are repeated fairly often. I think this number reduces if churches only have one service on Sundays and how transient the group is (we're lucky if many of our folks show up every three weeks).

To the latter, we solidly focus on the team approach - 2-3 fixed bands that always play together (just like in the real world). With that, we have teams select songs they'll play (whether hymns, worship songs or songs they write) and they are then ineligible for the other teams to pick. Each of the teams works with about 20 songs at a time (if they add one, they drop one) and get really good at those. The added benefit is that we repeat enough music that the church gets to know the music, too.

There's another church in GR that writes all their own music and gives CD's to guests so they can know the "songbook", as well.

To the former, I think longevity of songs is nice, but I think it can become an idol like any other good thing in life (and church life). I love being able to hum songs to myself (and God) during quiet time, but I'd say its 33%/33%/33% between hymns/songs I sang when I started in worship in the 90's/songs my bands play now. Maybe that's indicative of the modern worshipper - we all hide certain songs in our hearts.....and it might mean I don't know the songs the guitarist plays in MY retirement home, but I'm cool with that. :)

Its really a lot like classic rock and modern pop songs.....everyone knows a couple Beatles songs, a couple Elvis songs, a couple U2 songs.....and something by Lady Gaga we heard last week and wish we didn't. Music has both a personal and corporate dimension and both are important, though not exclusively.

Joshua Benton April 17, 2010

I think there is a lot of truth to this. But my question comes what about those resources such as Purpose Driven Church/Life, Willowcreek and who supply sermon series information, outlines, videos, etc. all aimed at helping churches. Is there a balance between the two. I've used resources like these in the past using the resources as a starting point. Is that good or bad?

Zach Vandenberg April 16, 2010

[quote=jborger]Zach, you may be in a church that utilizes many resources but what about the churches that only has one hymnal from which they sing? Should they not be provided with the necessary tools to worship in a relavent way? [/quote]

It's interesting that you wrote "tools" (plural) in the second sentence, but referenced "one hymnal" (singular) in the first sentence. I don't want to nitpick your words too much to make it mean more than you intend, but I definitely lean more towards helping churches access the many, many tools (and songs) for leading worship and would feel sad and restricted if all I had to use was one hymnal.

Also, I am well aware of the many resources offered by the denomination/worship institute from my time at Calvin Seminary. We use some of them here. My only point in this whole discussion is that the hymnal should be considered one resource among many.

Mark Hilbelink April 16, 2010

Okay, y'all lured me back into the conversation - good points by all above.

It seems to me that there some "hymnal philosophical elephants" in the room and I'd like to point them can see my actual position below.

1. In some ways, I really feel for Faith Alive/CICW here. Whether or not the really WANT to produce this hymnal, Synod asked them to do it. The other angle is that they are both publishing/resourcing agencies who, to varying degrees, are supported by what they SELL. Therefore, even with the best intentions, there is a financial/marketability dimension to this discussion. Quite frankly, they know some of us won't own this hymnal or purchase it for our churches, regardless of how good it is - so why try to please us? (You can't please everyone, right.)

2. On the other hand, one visit to CICW's website or to Symposium and you realize EXACTLY what side of the traditional/contemporary/modern/neo-traditional worship discussion they are on. Part of the tension we're feeling here is that the denominational "authority" on worship is firmly non-modern, if not in philosophy, definitely in practice. That's not a bad thing - they're good at what they actually do, except for the fact that it becomes the de facto position for our denomination and it comes to a head on things like a denominational hymnal. Another good example is "Reformed Worship" magazine - which some might see as a descriptive source for how Reformed folks handle worship....when in fact, it only represents a segment. It has to do with representation......I'd be very interested to know what percentage of the advisory panel for the new hymnal comes from churches that have "full" and "modern" bands - guitar-driven, with electric guitars, keys, drums, bass, worship leaders, etc. who actually sing modern songs (I'm talking more Hillsong and Tomlin here than Shine Jesus Shine).

3. While the idea of a "core collection" is nice, its probably any more not feasible any more than a multi-denominational confession is. At my last church, which was in a different denomination, they got mad because I wasn't playing "old hymns". I was, in fact, playing old hymns....they just weren't the hymns that were part of their core. Over the next 50 years, as churches become less denominational and more congregational or united by common theological/practical affiliations (WCA, Acts 29, etc.), the local expression becomes more important....I think we're already past that tipping point in most places outside West Michigan. (Not to mention, the Grey Hymnal substituted verses and word changes that made them dissimilar to the "core collection", anyway).

4. Allen's point about "the rubber hitting the road" is a great one. No matter the good intentions of the hymnal publishers, we know from experience that, at the local level, some organist/pianist will refuse to play a supportive role in the band as the church progresses in their worship expression and will use a denominational hymnal as THE excuse to do so. "Look", she'll say, "I'm just playing the notes that are in the hymnal the way I always have. If it was meant to be led by a guitar or have drums, it would say that." (If you really don't believe me, go to the Grey Hymnal and find the notations saying "guitar and piano should not sound together".) Putting modern worship music, particularly when there is a refusal to represent it in its long-form, does an injustice to the genre and FUELS the worship wars more than quelling them. It also drives a deeper divide between "hymnal" churches and "non-hymnal" churches, rather than letting us learn from eachother in a constructive environment.

I should say I'm not against publishing a hymnal - Faith Alive and CICW can do whatever they want. What I am against is labeling it a DENOMINATIONAL hymnal when there's been precious little evidence that the denominational de facto leadership on worship have understood the genre change or trying to resource the modern worship element of that denomination. Just publish a book of hymns and "world music" for the churches who actually want to buy it - its good business sense and it isn't as off-putting to us on the other side. That, if it had significant differences from my other 15 hymnals and, I'd probably buy to have on my shelf as a resource.

By the way, we're still calling this a "HYMNal".........?

Joyce Borger April 16, 2010

Tim, you raise some great questions. Ultimately the songs that get passed on are the songs that make it into the hearts of the next generation regardless of format. I think it is the job of the pastor/worship planners to make conscious choices about the music that their church sings, reflecting on the body of songs as a whole as well as each song individually. Whether they use a hymnal, many hymnals, web resources or a mix of resources the task of choosing the songs of the congregation is one that ought not be taken lightly. What messages do we want to resonate in our hearts and the hearts of our children? The hymnal committee asks that a lot when we think of creating a balance of theological, pastoral, and spiritual themes. It takes a pairing of great texts and tunes as well so you need to employ theologians, poets, and musicians, to help make the decisions. "Amazing Grace" and "In Christ Alone" have both made it as "heart songs" because they speak to the heart and our Christian experience but also because they are singable... repeatedly. Interestingly, "Amazing Grace" isn't sung all that much in our congregations anymore but it doesn't need to be, it has become such a classic in the repertoire that it is most poignant when sung in the moment when no other song will do.

Joyce Borger April 16, 2010

Zach, you may be in a church that utilizes many resources but what about the churches that only has one hymnal from which they sing? Should they not be provided with the necessary tools to worship in a relavent way?

The appropriate research was done well in advance of the gathering of any committee and it was deemed that there was indeed a desire for and need for a new hymnal. The cost of producing the hymnal is covered through the sales and is not dependent on any ministry shares.

Certainly, many (though not all) of our congregations are comfortable using web resources and this hymnal will be supported by online material, and as much of the material as possible from the hymnal will be available on the web.

There use to be a day when one hymnal met the needs of all churches as did one Sunday School curriculum. The growing diversity within our denomination is a great thing but that means diverse needs. It seems that your congregation's music needs are currently being met through readily available resources on the web; it could very well be that this hymnal may not and that is ok. But, I do hope that you take a careful look at it when it comes out. And, if you are able examine the songbooks already produced and provide feedback on them via the hymnal website.

Tim Postuma April 16, 2010

Now you've got me a hymnal a format (i.e. book) or a 'core collection' (available in many formats)?

If the latter, how does a collection of songs remain 'core' over a long period of time within a church? Or a denomination? Or inter-denominationally?

In other words, would 'Amazing Grace' be as universally loved if it weren't for hymn books? Obviously, I've got more questions than answers!

Zach Vandenberg April 16, 2010

I agree that having a core set of songs that Christians can share is an eminently valuable thing. I just think that change in media over the last 20 years means that this goal is not likely to be accomplished through a large book.

I am all for using a hymnal as one resource among many.

Wendy Hammond April 16, 2010

My thoughts exactly, David. I have heard so many storeis over the years of missionaries and relief workers in Muslim contexts, who after many years of friendship have seen Muslims come to Christ.

Tim Postuma April 16, 2010

For me, one of the most compelling arguments I've heard for a hymnal is that we should have a 'core' set of songs that are well known across our churches and those from other denominations.

Why does that resonate with me?

My wife is a chaplain in a long-term care setting with people from a wide variety of faith backgrounds. She has amazing testimonies of what happens when she is able to sing a familiar hymn or song with them. I saw the same thing when, as a kid, my parents would drag me along whenever a few from our church would go to a similar facility to 'sing with the seniors'. Music taps into something so deep, so powerful that people who are barely able to communicate are somehow able to hum or even sing along.

Personally, I love contemporary music styles. But I sure hope that there's still a 'core' set of songs that is learned by my kids, kids from other denominations, and those who will may minister to them throughout their lives. I think a denominational hymnal - or, in this case, a bi-denominational one - helps that.

David Oosterhouse April 16, 2010

A couple of posters on Facebook think this is a problem. I responded with the following post:

"A Muslim young lady being exposed to loving Christians and thru them the love of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ, where is the problem? Should we pull our missionaries out of Bangladesh be cause there are Muslims living there? If they are willing to come to us for a quality education why would we want to stop that? We should be thanking God for the opportunity and ask that the Holy Spirit work in this young lady's life and show her that Jesus is more that just a prophet."

We have been commanded to go into all the world to spread the good news. But if God brings them to us what are we supposed to do, ignore them, prevent them from attending "our" colleges? That doesn't seem to follow the spirit of the Great Commission.

Joyce Borger April 16, 2010

I encourage folks to go to the hymnal website for more info re: the reason behind doing a hymnal. But to respond to the comment regarding the hymnal creating a common voice. I completely agree that churches make use of multiple resources and some do not use any hymnal. For churches that use the most recently composed music no hymnal will meet their needs like the web does. Our hope is that those worship planners will keep a copy of this hymnal as a resource. When deciding to sing a traditional hymn our hope is that you will consult the hymnal to so we can learn/sing the same words regardless of the style of the accompaniment. If such a church wants to include a new song, maybe something from the global church that they will again turn to this hymnal. There are also many churches that will sing directly from the hymnal on occasion and yet other churshes will sing from it solely. In this way we hope to create a common voice.

Maybe it is better to consider the hymnal as a common thread between each church's unique musical tapestry.

In other words we have no delusions that this hymnal will fill the musical needs of allCRC/RCA churches. We are much too diverse for that. But we hope to meet the needs of hymnal using churches and provide a great resource for others to use

And yes CCLI is a great resource for contemporary song (less helpful for traditional hymnody, modern hymnody and global song) we use it all the time as does CICW.

Allen Kleine Deters April 15, 2010

I agree Zach.
As some of our discussion has gone on this site, I'm not so sure putting all the time and money into a new hymnbook is stewardly or fully in-touch with the continually changing face of contemporary music. Perhaps our best efforts would best be served by showing churches how to use the great online resources. My concern is that guitar-led songs will be turned into keyboard led songs, which will do a great disservice to the musical intent of the song.

I'm also going out on a limb here, but I have often sensed an apprehension from the CICW to encourage use of the CCLI site.

Dee Recker April 15, 2010

The Agenda for Synod 2010 is in the process of being mailed this week. It is now available online at!


posted in : Agendas Mailed
Angela Elliott April 15, 2010

What kinds of simple things do churches do to celebrate Mothers Day, Fathers Day and Pentecost?

Zach Vandenberg April 15, 2010

I find that our worship planners use a variety of congregational-singing & presentation music that comes from wherever they can find it - from harder rock to hillsong, gospel, hymns (new and old versions, with the band and occasionally the organ), as well as music from CCLI's top 25. Which is to say that there is an availability of music today that was not available at all the last time a hymnal was put together (available online, especially if musicians can figure out stuff they hear).

The CRC webpage says the new hymnal is an attempt to "give a common voice to our worship in the twenty-first century." But because of the speed and manner (online, radio, file-sharing) with which music is distributed today, I don't think it is possible for a hymnal to accomplish this goal.

The trend is to use multiple, not single, sources for songs & music, and I think the trend will be for churches to use this hymnal as one source among many.

David Teitsma April 14, 2010

I have to admit that a friend just emailed me with a spelling error in this post. I knew that I would have a mistake that I would glance over. I knew this would be a dangerous subject to write on because of the strong likelihood that I'd make a mistake.

It's now fixed.

Stanley + Monica Groothof April 14, 2010

In addition to CCLI, you can also search songs by topic at

Stanley + Monica Groothof April 14, 2010

Telkwa CRC has been encouraging giving testimonies during worship for a while now. We have the philosophy that professing our faith is something we're called to do regularly -- daily in whatever context we find ourselves! -- and not solely on one formal occasion.

At the front of the sanctuary, we're creating a "monument" made of rocks, following the lead of the Israelites after they passed through the Jordan River (Joshua 4; they did this at other times, too). When someone gives a testimony, they're invited to take a rock (either from our stash in a corner or one they found themselves) and add it to the growing pile. Each rock represents a specific example of God at work in a person. A while ago, whoever was interested went on a "field trip" after a morning service to the nearby river bank to collect some rocks for our stash; this was a great way to involve the kids!

We don't do this every week, but at least a couple times a month, people are invited to come forward to share how they've recently encountered God. Sometimes it's connected with the message -- e.g. "How have you experienced for yourself what we've been talking about this morning?" People are invited to just come up as they feel led during a time of quiet reflection/silent prayer; that way, everyone has something to "do" regardless of whether they choose to come forward to share something.

We are being encouraged by hearing how God is active in our church in the lives of individuals and groups. The stones pile is a good, visible reminder of this.

Angela Elliott April 14, 2010

Looking forward to seeing this new hymnal.

Tim Postuma April 14, 2010

[quote=Diane Ritzema]How do I give you my email without it going out to everyone on the network?[/quote]

The Network site allows you to privately email any user. Just click the little email icon below the user's name/photo to send them a message through the system.

And, by email icon, of course I mean a little picture of an envelope! How ironic that an envelope is the universal symbol for email :-)

Diane Ritzema April 14, 2010

Thanks JT and Stanley! CCLI has been very helpful--when I search for the song, I can click on it and it gives the themes that the song is associated with. This will help a lot.

Stanley--I'd love to have your Word doc. How do I give you my email without it going out to everyone on the network?

Jolanda Howe April 14, 2010

My church takes a mentoring approach for profession of faith. For middle school we use the I Believe student and mentor guides, and that works well. I've also used Quest of Faith with high school youth--I like its conversational tone.   

Stanley + Monica Groothof April 14, 2010

Diane, I have a Word document with a bunch of contemporary songs we sing here at Telkwa CRC. I've "tagged" each song with its topic(s) and/or Scripture reference(s). It's likely not entirely what you're looking for, but if it sounds helpful, I can email it to you. Stanley Groothof

Lorraine Woodward April 14, 2010

I am a self-proclaimed "Facebook junkie" who uses Facebook for both personal and professional connections.

I have used Twitter sporadically, but I don't really use it anymore for the simple reason that I can't see ANYTHING that Twitter does that can't be done on Facebook. When I started "following" people on Twitter, I soon discovered that many of them were simply pushing their Tweets out to Facebook, which meant that I was reading everything twice.

I certainly cannot offer up a biblical defense for my use of Facebook, but Twitter just annoys me, as I am convinced that this application is a true case of the Emperor wearing no clothes.

And "FacebookandTwitter" is NOT a word!

(the views expressed in this post are my own and do not represent the views of my employer.)

posted in : "Why I Don't Tweet"
Mike VanLaan April 14, 2010

We (Friendship CRC in Byron Center, MI) use PowerChurch. I researched the various options (about 4 years ago) and thought PowerChurch was the best software for our church for the money. We are very happy with it. We use it to print the church directory, for volunteer lists, event/room scheduling, contribution statements, membership reports, etc. We will be upgrading to version 11 this month. Feel free to contact me to schedule a look at how we use it if you want.

Mark Stephenson April 13, 2010

Steve, thanks so much for telling your story. It shows that being INTENTIONAL about inclusion can change the entire culture of the church for the better. I'm delighted to hear that Friendship isn't just a program that happens on a weeknight at your church, but has become a vital part of your church's ministry.