Comment Stream

Joyce Borger February 22, 2010

How can we "tap into" the under the radar network of CRC-modern-worship-practitioners? I would like their feedback on many a thing including the recently published Contemporary Songs for Worship. This was our attempt at helping those congregations who use traditional instrumentations and may have less "praise band" experience to be able to access some of the great contemporary/modern music that is out there. I know that this won't meet the needs of the contemporary/modern church as there are many great resources out there that we can't possibly compete with. But we hope that it may be of help to others... -Joyce Borger
music/worship editor Faith Alive Christian Resources

February 21, 2010

Thank you very much for your reply, Sheri, I appreciate the examples and book suggestion.

Looking forward to see the growth of this site... lots of potential and a great start.

Mark Hilbelink February 20, 2010

God of This City by Bluetree isn't exactly new, but I love the song - just wish the vocal range wasn't so huge.

The other one I really love is Hillsong's "You Hold Me Now" - a wonderful song about heaven without being cheesy. One of the reasons I love Hillsong's writing style is that they break the worship song "mode" with many of their songs. On this one, the buildup occurs in the verse and the chorus is the softest part of the whole song, but still so powerful.

February 20, 2010

I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I think of being on the worship team as a service to the church. But it doesn't take much of a stretch to say that if that implies musicians shouldn't be paid, why doesn't it imply that no-one should be paid?

Motivation is certainly an important consideration. I'd be deeply uncomfortable with an attitude that, "We can't worship without (insert hard-to-find-instrument), so we better pay one."

Duane Klein February 20, 2010

Musicians who are professionals should be paid. At the least they should be offered to be paid. If a musician wants his or her time and talent offered as a gift that is their decision. 1 Tim 5:18 comes to mind on this topic, although I don't think many musicians want to be compared to an ox!

Duane Klein February 20, 2010

The number of families varies a bit, but each elder calls on around 25 families. This in turn may seem low, only one visit per month, but all of the elders sit on at least one of the church committees as a liaison. In addition, all are involved with choir or other church activities such as Household Bible study groups, or teaching catechism. When you add up the number of meetings and other activities the elders have good exposure to the congregation to both listen as well as encourage.

(Elders)
Duane Klein February 20, 2010

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.
http://www.sussexcrc.org/

Duane Klein February 20, 2010

Thanks for all of the suggestions and comments! There's some great material here to review. I'll post here with what I/we find.

Allen Kleine Deters February 19, 2010

We use their tear off too and it works quite well. You have to make sure that guests are welcomed from the pulpit and encouraged to fill it out. We encourage our people to also connect with the visitors to encourage them to do the same. We don't get a lot of traffic since we're a little church 10 miles out of town, but we are getting guests that are beginning to return because of follow up.

August Guillaume February 19, 2010

A web site can be compared to a church building. Most of the suggestions and advice show how to build a simple cathedral with fancy doors to attract non believers. How about a web site like a house church with limited funds?

Consider: http://fellowshipcrc.awardspace.com/
Cost: $0.00
Accessibility: From any type of computer linked to the internet including slow dial up.
Update process:
-- Any html editor such as Microsoft Word
-- Edit files on own computer
-- upload files by browsing and clicking

"dull"? yes, if you consider text dull.

We use google sites to generate a secure site for members to house directory , e-mail information etc.

New members? well, not likely via the web site but hopefully via invitation by members and signage.

Mark Bennink February 19, 2010

Thanks for sharing your testimony, Wilbur. As you can see with my other posted comment, our present group is being impacted by Alpha too.

Mark Bennink February 19, 2010

Thank you, Grace, for sharing your testimony about how Alpha impacted you and transformed your husband. I'm excited about how Alpha is already impacting our present group. One participant is an agnostic who asks many good questions and seems to be warming up to Jesus and the gospel. A Hindu refugee couple is also a part of our group and they are enjoying learning more about Christianity. Another couple comes from a nominal Christian background and is drawing closer to the Lord through their involvement.

Mark Hilbelink February 19, 2010

We've hit some stagnation here, so I'll throw a hot topic out there: paying team members.

You may or may not realize that many large churches keep their worship musicians (both instrument & vocalists) on staff, or at least pay them a per-gig fee. The larger the church and the higher the commitment to quality, the more prevalent this is (although church plants are often pinned into this situation, as well). For those of us in large cities, it is an even bigger issue because church musicians are at a such a high premium with multiple mega-churches competing for the best guitar players, drummers, etc. in the Christian world.

Then there's this: when I tell people back home that I pay a couple of my musicians, they get up in arms about how church is "not supposed to be a concert". BUT, they've been paying their organists for years. When I first got into worship leading, the organist would make $75 for playing 2 songs and we got a pat on the back for leading the other 5 with a full band that required coordinated rehearsals.

So what do you think.....pay musicians or no? And in what situations/how much?

Ken Gehrels February 19, 2010

Hi, Dan

Re scheduling of your Sunday volunteers (coffee hosts, ushers, greeters, sound techs, video crew, elders, worship team, etc) - someone here in Ottawa has written a piece of software called mychurchbody.com

We've used it for a few years now, and it does the job well.
Users can block out vacation dates - duplicate scheduling is blocked.
Master schedule can be printed.
Basic - but works well.

If you or anyone else drops me a note, I'll get you in touch with the developer.
Will be probably your lowest cost alternative.

Allen Kleine Deters February 18, 2010

have you considered, "the Measure of a Man" by Gene Getz? I was with a group that has been using it for years and it is very appealing to seekers as well.

Allen Kleine Deters February 18, 2010

I agree wholeheartedly with both of you. That was a very big discussion on the SG Summit. Even the old guys like Lyman Coleman and Carl George were all over that one. Without the pastor being the champion of small groups, they will fail or just become some program like any other program.

I was trying to develop small groups in my past church, but the majority of the leadership including the pastor were not in groups although they spoke of how important they were. Just didn't wash and it was obvious by the lack of participation and many comments from small group leaders who voiced their opinions on the matter.

Another important factor I think as well is the fact that many churches in our denomination start small groups without considering how they fit into spiritual formation. I think this is the difference between a program oriented church and a discipleship minded church. In most discipleship focused churches, small groups is the main force behind spiritual formation of its members.

Daniel Zylstra February 18, 2010

I agree with you 100%, Mark. Pastors should be first members of small groups. We play a role in being an example of what being part of a small group means: transparency, self-care and others-care, missional lifestyle, etc., etc. The pastor is the "leader" in too up front a way many times,...small groups are a great place to be "just one of the congregation."

I would also agree with the descriptors you use about pastors being "architects," etc. For me, part of that means helping various groups in the church that have been around for a long time (i.e., the Elders, the Deacons, the Worship Comittee, the Nursery Workers, etc., etc.,...) realize and make the most of the fact that they are already small groups.

Anyway, that's perhaps too specific, but for what it's worth--kudos to you, Mark! Good answer. ;-)

Dan.

Daniel Zylstra February 18, 2010

Don't know if this is helpful, Ed, but Living Hope CRC in Peterborough, ON has a Ministry Coordinator...you can look up contact info, I think--you should be good at that! ;-)

Also, our church (Zion CRC, Oshawa, ON) is seriously considering hiring a ministry coordinator. I don't know if you'd be comfortable with this, but would there be any way I could get a hold of your job description--might help us in coming up with ours...

Thanks Ed. Blessings,

Dan. (Pastor @ Zion)

Daniel Zylstra February 18, 2010

Are any of those open source options you mention cross-platform (specifically Mac AND Windows)?

Also, I love making sermon slides in Keynote (Apple equivalent of PowerPoint--but better ;-) ). Is anyone aware of any presentation software that handles Keynote files and/or the QuickTime exports totally well? We use EasyWorship and it doesn't handle QuickTime very well at all.

Last, but not least, what kind of hardware are you running your presentation software on? Our computer seems to be running/loading videos pretty slowly--what I don't know is whether or not it's the software we're running and/or some software conflict, or the hardware just not being able to handle it.

Thanks, all!

Dan.

Jolanda Howe February 18, 2010

Great idea-I'll make it a new thread of conversation.

Jolanda Howe February 18, 2010

Interesting comment from parents! I think I'll highlight that in the blog to see if others are hearing the same thing. I'll start a new thread with the question of where to donate extra Sunday school curriculum-thanks for the great ideas!

Simon du Toit February 18, 2010

This lament seems so familiar. My students tell me they can't socialize any more because they are too busy text messaging. Real communication seems harder to achieve with the passing years, not easier. We can Instant Message - but what message is heard?

I think this is not a small question, not at all, so thanks for bringing it up. How can we, who love the Lord and love his Word, communicate that love in this world? Here we are right now, sharing our thoughts across the miles through a blog. I think that's good, and it helps our church stay relevant to the times. But I don't yet think this medium is great at really bringing the message. Anybody have another view? What am I missing?

(Elders)
Simon du Toit February 18, 2010

Visits can be tough to schedule. In addition to visits, our pastor offers the use of the manse for elder district socials once a year. I haven't had mine yet - it's my first year on council here - but I look forward to it, as others who have hosted one said it went well and was appreciated. It can work on a Sunday after church, or in the evening on Sunday. Do others do this too?

(Elders)
Mark Hilbelink February 18, 2010

The pastor should be a small group MEMBER first and foremost. Asking people to join a structure you don't participate in is not only hypocritical, it is illogical. I like NOT leading my own small group (so I can just be a person), though I can if it proves necessary.

From a professional point of view, I would say "architect", "catalyst" and "support" for your leaders.

I think as pastors (especially in more conservative traditions like our own), we're often scared to let our people lead themselves, especially when there is an element of "teaching" going on. But, if you take the mentality that you as the pastor or one of your elders has to have a hand in every small group, you'll destine your small group program to be, well, small.

Small groups are a movement of sorts and, like any good movement, require managing more on the macro level than the micro level from the chief leader ( in fact, micro-managing will stunt their growth). But movements also need something to move towards (which comes to the vision-casting capacity of the lead pastor).

Daniel Zylstra February 18, 2010

Yeah, ours needs some help. http://zioncrc.ca It's too static, it's too hard for our fairly luddite-ish staff to update, too boring, too ugly... you name it, it needs help.

Your suggestions are greatly appreciated!

Dan.

Allen Kleine Deters February 18, 2010

For those of you who miss the Small Group Summit, it was great. I'll be posting highlights soon, either here on my blog.

Daniel Zylstra February 18, 2010

I too finished at CTS not that long ago (EPMC), but before that I was at Tyndale for my M.Div. When at Tyndale I was introduced to Accordance Bible Software for the Mac, Logos, eSword, the Christian Classics Etherial Library (from Calvin), BibleReader for Palm, etc., etc., etc. --there are a tonne of resources out there.

However, I ended up with Accordance. I've found that Accordance has more flexibility and power than Logos, has better attention to detail with the texts and modules, has a better layout in terms of usability, and pretty competitive pricing. I doesn't have as many modules as Logos, but I haven't felt any lack either. I used Accordance to write my original language exercises at Calvin and I was done substantially faster than most of the other students and was very please with how well the results turned out from the test. I found myself waiting for everyone else during most of the class sessions too.

That being said, I haven't worked with Logos 4, and I understand it's quite a new thing. Also, Accordance is only available on the Mac (or in emulation on a PC), whereas Logos is now available for both.

My advice (not that anyone asked) is to go with Accordance if you have a Mac, or if you're thinking of switching to one, UNLESS you're just entering CTS--then you should get Logos, because they're heavily invested in that software. Both are great pieces of software--I prefer one over the other for (I think) good reasons, but the difference between them in power and capability is really quite minimal, IMHO.

What about others? What do you use?

Dan.

posted in : Study Software
Christie Thomas February 18, 2010

I would personally love to hear some ideas on leading and encouraging a volunteer team. With about 70 volunteers under my care, training and caring for them can be a daunting task!

Christie Thomas February 18, 2010

I also love the Jesus Storybook Bible - for younger elementary kids. For upper elementary, I think that Group's Hands On Bible is fabulous. I usually give kids the NLT for personal use.

posted in : Children's Bibles
Rachel VanSchepen February 18, 2010

I would love to know more about sunday school curriculum. I know there is A LOT out there, but right now Faith Alive at CRCNA is promoting a new curriculum called Kid Connection. We have been using the Walk With Me curriculum and I would love hear a comparison. I also would like to know what other churches think- what they use, what seems to work for them. Also suggestions for Sunday School teachers who have kids that seem to know all the answers because "we heard it in school."

Another topic is someting I have heard A LOT from parents. "I don't send my kids to Sunday School because they already hear so many bible stories. My kids hear a lesson at school, during children and worship, and again during their groups (such as GEMS, CADETS, etc.) It is just "too much" for my kids."

Finally, I would love to know about organizations or suggestions about where to donate extra incomplete Sunday school curriculum. Often we have extra units that are missing some sessions, or the stickers or story cards are partially used. So, they aren’t complete therefore we won’t use them again next year. But I know there are many churches and countries that CAN use them.

Allen Kleine Deters February 18, 2010

Synergy is totally necessary. I'm with Mark and others in that getting people to think missional in their own backyards is invariably going to get more people thinking about and even participating in global mission. I remember being frustrated as a youth pastor when people supported youth who wanted to go on a YWAM DTS or a CRC short-term mission, but we could hardly get support to do ministry in the streets of our local communities. It made no sense to me at all, but certainly bore witness to the fact that people think about missions as about being, "over there" and not in my backyard.

I've witnessed first hand however in two churches, one I served and the current, where people who started serving local became more open to serving globally. We do a huge Serve project here and ongoing Communities in Service ministry. This past December three of our men went to Nicaragua with another group to drill a well. Now we're talking about going to Zambia in June 2011.

Missional starts at grass roots.

posted in : Local and Global
Timothy Brown February 17, 2010

I'd be interested in getting more information about this. Thanks.

Sheri Laninga February 17, 2010

My favorite resource regarding churches and charitable gifts is published by Zondervan each year--the Church and Nonprofit Tax and Financial Guide by Dan Busby (check out amazon.com). This book has a wealth of understandable information on a variety of administrative subjects for churches. A copy at every church would be very beneficial in running things properly.

If someone donates quilts to your crib ministry or a DVD player to your youth ministry, a thank you for the (name of item) donation is all that should be necessary from the church. The donor is responsible for valuing the item(s) given, not the church. If the value of the item is more than $250, check out further information in the above book.

"Donated labor" is not eligible for a charitable deduction. The carpenter would be entitled to a deduction for his out of pocket expenses including mileage. Dan Busby on p. 158 says "if the donated out of pocket expenses are $250 or more in a calendar year, the carpenter will need an acknowledgment from the church."

Shirley DeVries February 17, 2010

Duane,
Selecting software is work.

You aren't the first person to ask the question about the denomination supplying something. The denomination has looked at this on and off since the mid 1990s. Every time we have looked at it we have decided it is not the best use of our resources. A couple of the challenges that haven't changed over the years are the following:
1) How to create a piece of software that would be attractive to a fair number of our churches.
2) How to support the software, upgrade it, help churches migrate to it, etc.

In the past few years we have had more than one vendor suggest to us that we should purchase software that all of our churches would use (meaning a single database). Those suggestions have two big issues--big dollars, and big brother....

I think that Allen Deters hits the nail on the head when he points out that there is a lot of good software already out there.

It is difficult to know what software to select. It is kind of like having a cold and going to a drug store, there are so many over the counter cold medicines, it is hard to know what you should buy.

This is what I suggest you do to reduce the complexity that choice brings.

1) Decide what it is that the software needs to do for you. You can keep a list of "essentials", "wants", and "potentially desirable" features.

2) Figure out who is going to need to use it and where they are going to be when they use it. For example, as the council clerk--do you want to be able to do this from home? Is there a church administrator that also needs to get to this same software? Will you both ever be in it at the same time? These questions will help you get at things like number of licenses, number of concurrent sessions, on-line (cloud/SaaS) software verses software on a PC or server at church.

3) Take an inventory of what you are working with hardware wise. Will all those that use this be on Windows operating systems, some Macs? What versions of these operating systems? If you might be looking at an on-line solution--do the people who need to use it have internet access in the location(s) that it will be used. This will help you recognize if there will be additional costs associated with any given selection.

4) Try to gauge the level of expertise that you have available to you. How computer savvy are the people who will need to use the software? What other resources might you have available? Perhaps a member of your congregation would be willing to help out in implementing this. Maybe there is a user group you could join. It might be worth considering having a consultant who has done this type of thing before help with the implementation.

5) If you can, find out what other churches that are the size of your church are using. A look in the Yearbook will help you with that. Other churches in your community can also be helpful sources--they don't have to be CRC or RCA--if they are about your size, talking with them might be helpful. They can tell you what kind of expertise it took for them to put in a system, what they wish they had done differently, what is the best thing about their system.

6) With all of the above in mind start looking at some software packages. At this point you are looking for two reasons. First you want to become a little familiar with prices. Second, you might find out that you could really use something that you never thought of. A good site to check is shareware.com--use search for church membership software.

7) Set a budget for the project (add 20% to what you think it is going to be).

8) Find a way to document your discoveries when doing the above steps. Documentation will help you when you start comparing options. It will also help you in three years when you wonder why you made the selection you did. It will also be a starting point when you have to do it again in a number of years--and with technology--you will have to do it again.

That should put you at a better than average starting spot to actually start shopping for software.

If you think about it, it isn't much different than buying a car--you have to know what it has to be used for, how many people have to fit in it, how far and frequently it has to go, who is going to be driving it, and how much money you have to spend. Once you know those things, you are more likely to drive off the lot with the car you need rather than just buying the red one because it looked good.

Ty Hogue February 17, 2010

Hello All,

I've been an ordained Ministry Associate in the role of Youth Pastor at Harderwyk Ministries in Classis Holland. I was ordained as an "Evangelist" in October of 2001 and since then the title changed to Ministry Associate.

The ordination has allowed me some wonderful opportunities in my calling as youth pastor in preaching on a regular basis, performing wedding ceremonies, communion and baptizing my own daughter. They have brought a much different and dynamic aspect to my ministry.

The difficulties have been that once I leave Holland I will have to re-ordain in another classis if I want to keep doing those acts of ministry and there has been absolutely not one peep from the CRC or Classis Holland since my ordination. On one hand you could say that I've had complete freedom in my ministry under the care of my consistory to do as I feel called to do. On the other hand, there has been no contact or care whatsoever from Classis or the CRC in my role as an ordained Ministry Associate. There are times when I wonder if they are aware of my ordination and that I even exist.

I'm not looking for more hoops to jump through, pats on the back or red tape to fumble with, but the silence at times regarding Ministry Associates, our roles and legitimacy has been disappointing. I'm very grateful for the encouragement of the pastors that I work with and my church council, they have played a key roll in keeping me continuing on as a Ministry Associate along with the blessings I've revived from having the ability to offer the additional "services" to my students and congregation by being able to preach, administer sacraments and perform weddings. It definitely rounds out my role as a youth pastor.

Blessings,

Ty Hogue
Harderwyk Ministries
Holland, Michigan

Steve Van Zanen February 17, 2010

Lots of interesting comments about the relation of global and local here. I'll be processing them with others on Monday. Meanwhile, I'd love to see some response to the resources and ideas about global mission we've placed here. What is missing? How are congregations informing and inspiring their members to be part of what God is doing around the world? Do the many materials here on short term missions scratch where churches itch? We look forward to your feedback.

posted in : How is it?
Steve Van Zanen February 17, 2010

Hi Mark,
Thanks for your contribution. Back when I was a pastor, and before that an average church member, I didn't have much of a sense for the size and scope of the work the CRC does. Having been on the inside for a few years now, it is clear that if we got rid of the current structure, some new one would be necessary. There is a lot going on and it has to be organized somehow. That being said, there is a long history of silo operation by the various agenices. Fortunately, those barriers aren't nearly what they used to be. There is a long list of collaborative projects and warm working relationships across agency lines now.
I often do presentations in churches on the state of world missions and the remarkable growth of the church in many places over the last century. Of course, this movement has not affected every place and people group in the same way. There are still more than 10,000 people groups with little or no Christian presence. Over 1.5 billion people (about 27% of the world's population) live in groups where they are unlikely to hear the Gospel in a culturally intelligible way.

posted in : Local and Global
Daniel Zylstra February 17, 2010

Thanks for the comments, everyone. I do think this should perhaps be moved to a new thread, seeing as it doesn't have much to do with what we want to see on the website anymore, but is rather doing what we wanted to do instead of just talking about doing it (what a great problem!).

I will talk to our worship people tonight about this thread and hook them into this website. I think the advice to make sure that there's no "doubling", as you call it, and to make sure that there's one strong lead vocalist carrying the melody line is fantastic.

All very helpful. Thanks so much.

By the way, I would agree wholeheartedly that enjoying, or not, worship in a more "concert-like" fashion is mostly a matter of perspective. My tendency, however, is to say that there's a bit of a theological perspective that needs to be considered beyond just doing what people like (I know that's been said already). My take on it, though, is that:

  1. Loving God is the number one thing
  2. Loving others is the number two thing
    • But, figuring out just how to love people is the tough thing. We want to love those who come as guests (seekers, or whatever other term you use) but honestly church worship services are not, I believe, the place where people first come in contact with the gospel generally. Instead worship services are for glorifying God, refreshing and renewing the people, proclaiming the Word, being in fellowship with His people, etc.--in short, I think worship services should be mostly targeted to the "believers", while each believer should be a "missionary" in their own setting outside of the church. So, if that's the case, then worship services should help to bring believers into worship--not be attractive marketing for "seekers" (to put it crassly).
    • So, that means that worship services with traditionalists and contemporari-ists (for lack of a better term) ought to be designed to welcome and draw people into worship, whatever their "flavour". Not meaning that we ought to please everyone all the time (not possible, as was mentioned before, but...
    • Our people (and we're trying to work on this) must learn to see worship as something more than individuals gathering together in one place to worship God in their own individual way. Instead we must see worship as something we do together, as the body of Christ. This means letting go of personal tastes and embracing compassion and love fore each other.
    • But then back to honouring God. If we're the BODY of Christ, called together to worship Him, then surely there's some value in the participatory nature of corporate singing. Many of our people complain that if the instruments are too loud they are overwhelmed, can't hear themselves (or anyone else other than the worship leader) singing, and so they just stop and listen. Bonhoeffer thought that singing in parts was bad because it broke up the unity of the church as the body (along with being a temptation to some to show off). I don't agree with Bonhoeffer to the full extent of wanting people to only sing in unison, but isn't he getting at something valuable there?

    Anyway, that was a tangent too, I guess. What I really meant to say when I started all this was just "Thanks! You've all be soooooo helpful! I will definitely take this back to the worship folks to see what they think.

    By the way, I've been checking out http://worshipplanning.com and I think it will maybe suit our needs for coordinating ALL our Sunday morning worship people.

    Thanks again!

    Dan.

    February 17, 2010

    Saludos y espero disfrutar de este medio.

    posted in : Saludos
    Keith Oosthoek February 17, 2010

    Our church uses a tear off in the church bulletin. Guests are invited to place the completed form in the collection plate. A letter is mailed out the same week and staff will then contact those individuals that are looking for more information.
    The process has been successful and we have been able to develop an extensive data base of those people searching for a new church or a church.
    Members are also encouraged to seek out new comers and invite them to other activities.

    Paul Paterson February 17, 2010

    Karl do you have any resources available such as a short paragraph to encourage members to consider being nominated as a Deacon?

    February 17, 2010

    Thanks for the reply.

    I really love the idea of the "exit interview." Maybe we'll incorporate that in our youth program this year.

    Chris Schoon February 16, 2010

    Thank you for getting this conversation started in this space, Angela! We certainly would benefit from extended and persistent attention to reconciliation in public conversation spaces in our denomination, especially when the process becomes heavy and difficult because of needing to examine our own weaknesses, indifference, and lack of faith.

    My initial question is about hopes and expectations...does having a conversation about reconciliation in a forum like this shape what hopes or expectations we have for where this conversation might lead us or how vulnerable and personal we are willing to be?

    Chris Schoon February 16, 2010

    Allen, while waiting for a glocal section on the Network :) are there other ways that Home Missions is distributing the knowledge and experience capital from missional leaders and church planters into established churches, especially those asking questions about community engagement? In a breakfast gathering that Jerry D. and Peter H. led in Hamilton, ON this morning, they mentioned a cluster of pastors in the Seattle area that is bringing together seasoned pastors from established churches and several pastors/leaders of missional initiatives. Are there more of these types of clusters developing and being nurtured/cultivated by Home Missions? From what I heard this morning, this seems like one way that the experience capital you mentioned can flow between church planters and leaders in established churches.

    posted in : How is it?
    Stanley + Monica Groothof February 16, 2010

    Thanks Marcel! I really appreciated these reflections. About "quiet time," I refrain from turning on my computer until I've spent some time in Scripture reading and prayer as well as sometimes silence or journalling. I usually can't get too far in my work without the computer, so the quiet time happens consistently near the start of my day!

    Something that I recommend to youth leaders and other pastors is praying through your up-to-date church directory. We have a small church, so I only have 2 or 3 pages to go through per day and I'm done in 5 days; in larger contexts, leaders may have to work through their directories over a couple weeks. Regardless, the point is that you are praying for the people you are serving. Seeing someone's name may remind you of a joy or need about which you can pray and maybe act upon. Also, repeatedly putting them in God's hands can perhaps help reduce some messiah complexes!

    The youth leaders of Telkwa CRC consistently pray for the church's youth. I am convinced that is connected with the effectiveness of their ministry.

    Peace,
    Stanley

    Keith McKenzie February 16, 2010

    We currently use SongShowPlus. I find it functional but not great. There are certainly a number of other choices:

    EasyWorship and MediaShout are the two 'big ones' right now.
    There's also LiveWorship, PresentationManager, and SundayPlus as well as ProPresenter if you use Mac.

    There are also open source options available as well: OpenSong, DreamBeam, OpenLP, and others.

    If you are in a church still using PowerPoint I would encourage you to explore some of these other options as they will give you much more flexability in your worship media. And with the open source options, cost does not need to be a factor in what you choose (although you do get what you pay for and user-friendliness is much higher in the choices like EasyWorship, MediaShout or SongShowPlus).

    February 16, 2010

    Good question Wendy. The knowledge and experience capital gets distributed primarily through our "distributed" regional leaders and teams. Considerable energy goes into sharing best practices and learnings from one location to another. Our website has suffered in part due to "benign neglect" as we await new opportunities for the "domestic" side of our engagement in Christ's mission to be present on a denominational Gobal Mission site...:-).

    posted in : How is it?
    Sheri Laninga February 16, 2010

    We have used friendship registers at church for years and find them very valuable. A couple members take turns each week with entering attendance on the spreadsheet. In addition to guest information, we track member attendance also because we are a larger church. The elders then have information if one of the members hasn't attended in the last month.

    Another church I know has a group of members come in every Monday morning and send out the guest letters after tracking attendance. Others have a team for visiting with fresh homemade cookies.

    February 15, 2010

    What helped me to understand this difficult concept was the video we watched at the Safe Church Team Chairperson's Conference. To actually see it played out; how the victim and family were able to finally verbalize how they felt about what happened was the key. As the perpetrators go through the criminal justice system they don't see how what they did affected the victim. When you see their facial responses, you can tell that this approach makes it sink in for them. They truly did damage to another person, and the family/friends of that individual.

    I would like to share this information at our classis level Safe Church Team. I am going to search the web for videos. Is there a video that you would suggest that is available online?

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