I was deeply challenged by the book Waking Up White. There are so many things you don't know that you don't know. I appreciate the spirit of vulnerability that it took to share this post and I hope to follow in your lead. Thank you for sharing the specific practice ideas!
I think the listening piece is key. Thank you so much for sharing this.
Wow great work Trinity. Thank you for being such an inspirational example of what local creation care means. I hope your work has ripple effects in the hearts of all those who are involved and learn about this project.
Thanks for putting your love for God and your "neighbors" into action, and then sharing that with us. As an upstream neighbor of this church, it is inspiring to me to know that there are others who put their faith in action by showing up and counting macros! I've seen kids suddenly come to life when they realize that things live in the creek. These little insects have a lot to say if anyone is willing to slow down and listen. The type and quantities of insects reflect the health of the stream environment, and that alone is a life lesson worth experiencing. Slow down, show up, take notice, and take action. Keep up the great work, Trinity CRC!
Thanks for your question. The Financial Shalom Project seeks to holistically respond to the financial challenges facing our pastoral leaders. A significant portion of the project is devoted to support our pastors by providing grants for a variety of financial needs. Additionally, when we surveyed our CRC pastors last year, we found that many of them desired further training and resources for personal and church financial management. We are responding to that expressed need by offering personal financial management training, online resources, consultation with financial professionals, and church stewardship training.
We hope that by having a multi-faceted approach--where immediate financial relief is paired with ongoing financial skills--pastors will experience a renewed sense of financial shalom.
Love this! It's great to hear about Trinity's passion for creation care. Please keep us updated on this project and other future creation care projects you may take on. Keep up the good work!
Kris, this is spot on. The six points you listed are key for sure. Why we think de-churched or people far from God should act like Christians when they come to church is beyond me. It makes no sense. Thanks again for posting.
Thanks for posting, Gerry, and even more, thanks for taking on this project. I have done some stream invertebrate study myself, and found it fascinating and eye-opening, a window into the wonder of creation that is right in front of us, but usually goes unnoticed. I completely agree with you that we have a "we have a strong calling to care for God’s creation". I am so grateful that CRC congregations across North America are taking this responsibility seriously. Thanks, Trinity, for taking a leadership role in our denomination! And good luck with securing your 2-year grant.
This is a great resource - a couple bugs, but overall - thanks to everyone that is working on this. I look forward to using it.
I am wondering about this million dollar grant. Is it assumed pastors need more resources or training to handle their own unique financial challenges? What a lot of money to devote to this when there are a lot of people struggling to be able to afford the whole seminary experience (like my son, for one).
Thanks for sharing Kevin. This sounds like a cool idea. I'm wondering how this would look like in a youth ministry that has more students than leaders... ?
Oh man, if I ever get to meet those leaders that switched to this programming I need to give them the coveted youth pastor awkward side hug, because they rock. Thanks for sharing Kevin!!!
Thanks for sharing this opening, Daniel!
If this persuades congress to enact more stringent clean energy standards it would also mean higher energy costs. from a social justice perspective wouldn't this be a hardship and added burden to the working poor and those on fixed incomes? I think we should encourage stewardship of Gods creation but not mandate it through the government, as with all the commands in the Bible it should come from the heart not a law.
I believe we are all set.
Laura, I appreciate your words and wisdom because I know you're tried and tested! I'm late responding but now is as good as ever. You mentioned "legacy and tradition." I'm looking forward to our Black brothers and sisters to provide leadership in preserving and celebrating our legacy and tradition in informal and formal ways, along with others. May God's vision for all peoples be our vision! The best is yet to come! Thank you again for sharing!
Thanks Monica! Look forward to seeing you around. :)
Yes, blaming the victim is all too often the attitude adopted by many people. And I was VERY disappointed with King David that he did nothing in response to this rape. It was Absalom who did something, and he had his brother murdered, but what good did that do to his sister? I remember reading that she remained a desolate woman for the rest of her life. Imagine the sense of betrayal she must have experienced, not only of having been raped by a sibling but that her own father did nothing. Tragic.
I am curious how this works itself out in the sacraments and especially regarding children? Are children baptized as infants? What about those who have different beliefs in adult baptism? And are children allowed to take communion? Do they need to be baptized? etc. Thanks!
Thank you, Sheila!--in so many ways. So happy to see Pastor Stan's name in your honor roll. What a saint! Blessings!! jcs
Love this, Sheila! Especially this..."If only people would understand that God is in control—we all have to learn to daily submit everything we are to Him."
And therein we have the crux of the problem... is it the preacher or the sermon that receives the critique? What about the poor preacher who delivers a good sermon? The unbelieving preacher who is still true to the text? The drunkard who preaches true? Or, the loving pastor who can barely put two words together coherently? The juxtapositions and contradictions of life. "He who is not against us is for us." To give God the glory, rather than the preacher.....
This is an old post i can see. But i am doing my own looking into 'sonship' for my own reasons. I am glad i am still able to access this information on the internet and that a select group hasnt spoilt that for me. Persoanlly people have to prove their information to master the concept of christian thinking. I prefer to grow off the spiritual advice of those whom can balance the ability to seek not just mastering concepts but be sensitive to enjoy the mystery and revelations of the holy spirit. I think that is the main problem that is so called disenfranchising...to me that would be a poor use of words.
Unless you see the real statements of the Defined Contribution plan you can never know if its better than what you have in teh CRCNA plan. The variations in a DC plan are enormous and folks can contribute more or less tha what the CRCNA put into your DB plan. It is almost impossible to compare. DBs are based on the assumption that the employer will always pay the "Defined Benefit". As you know from the city of Detroit and some other places this is not always the case.
The question I had is the salary that this DB plan is based on. In Canada they subtract the housing allowance which can be up to 1/3 of a Pastor's income. To not include that allowance in the salary calculation will greatly reduce the pension. ON the other side it would greatly increase the cost of the DB plan.
In the US, DB plans in Detroit and in some places in California have had to severely reduce benefits. This risk in DB plan is not always properly understood.
I heard a piece on the radio recently that members of Defined Benefit plans should consider options of opting out of these plans. I wonder if Pastors in our churches could do that and the church would stop paying the ministry shares for that Pastor. Those funds would then be provided to the Pastor to create his own plan. The church could even double that. That process would lead to elimination of the DB plan in the CRC and weaken it significantly. Jerry Hoytema's comment should be a warning sign that our Minister's Pension Plan needs a serious review.
I have mixed feelings about having the CRC associated with a woman who didn't do her homework prior to her being interviewed by the Senate for her qualifications as Secretary of Education. I can admit she would have preferences, but that does NOT excuse her ignorance of rhe public school system in her own country and its strengths and weaknesses.
Wonderful! Welcome, Eric!
So glad you're working with Safe Church, Eric! And this: "I believe God is continuing to raise up leaders in the church to be shepherds — specifically to protect the flock" -- absolutely love this.
Here's the Worship Team mandate from Trinity CRC in Rock Valley IA.
To achieve the stated purpose, the following objectives have been adopted:
- The Team will administer the worship at Trinity.
- The Team will promote the use of relevant worship at Trinity.
- The Team will provide opportunities for members of Trinity to learn more about worship.
The membership of the Team will consist of seven (7) members of Trinity. A Church Council member will also be appointed to serve as a member of the team and as a liaison with the Council. The Pastor(s) will serve in an advisory role on the Team.
Gifts that will be valuable for this team are creative communication, administration, leadership, helps, and discernment.
Terms of Service
The terms of service will initially be for three (3) years and will be staggered. The Council may ask a team member to serve for more than one (1) term.
Areas of Responsibility
The areas of responsibility include:
- Maximizing meaningful participation and use of member’s gifts in worship.
- Develop leadership in worship.
- Supervise and coordinate the worship planning team.
- Receive yearly report from a Children in Worship representative which includes a synopsis of the past year, positive, negatives and requests for assistance.
This service gives you the ability to practice the song with your instrument either higher or lower in the mix. Doesn't give instruction as to how to actually play the song. So more effective from a rehearsal perspective, not as much from a learning perspective. Definitely has a place though.
I just had our worship coordinator point us in the direction of this service instead http://www.multitracks.com/products/rehearsalmix/.
I think it's a bit more mature - has the ability to practice in multiple keys, links with PCO, etc.
We'd love to hear what you think - pros and cons.
This is an interesting website! Have not used online training before as I always go with the play by ear option, but I think I will have to give their free account a try to see what they have to offer.
Paul sees things differently. "I urge, then first of all , that requests, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone - for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. (Tim 2:1-2).
I'm so excited to see how God will continue to use both of these ministries for His Kingdom. My prayers are with you, Reggie, as you take on this new role. I pray that God will give you wisdom and discernment as you juggle the mandates of both offices and as you work to integrate them when appropriate. My prayers are also with all of your staff. Change - even good change - is always tricky during the time of transition.
I LOVE this idea, Felix. How cool to have a prayer of blessing from your church family as you enter a new year.
We keep it simple in Miami. We have a birthday cake available in our fellowship hall on the first Sunday of the month. We invite those who have a birthday in that particular month to gather around the birthday cake for a special prayer of blessing for the new year by a Council member and then they get first dibs on a slice of cake. If we missed anyone's birthday from our printed list, that's the time for us to update our directory. Works like a charm and it incorporates anyone who wants to be recongized regardless of age.
Thanks, Bernadette. Great post! I expect that there are as many stories to Canada's history -- many of them painful -- as there are different people groups and cultures. I'm reminded of John's beautiful vision in Revelation 21-22 of the new creation, where all the nations are drawn to the light of God's glory and bring their own splendor to worship the King of kings, and where the leaves of the tree of life bring healing to the nations. Making Canada's "mosaic" more like this rich and healing tapestry would be a beautiful way celebrate Canada's 150th and transform its future.
What I hope, and pray, is that under new leadership, political lobbying and other political spoutings off about what government is doing, as opposed to what we are doing, becomes a much, much lower priority for OSJ. After all, it is not the case that CRC members are in lockstep as to their theories of the role of government, economics and international relationships, and it is the case that the CRC has Article 28 in its Church Order.
How this institutional church (CRC) and its members might respond to those suffering from injustice, hungry, and in need of mercy is beyond a big enough task for us to take on. We don't need to also take on political lobbying, as if there is nothing else that we can uniquely do (because there is lots of that) or as if we haven't covenanted together to be an ecclesiastical, and not a political, institution (because we have, see CO Art. 28).
Edwin Walhout's ideas are not new, not in line with CRC teaching, and not particularly interesting or robust.
Obviously, the worst example is his support for the idea that Jesus Christ is not divine. How can someone abandon this bedrock Truth of Christianity and still claim orthodoxy?
Walhout's over-reliance on modern "science" also leads him to faulty theology. In fact, some of the scientific theories he elevates above Scripture have already been abandoned and/or modified by secular scientists, demonstrating why the Church should never alter its teachings to fit the fickle scientific theories of the day.
Read his writings to gain an understanding of poor theology; read Scripture for Truth.
I've benefited from what Gordon-Conwell has offered--they have several programs, and it looks like it would not be too far from where you serve.
I just happened to stumble on this post today, and wanted to say thank you, David/Gary. As a mother who unexpectedly lost her 4-week-old daughter 5 months ago, I found the points in this post to be so accurate.
I especially liked your point: "Bereaved parents can be parents who have lost children in utero, at birth, while an infant, while a youth, or even as an adult. The age doesn’t change things—children will always be sons and daughters of parents."
While I know that everyone means well when trying to offer words of comfort, the words often have the opposite effect. As you pointed out, grief is a journey, and others' attempts to help us "move on" or somehow lessen the significance of her death are not at all what bereaved parents need. We will always grieve the loss of our daughter, and until we're reunited with her in heaven, there will always be a big part of us that's still actively hurting. I think these suggestions, though, are really helpful for friends and family looking to show compassion and care to bereaved parents.
Love this idea! It's a tangible and helpful way to stick with a Lent plan.
Did you want to add more in the comments? Let me know if I can help.
Thanks Elaine and Herb for your helpful responses. As I said, I've seen a lot of CRC churches go the same route. Some have gotten rid of their "Christian Reformed" middle name altogether (many replacing it with a new middle name of "community"). Some have decreased the size and prominence of "Christian Reformed" but continue to add it as a tagline ("a Christian Reformed ministry"). Others exclude it from the name and signage but do nod to their CRC heritage in the "about us" or "what we believe" sections of their website.
Your explanations about the reasons behind this make a lot of sense. Churches should want to be more inclusive and accessible. If our names are a hurdle that block people from walking through our doors, then we should humble ourselves and change them.
The flip side, however, is that when more and more churches remove their denominational name, it becomes harder and harder for people to understand what we're all about. Herb mentioned that people don't understand the term "Christian Reformed" and think that it might be related to prison ministry. How can we help the term have meaning when we use it less and less?
I'd love for the term "Christian Reformed" to become synonymous in our broad culture with a people called by God to live a life dedicated to faith formation, servant leadership, gospel proclamation, worship, mercy, justice and mission. I wonder how we can better build up that understanding when we downplay the words.
Then again, maybe we need to humble ourselves and not worry about how well our denominational name is known or understood, but just focus on how well Christ is known and understood.
This is a great resource! I'm sharing in a Facebook group our ministry launched for mental health ministry leaders.