Comment Stream

Tim Postuma January 31, 2017

Have you considered a Google Spreadsheet, Jack?

You can give access only to those who are authorized to see it. Those that are authorized can enter their contact as a new row. Having it in a spreadsheet allows it to be sorted, grouped, etc. People use their Google Account to log in (note that they do NOT have to use Gmail, a Google Account is simply a login and can be created with any email address).

When the elder's term is up, you can take them off the permission list and add the new elder to the permission list.

It does mean that all elders could see all contacts. If that's not OK, you could get fancier with a separate tab for each district, and then configure permissions so that elders can only see the tab that applies to them. But to do that you'd need to dig into the Google Spreadsheets help to get it set up correctly. It's a little more complicated, but still fairly easy once you figure it out.

That's just one option that comes to mind. Hopefully others can weigh in with thoughts about this approach, and other alternatives. I'm sure other churches have faced the same question.

Brad Vos January 30, 2017

Sorry this article is 4 years old. They have changed their info since it was written. It is worth the money for us

B. Mitch Mayes January 29, 2017

You are mistaken. Nothing about it is free. We're small and looking but your advertisment was misleading

Doug Vande Griend January 29, 2017

I too like "Christian Reformed Missions."  To me, that name sounds like we are trying to be direct, descriptive, humble and simple.

Josh Leo January 27, 2017

The CRC is an opinionated denomination. We wanted to make sure we gave people an opportunity to voice those opinions at some point in the process. We are not relying on consensus to guide our process. People have strong relationships with these agencies and ministries and any change is going to be tough and full of negativity. Thank you for filling out the survey and adding your voice to the already 550+ people who are also letting us know their thoughts!

James Bosma January 27, 2017

Hi, Josh.

It wasn't clear in your ministry survey that the ministry description was intended primarily for internal use. Either way it should clearly communicate who you are, what you do, and why. It doesn't.

Like you, I'm someone who works in the area of communications, marketing, branding and graphic design. I deeply believe in the power of creative that reaches and inspires people -- to me it's a reflection of who we are as creatures made by a creative God. In my experience, the best way to do this is rarely to throw a bunch of ideas at the wall and rely on the consensus of the general population to choose a brand identity.

I have deep concerns about a 9-month process that yields the kind of results we're seeing in this survey. Either you are receiving poor consultation, or you are not allowing the branding consultant to do their job properly.

I've provided lots of feedback, both in this string and in the survey, not just for the sake of being critical, but because I care and I'm concerned that you are going down a path where people are going to be far more critical than me. In a denomination that is increasingly voicing its concerns and demanding accountability for how ministry resources are being used, I believe you are on a dangerous path.

I'll leave it at that.

I pray for wisdom and discernment and the Spirit's leading as you move forward.



Josh Leo January 27, 2017

Thanks James, 

What you described as the "ministry description" are more-or-less personality characteristics that try to describe a little bit of how we talk about our work and the agency (it is more of an internal tool than anything else). The survey of the names is about how well these names fit with those attributes. There are a wide variety of people who have already responded to the survey and their responses are quite diverse. Some feel these names are too "edgy" or "abstract" while others believe these are too traditional and common. Most are somewhere in the middle. Our months of research has led us to this point. There are so many groups and perspectives to consider when naming the agency (young and old, International partners and North American church members, staff and pastors, etc) that there is no way to make everyone happy. What we have to do is find something that is useful, communicates well, and continue with the work of proclaiming the Gospel around the globe. 


Josh Leo January 27, 2017

It does let you continue. You just have to click on them in the lowest position to have that be your selection. I would encourage you to try to complete the survey. Only a fraction of the survey is asking whether or not you like the name, the rest is about criteria, taglines, modifiers, etc.

Anthony Sytsma January 27, 2017

I started the survey but didn't finish because I didn't like any of the choices, and it wouldn't let me continue when I had kept them all on dislike.

I second James Bosma's title of Christian Reformed Missions.  Simple and clear.  Or CRCNA Missions.

James Bosma January 26, 2017

I may be alone on this, and hate to be a naysayer, but I completed the survey and I was disappointed with all of the name choices presented. I was especially disappointed with the ministry description. It lacks clarity and meaning and is full of jargon.

To me, all of the names are missing the mark. There is an art to branding and art is not best done by survey and consensus.

At the same time, I agree with Harry. Invest time and energy in revitalizing the CRCNA's brand identity and then present the agencies of the CRC as clearly named divisions of the parent organization. There are already too many sub-brands within the CRC and it's confusing to people.

Why not keep the name of this new organization practical, straightforward, and clearly associated with the denomination? LIke "CRCNA Missions"? Or "Christian Reformed MIssions"?


James Bosma January 26, 2017

Good points, Harry.

I think Faith Alive would actually be a better name for this new agency than any of the choices presented. But that would probably lead to even more confusion.

Staci Devries January 26, 2017

I am encouraged by these verses! Thanks for sharing. 

Harry Boessenkool January 25, 2017

My favorite logo used in the CRCNA was the one used by Faith Alive. Now that this agency is no longer formally in play maybe their logo should go to this new agency.

I am still confused how the Back to God Ministries fits into this Global Missions mandate that was really initiated by the two Directors of the two missions agencies that are now supposedly one.

In general the "branding" of the CRCNA is a bit of a mixed bag with still some five to six logos in use. If you are going to spend money every time an agency folds or amalgamates to "rebrand" the outfit you should really come up with a CRCNA brand. But then we should first divest Calvin College and World Renew. 


Dave Vroege January 25, 2017

Wow, this is great, Diane!  Please let us know how the course goes!!  This could be so helpful to lay worship leaders in the CRC!

Joe Kamphuis January 24, 2017

Thank you Kevin.   I really appreciate your take on this subject, and look forward to reading subsequent editions.

I am also moved by Alan Hirsch's comment, "It is not that the church has a mission, but rather that the mission of God has a church."

Darren Roorda January 23, 2017


posted in : Foolish Development
Diane Dykgraaf January 23, 2017

Sharing a meal, in our homes or churches, can be another one of those 'ordinary means of grace' that seem small but can have real meaningful effects. There's something about sitting around a table together that is nurturing not only in physical ways but spiritually as well.

Diane Ritzema January 23, 2017

I was going to recommend this workshop with Greg Scheer also. I attended it several years ago when it was offered at the Trinity College location. The book is also an excellent resource.

Kevin Soodsma January 22, 2017

I am doing the exact same thing on March 25.  Greg Scheer is leading the workshop and I'm leaving it in his hands.  But the day is shaping in this manner:

9:00 am - Opening.

"the Art of Worship"

Going through each instrument and explain the who/what/when/where/why part of their role in the group.

using occasional instrumentation (brass, woodwinds, etc)

Working with various abilities/skills (we have a wide range so explaining how to include beginners and not dumb down more experienced musicians, and also those who are self-taught and formally taught.

- Working out a lunch in there somewhere.

Also, the idea that we will be using the music from the workshop into an actual worship service is also important to me - so the repertoire we are using on Saturday will be the repertoire for the service on Sunday.

We are also extending an invitation to other worship & band leaders, musicians, etc. from other churches.

Andrea Norg January 21, 2017

I realize this question was posted quite a while ago so technology and options have come along way in 5 years.  My suggestion would be to look into LIBIB.  The people who have been using it love it.  It has a free aspect that is very large and then the paid "pro" section is very affordable and huge!

Jim Walhout January 20, 2017

Edwin Walhout passed away January 1, 2017.  He died a Christian man who truly loved the Lord more than anyone I've ever known, and he loved everyone he ever met or didn't meet, even you all on this thread. His parting words may be found at



Doug Vande Griend January 20, 2017

I couldn't agree more, and this misconstruction about what is important has also become far too much a perspective of the CRCNA at the denominational level.  

Gillian Ferwerda January 20, 2017

Thank you so much! I look forward to listening later today!

Daniel Dawson January 19, 2017

Hi Gillian,

I have three resources that I use for sermons during the week.

The first is the teaching of Alistair Begg at:

The second I try not to miss is Charles Price at;

The third is when I need a boost is Robbie Symons at:

Hope this helps and I'd be interested to know how you find any of these helpful.



Terry DeYoung January 19, 2017

Ken, while personally I have many concerns about Donald Trump as president, even supporters acknowledge that he's made lots of claims and promises that do not include specifics, or that he's changed his mind about later.

I respect Paul Ryan and, like you, believe him to be grounded in the Christian faith. I wasn't attacking Ryan as much as summarizing what I have heard him say repeatedly — promises and claims lacking specifics. Whether he's a Christian or not, it remains troubling that details of an ACA replacement have been so long in coming. Along with many others, I'm still waiting for the evidence that Trump or the Republican Congress will come up with a plan that maintains the positives of the ACA and "leaves no one behind."

Here is a post by Ed Stetzer who writes a blog for Christianity Today on some of the implications of a "repeal without a replacement" approach.

And, just yesterday I received an email from another denominational disability organization — the Anabaptist Disabilities Network — noting that one of their field associates, Rebekah Flores, will be impacted if the ACA is repealed without a comprehensive replacement plan. Rebekah wrote, “I can only afford to see my doctor and pay for my medications to treat my Multiple Sclerosis because of the Affordable Care Act.”

I don't feel it's unreasonable to ask for a replacement plan before repealing.

Sam Gutierrez January 19, 2017

Just a little correction!  Pentecost does not last 50 days... it is one day (the third great feast - along with Christmas and Easter) that kicks off the season called "Ordinary Time"  - Sam Gutierrez.   Sorry about that.  :)

Bill Vis January 19, 2017

Shawn, I may be proven wrong, but I doubt that a comprehensive database of pastors open to receiving a call will ever br available. Why? Because as soon as it becomes known in the church they are currently serving, their ability to lead effectively would largely end.

Advertise the position at The Network and in The Banner, and solicit names from the Ministerial Information Service. It's not perfect, but it can be productive.

Jonathan Assink January 19, 2017


As I said in the post, I didn't think it was necessary for me to be more vocal. Maybe that's the bubble I live in, maybe it was naivety with how the parliamentary system of our denomination works. And while there is a lot I can still do and say as a member of a CRC, I cannot, for example, be a voting member of Synod as a non-office bearer.

If you want a more specific example, my Classis sent a rather mundane overture to Synod related to the Pastoral Guidance Committee report. It was not until I arrived at Synod that I found out you cannot serve on a Synod committee if your Classis has an overture before that committee. I would have spoken much more vocally at our Classis meeting had I known this. I assumed that since the "real" debate would be at Synod, there was no point in making a fuss at the level of our Classis. At least as a delegate to Synod, I was grateful I got a chance to speak on the floor there.

Sam Gutierrez January 18, 2017

thanks for your comment.  I appreciate it.  :)

posted in : Spiritual Math
Sam Gutierrez January 18, 2017

Thank you for responding to my article and sharing some of your story.

posted in : Spiritual Math
Sam Gutierrez January 18, 2017

that's true.  Thank you!


posted in : Spiritual Math
Sam Gutierrez January 18, 2017

You're welcome Hans.  Thank you for your good words.  :)

Sam Gutierrez January 18, 2017

Thank you Staci - I was honored and blessed by your comment.  


Sam Gutierrez January 18, 2017

Thank you Neil.  :)

Sam Gutierrez January 18, 2017


thanks for the creative example!  I love it!  

Liturgical season "theme" song!  - Smart!

Ken Van Dellen January 18, 2017

My heart goes out to Mr. DeYoung. Some of those near and dear to me have disabilities so I can sympathize. Nevertheless, I would like to respectfully point out why I think this post is an excellent example of "good" and "not-good" in a church publication. It might have been useful to edit this item just a little before posting it. I think it's "good" to submit a list of features one might hope for in legislation; I think it's "not good" to attach that list to rumors, baseless accusations, and other such statements such as those in the first three paragraphs of this post, in a denominational magazine or website such as this.

This post begins with a vague "Multiple reports suggest..." and goes on to a derogatory comment about the President-elect well before the inauguration and follows that with an attack on Rep. Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House. (Ryan was depicted in political ads a few years ago pushing grandma over a cliff in her wheelchair, but some view him as one who lives his Christian beliefs, exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit.) This introduction concludes by questioning the morality of legislators in the early weeks of a new term for not providing evidence that legislation still being written will be completely satisfactory. This makes one wonder if it isn't just a tad politically oriented.

If we are going to have political statements here, perhaps we should seek some balance. Would the monitors consider a post that reported that, for the first time in history, a U.S. president spoke at the annual meeting of Planned Parenthood, leading abortion provider in the U.S. and dealer in body parts of aborted babies? This would be the same president who, as a state legislator stated that he trusted doctors performing abortions to provide necessary care for viable infants surviving abortions. These are doctors who believe a dead baby is the best solution to an unplanned pregnancy. As the adoptive father of two grown daughters, now the mothers of five terrific grandchildren, I beg to differ.

Mark Stephenson January 17, 2017

No, Michele, I don't either.

Pieter Stok January 17, 2017

Great video. There is a recent book by Tim Chester, A Meal With Jesus, in which he explores the gospel of Luke and how it reveals the importance of meals as a means for developing community. In Luke Jesus is either, going to, coming from or at a meal.

posted in : #EatTogether
Michele Gyselinck January 17, 2017

 Why do people blame that attack on Obama, even indirectly?  He has never done or said anything to encourage that kind of behavior.  Because he himself is "black"?  I don't get that sort of reasoning. 

Diane Dykgraaf January 17, 2017

Along with some of the things you've described, we also had a theme song for Advent that was sung each week during Advent in different places in the worship service. The church could choose a theme song for each season - perhaps that goes with the scripture passage that is memorized, or a theme for the season. As we participated in the season of waiting (advent), we used the refrain, "Take O Take Me As I Am" (#741 in Lift Up Your Hearts), and also did motions. The children enjoyed learning the motions with the adults in worship.  Since the church was also going through a renewal process, we also added a 2nd 'verse' and sang, "Take O take us as we are..." 

Harriette Mostert January 17, 2017

I am a sixth grade teacher and a few months ago I led my students in a poverty awareness activity that involved a form of fasting.  This is how it worked:

For one month I had my students consider giving up something they were used to in order to have a better understanding of others living in poverty.  It was up to them to decide the duration and the extent of their "fast."  Incidentally, I did not call this activity "fasting" until after the month was completed.  At that time, I showed them the connection between what they had given up and the traditional food-related fasting.

Choices of duration: one day, one week, one month

Choice of fast: 

Sleep on the floor or sleep without a pillow   [having a bed and a pillow is normal to us but not to every child in the world]

Use bar soap to wash your hair  [In North America, our soaps are specialized, but in areas of poverty, bar soap becomes versatile]

Watch no television or use no device  [Electricity and ready entertainment are not available 24/7 around the world]

Drink only water (not juice, milk, pop)   [Imagine if you had to boil that water first...]

Eat no dessert or snacks after supper  [Three meals a day plus grazing on snacks is not typical around the world]

Wear a shirt that is too small or too big for you  [When you're poor you wear hand-me-downs until you can afford something better]

Wear the same outfit (you are allowed to wash it in between)   [Wearing the same thing every day will help you appreciate your closet full of clothes]

Every student chose to participate.  As a teacher I modeled wearing the same outfit for the month.  Maybe some of these ideas can be useful to others.

Harriette Mostert January 17, 2017

If I'm correct in assuming that these exchange students have a first language other than English, I wonder if the Manga Messiah version of Jesus' life would be appropriate.  The reading level is much easier than traditional versions of the biblical story, and the accompanying pictures can fill in any gaps left by not understanding individual words.  I hope this might help.

Karen DeBoer January 17, 2017

This is such a wonderful idea, Staci. Thanks for sharing it!

Bonnie Nicholas January 17, 2017

So glad to see safe church ministry in BC hosting this event. Hopefully, it will lead to much fruitful discussion. No problem goes away when we hide it or ignore it - bringing it out into the open is the first step toward change and toward healing. Safe Church Ministry offers many resources about internet pornography, and how the church can play a role in fighting this problem that causes so much destruction in our communities, and our congregations.

Victoria S January 16, 2017

Thank-you Terry!  My board was wondering if we could sign up for CCCC via the denomination but I suspected we would need to get our own registration.    I have found them essential when I was working in small grass route charities but the board is not as familiar with them.  I had forgotten about and will add them to my resources.

I'm so thankful to have a place to ask questions like these!


Victoria S January 16, 2017

Thanks so much Dick.  Hamilton Classis has a lot of information that will help me.

I have to remember how far reaching the Network is for future questions! 


Terry Veldboom January 16, 2017

I very much recommend becoming a member of the CCCC's, subscribing to their charity newsletters and accessing their Charities Handbook and other helpful resources.  The denomination, CRCNA, is a CCCC member and has benefited greatly as a result.  My local congregation is also a member.

Another invaluable information resource in the areas you have listed is

Terry V 

Doug Vande Griend January 16, 2017

Jonathan:  I have to ask, and intend these questions respectfully:  So why didn't you?  And a second question: Why can't you now, even if not an elder?   And finally, What specifically do you believe you so failed to do?

Justin Postuma January 16, 2017

oops, meant to reply but added a new post. reply below.