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These models and word pictures have been proposed as ideas as how to strike a healthy balance in the church of being welcoming, being discerning, being a place of embracing brokenness and being a place of deep transformation both individually and corporately.

January 27, 2016 1 0 comments
Resource, Article

Sometimes small congregations assume that any significant community ministry effort is beyond their reach. Read how a smaller church can make a big impact in their community.

December 7, 2015 0 0 comments
Resource, Conference or Event

In this free webinar, Barbara Hampton will share skills, methods, and best practices for leading ESL Bible Study groups.

November 10, 2015 0 0 comments
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Each Halloween, Christians have a great opportunity to meet their neighbors and to let their lights shine (Matthew 5:16). Find 8 ways in which you can seek to redeem Halloween in your community!  

October 27, 2015 6 1 comments
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Just how much should we engage with culture? For many in the class who come from a holiness tradition that keeps church and world quite separate, the question of lines is a very important one.

October 15, 2015 0 2 comments
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The ‘good ole days’ may tell the story of how front porches were the norm. That is a far cry from the backyard concept where neighbours find their privacy.

July 22, 2015 1 0 comments
Q&A

I'd LOVE to know: how many Christian Reformed congregations will be running community gardens this summer, either on church property or nearby? 

June 16, 2015 0 6 comments
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We all have been shown great mercy in our lives. When we therefore show no mercy to others, especially believers, we sin greatly.

June 15, 2015 0 0 comments
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Work of the devil? Work of the Triune God? Work of angels? Work of humans? Touchable? Untouchable? Genius in its composition? A disordered work of fiction? These are no new questions for the Christian who would approach the sacred text which Muslims describe as "noble" "unchanged" "final" and "...

May 24, 2015 0 0 comments
Resource, Webinar Recording

With Scripture, stories and practical examples, this webinar explores how every Christian/follower of Jesus can be on God’s mission right where they live.

April 1, 2015 0 0 comments
Blog

Accad says: "....Your view of Islam will affect your attitude to Muslims. Your attitude will, in turn influence your approach to Christian-Muslim interaction, and that approach will affect the ultimate outcome of your presence as a witness among Muslims."

            The Lebanese scholar...

March 11, 2015 0 3 comments
Discussion Topic

It seems to me that the CRCNA through World Renew needs to become engaged in community development in North America. What do you think?

February 20, 2015 1 6 comments
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My eyes have always been drawn to the seemingly insignificant details of life. Detail such as the elderly lady — a patient at the hospital where we were singing on Christmas Day — who was ‘parked’ in the hallway. To me, she was why Jesus came to the earth.

December 30, 2014 1 0 comments
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"Do not be conformed to this world..." Romans 12:2. One searching believer's thoughts on the connection between being 'in the world and not of it' and the gospel message of belonging.

October 28, 2014 0 1 comments
Resource, Webinar Recording

This recorded webinar explores how and why living in, with and among your neighbours is so important.

September 18, 2014 0 0 comments
Blog

When I talk to Lori, I sense some faith. She’s a spiritual person. However, she doesn’t belong to a local church. We all know such people. And as far as we know, they’ve not received the gospel. So, how are we supposed to reach them?

June 20, 2014 1 1 comments
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Approximately three percent of the earth’s population is living in a country or setting that is different from the one in which they were born. Many of these people have never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

June 19, 2014 0 0 comments
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Keith Doornbos shares good news from recent Reveal research for introverted churches and information about an upcoming opportunity.

May 26, 2014 0 0 comments
Blog

Small Groups carry a lot of weight in churches. We expect that if people participate in groups they will grow and change. What change are we working toward and how do we know if it happened?

May 13, 2014 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

Just meeting for the first time this evening to begin planning for a local Christian Golf Ministry.  There are several such ministries around the country but none here in Colorado so far as I can tell.  Our community is blessed with really great weather nearly all year long and since my wife and...

November 20, 2012 0 0 comments
Q&A

Wondering what church do for first time guests to make them feel appreciated?  Do you give them gifts? Send them thank you cards for attending?

August 9, 2012 0 11 comments
Q&A

I recently discovered that the local Rotary Club in extremely influential in my community for networking and developing support for ministry and local projects.  I've also been encountered with the possibility of being welcomed in as a member since in many ways I'm the "CEO" type figure of a...

February 17, 2012 0 1 comments
Discussion Topic

I was surfing the web earlier today, looking at the state of church websites. I came across Woodside Bible Chapel which contained a rather unique video to promote their church's ministries. You can check it out by going to www.woodsidechurch.ca, go to Our Ministries and watch the video. It is...

November 8, 2011 0 1 comments
Q&A

What evangelism training tools do you use to equip your CRC church to go out and share the gospel? I have been using the One Verse Evangelism and the Bridge Illustration from the Navigators (http://www.navigators.org/us/  ) and the tools/tracts from the Way of the Master (http://wayofthemaster....

November 13, 2010 0 5 comments
Discussion Topic

The house next door to our church went into foreclosure and we bought it from the bank (for $14,000). Over the last few years, several ideas have come up that would have involved securing an adjacent or nearby property. So, when the opportunity arose, we put in an offer.

It's a bittersweet...

October 18, 2010 0 3 comments

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My church they give out seed packets. Very inexpensive but useful and not without meaning. They get them printed with their own design. I appreciate it because it's nice to receive a gift but this is not wasteful.

We have also posted this question on the CRCNA Facebook page.  Check it out to see what a few people have said what their church offers .

My home church use to have a guest book we passed, and people would put in contact info, and now we have a guest book when you come in but last I knew nothing gets done with that info..

That being said I would likd to say I went to a friends church (not CRC) to watch him in a Christmas program, and go there once a month to get to hang out with him at his church.   I took my brother back with me to introduce him to that church, because it's a newer congrigation (Meets in a school), and he's been a hit and miss at my church.  I took him there because of how from the minute you get in the door every one wants to meet you, and introduces there selves to you, and welcomes you.  Well this particular Sunday, an older gentleman came over and said to my brother, "Are you a new visitor?"   He makes "Welcome Bags"  It includes the following:  A devotional book, an ink pen with the church contact info on it, a mini folder with a brochere to summerize  each of the differnt ministry oppertunities, and a church over view CD in the other.  In addition to that there was also a stainless steal mug with the church name and info on, as well as a baggie with tea, hot coco, and mints in it.

I thought it was a unique idea to welcome a new visitor, who might have not been to a church.  I read through it, and I would say it was a summery of that church in the bag.  It was cool to see a small like maybe 50- 80 people congergation have that as a thing they do.

Would be happy to send you a pdf of what we actually use rather than the generic template that i posted on the blog if that would help.

We mail a note to thank visitors for worshipping with us. Our Communication Card also offers people the chance to request more information, so we send information about ministries, Life Groups (our small groups), serving, children's ministries, etc. as requested. I've thought about the gift idea, but haven't ever implemented anything, although now thanks to Brad's suggestion, that might change. I like that it's low-cost, yet can be personalized to our church, and has intrinsic value for both Christians and/or seekers.

I LOVE this idea. Great suggestion and thanks so much for sharing!

Wendy: I appreciate the feedback.  

Right now, we offer a CD that introduces you to the worship music we sing.  It has some of our favorite songs and some that might be unfamiliar to them.  We make it ourselves from 11 x 17 Card stock.  The jacket is also informative and introduces them to how (normal order of worship, artists, band make up) and why we worship (why we chose the songs we do, etc).  You can see it at http://www.churchwebtoolkit.com/?p=161

The only other gift we have handed out in the past was a small book on Heaven when we did a series on that.  The book has been tied to a small group, so we hoped that it would encourage them to join it.

Would something like this make more sense?  It is something we are wrestling with.  We don't want to be gimmicky.

Thinking back to when I was looking for a church, I did appreciate a card sent to me (or email nowadays I guess). I'm not big on gifts - maybe I'm too cheap but I would wonder why they are spending their money on chachkes.

Wow teddy bearrs?  I have never heard of that one.  I was wondering if anyone does things more subtly than that.  Do you have a welcome table that they can stop by at and give a packet of information?  Do you give any other gift?  A book, a CD, etc.  I know of a couple of churches that used to give out coffee mugs.

I have a story about this. My husband and I travel to see his family and often stop at a church to worship if we're traveling on Sunday. About two years ago, before we had kids, we attended a little church that acknowledged us as visitors during the service and presented us with two little teddy bears. Mine was bright pink and his was brown. They welcomed us warmly and mentioned that the bears had been with them in worship and had been prayed over. The result was that we were clear targets for friendly "hellos" after the service. We were two grown adults walking around carrying teddy bears!! It was very well intended and sweet, but a little over the top! My husband, especially, felt like everyone in the church was on a mission to greet him and learn his name. We felt a little guilty because we were just passing through that town, with no real potential of attending again or joining the church!!    

Reg - tomorrow our church is hosting a bicycle rodeo for the neighbourhood children. The children are looking forward to this each year and the parents appreciate it as the training in bike safety is important and bicycle repairs are costly. We offer all this free of charge along with a bbq, facepainting and balloons. Just a little way to say that their neighbourhood church cares for them. (and they do notice)!

St. Francis said, "

“Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”

I believe that he was implying that we should show people first who Jesus is and then tell them who He is.To do this we need to establsih reciiprocal friendships with people in the community around the church as well as the niehbours where we live. Is anyone doing anything that is impacting their community?

I have some colleagues who are active Rotary members. I called your post to their attention, and I expect that they will respond to you at some point.

I don't get the sense, however, that there is any "lodge" aspect to this organization in terms of swearing allegiance to the organization, or "secret" membership requirements, which, as I understand it, is what the concern about lodge membership stems from. 

Then there's this: (look at the last Q&A) http://www.thebanner.org/departments/article/?id=209

Again, I don't think that the Rotary Club has any vows or beliefs that would be applicable to the spirit of the CRC's position...but again, I am neither a Rotarian nor a theologian, so hopefully someone who is one or both can enlighten us further...

 

That's very cool!  Tim.  thanks for sharing, keep us posted.  Love the Is. 58 theme!   One ministry (non-denominational) I'm involved with is renting the parsonage of a crc church, and using it somewhat as a communal living home, but also to host people from around the world as they come to visit people connected with the prayer ministry, or to participate in or "observe" our prayer ministry as it's unique in some ways.  We call the house the "Gatekeeper House" after the gatekeepers King David financed for the temple (I Chron. 26) One amazing couple has been led to live there and oversee all the comings and goings, and it is amazing the richness of diversity we have seen in people flowing through.  They got some of their "training" at the Jesus Haus in Hernnhut, Germany, home of the Moravians.   http://www.czherrnhut.de/jesus-haus/en/ 

there is so much potential... 

hope to listen to the sermon soon =)

An update...in case this helps other churches...

Over the summer and fall, our church gutted and completely renovated the house (with some expert advice from a local housing ministry and some generous donations from local tradespersons). A couple of weeks ago, we had a beautiful service where the house was dedicated. We invited our long-time neighbor's children (now adults) and other family members to the service. It was touching as we witnessed something good come from something so sad.

Our pastor David Kromminga wonderfully tied it all together, preaching on being "restorer of streets with dwellings" (really worth listening to....look for the sermon here dated Nov. 13, 2011). At the end of the service the entire congregation left the building, walked over to the house, surrounded it hand-in-hand, and dedicated the house with prayer, oil, words, and songs. Beautiful.

So what are we doing with it? We're being neighbors.

It will remain a house where people live. In this case, people who feel a special calling to live in intentional community together, be an active part of our neighborhood, and work alongside all of us in doing God's work through the ministries of our church. We commissioned them at the same worship service.

We're calling it the "House of Servants" and it's modelled in part by what Grace CRC has done as well as other churches and initiatives like Project Neighborhood (see Karl's notes above).

It's still very new, but we're excited. Hopefully this update helps other churches who might feel called to this type of ministry and presence.

P.S. Since then, we've come across another initiative from several neighborhood churches and community/housing organizations that want to partner together to turn abandoned properties into homes. We checked on 3 boarded-up houses on our street and, as it turns out, they're all owned by out-of-state investors/speculators (one purchased for literally $10!). Our church isn't being asked to make any financial commitment - just to help with open houses, welcome baskets, and getting the word out that the properties are available (most don't have for-sale signs). We're going to hear more about it at our council meeting tomorrow night, but we're hoping it's another way our church can be a God-honoring presence in our neighborhood and continue to be 'restorers of streets with dwellings'.

That's a fun video. I wish I could make something like that ...without it coming off as hokey and/or tacky. =) I'm sure there are people throughout the denomination who are up for such a task, and I'd love to see they come up with! ~Stan

I don't know about software/tutorials but I did learn about some free training that is available on-line from www.siouxhudsonliteracy.com (Sioux Hudson Literacy Council) 1-866-550-0697  I learned this from the Employment Resource Centre at the Community Support Centre of Haldimand-Norfolk (Ontario).  Courses are offered re email, facebook, blogging, Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and several Self Management/Self Directioons courses such as:  Self Confidence & Self Esteem, Self Defeating Behaviours, Communications, Time Management...etc.  You do have to register ahead for certain time slots (which are limited) but it is free.

St. Leonard's Community Services - will help with computer skills by appointment - and they might have advise about how to offer your own program.  Their Caledonia # (905) 765-6745, Hagersville 905 768-0111

Grace CRC in GR, MI has a house next door to the church.  We use it for a residence for people who are committed to living in community in an urban place, and who want to help Grace be a neighborhood church.  We're in our second year, with about five people in residence most of the time.  Most are students part or full time.  

We would LOVE to talk with others interested in learning about this venture.   We've learned a lot, and we still have a LOT of learning to do!  I assume you are familiar with Calvin College's Project Neighborhood.  Be sure to check them out.   And give me  a call!  We'd be glad  to help any way we can.

Hi Jim,  Maybe It's my problem, but I think the gospel can be spread without all the commercialization i.e. when the church florishes under persucution. I just see so many issue's with motivation and money affecting how the gospel is spread. I guess the former note was to aggesive and I appologize for the harshness. But I still feel something is not correct about commercialized  christianity.

 I don't understand what you mean by "it appears that you endorse the christian industry as every thing has a price...How due you reconcile the difference in motivation to further God's kingdom between the two?." My question was how do you equip your church to share the gospel of Christ with others? We are involved with a Celebrate Recovery ministry with early release prisoners in our county. We have seen several people make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ through this ministry. I am also seeking to inspire and equip my church to share the gospel of Christ with their extended family, neighbors, co-workers and those outside the Body of Christ. I am new to the CRC and not familiar with how other churches equip their church to share the gospel with others. What are you doing in this area? Please check my web page on this ministry at www.delightingod.com

From the materials you provided, it appears that you endorse the christian industry as every thing has a price. I have difficulty with some aspects of this industry. You also appear to be a crc pastor. How due you reconcile the difference in motivation to further God's kingdom between the two?

 The Communities First Association consultants take an ABCD approach, which involves churches seeing what is already going on in their community, and what organizations are already working there, and networking together. Asset mapping is an important first step.

I am torn about this. I live in Grand Rapids, MI, where the CRC does NOT have the best reputation. When I moved here to attend Calvin College, I quickly learned that the sweet little old lady at Russ' could say, "Oh, you go to Calvin?" in a completely different tone than some of my co-workers would use in asking the same question.

With that said, I attend a church that has chosen to remove the "CRC" from its name, with the stated purpose of being more welcoming to those for whom "CRC" is a dirty word. Because I now work for the denomination (although the opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent my agency or the CRCNA as a whole!), I am more bothered by this than I might have been before I was employed by the denomination.

Maybe a better question would be, "How did we get to this place? Why do we have a PR problem? And is there anything we can do to change people's perceptions of what 'CRC' is about?"

I am very passionate about linking the work of the church with the work of the community. I recently spent a few years trying to form a network of local churches to join in with other initiatives in the community. The local city councilor was very supportive and actually hosted a meeting for the churches. the Board of Ed already had started to create a local network where we were invited to join along with social work, employment initiatives, the Jewish community, police and others.

I could not get this off the ground. I found it very hard to get churches to send a rep to meetings or to even find what our common vision was - the belief was we had to "do something" but beyond that it was tough.

I am now in another church for an internship anxious to involve ourselves with the local neighbourhood association. It was my intent to start out small and join in the neighbourhood clean up event. This has been met with "don't spend your time on this".

This is my reality in urban Canada. I'm hoping that I will learn some approaches from others!

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