Fall is a key time for mission emphasis events in many churches.  As you prepare for special worship services, mission-themed dinners and the like, you may find these resources to be valuable.  Most of them were sent to churches in mid-August in hard copy.  If you misplaced them

September 7, 2012 0 1 comments

Hi all! Konnichiwa! It's a breezy Thursday here in Yamamoto-cho as I (Rebecca) write this blog. It's a bit late, but here's an update on the last few days.On Sunday night, we regrouped with the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) team. Monday was a day off so we had plans for a bit of touring. Cal and Edie Cummings, the two OPC missionaries, picked us up Monday morning, as Morris and Yui were still on holiday, and took us on a tour of the country side.

September 3, 2012 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

I feel like this topic has been pretty well covered in denominational communications, but here is the official announcement:

As of September 1, we are announcing the official change of our name from the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC) to World Renew.

For 50 years,...

August 27, 2012 0 0 comments

Once a month I attend a prayer meeting to pray for Muslims in my city of Hamilton, Ontario. There are about 30,000 Muslims in my city. Close to me, in Toronto and Dearborn, Michigan are many more Muslims. As we pray I am struck by the faithfulness of one woman who hosts our meeting. She is a committed prayer woman. Not only does she host this prayer meeting, but once a month she also drives around the city praying for different districts and neighborhoods.

August 27, 2012 0 0 comments

I live in the country with the highest murder rate in the world.“Where’s that?” you ask. “Iraq? Afghanistan? Mexico?”

August 20, 2012 0 2 comments

We typically think of short term missions as something that happens when people from North America cross cultures by traveling to an unfamiliar setting here or abroad.  Recently, missionaries Mike and Megan Ribbens, who normally live in Abuja, Nigeria, crossed cultures by visiting their partner churches

August 13, 2012 0 1 comments
Resource, Article

Debriefing a mission trip is just as important (if not more so) than orientation. Here is a recent Banner article that suggests 10 questions.

August 9, 2012 0 0 comments
Resource, Webinar Recording

This webinar was recorded on: Wed, 08/08/2012 This webinar will briefly review the concepts from When Helping Hurts and dive right in to the 5 principles for helping without hurting, which are included in the new edition of the book.

August 8, 2012 0 0 comments

Honduras gets a LOT of short term missions (STM) teams, as the planes full of gringos wearing matching t shirts attests. It’s also the home of Kurt Ver Beek, Director of Calvin’s Honduras Program and well-known researcher of the effectiveness of STMs. I’ve read most of the literature; now, I had the opportunity to hear from the community itself how they felt about the North Americans coming to serve them.

August 6, 2012 0 8 comments

It’s easy to listen to world news and hear all about crisis situations: Churches are bombed, governments are overthrown, terrorism rises, murders and kidnappings increase. Sometimes you get an urgent prayer request from your missionary. Other times you read about political unrest in a country where your youth group will be volunteering. Did you know that CRCNA has a crisis management team that monitors and evaluates these sorts of situations to help keep missionaries and volunteers safe?

July 30, 2012 0 2 comments
Discussion Topic



This letter comes from the Bible Society of Egypt. Hopefully you will find it helpful in understanding the increasingly complicated situation in Egypt and in knowing what to pray for all Egyptians.


"Dear friends,

The very fact that until the...

July 26, 2012 0 1 comments

When I first chose to go on a January class term to Uganda, I was a bit apprehensive. Not because I was nervous to fly across the ocean, face the mosquitoes, or ride down the (sometimes very) rough roads, but because I had no idea what to expect. I had taken enough development classes to know the disaster stories...

July 23, 2012 0 4 comments

This past week a neighborhood teenager put a message on Twitter that said, “You know you’re living in a ghetto when the church vans come in for spring break.”

July 16, 2012 0 0 comments

Is short term missions (STM) a great means of discipleship or a huge distraction from the actual work of missions?  One thing is sure: STM has become a huge phenomenon.  One analyst counted about 500 short term missionaries in 1965 compared to 1,500,000

July 9, 2012 0 1 comments
Discussion Topic

I've always been a reader and would love to hear what you've read lately on the topic of global missions.

I'm reading Toxic Charity right now - good stuff.

Then there are the old standbys:

When Helping Hurts

Serving with Eyes Wide Open

The Hole in our Gospel


July 5, 2012 0 2 comments

How do improved seeds, funding from the Manitoba Council for International Cooperation, and work from a World Renew staff member help a local church to grow?

June 29, 2012 0 1 comments

Back in November of 2010, this blog appeared in slightly different format.  It must have touched a nerve because it was followed by 50 comments, one of the largest numbers of comments ever on the Network.  I'm repeating it now because we are looking at creating a webinar on this theme.  

June 25, 2012 0 1 comments

In 1998, newly married, my wife, Nelly, and I attended a small French- speaking church, Eglise St. Marc, and became friends with the many missionaries studying French to minister in French- speaking West Africa. Although we had no intentions of becoming cross-cultural missionaries, we were young, idealistic and ...

June 18, 2012 0 6 comments

From June 7-9, young adults from across North America gathered to worship God and learn from one another on how to engage 18-30 year olds in the Christian Reformed Church. These young adults, leaders within their congregations, are passionate about their faith and concerned about declining membership...

June 11, 2012 0 0 comments

It is often said that CRWM is the “word” ministry of the Christian Reformed Church and that World Renew is the “deed” ministry. However, anyone in ministry knows that you cannot have one without the other. Any word ministry must also have action; and deed ministry must be accompanied by word. . .

June 5, 2012 0 1 comments

When Helping Hurts has become a classic book for those who work with the poor or in missions. It's been the subject of a blog post and a webinar here on the Network. The one question that keeps coming up, both at the conferences and when I talk with those who have read the book, is "What do we do now?"

May 29, 2012 0 3 comments

I long for the day when our synodical agenda includes a discussion on how we can help our churches engage in effective ministry. The church relations staff of Back To God Ministries International, CRWM, Partners worldwide, and World Renew recommend a helpful set of principles, yet many churches are not aware of them. Synod could give these principles a lot of exposure...

May 22, 2012 0 0 comments

How can we be good neighbors to the Muslims who live next door? Should we be afraid of Islam? Do Muslims worship the same God we do? How can I share my faith with my Muslim co-worker? These are the kinds of questions a lot of us in North America are asking. We hear a lot of different answers and we often don’t know whose opinions to trust.

May 15, 2012 0 1 comments

“What do you think you can possibly do to encourage the people in El Potrero? You do not know the language, the culture, the environment! You are from a middle class suburb trying to help some poor farmers in a small community in Honduras! How can you, of all people, encourage them?” 

May 9, 2012 0 0 comments

Hi there, I'm Wendy Hammond and I'm going to be the new "lead" guide for the Global Mission Network, although Steve will still contribute from time to time. I also hope to post guest submissions from a variety of  mission organizations that represent our denomination - if you have anything you'd like to see, or something to submit, please let me know!

May 8, 2012 0 2 comments



The facts depends on who reports them, and some of them are out of date.  The Rom Cath church reports what they have on membership rolls.  But according to Wikipedia, a self-identified affiliation reported in 2007 that 47% are rom Cath, 38% are evangelical protestant, and 14% are other. 

I wonder how the Factbook arrives at its data vs Operation World? I just double checked the sites and you are right, they provide different statistics.

Thanks Wendy for a great article.  It suggests that, if done right, STM can be a real blessing on both sides of the divide.  Regarding the stats on Christianity in Honduras, Operation World has quite a different picture from the World Factbook.  It shows 97% Christians: 80% Roman Catholic and 19% Protestant including some doubly affiliated. 

Wow. What a wonderful boost for short-term missions. We also appreciate the kind words--and we do know the group that went swimming! And we know we have much to learn about how best to work alongside "our" community in Honduras. God is good and we will continue to ask him to be in charge of this relationship and the development plan of the community. He works before we come and after we leave; we are delighted that he also chooses to work through us and in us while we are there!

Our thanks also go out to Ana and Dilia and Arturo for their hard work and encouragement; they have been a great blessing to us. May God's will be done in His kingdom in Honduras!

Thanks for the encouraging words, Wendy. The Carpenteros have been blessed to labour alongside Honduran brothers and sisters for the past 10 years, and the friendships we have established are truly gifts from God. We can't lay claim to the swimming in the river incident, and I am best not to mention the two team members who were washing up at the 'pila in the field' -- but we interrupted by the cows who came to drink ;-)  And, in a shameless plug for our Honduran friends in rural Olancho, individuals and churches interested in high quality, Direct Trade coffee grown by farmers - many of whom are members of the Honduran CRC - please email and we'll pass along the details.

Finally, excellent staff like Irene, Ana and their team at CRWRC-Honduras deserve credit also for the tireless work they put in to prepare teams, communities, and look beyond the trip for ways that North Americans and Hondurans can build relationships that go much deeper than the short time that a team is in the community.

God is doing amazing things in Honduras.  His Spirit is transforming communities.  Christ's love is evident in so many ways.  He doesn't need us to accomplish what He is doing there, but He blesses us by allowing us to catch glimpses of His love in action.

This is a really informative interview.

Egypt is a powder keg ready to explode and the Christian community there stands to lose the most when it happens. The economy is run by the military. Expecting the military to give up control either economically or politically is not likely to happen anytime soon or in a peaceable way. Why should it? They have control of all the levers that run everything in this society. The recent dissolution of the democratically elected parliament, by a supposed judicial decision, shows how empty and powerless the new President and his government really is and how all powerful the military is. This is where our prayers should be, like Syria, things can go very wrong, very fast when the Egyptian people realize how their being played by the military. They are figuring it out. Our prayers need to be for the Christians in this society that they don’t end up on the wrong side of events when everything hits the fan. This will take a miracle. The Christian community in Iraq was virtually destroyed by the war there. The Christian community in Syria is, for the most part, in support of the Alawite Syrians who have ruled the country for the past forty some years. If the Syrian rebels take control, the Syrian Christians there stand to lose big. Pray that divine wisdom will be given to the Christians of Egypt so they can successfully walk the very dangerous political tight rope they have found themselves on.

This is a very encouraging article for me and my wife Germaine. June 2013 I am planning a trip to Kampala to meet with ministers I have been doing online consulting for poultry farmers for the first time. Yes, online I was able to advise small poultry farmers about good practice in hatching, raising and keeping birds healthy.

Thanks for posting this very needed and valuable information. God Bless our Missionaries always.

BAck again...thanks Wendy.  I'd used the word "disjunction" twice in my comment.  Partly I got thrown off when a second paragraph started:  "Another way CRWRC works....."  It didn't like those employees with the churches.  

And when we get into the question of disjunction in terms of policy, I don't know whether I should bring up here the difference in CRWRC and CRWM policy.  We (of the latter) had neither funds for deaconal needs, nor permission to hire nationals.  So we were on a different footing with our own relief/development agency.   I'm wondering if that will ever get straightened out.

Thanks for the lead to the other post, which is exactly the kind of thing we need to be focusing on, and what I hope that interns like Anneke get exposed to and underscored in their experiences.  

No comment at the moment then on changes that may or may not take place in World Renew.  Time will tell.

Good to see this community development and church growth coming together... praise God.

Hi Lou,

I think the same principles of good community development apply to good missions principles . . . our role as North Americans is to serve and support the indigenous local churches. They know their culture and context better than we do.

Church based development was referring to the churches in Uganda. Anneke mentions Joseph and Edward. They provide technical support and encouragement to the diaconal ministries of the Church of Uganda and the Pentecostal Assemblies of God. The COU and PAG also receive some grant funding from CRWRC to carry out the plans that Joseph and Edward help them develop. Joseph and Edward are Christians, and it is known that they work for CRWRC-Uganda.

Anneke's trip was specifically for a community development class, so it doesn't mention the church growth that results from this work. You can find an example of that in this post.

Finally, CRWRC has no plans to change from its emphasis on church-based community development (by that I mean community development carried out through indigenous churches).  The name change will also not change the relationship with the CRCNA. It will be a bit more inclusive, though, of those RCA churches that work with us in the U.S., and the PAG and COU churches in Uganda, for example!

Thanks for submitting this, Anneke, via Wendy's post.  As someone deeply interested in and committed to holistic Christian witness, I read this type of post with keen interest.

I sensed, Wendy, something of an "apples and oranges" disjunction in that the title led me think we were going to get something on short term MISSIONS projects.  But the "paper" is about community development; our old bug-a-boo about our terminology... is development "missions."  Of course it is, or should be.  Allow me a couple of comments/questions.

I also sensed something of a disjunction between what sounded like CRWRC's direct work through local/national "staff" as contrasted with the next paragraph, working with local churches. Are those national workers identified as  staff of an international development organization? Are they on loan to other NGOs?  And, are they Christians?  How do they work? Does CRWRC pay church-related staff to carry out the projects?

Back to the question of STMs.  Anneke is correct in her skepticism about much of what is tried.  A story I know about is of a California church that spent $83,000 on a ten-day trip to Uganda to "form a library, build a wall, and start a new church." Yeah, all in ten days!   My concern is to see "church growth" and "community development" so integrated that it becomes an almost seamless witness to a full-orbed Gospel witness.

What I didn't read in the paper is what if anything these good community development models are doing for the increase in the number and depth of the local churches, of whatever denomination.  Lets keep conversing.......

(Disclaimer/clarification: when in the last paragraph "church based development work is twice mentioned, I construe that as CRWRC's N. American church based structure.  And as discussed elsewhere, I hope that is not eroded significantly with the changes that took place over the summer with Synod's approval of a name change... and whatever else may be coming down the pike along with that)

One thousand Blessings by Ann Voskamp.  This is an amazing , transformational read, beautifully written.  Ann Voskamp writes about her journey from depression and doubt to a life full of God's Grace through the use of gratitude.  It will change your life.

Freda Kennedy

The 7th Edition of Operaton World's Handbook is a fantastic resource; all updated.  Find it at IVP.

I'm glad to see this topic - much discussed but not by the right people, and never resolved - picked up again on this page. I found chapter 7 in B Fikkart's book When Helping Hurts quite helpful in outlining pros and cons.  I'll be glad to join the conversation; with a couple of stories I've picked up along the way.


A man with a mission:  a missionary? 

Mission-ary  -   someone sent ,

Missionem - act of sending.

A Christian missionary can be defined as "one who is to witness across cultures."

Maybe it doesn't matter what you are called.   Maybe it just matters what you do? 

Thanks, Greg, very helpful!

Yes, we are brothers and sisters with all of humanity, including Muslims, as sons and daughters of Adam and Eve. And we also hope that one day soon we will also be brothers and sisters in Christ with many from Islam.

Thank you,

Ben Meyer


Your date has been fixed.

In refering to brothers and sisters, I am thinking more of Isaac and Ishmael. We are all image bearers of God and worthy of love for each other, rather than animosity and tension. There is a jihadist agenda pushing us towards hate that I am trying to counter. To clarify,  I did not mean to infer that we are in any way brothers and sisters in Christ (at least not yet).

We were newly married in 1989. Then the numbers should add up:)

Hi Greg,

May God bless the Muslim world through the Salaam Project!  I enjoyed reading your article; however your phrase "brothers and sisters" in reference both to Christians and Muslims at the end of your article caught me off guard.  Can you clarify?


Ben Meyer

CRWM Guadalajara, Mexico 

Hi Greg,

  The years aren't quite adding up for me.  Are you sure it was 1998.

The Reformed Church of Zambia is our partner in your country. 



CRWM and CRWRC do not start new churches; rather, we work with denominations that are already in the country. To learn more about what the CRC is doing in Zambia, you can visit these links:

Dear bothers in Christ,

My name is George Mwale and am based in Zambia,i would like to kow the possibilty of establishing the Christian Reform Church in Africa and and in my countyr Zambia and other parts of Africa as a way of spreading the world oF God,

I would be very greatful to heraing from you soon

George Mwale


I'm so glad that VIS is able to help Grand Rapids-area churches take the next steps. Not everyone is ready to jump in to the Communities First methodology. Those that do find it very rewarding - watch for an upcoming Network blog!

Hi Wendy:

Great article and GREAT book. I also was able to attend an all day seminar last fall with both of the authors. I really appreciate their desire to help churches think differently about how we help others. Diaconal Ministries of Canada and CFA are both great resources.  Volunteers In Service (VIS) is also a resource for the deacons and through our work with them, we hear about the concern of just meeting immediate needs. VIS spends time meeting with deacons and having discussions on what next steps would look like and how to begin the process of thinking of benevolence beyond the immediate need. VIS believes that being in relationship with someone is at the core of helping. Thanks for the article. 

The second edition is an improvement. Chalmer's is learning from the feedback and addressing the readers concerns.

Most of the work on these principles was done by Karl Westerhof of CRWRC.

Thanks for your leadership Steve.

Welcome, we look forward to the information that you will share with us.

Welcome Wendy.

Thanks for the introduction, Steve, and all your hard work that you've done for the global missions network. I will hold you to your promise to provide some guest blog posts :-)

Morton (see above link) and Matson anticipated that young earth creationist would reinterprete what constitutes a "geological column", either to duck the truth that intact columns exist or to reinterprete them according to rediculous flood analogies that have noempirical basis in fact.  Morton in particular shows how this is not only completely deceptive but demonstratively false according to the scientic evidence.

It's obvious we will get no were when people keep changing the parameters on this topic.  It was supposed to be a simple yes or  no question.  It seems as far as you are concerned that despite the evidence, only some creationist believe they exist.  You are not one of them. I suspect nothing could change your mind.  even

Rinsen, I agree with you that some creationists believe that the entire geologic column is represented in a number of places on earth.   The unknown is really whether all of the sedimentation from each geo period is represented or not.   When erosion occurs, it is difficult to demonstrate how much erosion has occurred.   The thickest layers found on earth for the various periods when added together would make a 200 mile long column.  This might not be the maximum, since even those thickest layers could theoretically have eroded some.   The deepest column presently would be about 16 miles.   So it is possible that some of those "intact" columns could have had some erosion taking out portions of various time periods, even though the major time periods are still represented.  So for example if the Ordovician period lasted 80 million years, there may still be several millions of years not represented in that column for that period. 

So that may be a technicality about completeness of the column.   However, I agree that some creationists believe the entire geologic column is represented in a number of places on earth at a scale that satisfies them. 

just to save you some trouble if you want to research it

Dr. Karen Bartelt
Dr Bartelt is an Associate Professor of Chemistry

at Eureka College, Eureka, IL 61530  

"There are very few parts of the world that contain a complete geologic column, though there are at least 25. I would encourage anyone interested in the geologic column -- young earth creationists in particular -- to visit Glenn Morton's excellent and under visited website, especially the article entitled "The Geologic Column and Its Implications to the Flood." One has to go no farther than North Dakota to find a complete geologic column -- no textbook needed."

Dr. Karen Bartelt Professor of Chemistry
at Eureka College, Eureka


"What the young-Earth creationists would need to find in order to overturn the well-established and well-justified concept of the geologic column is something like a mastodon in Devonian sediments, or an ostrich in the Ordovician. Until then, I’ll accept Cambrian-Ordovician-Silurian-Devonian… as an observation that is in need of an explanation."

which degree in science?  which area of expertise?

It's off topic, but ... what did that have to do with anything?  who denies that there's some very thick layers?  who is the uniformitarian here?  who denies sudden floods and rapid burials of fossils?  How many more straw figures you going to put up, John?

Okay, I think I've proved a point, though i'm sure you will disagree. (not being a scientist, I am vulnerable here.. I could have been pointed to a place where even the secular scientic community admits there is no intact column in it's entirely and that Matson is so wrong-- whew!).   

Here's the next question:  You can also get info from Matson:   why are the sentimentary layers of our great oceans, the places where the biblical flood supposedly received all the water and wash out from the land,  the thinnest layers on the planet?

See you next week.  I am relentless.

Rinse 'n, I don't think you are really listening to what I said.   The article you quoted speaks for itself, and it contradicts itself.  If you can't see how it contradicts itself, then that is your problem.   I have a degree in science, as well as some postgraduate studies.  And a B.A. as well.  You have not answered my question:  Is an incomplete column still a column?   They (not I) claim that their geologic sequence columns are all missing a layer somewhere;  all have gaps. 

There are creationists who claim the column exists, and other creationists who do not.   Why should I choose one over the other?  I am just going by what they say about it.  Matson contradicts himself. 

John... I take it that despite the evidence presented by your own fellow creationists, you don't believe it exists.  I am absolutely flabbergasted.  You have lost all credibility with me for that one fact.  I deliberately chose Matson's article because he anticipates this "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" reaction yet you remain unconvinced.  Have actually you checked out these many places where the column is apparently complete and in order?  Have you checked it out and discovered that these geological surveys were a pack of lies?  Here again, this why we get so discredited. We pretend we've got all the answers (at least better answers than the E folk),  yet we need salve for our eyes and clothing for our nakedness.  We are the naked emperor here.  

The reason I have energy is that I have been following this column for some time, watching you spout all sorts of creationist drivel and leading people astray (scientifically and biblically). When I couldn't take it anymore. I registered. I made a provocative statement that would entice you out of the woodwork, and then I attempted to get you to make one of your absolute claims and hold you to it with the evidence. Instead, you descend into relative:  some do, some don't. That's waffling. This is not a theory we are talking about. we are talking about an (repeatedly) observed fact.  John,you MUST have some aquaintence with science.  What are your credentials in this area? 

Please stop insinuating that I must have a problem with my faith life.. your bait and switch tactics won't work with me.  You are attempting to make something out of nothing and it won't work.

What's interesting also is how thick a single geological layer of rock can be.   For example, carboniferous rock (often limestone) can range from 300 ft to 42,000 ft.  thick.  42,000 ft is more than the height of mount Everest.  One layer, formed over a period of only 60 million years (out of 4,000 million).  Displacing most other layers completely.   Does this fit with a uniformitarian approach?  

We know, and have seen in certain places, hundreds of feet of sediment laid down in less than one year.   This is also evident in the fossil record.   Sediments can be laid down very quickly, and layered by water.  Yet, the geo-evolutionary perspective presented is always that of mountains slowly eroding to form sediment that eventually layers over the flat lands and creates more fossils.  Which type of sediment formation have we actually seen more of?  

I am asking on behalf of my brilliant son, who gave up along time ago. 

You inability to answer yes and no perplexes me.  Please don't google bomb me either.

I asked specific questions and I want your own answers.

we are trying to get to the bottom of a truth...your probing to my belief in the real Christ was related how? are avoiding. You claimed outright that the geological column doesn't exist

in reality.  Matson showed you that it does.. in many places..especially where the strata

are not disturbed by mountain folding, etc ... Matson goes onto show how even though in

some place some strata are missing, because they were never laid down or because of

erosion, it's always the very same sequence.  It's a remarkable fact of life.   As Matson

points out, the odds of that happening are astronomical, especially when

each main strata has it's own characteristic stamp (eraly,middle,late). 


Instead of mining in his article for anything you can use against him, please answer yes or

no:   Does the geological column actually exist?  And if it does, why did you lie about it? 


My name is immaterial.. However,as you can see, I must be of Scandinavian      origin.

Rinse and hang:   yes I am aware of group think, and fully aware of it in many different contexts.   For that reason I tend to be as hard on those I "group" with, as on others.  

I didn't ask my questions about what you believe or don't believe in scripture in order  to be "fear mongering".   I asked it to understand how you differentiate between what you believe or accept, compared to what you do not accept.   If "science" says that there is no way that the flood could have happened, do you then accept the science and reject the story as mere fable?  If science says there is no way that Moses could have parted the red sea, then do you accept that conclusion?   If science says there is no way someone could be raised from the dead, do you then accept science and reject the resurrection?  The Bahai's take everything about the resurrection symbolically, and deny Jesus physical resurrection just as they accept evolution;  how are you different from that? 

The fear mongering is just in your own mind.   These are real questions, not rhetorical accusations. 


In regards to radio-active dating methods you should check out these two sites, highlighting that sometimes methods have an error range of millions and hundreds of millions of years.  " fu"   on C14

or: fu   on other rock dating methods.   (you have to get past a bit of humour first).