Comment Stream

Samuel Sutter April 24, 2018

Andy, one of our deacons has lead this 2-3 times through... Session in progress tonight - I'd be happy to connect you two if it'd help - sam@Goshen.Church 

Erich Clark April 22, 2018

Hey, all!


Feeding the Allen's own, internal RCA connections to your mixer through DI boxes will cost you about $200 for fantastic results. New speakers and mics will be brutally difficult, cost several thousand dollars, take a very long time, and provide inferior results.


Long Story:

We are in the midst of upgrades ourselves and are seeking similar solutions. We upgraded to a digital mixer last year and now we are attempting to capture and perhaps stream one or more of our services in HD, but we need to capture the audio from our classic 90's Allen organ. I'm with the musicians on this one- the organ is an astounding human musical interface; there is nothing else like it. Hang on to it!!

A- (Several $K, dubious results) The mic'd system will require new speakers, maybe new amps, expensive installations, visual clutter, and to do it right, several mics in odd places around the room. For example, in our Sanctuary, our organ feeds its own 8 speaker cabinets, and all of them have internal crossovers and three speakers each. That means there are 24 separate speakers in there, all pointing in different directions. Mic'ing and mixing it right (on video) would take serious production magic and plenty of money. You would spend several thousand dollars, easy. 

If you are going to spend money on speakers, then upgrade your house mains that you use all the time!

B- ($200, fantastic results) A direct system would take existing RCA outs from the Allen (think red and white connectors on your old component stereo system) to DI boxes and out to XLRs (regular 3-pin microphone cables). You could probably get the whole rig for less than $200 in pristine quadraphonic. 

My first choice would be a set of stereo RCA DI boxes like the ART CleanBox Pro.  Allen organs use RCAs to pass line level signals to their amps and they also potentially have dedicated outputs from what I see. (More below) You would want those DI boxes as close as possible to the Allen, running XLRs back to your mixer (XLRs are great at rejecting interference). There are power outlets inside your organ, so you can use a small power supply inside to run the AC adapter for the ARTs, and I would be tempted to mount them inside the organ case.

Cracking the back cover of our Allen (an MDS 26 from 1995), there are several promising leads. 

1- On the floor of the case, there are two pairs of RCAs that clearly read "out". If those work at line level like an old stereo system, that would give us quadraphonic sound right there. I plan to test this out tomorrow with our organist, just to see what the levels are like.

2- Failing that, there is a spot for a 6-pin "P945 Headphone / Tape out" on a rear panel. I'm pretty confident we could do something with this as well, similar to the above setup but with the extra step of pin to RCA conversion and some connector soldering. No big deal, though admittedly sad because this would only be stereo.

3- You could divert the RCAs before the amplifier, completely disusing the Allen amp, so once again you have RCAs that you can DI box to your board. We won't be doing this, since the speakers that our Allen tech installed work wonderfully well. We just need signal for recording and broadcast.

Like I said, we're in the middle of this ourselves, so I will let you know what else I can find out. 

I hope this helps, and God Bless you!


PS- There is an Option C that is very outside the box- if you have a digital Allen, then you have the option of using your organ as a MIDI instrument, voicing it from a powerful computer. Not exactly a cheap option, but a very intriguing one.

Darren Roorda April 19, 2018

In light of this need to watch the movie Moonlight (2016). Fits perfect.

Erin Knight April 18, 2018

Hi Andy, I'm pretty sure our church has run this before (or we were going to!). You can email for more information. She can likely point you in the right direction!

Erin Knight April 18, 2018

Great question! I worked in church ministry for 15 years and have some background on this. My understanding was that this nominal fee was offered to pastors who were part of the Pulpit Supply list. This was part of the Classis churches' covenant to each to help another church out when they are vacant. This nominal fee covered the pastor's time to come and preach and lead a service, but it was assumed he/she was using a previously shared message and most of the service would be planned and executed by members of that particular church. He/she would also get mileage paid on top of this preaching fee. In our area, the amount was set at $150.

At my last church I challenged this tradition. (This was about 3 years ago.) We were a church plant and many times people who were asked to preach came with 'new material'. Many were asked to participate in a certain worship series we were doing so it warranted a brand new sermon to be written. Also, because our context was quite different than a typical CRC, we would ask that a message be geared to newer believers and/or seekers. So again, a new message would likely be done, or an old one would require some tweaking. And let's be honest, many spend between 10-20 hours writing messages. In order to honour this person's time and expertise, we set our preaching fee at $200-$250. Mileage would also be paid on top of this, if they so requested. Some internal people who preached for us would donate the amount back to the church as they weren't doing it for the money, but some would use it to help pay for their ongoing education or other things. Their choice was completely respected by our church leadership.

Overall, we felt it was time to up the amount we paid and also make it relevant to our church and culture. Hope this helps!

Diane Dykgraaf April 18, 2018

Thanks for this, Kevin. It rings so true, and I appreciate your wisdom. So much healing is needed, and it's important for us as worship leaders to realize that every minute of the service can offer healing. On this same topic (if people want to read more) I'd  recommend Howard Vanderwell's book, Caring Worship: Helping Worship Leaders Provide Pastoral Care through the Liturgy, released in 2017. Howard left us a legacy of caring for people and discusses in the book how we can care for each other in each element of the worship service.  

posted in : Healing Worship
Keith Knight April 17, 2018

Darren, thanks for your faithful leadership within the Canadian CRC context. I was among the attendees at that 2003 event in Edmonton. While I recall very little of the discussions that took place then, the social gatherings were invaluable.

There is one question that I would love to have asked at the 2019 event: "If we had to create a CRC in Canada from scratch today, what would it look like?" What would its focus be? Biblical preaching? Social justice? A vibrant indigenous ministry? Evangelizing? Church planting?

That question is sparked, in part, by a recent visit to a CRC that was undergoing a major renovation. I asked, matter-of-factly, if they were making the sanctuary bigger to allow for evangelization and church growth. The response: "We don't evangelize. We don't want 'Canadians' (ie heathens) in our church because it changes the church's culture. No, our focus is on internal growth (kids having kids)."  The great commission, it seems, applies to overseas missionary efforts.

There is, I suppose, a prior question that could be asked in 2019: "If we had to create a CRC in Canada from scratch today, should we? Or are others doing a better job than we are?"


Amy Vander Vliet April 17, 2018

We're in a similar situation. We currently pay $150 plus local travel but are wondering if we need to increase it. I am also curious if there are geographic differences. We are in an urban area (Washington, D.C.), so in general salaries and expenses are both higher.

Henry DeMoor April 17, 2018



Your post was attached to a earlier posts on this.

You need to contact Darren Roorda at the CRC's Burlington, Ontario office.  I believe he can help you get a license which you will definitely need in order to do this legally.

Erik Burklin April 16, 2018

I'm an ordained pastor in Colorado and have been asked to officiate a wedding of a couple who lives in Ontario. I understand that I need to be licensed to do so. How can I get this done in time before the wedding which takes place in September 2018? Thanks for your help.

- Rev. Erik Burklin

Safe Church Ministry April 16, 2018

Yes, the denomination is us, all of us - each and every part working together and learning from each other. Sounds a lot like the Body of Christ (see 1 Corinthians 12 - and don't forget, chapter 13, without love ...)

Greg Sinclair April 16, 2018

There are a few misunderstandings about the Peer 2 Peer interfaith network evident in this post. If "name withheld" wishes to reach out to me and discuss this I am happy to do that. Blessings.

Joe Rodriguez April 15, 2018

Today is Sunday, April 15. This post is a continuation of my journey with a 40-year-old man who lives with autism and who wants to find a church home. The journey started with a visit to a church as posted on April 9.

Today we visited another church. Like the previous church, this church had a pipe organ. My friend knows a lot about pipe organs. He has his own 25-foot paddle, two-manual organ in his bungalow home. He personally played several of the largest pipe organs in town. This organ’s base sound and the organist’s skill met his approval.

This is a friendly church. Between being met at the door by a friendly greeter who opened the door for us and finding a seat in the sanctuary, we were warmly welcomed a half-dozen times by gracious church members. I could tell that my friend was getting uncomfortable. Remember he has autism. Direct encounters trigger anxiety, even very friendly and gracious ones. He seemed alright with one or two, but he was starting to shut down and flap his hands as a mean to self-soothing.

He liked that the sanctuary acoustics. Sounds and voices were muted compared to churches that assembled to gym or performance architectures. He seemed to relax.

The congregation reassembled in a large welcoming room following the worship service. Cake and lemonade were available. I wondered how this hospitable “chaos” would work for him. He was ready to leave as soon as he consumed his piece of cake. I bid good-bye to an acquaintance with whom I briefly socialized.

We ride in the car. I ask for his assessment. Here are his highlights:

A man, about his age, greeted my friend in the welcome center while eating cake. The man never made eye contact. The handshake was limp. The greeting welcome was brief, to the point, and ended. My friend was delighted. He believed the other young man was autistic. They shared an understanding without complication. This is a positive mark for that church.

The pipe organ is in tune. That is a major plus.

However, there is little evidence of anybody else in the congregation who lives with a disability. The church has a lot of nice people who will have a hard time understanding what it is like.

The score is:
   Church One = 3 (Many people with disabilities. A decent pipe organ. A quiet sanctuary.)
   Church Two = 2.5 (Nice organ. Quiet sanctuary. One member might have autism.)

I wonder if church growth experts know about these key criteria.

Next week we visit another church.

Jenna Hoff April 14, 2018

This is fantastic advice!  I'm going to implement the phrase "please rise in spirit" during tomorrow's worship service for our church.  

Thank you.


Jenna Hoff

Doug Vande Griend April 13, 2018

The Acton Institute ("parent" of Poverty Cure if I'm not mistaken) is a really good organization of folks with diverse Christian traditions.  I especially like Acton for its emphasis on promoting what people and local/private organizations might do in response to poverty, as opposed to political advocacy, an approach that refers the poverty problem to government.

The CRCNA could use a bit more of influence from organization like Action, instead of organizations like Sojourners.

Tim Postuma April 13, 2018

Beautiful, Syd. I love how these cohorts are bringing churches together for shared learning and mutual support. Your screenshot says a lot!

This Network website is another way churches regularly compare notes and encourage each other in ministry. Perhaps not the same depth of relationship-building as a cohort that meets together over the course of a year, but a similar idea.

Whether cohorts, The Network, events like Inspire, or other means...I love these efforts to come together for Kingdom impact. I imagine God smiles when he sees his churches connecting and learning from each other.

Keith Knight April 12, 2018

Matt, I can't imagine any scenario where your concerns would hold water.  If that person is an alcoholic -- especially struggling with alcoholism -- or the need for a gluten-free option, there wouldn't be a church council that wouldn't accommodate those special needs.  And if he is an alcoholic without any sense that he is struggling with his alcoholism, he wouldn't qualify to be an elder. (That wouldn't be the quality of a godly leader who must serve as an example to the congregation)

And if that person travels a lot to the point that he/she consistently misses communion -- and presumably many other services -- that would also disqualify that person from serving as an elder.


As mentioned in an earlier post, elders must be exceptional, godly men/women who live lives of integrity.

We seem to be too quick to select office-bearers who appear to be ''good enough'' to serve in office. In some cases, we seem to have lowered our standards to the point where serving as an elder has become equivalent to serving on some church board or committee.  When that's the case, the church's leadership has lost its integrity.

Matt Bulthuis April 12, 2018

My personal opinion is that there is not enough information here to answer the question.  I think its obvious that if this person refuses to participate in communion, in a belligerent or devisive way, in a church where communion is a sacred sacrament, that they should not be considered eligible.  The form for ordination even states that "Elders must provide for... regular celebration of the sacraments..."

My concern here is that we don't know why this person has "consistently not taken communion".  Is this a person that travels a lot?  An alcoholic in a church that serves only wine?  Has celiac disease with no gluten-free option?  There could be a variety of reasons this person has not taken communion.  If the original poster has concerns about an elder nominee, I would encourage her to share those with her elder or in a communication to elders or council.  


Ken Van Dellen April 12, 2018

I usually wore a suit when teaching at the college where I was on the faculty, too, unless it was a day when I needed a T-shirt to make a point in geology class (such as one with two hands pushing North America and the continents of Europe and Africa together with the label "Reunite Gondwanaland!"). How could I not then wear one to church?

After retirement I became more casual, but sometimes thought I should dress as well for church as I did for weddings and funerals. However, after a heart attack and stent emplacement I needed to carry a supplemental card wallet. There wasn't room in the wallet in my back pocket for the stent cards (for EMS) and other medical care cards, soon joined by my Red Cross blood donor card, library cards, frequent diner cards, etc. That got me back to wearing a suit or sport coat because I needed pockets. I was wearing cargo pants or shorts the rest of the week and using most of the pockets.

Joining the local senior men's club with bimonthly luncheons with "jackets suggested" reinforced the decision to wear a jacket to church.  Should I dress less for the Lord than I do for my senior friends?

I was now one of only a few in church with jacket and tie. The deacons sometimes wore jeans, or even shorts on hot days, to take the offering, and the pastor had taken to an open collar. I guess this was to make new members and visitors feel more comfortable if they were more casually attired. I found myself explaining, perhaps not quite truthfully, that I wore a jacket only for the pockets.

Perhaps I will ditch the jacket or suit and get one of those vests with pockets for everything. I really can't expect my wife to carry my stuff in her purse. Besides, I would worry that a cell phone might get against a card with a magnetic strip and cancel it.
Sometimes it's difficult to know right from wrong, and what is the right thing to do! Maybe we will soon have another denominational office to give us guidance on this.

Cedric Parsels April 12, 2018

I agree with Tom and Keith. If a person is not participating in the Lord's Supper, then there is a serious spiritual issue they are facing, possibly related to a lack of assurance regarding their salvation (1 Cor. 11:29). If they are not "holding firmly to the trustworthy message [of the Gospel]," that is, if they themselves are not strongly encouraged by the Gospel, it is hard to see how they would have the ability to "encourage others by sound doctrine" (Titus 1:9).  

John Moelker April 12, 2018

Hi Paula,

I believe that the 20's group would most relate to this story.  I'd love to hear if that is the case.  Please let me know.

BTW: Paula is a main character in this novel. :)


John Moelker

Fronse Pellebon Smith April 12, 2018

50 years is a long time.

I was a student at UIC, WORKING, and heard on WVON Dr. King was Assasinated  in Memphis.

At 22 my spiritual strength along with parental and elder counsel kept me from spiraling into the abyss of rage and hate.

Rather I rededicated my life and self to witnessing the Love of Christ even to people I knew hated ME.

I did learn though hateful Americans were hell bent on killing our leaders. To date that quagmire of hate has not gone away. Political correctness only masks our collective unresolved issues.


Fronse Pellebon Smith April 12, 2018

Wording: belligerent implies an adversarial relationship.

Paula Wigboldy April 12, 2018

Thanks John!  Would love to recommend it to some of my 20's in church.  I'll go order one to pre-view!


Danielle Steenwyk-Rowaan April 12, 2018

Great! I'm sure there was a gap for American deacons, so I'm glad you're doing this. Just don't want really solid Canadian work to get lost in the shuffle, as I'm sure you don't either. (From one Canadian to another.) :)

Andrew Ryskamp April 11, 2018


Thanks for this. I just updated the note so that it gives better information about the Canadian context. The notification to churches is only done in the US for the reason you noted.




Joe Rodriguez April 11, 2018

Martin Luther King Jr and Agnes Gonxha, aka “Mother Teresa”, are examples of contemporary saints who God gave to the church when God wanted to get across to us important corrections. They felt strongly for the cause of their callings. They both represent for me passion, patience, and love as they allowed God to spend their lives as messages to the rest of us.  You are right that I would want to emulate the way they loved the Lord and the church. Thank you for the gentle reminder and encouragement.

Keith Knight April 11, 2018

That situation seems unfathomable.  If a person has consistently not taken communion, that person is dealing with some serious spiritual/moral issues that requires a visit from the pastor or elder.  That person requires counselling. He/she should not be the one to provide spiritual direction to anyone else. How can one who doesn't participate in communion oversee communion?

An elder should live an exemplary, godly life. He/she should know the scriptures intimately and should be one who can provide godly, biblical, wise advice in all circumstances.

We too often look for "any warm body" to fill a slot on the elder nominee list, and that makes a mockery of the office and calls into question the integrity of the church's leadership.

Lori Geels April 10, 2018

I agree wholeheartedly!  The Church is the Bride of Christ, Whom we gather to worship. 

Tom Bomhof April 10, 2018

Withholding oneself from the means of grace is a sign of significant spiritual conflict.  I would encourage the elders to help that person resolve this spiritual conflict first.  As an elder this person will be responsible for the serving of communion and it does not fit with the office if this person would not participate in the sacrament as an office bearer.    

Danielle Steenwyk-Rowaan April 10, 2018

Hey Andy, how does this fit with Diaconal Ministries Canada north of the border? They already do great work in this area--I hope you'll refer to their resources. 

Cam Phillips April 10, 2018

Thanks for sharing Trudy! My wife gifted me with this book for Christmas last year, and I absolutely love it. We really appreciate the liturgies for husband wife, as well as the table blessings for each day of the week. The linocut artwork is equally as beautiful as the liturgies. 

Mark Stephenson April 10, 2018

Joe, it must be very frustrating for you and your friend to visit different churches and not find the kind of welcome that all of us long for. When Martin Luther King Jr. was jailed in Birmingham, he received a letter from several other clergy in which they opposed segregation and urged him to be patient, but as I recall he responded that the time for patience was over. I can imagine that you and your friend feel the same way, but the challenge for you is that the tools that King and his followers used won't work. Your hope is to connect and find belonging, not use non-violent protest to fight for your companion's rights. As difficult as the fight for civil rights is, it seems that the longing and desire for belonging is even more difficult because one cannot fight for these, they must be offered by the other as gifts. Like you, I hope and pray that you and your companion can find a congregation that will offer these gifts with joy. 

Joe Rodriguez April 9, 2018

Mark, it does take a long time to change dominate opinions and cultural biases.

I agreed to help a 40-year-old man find a church where he might find community, a faith community that is open to people who have awkward social presentations due to disabilities. He lives with autism. My middle-aged companion is currently a member of another church for 25 years.  His current membership church knows nothing about social ramps and seems unable to learn. He is ready to move on.

We visited a church last Sunday. The visit holds promise. I am positively impressed with the fact that many individuals among the Sunday worship participants appear neuro-atypical with corresponding social awkwardness.

However, nobody greeted us as we navigated our way to the sanctuary. We sat in the sanctuary twenty minutes before the start of the service. Several older men were talking across the center aisle and slightly behind us. One older gentleman talked as though he had a hear impairment. He said, “Look, another stranger.”  We were the only ones in the sanctuary. I thought the comment was ironically funny, given the speaker’s own impairments. My companion was hurt. We will need to work this through. We have two more churches to visit.

We do not need a church that has ready-made social ramps, just a worshiping community with open hearts and a willingness to learn about social ramps. My companion has about 40 more years to his life span. I wish this social shift to happen sooner, better yet, led by the faith community.

Eric Van Dyken April 9, 2018

Your questions and statements belie your claim that you do not disdain God's Word.

Roger Gelwicks April 9, 2018

I have no disdain for God’s word.  Nor doI have no problem with a knowledge and trust in God.  But which word or revelation are you talking about?  The Jewish scriptures, the Koran, the book of Mormon, the Hindu scriptures, Buddhism or the Bible?  They all make the same claim (truthfulness) for their Scriptures as do Christians.  Or are you talking about creation, the natural revelation of God?  Thanks for your concern.  I have the same hope for you.

Eric Van Dyken April 9, 2018

Your disdain for God's Word saddens me.  I hope someday that you too can come to know and trust God through his Word.

Roger Gelwicks April 9, 2018

I’m glad, Eric, that those verses are convincing to you, To the secularist those verses sound like a ploy or strategy to convince Christians that they’re not stupid for believing such an unreasonable message, even though God given reason and logic say wake up to reality.  Those verse are like a young child telling his parents that they have a mental block that keeps them from believing in the reality of Santa Claus.  Only children know that Santa is real.

Staci Devries April 9, 2018

Thank you for sharing this great event! 

Eric Van Dyken April 9, 2018

So, Roger, I hear you saying that the Christian message is foolishness to the secularist.  Where have I heard that before? Oh, that's right:

I Corinthians 1:18-25  "For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.   For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”  Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?  For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach[fn] to save those who believe.  For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men."

Roger that.

Roger Gelwicks April 9, 2018

Thanks, “name withheld,” for your efforts to explain some of the differences between Islamic and Christian theology and world views. Whether they are allies or cobelligerents makes little difference to the secularist.  Backing away from commitment to either religion (a secularist viewpoint), perhaps gives a more objective perspective.

Recognize that both religions claim a complete trustworthiness for their own religion and for their inspired writings, whether the Bible or the Koran.  Both religions are mutually exclusive of the other’s religious tenets.  So Christians claim only the Bible is true and reveals the only God anointed path to salvation.  And Muslims claim only the Koran (and related Scriptures) is true and reveals the only God anointed path to salvation.  Are both true, or only one, or is neither true? 

Consider the divine story line of each as to reasonableness for the Bible and the Koran.  The Bible (or Christianity) claims that God is a three person entity.  The second person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, came down to earth from heaven, as a human baby, lived a sinless life (what a good boy he was), performed many miracles, was rejected by the Jews, was crucified, and after three days rose to life from the grave. After a short period of time he ascended back into heaven to the Father’s right hand where he presently reigns over earth and the church.  Eventually, he will return to earth to assume his reign from earth and heaven over all of creation (with the Father and the Holy Spirit), as the Triune God.

The Muslim or the Koran teaches that Jesus was a great prophet appointed by God (a single entity) but that he (Jesus) was fully human and not God.  Nor was Jesus physically raised from the dead after his death.

Both stories claim an infallibility and trustworthiness for their accounts.  As much as the Christian may claim a more reasonable and thoughtful perspective of salvation, the Islamic view as to historical accounting makes much more (common) sense about the person of Jesus.  And of course, it is the historical narrative that supports the theologic position of either view of salvation.  Both religions and their Scriptures claim many miracles which makes little sense today.  Both religions, to the secularist, are archaic and mythical views of religion and God.

So to the secularist, neither religion fits a logical scheme of reality.  Both sound foolish in their arguments of agreement or disagreement or cooperation.   Thanks, though, for your efforts.

Eric Van Dyken April 9, 2018

Hi Michele,

I'm sympathetic to your financial dilemma  I would encourage you not to "shake your fist at God", as it were, but rather look around for how God may yet provide for you.  It seems to me that it would be entirely appropriate for you to speak with the deacons of your church concerning your dilemma, for they are God's ministers of mercy to you.  They may be able to help with some combination of benevolent giving and budgeting help to provide for eventually retiring this burden completely.  Oftentimes in the Christian life God does not intervene or provide in miraculous supernatural ways, but through very ordinary means such as the love and care of the body of Christ.  May you be blessed in this way through your local church body, and may you again be encouraged in the loving provision of your Heavenly Father.

Izzy Rhodes April 9, 2018

We would love to have any pastors or church leaders join us as we learn about mental heath and the church together!

Mark Stephenson April 9, 2018

Joe, thanks for digging back through the archives to find this blog. The tide of public neglect and fear toward people who have autism and other disabilities is turning, but it takes a long, long time, and it takes people working together and continuing to speak up. There are people in society and among God's people who are catching on. Thanks for adding your voice. 

Jamie Anderson April 8, 2018

Hi, I know this is a long shot but do are your Hymnal the Lexicon music, Inc version.  Our church, Golden Prairie Community Congregational Church is looking to add to our collection as some of the ones we have are looking alittle worn.  I would be looking at 30-50 depending on the condition of the books.  Maybe a picture of the cover would help me out if you still have them.  Thank you 


posted in : gone