Comment Stream

Colin Vander Ploeg September 26, 2017

Over 18 documentary is also being shown in Smithville Christian Highschool, (6488 Townline Road, Smithville Ontario) on  Friday Oct 20 , doors open at 6:30pm, 7pm screening followed by panel discussion and Q&A (cost: by donation).  All welcome.

David Apple September 26, 2017

Training diaconal servants since 1991

Andrew Sherwood September 26, 2017

Do you find positive response from sending follow up emails? In a culture where every store, restaurant, doctors office, school, etc. is asking for it and then sends regular emails it seems as though emails are becoming a less effective way to engage with people who are new or unfamiliar with church. 

Michele Gyselinck September 26, 2017

I hope so.  Although I was never abused sexually on university campuses, or anywhere else for that matter, I believe that sweeping any kind of abuse, and especially sexual abuse under the carpet is never the right approach.  The Roman Catholic Church tried it and it became a huge scandal that comedians like Bill Maher still joke about.  YoU'd think other denominations from their error, but instead it seems they keep doing the same thing, and insanity has been defined as always doing the same thing while expecting different results.  That begs the question: Are religious institutions sane when they keep making the same errors that others have made before them?

Bonnie Nicholas September 26, 2017

My prayer is that we, as the Church, will open our eyes, and stand against this devastating injustice. Though it may seem overwhelming, even small steps, by many people, can make a difference. It begins with understanding. Thanks for posting this!

Ken Kruithoff September 25, 2017

Great Stuff!

 

JoyceGB . September 25, 2017

I posted your question on the CRC Worship Ministries facebook page and this is the advice given there. Big thanks to all those who responded.  

Carmen Huttenga We used to use EasyWorship and switched to MediaShout. If you have a PC MediaShout is what a recommend if you have a Mac I recommend ProPresenter. 

My experience with MediaShout is that it has so many more multi media options. We can integrate videos much more smoothly. I can incorporate songs from Digital Songs and Hymns one time into the database and use them over and over. The multiple Bibles are a great tool, I could go on. 

Alicia Boekee We use EasyWorship and it works very well for us! Easy to input songs or search for them on the fly. I updated a few of the options to personalize it a bit (live view, etc). It works very well for our volunteers as well.

Sarah 'Sikma' Cupery We use Easy Worship and like it. Even my 9 and 7 year old sons can do it!

Elly Boersma We are currently looking into other options besides Easy Worship - mostly because of issues we've had with the program freezing or crashing, and most recently in upgrading to Windows 10, Easy Worship had some major glitches that made for a VERY stressful Sunday morning that is still etched in my memory. (They may have fixed those bugs, but I still haven't done the most recent upgrade since I don't trust it to be right yet.) It also struggles when switching from song slides to powerpoint slides, which is what we use for litanies and sermons - I'd love something with smoother transition. That said, it is very user-friendly and easy to run - One of my projection guys always says "a monkey could do this."

Carmen Huttenga There is a compatibility issue with PowerPoint and MediaShout. It is best to save files as jpeg interchange files and import them into MediaShout that way. That is what has worked best for us. Microsoft did an update that wasn't compatible with MediaShout. Last I knew MediaShout was working on a patch. I don't know the status of that. I do know the jpeg works great for us.

Richard Bodini As well, if you run a PPT file outside of EasyWorship while the program is still running, when you return to EW, it has a tendency to crash. So you have to restart the program. That was happening every week after my sermon PPT. So I had them put it into the program... and they now switch the slides when I Q them instead of my doing it throuhg my phone. Problem has been solved.... for now.

Carmen Huttenga EasyWorship was constantly crashing for us which led to our change.

John Medendorp We use ProPresenter...but you really need a mac to use it...and you really need a pro to run it...building slides for Sunday worship is a 2-5 hour job per week on its own.

 

 

Sandy Swartzentruber September 21, 2017

It's very different, Shaun. The Big Question incorporates faith formation practices into the study. You can view a sample of The Big Question here--look for the red "view sample" button. 

Shaun Jung September 21, 2017

How different is this new material from the previous QWA (Questions Worth Asking)? Anyone know? 

MJill H September 20, 2017

Do you mean you want to teach these women to pray together in pairs or small groups?
Do they pray out loud, in group, at the present time? 
 

(Prayer)
Ron deVries September 20, 2017

Thanks for sharing this Austin

Nikki Huttenga September 20, 2017

Thanks for that feedback! Yes, we have updated the header of this article to indicate that this insurance program is only for US churches. I apologize for the confusion. 

Disability Concerns September 20, 2017

Jenny, thanks for the question. We'll get the info to you privately. Mark

Clerk Classis Hamilton September 19, 2017

Would it help in these types of posts that this insurance program applies only to churches in the USA?

Jenny VanderMeer September 18, 2017

Could you tell me if there is a Disability Advocate close to my home church. Hope Fellowship Courtice Ontario.

Michele Gyselinck September 16, 2017

I can relate.  I've had people do that to me too, and I don't have a speech problem.  But I do have a disability, schizophrenia, and at one time, when I was taking a certain kind of anti-psychotics I guess I tended to look a bit wooden.  It's amazing how easily people tend to assume that because one has a disability, one is also--necessarily--intellectually deficient as well.  As if intellectual deficiency were an inevitable dimension of all disabilities. 

posted in : Indispensable
Doug Vande Griend September 15, 2017

I would agree that pornography is a "global injustice," as this article suggests.  On the other hand, it is a bit rich for OSJ (which operates Do Justice) to be taking this position.

Let me explain.

Not long ago, and still now but to a lesser extent, there was a great differential in the US political world as to the subject of pornography.  Political liberals (Democrats) considered it a civil liberty, conservatives (Republicans, sans Libertarians) a plague on society that both state and federal governments should restrict by law for the sake of the "common good" as well as for the sake of the good of individuals.

I know because my personal history includes working for and with (Christian) public interest legal groups as to this very issue.

By 2017, the legal battle against pornography has been largely lost by the political conservatives that fought it.  Again, I know because I was there as it happened.  Liberals have won on this issue (on the issue of abortion too, and those issue were legally and politically intertwined).

In the meantime, while this battle was going on, the CRCNA decided to get politically active, and in so doing, to largely align with the "political side" that had regarded pornography as a civil right, not to be regulated by government, and against the political/legal side that fought against pornography.

So here we are.  Complaining that pornography is a "global injustice" (I would add the well worn descriptor, "structural injustice"), but only after the battles are over and the war is lost.

Brenda Kronemeijer Heyink September 15, 2017

For our graduate student group, we tend to rotate between a study based on a book (that people can read but don't have to) or on a book of the Bible. Both of those require a bit more preparation from the person leading in terms of getting good questions prepared. I'd be happy to pass on to you some of the materials we've used if you'd find that helpful.

We've also used Tim Keller's video series "The Reason for God" (2009, Zondervan), which worked fairly well. The videos are dialogue based with Tim having a conversation about some of the common objections to Christianity, like "Isn't the Bible a myth? What about other religions? What are Christians such hypocrites? and more. 

Several others I know have found the series "for the life of the world: http://www.letterstotheexiles.com/" to be a great resource working with college age folks and other young adults. If you're interested, I'd be happy to mail both video series (a set of DVDs) to you (or anyone else on this forum who is interested - I also have the whole Rob Bell Nooma series), as they no longer fit how we do studies and I'd be delighted if someone else would benefit from them.

Simon Veenstra September 14, 2017

Firstly, I think it's great that you're even asking this question. 
I have already commented with a recommendation on the Network's Facebook post (https://www.facebook.com/CRCNetwork/posts/1434502846645348) as to where you can find some good video series.   I also think that the comments already made here previously are quite helpful as well.  However, just asking out of curiosity, in "organizing something for this age group", are there actually people from that 18-30ish age group participating in organizing this group or is it just "older" members from the church, outside of that "young adult" range?

Mavis Moon September 14, 2017

Update: I just read an article on an app that CRCNA is putting  out, and I'm trying it now on my phone. I am going to ask our secretary about using that app rather than Planning Center for our directory. I need to find out more about how it might work with tracking our offerings. Link:  https://www.crcna.org/news-and-views/crcna-offers-social-media-tool-brid...

Bonnie Nicholas September 14, 2017

Thanks for posting this. We need to hear and understand these words so that we, as the church, can respond appropriately to those who have experienced abuse and to those who perpetrate it. 

posted in : Abusers Among Us
Jonathan Westra September 14, 2017

We switched from Easy Worship to Proclaim.   We liked how we could all build the service throughout the week from our home computers.   We felt that Proclaim helped out small church feel like a big church.  I believe we pay in theneighborhood of $200 a year. 

Virgil Michael September 14, 2017

I love your closing sentence, Eric. I have felt guilty for being born white at different times in life. One of the worst was when we were in CRC sensitivity training for a certain board a decade or so ago. We were in a circle of a couple of dozen folks and given grotesque, gruesome photos of black people being hung from trees or being brutally beaten and bloodied. I hated that. I don't condone that. I didn't do that. I could not identify with that. And if some of my forfathers were involved in that I would truly be sickened. But owning that as my sin and being made to feel guilty for that as a person who has committed such evils served no good purpose. I did not choose my race. I choose how I love and respond to others. Thanks again for your insightful response.

Gary Burge September 14, 2017

Thanks for these notes.  It would be interesting to talk since this experience has really awakened me to these questions.  Email:  gary.burge@calvinseminary.edu.  

 

David and Linda Lundberg September 14, 2017

Thanks, Gary, for your words. We resonated with your experience on looking for a new church. My wife and I experienced the same move as you (from Wheaton to GR) two years ago. It was logical in our search to check out a church from the denomination we had been part of almost our entire adult lives. In brief, we were invisible to the congregation, even to the person at the "welcome desk". So...we checked out a congregation recommended to us by a friend of a friend. It happened to be a congregation of the CRCNA. When we walked in for the first time, it was as if we were being welcomed home. Search over. Now it is our home congregation, blessing us and, hopefully, being blessed by us. Christian (biblical) hospitality seems to be outside the comfort zone of many churches of all stripes. Any wonder that such churches are wondering why they don't grow? Training in this area, for and within churches, is needed. I hope you have been welcomed home. If not, we should talk.     

Matt Timms September 14, 2017

Our Young Adults group (more in the late-20s demographic) does a simplified lectio divina on the passage that was preached the previous Sunday. Basically we ask three questions:

1. What do you see? (Observations, questions, comments on items of interest from the sermon.)

2. What do you hear? (What might be things that the Spirit is particularly bringing to your attention, why might that be?)

3. What are you going to do next? (What's a concrete - or as close to concrete as possible - step you can take to begin to live into this passage more fully.)

We find that having the sermon beforehand helps get discussion going, and the open format allows for us to explore the passage/topics around it as we want. Also, it's been helpful to us because really anyone can facilitate that format as opposed to needing a leader who has to do lots of prep. But some of that could just be because of the dynamic of our group. :)

Fred Bennink September 13, 2017

I only know what we do in our church. The Insurance Co. requires background check every 5 yrs. We are in year 7 or 8 with approx 215 approved volunteers. We renew 30-40 per year which is not difficult or very expensive. All the best to you ...

Joe Kamphuis September 13, 2017

Thank you Keith.   I appreciate your perspective, and am grateful for your shared experience.   We will keep it in mind.   Blessings!

Keith Doornbos September 13, 2017

Greetings Joe,

Twenty years ago I pastored a congregation immediately following an exodus of members to form a new non-denominational ministry.   The congregation requested permission to move from "organized" to "emerging." This decision proved helpful for several reasons.  First, we were partnered with another congregation that provided ministry support.  Second, we were able to form a steering committee from the most gifted members (both men and women) who were specifically focused on revitalization rather than maintenance.  Third, the obligations for ministry beyond our own congregation (i.e. classis and denomination) were significantly reduced.  Finally, it created a new atmosphere of urgency, fresh beginnings, creative thinking, permission for risk taking and the assumption that business as usual would have to embrace change.

 

I'd suggest joyfully embracing emerging status when it becomes clear that resources are limited, ministry focus is necessary and a ministry partner would be beneficial. 

Keith Doornbos

 

 

Safe Church Ministry September 13, 2017

Hello Victoria, 

We were able to find a new link for this resource. You can find it here! I hope this is helpful. We have also updated the previous comment. 

 

Ron deVries September 13, 2017

Through Classis Youth Ministry Champions across north America or you can download the one in this post

Ken VanderLugt September 13, 2017

How was this sent?  I don't recall seeing it yet.

Victoria S September 13, 2017

Hi Eric...I am having trouble with the link you have provided.  Could you check it for me?

Thanks, Victoria

Bonnie Nicholas September 13, 2017

Some churches in Michigan use a free state-wide criminal background check provided by ICHAT (Internet Criminal History Access Tool). It's free for non-profits, including churches, that are registered with the state. Once a church registers, they can do their own state-wide background checks for free. Cost can vary depending on the type of check; if it's a nominal fee, it may be OK to expect volunteers cover it themselves (although a process should allow for those to whom this would cause financial hardship). Some would say that if the church requires it, then the church should pay for it. One way churches can show that they value volunteers is to offer to pay for the background checks for those who are already giving time, energy and other resources in their service to the church. Some, perhaps most, people will also be happy to pay for their own background check, seeing it as a part of their contribution to the church.

Ron deVries September 13, 2017

Thanks Jeanne. Yes it is very exciting

Geri Witt September 13, 2017

Thank you, Fred and Bonnie!

One more question- Fred mentioned that his church can pay for each application. 

If you have background checks in your church ministry, do you pay for them, or do your volunteers pay a percentage? What is typical for churches?

Thanks!

Desiree' Possel September 13, 2017

i know this was posted a while ago, but I have a question - I see a possible issue if the person on the group does not have a google account?  I know you can send/receive email without having a google account to the group, but you can't access the web based parts.  Did you make each member create a google account?  I think with the initial email you receive when you join the group this could cause confusion on the user since it tells them they can't access the group without having an account

Thank you!

Staci Devries September 13, 2017

Hi Ken, 

Sheri has now shared sample bylaws in MS Word format.

Thanks!

Jeanne Kallemeyn September 13, 2017

How exciting!  So thankful that this is a reality.  I trust this will become a valuable resource to many!

Jeanne Kallemeyn

Danielle Steenwyk-Rowaan September 13, 2017

Hey Paul, I gave that article a read and perused some of the writer’s other articles as well. I can’t say I agree with everything he writes, especially his incredulity about structural racism, but I think I see what you’re getting at. It shouldn’t be too surprising to anyone who knows how idolatry works that idolatry takes a good thing and makes it a thing to be worshipped. So, if I’m understanding you correctly, are you saying that antiracism is a good thing that can be made into a competitor for our highest loyalties? I agree; lots of things can be competitors for our loyalties (technology, work, sex, money, environmentalism, nationalism, etc), and yet the answer isn’t often to throw those things out, but to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. So, assuming that you believe antiracism is good and is part of the Church’s call, following our Lord who broke down the dividing wall between Jews and Gentiles, do you see a problem with educating kids about antiracism? (By antiracism I mean learning to truly value the inherent worth, dignity, and contributions of all people and to work to undo the ways that God-given worth isn’t valued in people of colour.)

Eric Van Dyken September 13, 2017

The CRC's approach in this arena is nothing less than simply parroting and following the world's conversation.  It is sad to see the divisiveness promoted by denominational employees in the name of reconciliation.  Coates' writing is filled with thinly veiled hatred.  That the CRC's "race relations" director would affirmatively quote Coates from his latest divisive screed (which he has) is a sad commentary on denominational approach to this conversation.  The notion of "race relations" is an incoherent concept in itself, as races can't have relationships - only people have relationships.  Continuously separating the body of Christ into competing groups with lists of grievances is antithetical to the concept of reconciliation.  Removing a persons individuality and personal culpability (or lack thereof) in favor of identity and group politics is the way of the world, not the way of the unified body of Christ.  Would that we would eschew any and all worldly religions (including the religion of antiracism with all of its corrosive effects) in favor of the simplicity of the gospel.  I refuse to be pitted against people I have never met and told to reconcile with people with whom I am not in a state of enmity. 

Staci Devries September 13, 2017

Thanks Bill. I've updated the link in the body of the post as well. Appreciate it! 

Paul VanderKlay September 12, 2017

The proper response to original sin is to embrace the teachings of Jesus, although one will remain always a sinner nevertheless. The proper response to White Privilege is to embrace the teachings of—well, you can fill in the name or substitute others—with the understanding that you will always harbor the Privilege nevertheless. Note that many embrace the idea of inculcating white kids with their responsibility to acknowledge Privilege from as early an age as possible, in sessions starting as early as elementary school. This, in the Naciremian sense, is Sunday school.

Think of it. A certain class of white person, roughly those who watched 30 Rock and Mad Men, lustily pumps their fists at the writings of a Coates who says that he is surprised that white people—i.e. ones like them—are interested enough in black people and racism to even bother reading his work. Coates is telling these people that they are sinners, in a sense, and they are eagerly drinking in the charge, “revering” him for it. This, ladies and gentlemen, is worship, pure and simple.

from http://www.thedailybeast.com/antiracism-our-flawed-new-religion 

James Dekker September 12, 2017

Thank you. These are helpful suggestions. Just one reminder, though: Using pictures of "real people in real situations" must be done with permission of the persons in those pictures, whether named or not. Many people are rightly aware of how even the best events and reports can be used harmfully. 

Dayna Vreeken September 12, 2017

I've done some stuff with "the bible project." We normally watch a video on the book of the bible, then do an inductive bible study on a passage, and that's worked well.  (https://thebibleproject.com)

Also, we've done some versions of this one. http://www.letterstotheexiles.com

Or really dig into some theology--what do they want to discuss? life issues? usually I find making tailored to them material is better than the quick easy stuff you can find on the internet. but that's just my opinion. 

Joe Kamphuis September 12, 2017

My question relates to when an organized congregation should consider moving from "organized" to "emerging" status, and whether there are advantages to be an "emerging" church as opposed to an "organized" church.   Do you have any thoughts?

Bill Vis September 12, 2017

The earlier link I posted has died. This one works

http://thomrainer.com/2017/08/before-you-fire-your-pastor/

Mavis Moon September 12, 2017

For our replacement of Power Point, our church tried Easy Worship and Pro Presenter by having our "Power Point team" try using them for a couple weeks. We ended up not going with either but instead are using Proclaim. That has turned out to be the easiest to train people on (our team is several people who take turns doing the slides at a service, so no one on that team becomes a "master user"), and the people who create the slides like it, too. 

For planning our services, we use Church Planning Center (https://planning.center/). It's working great for the worship leader and pastor and secretary who update it throughout the week. Our volunteers are doing well on it, too. We started small with just the true worship planning team on it, but now we have accounts for all volunteers - sound, power point, praise band members, accompanists, nursery, hospitality elder, deacon who intros and prays about the offering, everything. The secretary offers personal assistance for those who need it. There are a couple people who don't have email, but not too many.

I'm encouraging our secretary to move toward using Church Planning Center for our membership and offering tracking, too. I think it'll be good to have all that in one system.

Diane Ritzema September 12, 2017

We use EasyWorship (EW). It is simple to use, especially if you stay within the program. We often use powerpoint slides with it, because we find it easier to put litanies or responses in powerpoint, and we have had problems in the past with EW and Powerpoint working well together. But we have kept EW updated, and now everything seems to be working well.  It is very simple to add songs and scripture readings in EW.

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