Here's an easy and shortened link to copy and share the 2016 Form for the Ordination of Elders and Deacons: bit.ly/ElderDeaconOrdination2016 (the link to to the form in the job descriptions brings you to the 1982 Form)
Hi Doug, Thank you for writing this. I can't help but wonder what tasks on prayer that you would put the church membership ? Those not staff, or leadership ?
Thanks for pointing that out to us! I have uploaded a new bulletin insert that has two inserts side by side on an 8 1/2 x 11 paper. Let us know if that is more printer friendly.
Is it possible that it is not prejudice that motivates certain churches to not consider a female candidate but rather faithfulness and integrity to the Word of God and his clearly defined qualifications? This has nothing to do with judgement of value and worth but of roles within the economy of God. Perhaps those churches who have not chosen to consider a female candidate have been pre-judged... and yet, according to what appeal/standard/authority? Our preference, feeling or societal shift? Or God's unshifting Word?
The best thing to do here is for Ben to read the Agenda of Synod 2015, the report on deacons and elders. It has an explanation for all things being proposed and is a much more trustworthy source than the memory of a 71-year-old geyser.
Unfortunately, neither of these formats is printer friendly, at least not for me. The image is blurry when brought to size for a half page 8 1/2 x 11. The PDF prints centered on the page. Suggestions?
Ben Oliveira sends his best. He misses you and your wife, Ina. He has a question, in 74 d, is the reasoning for the wording because there is a concern that elders and deacons would be circumvented? Or, is there another explanation?
Joshua, thank you for sharing this part of your life. My experience was a "near death" situation. I did not do the last service but I probably would be the last full time pastor unless the Lord does a miracle. At some point, the journey felt like being led to the cross to be crucified. Though surrounded by some who cared for me, it felt very lonely. I found comfort in the word of the Lord to the people of Israel "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand" (Isaiah 41:10). May you be comforted too.
Thank you! We are using your book as a resource, in fact, it is a regular resource in our church.
Thanks for posting this, Henry. Appreciate that others on the site who search Article 73 will now be able to find this helpful information!
Good article. I especially appreciated the fact that mental illness was mentioned as an important factor in suicide attempts, particularly when it is under-treated or untreated altogether. Having had suicidal thoughts myself when my illness was not diagnosed, let alone treated, I think it is very important that this issue be addressed by the church with compassion BOTH for those who are contemplating it and those who live with survivor guilt, "Why didn't I see the signs?" Neither would benefit from a condemning attitude.
During our addition we added lines to represent water to a cement block wall that would be covered with brick. Everyone added their fingerprint to remember that we are baptized people. Our youth also traced their handprint and wrote a favorite Bible verse on the floor before the carpet was laid.
James, your description of churches being guilty of prejudice against women as they simply aim to please and obey God in faithfulness to His Word (as recognized by the denomination) is uncharitable.
This is a good reminder, Jul, and I'm pleased it was posted in The Network too. I realize this is not your topic, but it would also be helpful for churches to remember that women pastors and candidates in the CRC continue be endure prejudice. I could name any number of women who have waited for calls or not received them b/c there is still a sizeable number of churches that refuse to consider them for their own theological reasons. Yet I can also point to several instances in which churches have overcome that prejudice and even allowing a woman to preach have experienced blessings that surprised them b/c of the different and refreshing perspective and style from male counterparts.
I was just asked to tell someone when Art. 73 was amended.
You are making a statement of fact, but I do not see where you want to go with it. Can you clarify?
In addition to our current pornography resources, Safe Church recognizes that pornography fuels a HUGE sex industry that enslaves people and destroys lives. It's the theme for Abuse Awareness Sunday 2017 (always the fourth Sunday in September). A flyer (bulletin insert) entitled 'The Sex Industry and the Church' can be ordered free of charge to help increase awareness in CRC congregations, which hopefully will lead us to take action.
Article 73 (and many others) were amended in 2015. You can find the Acts of Synod under Synod Resources from the CRCNA website. Acts 2015, pages 663-668. The amendments were proposed by a Study Committee working on the offices of elder and deacon.
What was my favourite part? ALL OF IT. Really!
In order... Workshop 4 to Cass Community. WOW!!! Powerful work going on that could be replicated in a few ways.
Food and fellowship... great spaces to eat and meet new and old friends. Lots of time to do so.
Reflective, engaging, inspiring worship... thanks Melody and the team.
The space in which we were in... enhanced community.
Thanks for this article Julius. As anecdotal support for your point, I would point to my own CRC church. We've had older pastors whose tenure here was their last before retirement that were spectacular. And now we have a pastor who has been spectacular and a part of our church for 10(?) years or so, despite ours being his first call at a young age.
The attitude, not age, of both pastor and congregation is the key to a healthy congregation. We have certainly been blessed by pastors at both ends of the age spectrum.
Thanks for posting this Monica.
At Inspire 2017 Richard Mouw made reference to a quote from Lewis B. Smedes. Whenever I hear Lewis Smedes' name, it reminds me of a time shortly after the above Banner article was written and he contacted me for two reasons: to ask how his longtime friend Eugene Callendar was doing and for his phone# and also to encourage me as an African American woman pastor serving in the CRC. I graciously received his call, and am grateful that he took time to bless me! I remember some of his words, but most of all I remember how he made me feel!
Beautiful, Jennifer! Thank you!
I appreciate you sharing this. A smaller church needs a pastor to love them. A church that is dying still needs a shepherd. It takes someone of courage and great leadership skills to take a call to such a church for the glory of God. I would hope that churches looking for a pastor would see the amazing leadership and pastoral skills needed to be a pastor of such churches. We have to stop making things so "man-centered." I fear some search committees are about glory be to man.
Can one can do all right leadership stuff and the church can still close?
--the pastor can preach the Gospel every Sunday
--the pastor can show how the Gospel every week changes your life and addresses what you are going through
--the pastor can make changes at the council level so the council actually talks about ministry rather than status quo.
--the church can do Gospel-centered outreach in the community
--the church can do music with quality
--you can do your best to contextualize the Gospel like explained in Center Church by Tim Keller
I am convinced the church can STILL close down. We can't always blame the culture, but the culture is hostile. Read the book How (Not) to be Secular by James Smith. The deck is stacked against the church, and our culture's worldview is more at odds with a biblical worldview than ever.
Maybe the church has shot itself in the foot over and over again—it would be extremely hard for even the most gifted of pastors entering into that situation.
Its not the pastor’s fault or simply lack of leadership skills. Its not even the quality of the preaching all the time.
I hope pastors stop guilting themselves and find the their righteousness is in Christ. What those pastors did for Christ will last for all eternity.
Josh - As one who walks the road less traveled, let me first say Thank you! Those of us who have led a church through the process of closing have much more to offer than many realize. Sadly, there is great fear that somehow those who have participated in the closing of a church are now tainted. The place God has called us to and we willingly walked into is a place that only those who have been there can begin to understand. After Parchment CRC completed its ministry it took me nearly 4 years to receive a call. I gave up counting rejections... some were honest enough to say my participation in the death of a church was the deciding factor.
To those of you who carry this grief, who walk with this fear and wrestle with all that closing the doors of a church entails - the PEACE of Christ to you!
To those of you who know the pain that comes when a church has completed its ministry - Your grief is legitimate, the pain is real, and there is grace sufficient for it even when it doesn't feel like it. My prayer for you is that the God of all comfort will reveal Himself to you in the midst of your grief and give you the hope you need for each moment as you continue to Love God, Love Others, and Build His Kingdom. Thank you for being willing to follow God's call into the most difficult place - the valley of the shadow of death. The awesome thing about our God is that He really does make dry bones come alive. Be still. Wait. Hold one another as the waves of grief ebb and flow... and trust... that the One who called you to this place is faithful. He will make a way where it seems there is no way. It's what He's best at. (-:
Know that prayers are paving the way!
Thanks for your honesty here, Josh. The fear is real for many of us in low-membership congregations as well, and this sheds light on a topic that many, I believe, are afraid to look at. May God bless you as you continue as a Minister of the Word.
Hi Ken, thanks for this. I checked with Sheri and these Bylaws are not available in Word format but she is checking with some other churches to see if they have Bylaws that we could turn into a sample that would be available in Word. Stay tuned!
Our church uses Servant Keeper for our church database/directory and to calculate online giving. It's good for generating reports and keeping track of a lot of stuff, like dates, allergies, membership status, and whatnot.
One question you may want to ask is whether this is something one person is going to use on one computer or if this is something multiple people are going to need to access at different locations. Most church database software programs have local (one computer) or cloud versions or their software that come at different price points.
Do you know what exactly you're trying to do or keep track of with the software?
I was the Ministry Coordinator at CrossRoads when this was developed, and while I don't remember specifics of the results, I thought it was a great tool that ended up providing really helpful feedback. I'm glad to see that it's being shared for others.
Justice is an important biblical principle, and certainly there were miscarriages of justice to Mr Khadr, yet there is also the need for justice to be seen to be applied to those who were risking and giving their lives to protect innocents against terrorism. Mr Khadr's father and family aligned themselves with a terrorist group that targeted innocents as being a legitimate form of warfare. While young, he was still old enough to know right from wrong. It is easy to wipe his affiliation with a terrorist group away, to blame his family, to focus on his age, but why was he in a battle zone if not to participate. Was he treated wrongly? I will agree with this, but has he truly been been held accountable for his presence in a battle zone? I wonder. I realize this is likely not to be a popular view on this site, but if we are going to talk about accountability, it needs to be practiced both ways.
Hi Tricia, thanks for reading this update on Women in Leadership and making a comment. I would love to connect with you to get to know about your journey and also what we can expect in the future regarding women gatherings. My email address is email@example.com. Please send your contact information and I will either call or send an email, whichever you prefer. Please pray for this work. We truly need God's guidance. I look forward to hearing from you!
I'll pray with you!
We are facing with the same difficulties here in Hungary - I want to be your brother in your distress! May Our Lord keep you and your family!
Hi Josh, The loss of your congregation and church is a very real loss. I was a part of the closing of a small Christian school. It was very painful and I too experienced grief in that loss. When I was passed up for teaching position after teaching position I was certain God had just forgotten about me. Very dejected and depressed. I will be praying for you in the challenges you are faced with and for God's presence and guidance to be real to you.
I would love to know of future meetings, events, opportunities when women leaders in the church get together. I am a woman working to heed God's call into ministry, and I know I need the continuing support of other women on the same road I am. Is there an email list being compiled or other plans for women getting together?
Josh, thanks for sharing your deepest thoughts and experience of closing a church. I know your experience is real and honest! Thank you!
Thanks much for sharing. I get some of Joshua's pain. We served a church for 13 years which decided to disband at the end of 2016. That brought grief on multiple levels, even on the question of where we could worship with shalom after the final worship service. I do think the CRC needs to face the reality that more churches are closing. And lumping everything under an article 17 does not help the Pastor. When my article 17 was announced in the online Banner and explained as as a pastor being separated from his ministry, a friend contacted me right away in support because he had assumed something else.
Hi Angela, Feel free to do so! Please just link back to this page and give credit to Faith Alive Christian Resources. Thanks so much for sharing!
These are great ideas. I would like to post this on my church's Faith Formation Website.
Thank you for posting this! It gives some much better insight into the Omar story than what we hear on the news or read in the papers. And I think a huge thank you to Kings for reaching out to this young man, giving him a chance to start again. May mercy and understanding continue!
Thank you for writing this. Your transparency opens the door for powerful conversation. I will be praying for peace in the middle of the unknowns. May God be with you.
Angie, thanks for sharing. Yes, we too are so thankful for the health insurance provided for Dylan; otherwise the horror of that time would have been multiplied. I'm thankful we could focus on Dylan, not on how to pay the bills. Still, it was shattering to make the decision that the most loving thing we could do for our child was to allow him to die. One of the nurses in neo-natal helped us with this by saying, bluntly but accurately, "There are things that are worse than death." I thank God for his sustaining grace through that terrible time and for the support of many loving people.
Life is precious. Thank you for sharing your story of Dylan, Mark, and for your honesty that there are no easy answers in this life. I'm thankful that as Christians we know that God holds all things in his hands - all the complications of health care - and even life and death are in his strong and loving hands.
Thanks for sharing this opening!
Mark, thank you for sharing these very personal reflections about Dylan and the agonizing decisions you and Bev made. I've heard you describe the circumstances before, but reading it now brings a fresh dimension of impact and makes it all so current, even 23 years later.
Thank you, too, for making the connection to Charlie Gard's circumstances, the contrasting approaches to healthcare, and the larger point about what generosity looks like in the context of limited resources. Particularly in light of the political drama still unfolding in the U.S., your prayerful reflections are so helpful in humanizing the challenges, the costs, and the ethics of healthcare.
Thanks for posting this, Mark. Ten months ago, my husband and I had to make the soul-crushing decision to tell the doctors to stop trying to revive our daughter. To this day, I don't know how we had the strength to do that. However, we do take comfort in the fact that just about every medical resource and effort available was used to give our daughter the best chance at life. We always felt that the hospital and its staff valued her life and was committed to helping her thrive. We are also blessed to live in a state that covers the medical expenses of severely premature babies like my daughter. Without that blessing, we would have faced an astronomical hospital bill for her month of life. It breaks my heart that other parents in similar situations aren't blessed with this same level of support and are forced to fight systems that don't value the life of their child in the way they should.
Grace and Peace Community (CRC) in the Northwest Side of Chicago, IL is searching for a part time Children's Pastor.
My heart warmed as I read this article. It is timely and much needed, I think. Thank you for giving us a beautiful look into the Gospel that helps reduce our timidity and "gives us power, love, and self-discipline."
I was a part of a women's small group that met in the suburbs of Chicago. We typically met twice monthly, on Friday evenings. As members of the group experienced location changes or health issues that prevented traveling across the city/suburbs to join us, we became a virtual small group. We meet at the same regularity, but use Google Hangouts to videochat with one another. We share about our lives, study and pray together. We've even had new women join us who have only met the rest of the group through the digital world! It is a true blessing to use technology to the glory of God! We now span Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and Tennessee!
Sheri, thanks for all the helpful posts that you've provided on various CRC web pages. I'm a member of a Michigan CRC congregation. We're in the process of creating both Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws. Under Synod Resources it appears that we can get a running start by filling out the fields in the Michigan Articles of Incorporation Filing Form pdf file, and then append the Attachment to the Articles of Incorporation Filing Form MS-Word document, which can be modified by anyone having MS-Word on their PC (very helpful!). So I think we have a clear path ahead for Articles of Incorporation. But what about Bylaws? The sample on the CRC website is quite long; we've seen another actual set of Bylaws that is both sides of one sheet of paper (three paragraphs). Is the CRC sample available in MS-Word format? That would help a lot! Thanks.