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Hello! My name is Gwyneth Zylstra and thanks to funding from Classis Quinte Home Missions I am looking forward to being busy on the Network for the next several months- especially in the area of Leadership Development, Discipleship and Mission resources. I will be sharing the materials I've gathered, encourage others to do the same, and will work to keep them all organized so it's easy for us all to find what you need. You may be thinking “That’s great for you, but why should I want to know about it?” or maybe even “Why is a classical Home Missions team funding a position like this?” Well, stay tuned and I hope you’ll have the answer to both. 

This position came about as a result of a ‘dream’ that was shared by Martin Spoelstra, Team Leader for the Mission Activators of Classis Quinte-West, for whom I am the Mission Developer. Martin was lamenting aloud  about the difficulty pastors and ministry leaders have in connecting with appropriate resources for their context and desired content. Many hours are spent by many different individuals searching and researching resources on a long list of varied ministry-related topics. Wouldn't it be great if there was a central location where resources were gathered and catalogued digitally so that this resource discovery process would be much more efficient, effective, collaborative and community-oriented? That lament turned into a conversation that turned into a letter expressing the ‘dream’ to both Faith Alive and the Network. What a pleasant surprise when Jonathan Wilson of the Network let us know that they were ‘discussing our idea’ and wanted to hear more from us about what this might look like. And as they say, the rest is history…

The new format of the Network allows any individual to post resources, categorize them according to their type and topic(s), add details about how they have used the resource in their context, post supplementary material, and engage in dialogue with others who are interested in the resource as well. As the library of resources grow, the dream that there would be a central place where anyone could try to find a small group, 8-10wk DVD study on stewardship, for example, and connect with someone experienced with the material, might become a reality! 

And what about the connection to Classis Quinte Home Missions work? Well this is how we see it: 

“By partnering with the CRCNA’s Network in the development of a user-friendly, highly searchable, interactive, online resource library, specifically on the topic of Leadership Development, Discipleship and Mission, the pastors and ministry leaders of Classis Quinte will be able to efficiently filter through a wealth of materials, that include detailed descriptions, comments by users, supplementary materials, forums for dialogue and more.  In addition pastors and ministry leaders will be able to submit and comment on resources they have used and developed. The desired outcome is that in community, and with the help of technology, pastors and ministry leaders will feel more equipped and supported as they seek to develop leaders who are equipped for the mission of God.”

It is a wonderfully pleasant side-benefit that this resource-inputting task, funded by Classis Quinte Home Missions, will have benefit far beyond its borders into the larger body of God’s children as they seek to see His kingdom come ‘on earth as it is in heaven’. I will be inputting the long list of resources from my own Mission Developer library, specific to Leadership Development, Discipleship and Mission, as well as ensuring that any new resources added on these topics are appropriately tagged and organized for maximum benefit to you, the Network users. I will also be actively promoting the Network as a central location for resources, and training the pastors and ministry leaders in Classis Quinte in how to maximize their use of the Network’s resource libraries. 

Ultimately, the success of the Network becoming a host for a ‘central resource library’ depends largely on the participation of Network users. By taking the time to input the resources you have found valuable, you will save more of the efforts and energies of your fellow brothers and sisters for the kingdom work they feel called to and not for countless hours of research and review reading. I will be working diligently to spread this message throughout the churches in my own classis. Will you enlist the cooperation of the pastors and ministry leaders in your context to get involved in making this incredibly valuable tool a reality? The potential for impact stretches well beyond the individuals looking for resources to all those who will learn from them and then those who learn from them…ya’ know, disciples who make disciples!

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