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A few weeks ago we introduced you to the Connections Project a three-year, grant-funded project to help develop new ways of resourcing congregations for ministry. This week we’d like to introduce you to our three regional teams who are working with congregations in Southern California, Southern Ontario, and the US Midwest.

Southern California Team 

(Serving Classes California South, Greater Los Angeles, Hamni and Ko-Am) 

  • Rev. Ronald Chu serves as both resource catalyzer and resource coach for the Korean churches in Classis Hanmi and Classis Ko-Am. Ron is also the Global Ministry Pastor at Ttokamsa Mission Church in La Habra, CA.
  • Rev. Tomas Ivens serves as both a resource catalyzer and resource coach, focusing on churches in Classis Greater Los Angeles and Classis California South. Tomas is also a local pastor and church planter.
  • Kristen Rietkerk serves as resource coach and works with Tomas in Classis Greater Los Angeles and Classis California South. Kristen is also the Church Mission Catalyst/Church Administrator at Crossroads CRC in San Marcos, CA.

Southern Ontario Team 

(Serving Classes Hamilton, Huron, Niagara and Toronto) 

  • Ken Bosveld serves as the region's resource catalyzer. Ken also works with ServiceLink so his dual role will allow the Connections Project to connect with the resourcing work Servicelink has and will be doing in Canada.
  • Rev. Lesli Van Milligen serves as one of two resource coaches, focusing on churches in Classis Huron and Classis Toronto. She is also Faith Formation Ministries’ regional catalyzer in Ontario.
  • Marian Lensink serves as the region’s other resource coach, focusing on Classis Hamilton and Classis Niagara. Marian is also Classis Hamilton’s Mission Director.

US Midwest Team 

Serving Classes Central Plains, Lake Superior, Northcentral Iowa and Wisconsin)

  • Trudy Ash serves as the resource catalyst for the entire region. She also serves as Ministry Coordinator at the Christian Reformed Church of Pease.
  • Carol Veldman Rudie serves as one of the region’s resource coaches, focusing on churches in Classis Lake Superior. Carol is a writer, editor, and educator and has a rich history of being involved in promoting church health in Classis Lake Superior.
  • Rev. Larry Meyer serves as a resource coach, focusing on Classis Wisconsin. Larry is currently a Specialized Transitional Minister and has served as pastor for multiple congregations over the years.
  • Rev. Joel DeBoer serves as a resource coach, focusing on Classis Central Plains and Classis Northcentral Iowa. Joel is currently the pastor at the Crossroads Ministries, a Christian Reformed Church in Britt, IA.

What’s the difference between Connections Project resource catalyzers and resource coaches?

Resource catalyzers are networkers look to build relationships with congregational and regional leaders so they can keep up-to-date on the latest resources and resourcing needs in the region. They are also the principle organizers of yearly learning events and help facilitate the formation of regional learning cohorts.

Resource coaches are the ones who walk alongside congregations and regional learning cohorts to help them connect with ministry resources that will best fit their needs and context. They are skilled listeners who can help curate and contextualize the many resources that are available to churches.

The three Connections Project teams have already been reaching out to congregational and regional leaders in their regions to introduce themselves. Each team has the freedom to shape their strategies and messages so that they fit the needs and currents of the region they are working in. We hope this “build it from the ground up” approach not only serves the churches in each region well, but also allows us to develop resourcing and congregational support models that can be shared with other regions within the denomination.

What are some of the outcomes you hope to see from the Connections Project? Are there certain topics or issues you’d like to see us share about more broadly than just the three Connections Project regions?

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