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The following news story recently appeared in the CRC Newroom. It highlights some of the top posts on the Network in 2013.

Top 2013 blog posts on The Network include one on how much we should give to support our church, the love/hate relationship many of us have with the church bulletin, and what roles do pastors, elders and deacons play.

Blogs that had the most pageviews in various sections also include a blog about how social media is increasingly being used as pastors prepare their sermons, and striking a balance between various musical styles in congregational singing.

A blog that drew an especially significant number of pageviews was published in the Pastors section of The Network. It had to do with the murder of Tim Bosma, an Ontario man that drew news coverage from across Canada and beyond.

Here are examples from the other sections.

Sunday School — A Questionnaire for Sunday School Teachers
Here is an easy tool you can use to give voice to your leader's joys and concerns! This simple questionnaire asks teachers to write a few words about their connection with the kids, the things they liked and didn't like about the curriculum, the space they met in, and what was most meaningful for them about teaching.

“This simple questionnaire, adapted from the one in Sunday School That Really Works by Jessie Schut, asks teachers to write a few words about their connection with the kids, the things they liked and didn't like about the curriculum, the space they met in, and what was most meaningful for them about teaching.”

Disability Concerns — In Memory of My Friend, Nella Uitvlugt
“Nella, the director of Friendship Ministries since 1996, Passed away very suddenly this past Thursday. Nella touched many lives, as evidenced by the many tributes already written about her. When death comes so suddenly to a loved one, it feels as if they have been ripped from us, not taken. You don’t see it coming, and you can't believe it really happened.”

Deacons — The Stewardship Series: How Much Should I Give?
“When it comes to financial stewardship many of us would like to have a clear answer to the question ‘How much should I give?’. Unfortunately the Bible does not give us a straight-forward answer which is why there are differing opinions about how much we are supposed to give, resulting in many confused people.”

Church & Web — #helphimjesus
“Increasingly pastors are using Facebook and Twitter to promote conversations about a given sermon before the sermon is preached--soliciting questions or thoughts about the upcoming Sunday's preaching text--or after the sermon as the conversation continues. Some pastors are, of course, doing both. Many of us who were at the consultation had been pastors of congregations in the past and we admitted to each other that it's an odd thought to ponder someone in a pew Tweeting about a sermon even as we are delivering it.”

Church Administration — Ways To Improve Your Church Bulletin
“There’s a good chance you have a love/hate relationship with your church bulletin and my guess is you lean more towards the dislike side. Why? The bulletin is often a dumping ground for information. All sorts of stuff ends up there without too much thought into why it’s there or how it’s presented.”

Worship — Why Don't We Sing In Worship?
“We go through spells on what is good congregational singing and what encourages our particular congregations to sing in worship.  If you are like me, you are always striving to strike a balance between familiar, new, biblical, thematic, liturgical, and pastoral when we plan worship for our congregation.”

Elders — Defining the Roles of the Offices of the Church
“Do people really know what the roles of the pastors, elders and deacons are?  Are they written somewhere obvious so that the first time visitor is able to read them?  Individuals coming out of various church backgrounds, or only childhood experience with a church, or no church experience at all may have no idea what elders, deacons and perhaps less so, pastors are or suppose to do.  In fact in various Christian Church traditions the definition of their roles are different.”

Small Groups — Missional Communities After a Year
One year ago, Ferrysburg Community Church in Spring Lake, Michigan launched a missional community in a neighboring apartment complex. Pastor Nate Visker shares some reflections on what they expected, current reality and what they have learned.

“Just over a year ago our congregation launched its first missional community. We’ve defined a missional community (MC) as a Christ-centered community of 15-50 people sent to announce and demonstrate the kingdom of God in and to a local neighborhood or people group.  We think of them as missionaries sent to a local mission field rather than an overseas mission field.  Our first MC is a group of people from our congregation who felt called by God to announce his kingdom in a nearby apartment community.”

Global Mission — Ideas for Emphasizing Missions in 2013
“In the old days, missionaries would visit every couple of years lugging around slides and a projector. Nowadays, missionaries can email you their newsletter, instantly update their blog, post a video taken with their cell phone online, or even Skype call during a worship service.”

Safe Church — Teaching Boys to Respect Girls: Why It Matters
“Recently, a teen-aged girl in my community took her own life. At the root of the girl’s trauma and desperation was an alleged sexual assault by a group of boys at a party. The assault was photographed and, later, the photo circulated widely on social media.”

Classis — Growing the Church in the Power of the Holy Spirit
“The more I’ve thought about the process of sanctification, the more I’ve come to realize that my understanding of it was shaped in some very problematic ways.That’s resulted in more and more reading in recent years about the journey of becoming more like Jesus.”

Youth — Short Term Missions Trips
“Several other things are essential if you are to go on an effective mission trip. Those going, both youth and adults should be able to articulate why they want to go and how they hope to grow on the trip. It is essential that we go with the right motives. If your idea is “that we are going to fix what’s wrong down there , you probably should not be going.”

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