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My Ordination Story

I was ordained as a ministry associate from 2006-2008. I served Covenant CRC, St. Catharines as a Ministry Director from September 4, 1999 to June 20, 2008. I sustained my classical examination at Classis Niagara in May 2006 and was official ordained in a Sunday morning worship service on June 25, 2006. June 20, 2008 was my last day serving in ministry at Covenant Church as I resigned from my ministry position there without yet knowing where He was calling me to serve Him next.

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'Mission' ?

What is the first image that comes into your mind when you hear the word "Mission?"Do you picture a rescue mission for homeless people in a decaying neighborhood, or a 19th century missionary in a pith helmet and khaki shorts?  Perhaps you think of a mission statement which your church labored to produce and now is struggling to implement (or has forgotten about).

Global Mission
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Counter-Cultural Leadership

Henry Nouwen once argued that the three greatest temptations for Christian leaders are to be a) relevant, b) spectacular, and c) powerful (In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership, Crossroads, 1987). 

Worship
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How in the World Do I Start a Blogpost?

I have never written a blogpost before and had to be told what it was. I'm still not sure. But what I am sure about is that I believe this idea of "Network" is a pretty good one. So I'll learn what it takes to be a guide for this "Pastors" section. I won't be alone, I hope. I am looking forward to other colleagues, interested persons, perhaps aspiring pastors to help make this little website helpful, informative and participatory for our callings as pastors.

Pastors
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Owning Baptism

How do you and your congregation decide when to say “yes” to out-of-ordinary requests for baptism? Recently a family who live in another country requested our elders to baptize their eight-month old baby.

Pastors
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Drama With Kids

Some of my favorite Sunday school story times are ones that allow kids to take center stage. When a story engages our imaginations, it sticks with us long after the lesson. There are three things I keep in mind each time I tell a story with partners.

Children's Ministry
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Mark Charles and Multicultural Learning in Siberia

I have learned a lot from Mark Charles. Mark is a veteran blogger and a long-time CRC member, who writes very thoughtful pieces on cross-cultural exchanges, especially for members of the church, from his home in Window Rock, Arizona. This piece is the fruit of Mark’s trip to Siberia for a gathering about culturally relevant worship practices. I especially like Mark’s honesty about the unsettling quality of encountering worship practices that are new to us.

Worship
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Intergenerational Involvement in Five Verses Per Sunday

What if you could find five people in your congregation, perhaps each representing a different decade (one child, one teen, one thirty-something, one fifty-something, one-eighty something)to tell you what single Psalm verse best expresses the praise and thanks that they personally long to offer God.   The results are likely to be inspiring. Someone might choose a verse from Psalm 150, another a verse from Psalm 30, another a verse from Psalm 63. 

Worship
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On Our Side

Meditating on Luke 9:50 this morning. Jesus said, “Whoever is not against you is for you.” Sometimes advocacy gets wearisome. It seems like one has to keep pushing constantly to see movement in inclusion of people with disabilities in churches, society, and other people’s lives. My temptation over time is to see most people as being against the work that Disability Concerns stands for. But Jesus pulls me up short on that temptation. “No,” he says, “Whoever is not against you is for you.” That turns the tide. Since most people are not against inclusion, they must be for it.

Disability Concerns
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Let justice roll

On October 7, Speaker of the US House, Nancy Pelosi, spoke at a ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda when a statue of Helen Keller was unveiled. Among other things, Pelosi said, “As Helen Keller said: 'My sympathies are with all who struggle for justice.' In her lifetime, Helen Keller worked for opportunity for people with disabilities, for racial equality, and for the rights of women.”

Disability Concerns
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Do You Love Me?

It is the question Jesus asked Peter. It is the question every member asks the elder.  
When we become an elder, the tasks of the office loom before us. We will have to attend meetings, engage in church management, arrange visits with members, and take on leadership responsibilities. If you are a first time elder, these responsibilities can be overwhelming.

Elders
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Just-in-Time Learning

In our just in time culture, just in time learning has come to work of elders. Very few churches have a program of preparation in which people are enrolled prior to their call to be an elder. Which means most elders start the work of eldership feeling unprepared for the challenge of the work. Learning needs to happen on many fronts. Just by reading this, you are seeking information and encouragement for the challenges you face.

Elders
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Youth Ministers: Elders in Disguise?

Each church within the CRC denomination has a different approach on how a Youth Worker/Pastor/Director reports to his or her superior. Take a look at this insightful article by Dr. Syd Hielema as he shares his experience when he was a Youth Pastor at Newmarket CRC.

Youth Ministry
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Local and Global

You may have noticed an exchange in the "How is it?" suggestions section about the absence of local mission from this site. If not, I hope you take a look and offer your thoughts. At the risk of oversimplification I'll venture a few thoughts on the relation of local and global mission as a former pastor and a former missionary...

Global Mission
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Neither Pity Nor Reverence

Most people with disabilities that I know don't want to be pitied. But neither do they want to be reverenced as if they were paragons of virtue or models of triumph of the human spirit. Way too many journalists who feature stories about people living with disabilities frame their stories in the "reverence" light. "Here's Joe who lives with X disability, but look at all he has done! What determination. What spirit. What an example for all of us!" If I lived with a disability...

Disability Concerns
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A Spoon Full of Sugar

I appreciate Mary Poppin's spoon full of sugar adage, and invoke it often. For me, organizing is the medicine of ministry. Making sure that the supply cabinet is stocked and the substitute gets the lesson in time is not my cup of tea.

Children's Ministry
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On Good Questions

So I began to wonder what have been some of the best questions in the context of the elder’s work in the congregation. Leading the congregation in good conversations that create fresh consideration of the way we seek to live our lives faithful to God is vital to our call.

Elders
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Calendar Check

It's February and between snow days and special events your Sunday school might be lagging a behind schedule. Take a minute to look over the scope and sequence of the material you're using to determine where you are and where you’d like to be.

Children's Ministry
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On Reading Mel Lawrenz Whole Church: Book Reflection

In church council we are always concerned about vision in the life of the church. We are also concerned about building unity in our common life. This book addresses both. His vision is summarized as “engaging God, God’s people, community, and mission to the world”.

Elders
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Both And

The appearance of this site created some interesting conversation about the relation of global and local mission. Some use global as a synonym for international. This site was developed with this understanding, but change is coming.

Global Mission
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Lessons Learned from Google Buzz

The privacy concerns that accompanied the announcement of Google Buzz illustrate the importance of scrutinizing every option, feature, and aspect with a rollout on your website. Even though your church won't announce anything that will be as widely used or talked about as Google Buzz, there is a lesson to be learned.

Church Communications
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Worship That's Out of this World

A few weeks ago I was at a choir concert where the Magnificat from Arvo Pärt was performed (listen here). An absolutely stunning piece with the music washing over you and bringing you into the presence of the holy.

Worship

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