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Blog
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When You Don't Know What to Do

What do you do when you don't know what to do? Shaken Haiti has been asking that for weeks. We ask ourselves that, as we respond to blows and shocks. Suddenly a contract you thought was sure falls through. You believe someone favoured a competitor's bid. You count on a scholarship, but a poorer student gets it instead. You suspect a teacher wrote you a weak recommendation.

Pastors
Blog
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What Kind of Help Helps?

I once had a boss who was in the habit of copying a page or two out of a book, and then giving it to me, saying, "Here, I think you'll find this helpful". He left me to imagine what situation or behavior of mine he was trying to help!

Deacons
Blog
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Pastors as Career Counselors?

Lots of things that pastors do are not included in any job description. For example, did you know how often you might be asked to be a career counselor? This sort of thing happens to me much more often than I would ever have thought. The questions I field about jobs usually don’t have to do with how much money a given job will pay. Instead the issues go deeper.

Pastors
Blog
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Holy Creativity

I read today about Sir James Dyson’s newest product, the air multiplier, which blows a lot of air at constant rate without any visible moving blades. It’s just a big hoop atop a base. It sounds amazing. Dyson and his company have made their living by thinking outside the box about commonplace things.

Disability Concerns
Blog
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Kid's Art as Worship

Last week I met with Liz Tolkamp, the children's pastor at Willoughby Christian Reformed Church. She's always looking for ways to help kids engage in the worship service and be part of the broader church community.

Children's Ministry
Blog
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Guest blog: Inclusion and Excuses

With Rich Dixon's permission, I've copied an entry from his blog, Bouncing Back. In it, Rich applies an excuse analysis to physical accessibility of church buildings. The same analysis could be used to consider accessibility and inclusion in church communications, language used in worship and other settings, educational programming, youth group, small groups, outreach activities, work projects, and all other church related activities.

Disability Concerns
Blog
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Reliability and Spiritual Life

I started looking for a new car. It is an interesting journey. One question I ask involved reliability. I want to drive the vehicle for a long time. This means I am looking not only at first impressions or even cheapest price; I want the vehicle that has long haul credibility. I will accept fewer luxuries to gain greater reliability. Reliability is a quality of the Christian life...

Elders
Blog
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A Deacon Reflects

The Christian Reformed Church down the street sat silent, waiting. The deacons were coming. Tomorrow they would come. They would meet. They would turn on lights; they would talk and drink coffee. They would follow the agenda. They would turn out the lights and ...

Deacons
Blog
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I Have a Dream for the Church

In my wildest dream for the church, I dream of the day that churches are so welcoming, so eager to have people with disabilities use their gifts, that the percentage of people with disabilities in the church is greater than the percentage of people with disabilities in the population at large.

Disability Concerns
Blog
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Gone Fishing

One Saturday last July my son-in-law Jason and I took a bike ride outside Ottawa. The country road was mostly flat, almost without traffic. As we were beating up that morning’s only serious hill, out of nowhere a Dodge Ram pick-up blasted by well over the 80 km/h limit, nearly clipping my handlebars and, arguably, shortening my life expectancy by several hours.

Pastors
Blog
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Not What It Always Seems To Be

My van looks better on the outside than it did on the inside. This got me thinking about some of the youth that I worked with. They said the right things and some even did Profession of Faith. But in all reality, their faith in Jesus Christ was not as good as what the outside made it appear.

Youth Ministry
Blog
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Afterglow

Another Sunday school season has gone by. It’s time to breathe a sigh of relief and whisper a prayer of thanksgiving for God’s continued faithfulness. Pour yourself a tall glass of cold lemonade to sip as you savor Sunday school memories.

Children's Ministry
Blog
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Jamie Smith on Repentance and Assurance

Jamie Smith recently gave a lecture in which he said that repentance and assurance in worship are remarkable formative practices that are indispensable to the Christian life. He noted that on Oprah, we can find a form of assurance ("you're o.k.," "just be yourself"), while our shopping mall elicits shame or anxiety in all of us ("none of us measure up to the standards of the good life projected there.")

Worship
Blog
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Deacons By the Thousands

How many deacons are there? Several thousand? I just can’t get this picture out of my mind – what a powerful resource to lead the CRC into a time of new energy and effectiveness!

Deacons
Blog
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Sharing Faith Stories With Kids

Two thumbs to Holly Gort, director of education at South Grandville CRC, for sharing this excellent idea! Holly’s plan is to offer a two-part workshop that will help adults and teens share their faith stories with younger members of the congregation.

Children's Ministry
Blog
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Who Attends Youth Group?

In the city where I live, there are four Christian Reformed congregations, several other more conservative Reformed congregations, plus a host of mainline and community churches. Over the last few years, our youth groups have seen a fluctuating attendance. We don't always know who are "members".

Pastors
Blog
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Spirit and Desire

What do you want? It is a simple question. But the answers touch on many complex matters of the human heart. Dealing with human desire is one of the common features of spirituality in many religious traditions. Each one agrees on this: getting what we want often leads us astray.

Elders
Blog
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Partner With Parents

Our 27.5 hours of Sunday school a year can’t compare to the time parents and caregivers have to invest in their own kids. So what can do to encourage these busy sleep-deprived saints that raise the kids we see in Sunday school?

Children's Ministry
Blog
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Taking Care of the Pastor

Spring is slowly awakening my garden. We don’t plant much food. A little lettuce. Some beans. Still it is nourishment. In order for us to get the nourishment from this small plot, we need to tend the plot, ensure adequate water, and get rid of the weeds. It is neither instant nor effortless.
Often times the image of feeding is used to speak about preaching...

Elders
Blog
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Using TheCommon.org to Connect Needs and Abilities in Your Church

Part of living in community is sharing needs, and abilities. As part of a church community, you probably share these needs and abilities through bulletin announcements, or someone tracking and matching up people to help. While this can be effective for some churches, it can limit the potential of helping each other by limiting it to only dire needs. 

Church Communications

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