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It would be helpful to have an about us/purpose page or something explaining the mission/goal. In order to find something, I had to search and find this form with the link to the email sent to churchs. 

Also, perhaps including an article in the Banner about "The Network"

posted in: Network use


I'm glad you are longer thwarted by the captcha. I look forward to more captchavating captivating posts from you.

It's all good now...I'm not blocked or anything, which means that your network is obviously not very discriminating and should probably have higher standards.


Are you still having trouble making comments or creating a new forum topic?

Checking some of your recent comments it looks like a number of them posted after you wrote this post in Support and Suggestions.  Are you still having trouble? 

Let us know,


Thanks. I love the idea of having Network users - especially you "Community Builders" - represent The Network at classes! Much more do-able then sending staff, and they'd probably listen to a local person more :-)

We'll be getting to work on updating that video soon. In the meantime, if you do have opportunity to speak to classes about The Network, grab it. Video or not, I've done many presentations where I just took people on a live tour of the stuff I find interesting about The Network (show the various sections, look at the Top 10 list, show some of the cool features, create an account for someone in the audience to show how easy it is).

So if you have an opportunity to do your own personalized tour, go for it! And, even beyond the video, let us know how else we can assist you (e.g. Network mug to give away? something else?).

posted in: Network use

I think the Classis suggestion is a good one, and maybe in addition to the letter suggesting it to churches, a letter could be sent to the Clerks of Classes with a copy of the updated presentation on CD/DVD. Perhaps you could even find some network users from around the country to be the face of the network at Classis if travel is cost-prohibitive?

posted in: Network use

Thanks for your interest and enthusiasm, Fred.

You're absolutely right...we need to spread the word even more. Last week we sent this email to every Christian Reformed Church, asking them to forward it to their congregation. Hopefully they do, and maybe a 'nudge' from someone in the church would help!

Show and tell really helps...and we'd love to visit churches and classes. We've discussed the latter but the tough part is staffing and expenses. This online Network has a modest budget and no full time staff. We're hoping the word can spread from person to person within churches and between churches. In other word, we're counting on YOU and people like you to help!

Here are some other tips for spreading the word in your church. And we're hoping to soon update this video tour so people can show it in councils, classes, or wherever ministry leaders are gathered.

The momentum is growing. We're getting about 15,000 pageviews per week - a 50% increase in just the past month. But the potential is still so much more - most people involved in local church ministries haven't yet joined The Network.

Other ideas? What else can we do to get more people connecting on The Network?

posted in: Network use

Hi Fred, that is a great suggestion. we need to get the word out.


posted in: Network use


Thank you for the kind works.  Your comments definately gave a boost to the Network staff and volunteers.

posted in: THANK YOU!


The Network Quiz winners have been announced.  If you didn't win we have 2 more contests left and it looks like you are entered in both?  Thanks for joining The Network and being a Community Builder.

posted in: Network Quiz

Thanks for letting us know Katrina.  We'll contact you via your first account about combining the accounts.


I entered :)  I hope I got all the answers correct - there was one that was a bit tricky.

posted in: Network Quiz

Hello Brenda, I like it too. I see God has giving you the gift of encouragement. Our leaders need this encouragement to help weather the storms. Your gift is one of the silver linings that God grants us who suffer in humility with chronic illness. See Brenda how valuable you are to us layman and leaders.

God bless you my sister in Christ,


posted in: THANK YOU!

Wow, Brenda. Thank YOU for posting such kind words.

It's been quite a year. The online Network actually doesn't have any full time staff...just a few of us part-timers that, combined, probably make up about one position. How's that possible?

Because of YOU and others like you that post questions, comments, and interact with each other. And because of our volunteer guides and hosts who lend their time and expertise by writing blogs, articles, responding to questions, and more.

Like Wikipedia, YouTube, Facebook, and many smaller examples of social sites...the value of The Network is created by the community!

So thanks to everyone for participating. 

By the way, yesterday we broke another record for traffic to the site. Not bad for mid-February. Keep spreading the word so more and more people can join the conversation! There are so many people in our churches who still don't know how they can benefit from connecting with each other on The Network.

posted in: THANK YOU!


Did you get it to work now? I just tested it and it seems to be working OK.

One thing don't need to logout. What you want to do is:

  • click the "delete picture" checkbox
  • save (at the bottom of the page)
  • confirm that your photo is gone
  • then designate the new photo and "save"

That should work. If it doesn't, try the same sequence in a different browser (e.g. Firefox, Chrome).

Let me know if that does the trick.


I'd like to change my current picture.  I delete it at the "edit" tab, logout and yes, it's gone.  But when I browse upon a new login and choose the picture I'd like to add, it returns to the earlier picture instead of displaying the new.  Can you help?

So far, only 12 people have entered The Network Quiz. We didn't  make it too hard did we? We are hoping for some more entries so come on everybody (you too Randy) enter now.  Do you need a reason to enter?  I'll give you 3.

  1. You'll learn about The Network
  2. You be entered to win a limited edition Network mug
  3. You don't have to compete against them:

Jeopardy contestants Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter, and Watson

posted in: Network Quiz

Hmmm...option one is unethical, sneaky, deceptive, dishonest, fattening, politically incorrect and probably contrary to church order, so I'm really tempted to go with that one.

Number two is a better idea. I know we have a few more Network members than two here in Neerlandia (where we also barely have internet (we connect by smoke signals to our ISP, so wherever Crossroads is, we have it worse than they do). The temperature is currently -30, and the official boundary line of human civilization is one mile south of where we live. A trip to the city (Edmonton) is a good hundred miles on the way there, and a hundred and fifty on the way back, uphill on ice roads both ways, with moose hyped up on meth constantly running crossing the road tyring to commit suicide by minivan. We take our lives in our hands every time we need to go to Starbucks or Eddie Bauer. And we never complain about it because our grandparents who went through the war had it a thousand times worse, because they had to go church about fifteen times on the days surrounding Christmas, which is the real reason the Germans left Holland.

I know of at least two other Neerlandians who are on the Network (ecclesiastical spies, actually), who probably haven't completed their profiles (bad weather has been interfering with the high speed smoke signal connection and also with the sled dog mail service). I would expect that number to rise!

Glory, glory Hallelujah!....

posted in: Network Quiz

Thanks JCarpenter for letting me know.  I believe they have been corrected.  One silver lining is that errors prompted your very first comment on The Network.  As a result, you are now entered in our Comment of the Day contest.  You can increase your chances of winning today or another day this week by commenting on another topic, blog post or you can tell us what you think about the look of The Network. :-)


Well, that's such a good response that I'm almost tempted to send you a free mug. ALMOST.

Tell you what, Randy. Two options for getting your very own mug:

  1. Ask someone in your church to do the quiz and steal their answers (call it a "group project"...that sounds better).
  2. Get Neerlandia CRC members to sign up for The Network. If you can increase Neerlandia CRC's member count from 2 (seriously?) to 10 in the next couple of weeks...a mug is yours. You'll look so cool sporting that mug during after-church coffee. Though you may need to take turns with the others who help you win it.

There you go...two options for getting a free Network mug without having to cause someone else to steal for you.

Last time we did something like this, Crossroads CRC got up to 26 members. And they barely get even get the internet where they are.

Is Neerlandia CRC up to the challenge? I guess we'll find out....

posted in: Network Quiz

I'm devastated. I can no longer self-differentiate or act as a non-anxious presence because of this. You don't think I've earned it? Slaving away in the trenches of reading boring commentaries and visiting dysfunctional families and going to endless committee meetings? Have you ever been to a classis meeting? Let me tell you, I've earned it ten times over (background music: Battle Hymn of the Republic, to reinforce the heroic-martyr image).

Fine. I'll find someone in Jerusalem to acquire one secretly and surreptitiously from the hidden bunker at 2850. :p

posted in: Network Quiz

"launches  it's new look for it's 1st birthday"    ---now including misspellings!    :?)

It's fixed now. You can add your photo on the "edit" tab of your profile. Thanks again for letting us know, Trena.

Thanks for alerting us, Trena. Something broke! Our developer is checking on it right now.

Some things money can't buy...and a Network mug is one of them. You've gotta earn it.. :-)

posted in: Network Quiz

Jonathan, I appreciate your work for the Network community.

Welcome, Jonathan!  :0)

Greetings, all who are following this thread.

I wanted to let you know that our new spam-prevention tool just went live in the past hour. So hopefully you'll see fewer Captchas as you post on The Network. The new system analyzes the content being posted to determine the likelihood of spam, and then only displays the captcha if it thinks it necessary.

We'll be keeping a close eye on it in the next 24-48 hours to make sure it's all working correctly. If you see any problems, feel free to email us at  Thanks for helping us continue to improve the Network's accessibility and user experience.



It is our pleasure to help people in local church ministry connect with resources and others to help them in their ministry work.  Thank you for joining and being a part of The Network.


Thanks for all your work developing "The Network".   Had signed up a while back but hadn't had a chance to look at all that has happened since then.  Nice to see it is growing.


Thanks Micheal, Blessings on you and your family during this season and every season.


John, thanks for your response. I'll check out the Intergenerational worship posts and also reach out to Chad. I think there are a couple of things that have led us to think more about reintroduction of hymns in particular, and also (for me) the organ. Firstly, we have always missed the richness of the words of the best hymns. Secondly, the contemporary worship movement has increasingly embraced hymns (writers like Christ Tomlin have gone further, by adding some very effective additional choruses or bridges - The Wonderful Cross for example, or more recently Joy To The World), With regard to the organ, it is simply a powerful, versatile and impactful instrument when used in the right way at the right time. This isn't a matter of hymns vs contemporary songs - it is a matter as with any instrument of determining where it adds value and where it doesn't. The addition of the organ at this point is my thought and needs to be discussed with others before we go anywhere with it. But the gradual reintroduction of hymns in a way that doesn't interfere with our musical abilities, flow, general service style, etc is something I think we've made some good progress with.

Hi Graham, nobody seems interested in "going back" it seems, we are going the other way from yours, so I can't really help you, however, Chad Meeuwse wrote a letter above, he has some interesting ideas there, he is from Modesto Ca. I don't know if that is close to you or not, I am sure he can give you some good advice. We are working to go to Intergenerational from blended, which is great, all ages involved in the planning and participation in the services. The idea behind it is that we do not use hymns or organ because some people like it, or to try to keep them happy, but because they fit with the theme of the Worship that day. What I am a bit unsure of is if this also goes for the contemporary side. Also, go to the Worship Forum, there is a post about Intergenerational services, it may be of help to you. One question, where did the desire to reintroduce the hymns, and the use of the organ come from, is there some support for it? Blessings on your effort, John.

We moved away from regular use of the organ about 15 years ago, adopting an entirely "contemporary" style. Now we have found ourselves reintroducing a number of hymns, though still presented with praise band instrumentation and style. I've found myself increasingly wondering how we might integrate at least occasional use of the organ in some of our songs. I'm not an organist, although we have one keyboard player who plays the organ (we still use it for weddings). I'd be interested to hear from any others who have gone the whole way to contemporary worship and then backed up and reintroduced the organ. How did you approach it? What has worked, and what hasn't?

I do some of what my wee bit older colleague does, or skip playing if it really is not organ friendly, but sometimes you just have to get in there, the song has to be shouted from the rooftops so to speak. Next question, we don't do this, but I would like to play a Praise song, without the team sometimes, one that is suitable, we can differ in our thoughts on suitability, as in Celtic based songs, I happen to think, using the right stop settings, it sounds great on the organ, but yes, even while being new on the keyboard, there is some great stuff on it which enhances the songs, I am getting there.

Some good thoughts and ideas for transitioning and the use of organ.  I have a wonderful organist in my church who is 83 and is commited to the transition.  She is innovative and willing to stay in the back by padding and playing bass notes with the organ then piping in with some accents during other verses.  Other times she sits at the keyboard.

The truth is that most contemporary music is not organ friendly, especially guitar led pieces.

Hi Paul,

My congregation is similar. They are more comfortable singing with some sort of musical notation than without, at least when learning new songs or hymns. My first suggestion is to take a look at Faith Alive's Contemporary Songs for Worship. You will find music to many of the songs our churches are singing today. They are condensed and reduced, but it works as a general guide. Since it is condensed to 2 or 3 small pages, it can be easily reproduced. Just make sure you have the license to do it.

In our church, I have taken on the role of creating PowerPoint slides with music and text. We comply with copyright in this case because it is done in house using our own notation software and is not distributed. Much of my time when first in this position was creating these music slides. It has its weaknesses, but it has helped us in so many ways.

I am also a big fan of using the choir indirectly as a tool to teach the congregation new music. Have the choir sing through the new songs together in rehearsal, then when the song is introduced on Sunday there will be dozens of voices spread throughout the sanctuary that can help carry the new tune along. 

We are one of the Greying churches and some problems with words only on screen, and also not being able to see the "writing" on the wall" (screen) is another. I am not well versed in this copyright issue, but what I have picked up from the visual/sound crew is that we are licensed to display the words, but not the music when we are singing Praise songs. We have been at it for about 15 years and even the older generation is learning the songs and getting used to the style. If we would put the music on the screen it would, at least with some of the songs, cause great difficulty because of how the Team decides to sing the song. Frequently we repeat, skip, return to the beginning or somewhere else in the song, I don't think that many, even the younger generations would be able to pick up where they are supposed to look. So, firstly, as far as the notes are concerned, they will (have to) learn the songs eventually, unless you are constantly putting in new songs this will happen. Secondly, a really old, but wise woman said just last Sunday, that she has a problem with being able to see the words on screen, so she and her husband have moved from "their" regular seats to Isle seats where they have a better line of sight, problem solved, at least for them. You know how important one's seats are, The last time when I was in my home church in Holland, I recognized people from where they were (still) sitting after having been gone for 30 years, an uncle of mine would walk out if someone was in his spot when he came to church, so, it might be hard, but so would having to use a walker be, but you want to walk?, there is the solution, you want to see the words? there is the solution. Hope this is helpful.

Our church has many older members who are capable of reading a little music and learning new songs with words only projected is difficult.  Any suggestions?

Love the name John, I like your kind of devious behavior. Reminds me of my Dad.

Hi John,

As music & worship director for my church, I wear many hats including head organist and worship/praise team leader. I hope I can offer some helpful advice.

I see from your post that you have lamented the change in your church's worship style, but that you are seeking to make the best of the situation now even if it's not what you personally prefer. I think this is very important because as worship leaders, it is okay for us to be voices for the instrument of our choice, but we must also be ready to ascribe value to the worship styles that we may not always prefer. I visited your profile and there found your church's website which provides your orders of worship online. Based on what I read, it seems the organ could still be featured as a prominent "solo" accompanying instrument. In the service that is currently shown online, there are nine songs/hymns for the congregation to sing. Of these, five are straight out of the Psalter Hymnal. In my church, the hymns do not require assistance from the song leaders. However, if they are accustomed to singing every song, there is no reason the band can't take a break during the opening hymn, the hymns for confession/reconciliation, or the hymn following the sermon. The opposite though is also true. That is, if the band is willing to take a break for some hymns, the organist should also be willing to do the same for the songs that are not suitable for organ accompaniment. On the other hand, the organ is versatile and can be used much like a synthesizer playing chords while using foundation stops in the manuals and pedal and using the pedal to play the same notes as the bassist. 

One of the best combinations I have ever experienced in worship was when a praise team/band led us in the song "God of Wonders" and, after the first two verses and choruses, they transitioned seamlessly into "Holy, Holy, Holy". I believe they were playing the two songs in the same key, so as "God of Wonders" found it's way back to the tonic chord, the organist picked up there with a strong but short intro to the hymn using full plenum (mixtures and all). The band (instruments only) cut out for the singing of two stanzas of the hymn but picked up again at "blessed Trinity" and brought us back into the refrain of "God of Wonders". The organist at this point reduced the registration slightly and merely played the chords (no melody) to the song's end. Now it doesn't always require such creative energy and engineering to use both praise team and/or organ...though it is wonderful when it is done well. I'm curious what kind of service music is played during your worship (prelude, offertory, postlude). That is an opportunity to feature a wide variety of musical offerings each week (piano or organ solos, vocal solos accompanied by piano or organ, the band, other instruments and organ, etc.).

If your congregation just recently purchased your organ, they made an investment in and a value statement on their worshiping voice. I can't say too much more without knowing more about your church. I will say though, that if your church is seeking a balance in their "blend", or whatever that ratio might be (my church is about 60% traditional, 40% contemporary), then be very intentional about that blend, pick the best from a variety of styles, do them as authentically as your resources allow, and do them well. To God be the glory!

The "Fun Bunch" plans multigenerational fellowship activities throughout the year such as Dinner for Eight, Harvest Festival, Summer Picnic, Talent Night, Chili Cookoff,  and whatever new thing they come up with!

I like the using the word "Connections"! 

What's "Fun Bunch"?

Our church calls this ministry area "connections."  The connections area is not just about welcoming but also fellowship activities.  Our ushers still come under "Worship" but our Welcoming Center, Sunday coffee, Discovering Membership, the "Fun Bunch," etc.  are all ministries in the area of "connections."

Amen John, that is a great way to put it!

Thanks Ken, yes it was difficult and it still is to see the glory of the organ sound fade away or at least get pushed to the back ground, many older folks miss it when it is not played much. But, is it my "role" or my "false god" if I get so upset about it? I play the keyboard a bit now, even try to play it at the same time I play the organ, perhaps, like the swinging pendulum, things will get better again and by working with the youth who knows what results will come of it years down the road. As you very well have discovered, the Lord leads where He wants us to go. (sometimes like to tell Him where that should be in my opinion, I presume that I am not alone in that).

Hello John, It must have difficult to watch your role change at church. Yet, I sense a positiveness in you to truly make it work. God bless you my friend because that requires faith and humilty. I think the organ should remain where it's always been. It is such versitle instrument that it it is timeless.  Thanks John


When you posted your initial question we were a bit stumped as to where it would fit.  Our suggestion of placement in the Worship forum was a “closest fit” suggestion considering what was currently available, not a “perfect fit” suggestion.  It is an ongoing effort to find the right categories that meet the ministry needs of those who use The Network.

Thank you for your suggestion and topic ideas regarding a “Welcoming Ministries” category.  We will discuss this with our team.   In the meantime, I would still encourage you to post any specific questions you have as a topic in the Worship forum or another category you feel may fit (perhaps ministry coordinators?). That way the conversation gets started and the community can respond.

[quote=Jonathan Wilson]


I agree with Mavis that Worship is perhaps the best place to post your question.  I encourage you to do so and I hope you get some good feedback.

Thanks for your question and thank you Mavis for your suggestion.





With respect to you and Mavis, I am going to disagree with you on this one.

As I read the Worship forum, there are the exact kinds of things there that I would expect to find: ideas for worship on certain days, contemporary vs. traditional, questions and ideas about songs, technology and worship planning. Everything there is about worship itself, and what I'm asking about is what's happening before and after worship.

I would like to suggest that maybe there is room here for a new category, possibly something like "Welcoming Ministries" where people can discuss things that make a visitor feel welcome at church; things like greeting and ushering as well as visitor follow up. I recently finished reading Fusion by Nelson Searcy and Jennifer Dykes Henson, about assimilation. He opens this way:

"Next Sunday the Spirit of God will prompt hundreds of thousands of people... to visit a church for the first time. The Sunday after that, He will do it again. God is consistently blessing His Church with regular guests. Are we doing all we can to accept and honor His blessing?"

He asserts that each guest who walks in the door is a gift, and challenges the reader to ask if their church is ready to receive that gift and make each person feel welcome and wanted. I don't agree with everything he says, but he's got some good ideas worth considering.

We have Worship Director and Committee, and they work really hard with our pastor to plan worship that is enriching for regular attenders, as well as offering a glimpse of God and His amazing grace to whoever attends that day. I hope that any guest might sense a bit of that grace each week in worship.

But what happens if nobody talks to them during coffee hour after church?

Or they can't find the nursery when they arrive?

What if they fill out comment card but nobody follows up?

What if any or all these things happen, but against the odds, they come back anyway? Will they feel more welcome next Sunday? What if they don't come back at all because one of these things happened and next Sunday they go to brunch instead? The point is, if they don't come back, they won't be touched by grace next Sunday.

All this to say, I think there are a lot of questions related to this area specifically that are outside of what most Worship Planners or Directors are tasked with. I think there are some people out there that have really good ideas for how to make guests feel welcome (and hopefully every one of them is just dying to post a comment on the network.) I think it's worth considering another category.



Here is a blog post on our Church Administration Network that may a good resource for you to check out:

You can also post your question as a forum topic on the Church Administration forum to see if others from The Network community have resources to share: