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Blog
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CRWM Missionary Speaks at World Evangelization Congress

Today in South Africa 4,000 mission leaders are gathered to dream and plan for how to complete the task of world evangelization.  Most of them are Africans, Asians or Latin Americans, demonstrating that God has changed the face of world Christianity in the last century. Among the speakers at this conference is Ruth Padilla DeBorst, a missionary with Christian Reformed World Missions.  

Global Mission
Blog
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Affirm Every Child

A scene from the Prodigal Son story flashed through my mind--the moment when the father is telling the older son, "You are always with me, and all that I have is yours!" On a smaller scale it’s like that with children’s ministry, too.  

Children's Ministry
Blog
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Facing a Troubled Congregational Past

This coming week at our fall classis meeting we will discuss an overture to make some changes to Article 17.  The request comes out of a concern for the ministry of the church: we have been given a ministry of reconciliation and yet in our practice of Article 17, reconciliation and healing seem so problematic.

Elders
Blog
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Good Answers to Questions about Disability

Why is a church without people with disabilities incomplete? What do we mean by the word “disability”? What is ableism? In what ways are people with disabilities marginalized by societies around the world? What is “healing”? A friend of mine, Carolyn Thompson, directed me to a pithy statement called “The Accessible Church: Toward Becoming The Whole Family Of God” which she helped draft for the Massachusetts Council of Churches. Here are some excerpts.

Disability Concerns
Blog
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Guest Blog: Worship Flow

I am not a fan of awkward silences. Sometimes silence is good and appropriate – during prayer or following a particularly moving anthem. However, the silence between a pastor’s words of “And now the choir is going to sing for us”  and the choir members standing in their seats and walking to the front is unnecessary and it disrupts the worship flow.  

Worship
Blog
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When Suicide Rocks a Community

In the last blog post I wrote on Mother Theresa’s profound spiritual suffering and its relation to the pastoral life. The sad, achingly poignant link to our community was the sadness of a 19 year-old’s suicide.

Pastors
Blog
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Lessons in Hospitality

These are small things, but put together help create a warm place where interactions easily happen. In our fast paced world, we tend to bypass the little hospitable things that go a long ways toward creating community. 

Small Groups
Blog
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Waiting... But What about our Breath?

My point is that we are waiting with bated breath to see what the BOT has done with the deacons task force. Are you eager to know the reporting deadline? Are you even more eager to know who is on the task force?  I am!  Did the BOT amplify the instructions to the task force ...

Deacons
Blog
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Short Term Missions and Discipleship Training

Several years ago Pastor Dan Ackerman made a statement that really struck me.  He said that today short term missions is what Catechism instruction was: our basic method of discipleship. Short term mission trips went from being an oddity, to an add-on, to something integral to the process of raising our young people as Christians. How do we make the most of them?  

Global Mission
Blog
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How Many is Too Much?

How many is too much?  How many new songs can you have in a worship service? I know of churches where including a new song in worship is something that is done with some fear and trepidation on the part of the worship planners who also know that a new song can ...

Worship
Blog
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Mother Teresa and Pastors (part 2)

A decade into her vocation as nun, Mother Teresa began to suffer “darkness” and the “absence of God.” briefly, that darkness and absence of God constituted her greatest suffering. Yet, after some years, she came to this stunning conclusion: "When you accept the vows [of a nun] you must accept the same fate as Jesus [abandonment by God?]"

Pastors
Blog
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Dealing With Real Life Stuff

A six-year-old girl stormed into my class this Sunday with fists clenched. She was angry at a friend — another one of the girls in my class. What do you do in moments like these — when you have a class full of kids and one of them is struggling with real life stuff?

Children's Ministry
Blog
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The Language of Mental Illnesses, Brain Disorders, and Disabilities

This guest blog by Alan Johnson, organizer of Widening the Welcome, asks how we talk about mental illnesses. He writes, "Language can be tricky. It can elucidate things or muddy things. So what can we do? Keep on keeping on working on language seeking to describe how things are. Perhaps the best thing is to talk with the person who is affected by a “mental illness” or a “brain disorder” or a “disability” to see how they see it themselves. This is all about relationships anyway."

Disability Concerns
Blog
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Spilled Salt: Righteous

I came out of the meeting with a strong sense that God is a God of Action, not a God of inaction. The Lord desires you to be moving forward in your life, and especially in your faith. He wants you to be doing something, to be bettering yourself for His purposes, so that your righteousness will surpass that of the Pharisees.

Youth Ministry
Blog
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How to Record Sermons Digitally

Even if your church doesn't have a website or will never start using Twitter or Facebook, I'm sure your church records sermons. With tape players obsolete and CD players common, it would be good to make the switch to recording your service digitally if you haven't yet. Not only will this be more compatible with your church listeners, but will allow you to easily podcast your sermon.

Church Communications
Blog
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Deacon Henk: Foreclosure Follow-up

A few weeks ago, Herm confided in Deacon Henk about the foreclosure notice he'd received.  It's been a tough few weeks and Herm needs a bit of strong friendship!  "I wish me and the wife could talk about doughnuts and weight.  Seems like we don't talk at all, or we're fussin' at each other about money."

Deacons
Blog
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Job Descriptions and Council Leadership

I was reminded by a conversation in the forum that I had planned to develop material on the various positions and tasks in the community of elders. I’m glad someone took up the challenge of the job descriptions. I am not particular enough for naming it all. What interests me more is the question what makes for excellence in council leadership. It clearly means more than leading a meeting well or providing competent or interesting minutes. Here are some thoughts I have:

Elders
Blog
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4 Discipline Tips

It's bound to happen. An energetic eight year old will test your patience. A sixth grader will start to annoy the other kids in your group... How will you respond?Here are four quick tips to help you keep things under control...  

Children's Ministry
Blog
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Digging Deeper With Worship Committees/Teams

Whatever your committee’s or team’s name or function it is easy to get in a rut, to do things a particular way because that’s the way it has always been done (even if it’s only the second year you have been doing it).  So how do you get out of a liturgical rut? How do you discern when a once helpful practice has become unhelpful or when a 100 year old practice needs to be retained?  How do you lead your congregation to grow in the area of worship? 

Worship
Blog
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Why Do We Have a Limited Idea of "Diversity"?

When we envision the diverse church, in our minds' eye, we see a diversity of skin colors, foods, ethnic identities, and languages. Usually, we also see we see the young and the old, male and female. But in our vision of the diverse church, we rarely see a boy who uses a wheelchair, woman who lives with mental illness, a girl with Down Syndrome, a man who is blind, or a woman who is Deaf and uses sign language. Why?

Disability Concerns
Blog
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Unity With Purpose

He’s calling us to the same unity that he experiences with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Now that’s mind-boggling! Can we mere humans here on earth possibly be drawn into that kind of unity?

Small Groups

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