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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
Blog
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Resourcing Congregations

What is a denominational missions agency supposed to do?  When they began the idea was that all the international mission effort of the congregations was to be channeled through their denominational agency.  And it worked a lot like that for many years, but times have changed.  These days congregations of all denominations are doing lots of ministry through lots of agencies and directly.  In response to this Christian Reformed World Missions has

Global Mission
Blog
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The Pathological Pursuit of Goodness

 Yesterday I preached on the parable of the prodigal – with emphasis on the elder son on the story.  This morning I read Psalm 1.  The two passages provide an intriguing intersection of ideas.  Psalm 1 celebrates the Law of the Lord.  It is a source of life and hope.  Such a life of righteousness is a place of abundance.   Yet the elder son who did everything commanded stands on the outside of the celebration of redemption.   

Elders
Blog
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Recruiting Volunteers Via the Internet

How do you get volunteers to serve in ministry along side you? Brian Bierenga, Youth Pastor at Brookside CRC, shares his approach by using the internet. He suggests three things: Use email, Use template, Track Smarter.This is a fantastic blog to equip you as a Youth Ministry Leader in recruiting volunteers.

Youth Ministry
Blog
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What? God Use Me?

You know the feeling. You’re asked to step into a new role either in ministry or everyday life and you feel totally inadequate for the task. That’s how a potential small group leader felt last night when I suggested he lead a group for the first time.

Small Groups
Blog
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Let's Keep Thinking about the "Second Service"

It appears that confessional preaching/teaching and the second worship services are both going the way of the dodo bird and passenger pigeon in most places in our denomination. Check out this article about second services by Matt Vande Bunte in a recent on-line issue of The Grand Rapids Press and then read on. I hope the article remains available for a while.

Pastors
Blog
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What Impression Does Your Website give to Visitors?

A while ago I wrote an article detailing several items that every church website should include no matter the size of their church or website. Mick Mel's recent post "Don’t be like a “University Website"" details many of the items I mentioned along with several items that are unnecessary on your church's homepage. Most of the items are aimed at presenting a good impression for your church, but also help with not frustrating return visitors.  

Church Communications
Blog
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Hopeful, Sensitive Words about Muslim-Christian Relations

If you are interested in reading charitable, honestly Christian comment on the issue of Christian-Muslim relationship—especially on the topic of Koran burning—today’s issue of Evangelical Fellowship of Canada's Virtual House News will be helpful. Pass this around to members of your congregation, council members, friends. Encourage prayers, calm, gentleness and generous portions of Christ’s love. If you don’t have time to read all the items editor Daina Doucet refers to, I particularly recommend at least Geoff Tunnicliffe’s record of his conversations with Pastor Terry Jones.

Pastors
Blog
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Spilled Salt: Trashcan

I think that we Christians sometimes forget this, and we take actions for ourselves and we make our choices with only ourselves in mind — we’re trying to control our own destiny. We can — but that would be just plain dumb.

Youth Ministry
Blog
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Reparando: Repairing What's Broken in Guatemala

Joel Van Dyke of Christian Reformed World Missions has been doing some exciting work in Guatemala with gang members and others society calls the “least, last and lost.”  Now a moving documentary has been made about that work entitled “Reparando.” It was accepted and screened at the Grand Rapids Film Festival last month.  It will be playing at two West Michigan locations the second full week of October.

Global Mission
Blog
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Prayer Time Phobia

I understand their fear. We haven’t had enough time together to know one another all that well. Most are new to this whole small group thing and relatively new in faith. Today I’m asking myself how I can gently lead them to feel comfortable praying out loud as a group. Here’s what I’ve thought of so far: 

Small Groups
Blog
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Webinars Create a Learning Community

Christian Reformed World Missions and CRWRC provide a series of webinars whose presenters come with a variety of expertise but under the heading of Global Mission. By using the internet and an 800 number, you can engage in this learning community free.

Global Mission
Blog
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Using Quickbooks Online at Your Church

More and more software programs are becoming available online or 'in the cloud'. Currently, there are several popular services like Google Docs or now Microsoft Office Web Apps that make working in the cloud advantageous. Recently, Intuit unveiled Quickbooks Online which allows an organization to manage their books, run reports and more online. Now those who keep track of the church's finances and books can do so in the cloud. 

Church Communications
Blog
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NEXT! Youth, Intergenerational, and Short Term Missions Conference

Dr. David Livermore of the Global Learning Center at Cornerstone University is one of the leading experts in short term missions and cultural intelligence which are key issues for youth and intergenerational mission teams.  He will be the keynote speaker at a conference on these topics on October 30 at Ivanrest CRC, Grandville, Michigan.  Sponsored by Christian Reformed World Missions, in cooperation with Youth Unlimited, CRWRC, Christian Reformed Home Missions, and Calvin Theological Seminary. 

Global Mission
Blog
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Budget Crunch, Money and the Holy Life

Our use of money is one place where our spirituality gets incarnated.  Spirituality in our imagination is rather high-minded, mystical, and holy.  But money matters seem stressful, mundane, practical and –in these days of recession – discouraging.

Elders
Blog
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You Want Me to Pray for Whom?

Prayers for our enemies are prayers for the wellbeing and ultimately for the salvation of those who oppose and hurt us. They don’t excuse sin nor reduce the need to call attention to injustices of all kinds. However praying for our enemies does align us with God’s kingdom building work.  

Worship
Blog
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Mother Teresa and Pastors Today

Let's learn from the Roman Catholic masters from whom we separated--and whom we villainized for many years. Perhaps one spiritual benefit of ecumenism for all Christians is to examine ourselves, scour our motives, use the agonizingly slow, maddening wheels of the church to move with us and we pastors and leaders with them.

Pastors
Blog
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Marking Time

This is a time of new beginnings and a time to pause, reflect, and take note of the many fears and concerns in the lives of those we worship with and also the ways we are blessed as God’s church and then name those within the context of worship. 

Worship
Blog
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Great Resource

The old "word/deed" division has vexed us for many years.   In my opinion, it's just not really a biblical distinction.  Words can demonstrate and deeds communicate.

Deacons
Blog
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NEXT! Global Outreach for a New Generation

Last week's blog reflected on generational differences in approach to missions.  Dr. David Livermore of the Global Learning Center at Cornerstone University is one of the leading experts in short term missions and cultural intelligence which are key issues for youth and intergenerational mission teams.  He will be the keynote speaker at a conference on these topics on October 30 at Ivanrest CRC, Grandville, Michigan. 

Global Mission

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