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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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Spilled Salt : Ripple

The skies were grey, and the weatherman was calling for more of the liquid sunshine. There was a single puddle left over from the previous nights rain fall in the middle of the church parking lot. For some reason I stared at this puddle, I couldn’t take my eyes off it. Then a single drop fell, and hit the puddle.

Youth Ministry
Blog
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Mission Emphasis Planning

Pentecost is past; the school year is winding up; and summer is upon us.  Before you know it fall will be here.  Many churches have a mission emphasis celebration between mid-September and mid-November, and now is a good time to plan those events.  The scope of mission emphasis celebrations runs all the way from prayer and the collection of Faith Promise pledges to a nine day period with four worship services and mid-week events that cover ...

Global Mission
Blog
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How Can a Church Unleash Its Deacons?

Is there any regular and routine setting in which the deacons are asked HOW they have ministered to the poor, and to the wealthy during the past month?  Is the congregation regularly encouraged to tell stories about how they’ve lived out diaconal service? Are worship services planned regularly with references to diaconal messages, functions, roles, office?  Is there a story to tell? 

Deacons
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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Fourth Question in the series "I'd like to know something about..."

The fourth in a series of questions frequently raised in training sessions:  I am a man who cares deeply about sexual abuse, but what can one man do to make a difference?  Isn't (sexual abuse) primarily a problem women need to learn how to keep themselves safe? Gerry Heyboer writes the following response.  The answer to the first question is "A lot!"  The answer to the second question is "No!"

Safe Church
Blog
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The Trouble with Jesus' Ascension--and Its Promise

May 13 was the least known, possibly most important Christian holiday—Ascension Day. It should kick off big-time Christian parties, like those after the Prime Minister is sworn in–but bigger. It remembers when Jesus—Immanuel, God-with-Us—returned to heaven after his crucifixion and resurrection. From there he rules the universe at God the Father’s right hand.

Pastors
Blog
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Technical Preview of Office Web Apps

Two aspects of the web that are driving innovation are collaboration and lowering costs, of which almost any new web service or site provides. Recently Microsoft started the
Technical Preview of Microsoft Office Web Apps
which includes both of these. Office Web Apps (OWA) enable the editing, sharing, and storing of Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and OneNote files online, through most browsers and any operating system.

Church Communications
Blog
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God's Counter-cultural Call

I’m concerned with developing small groups of people who covenant to a shared life together as they grow in Christlikeness and join God’s mission together.  That leaves me with this question. How do we establish counter-cultural groups in a culturally relevant way?

Small Groups
Blog
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Time to Redesign?

At least twice a year, those who lead small group ministries need to ask, “What are the next steps for this small group ministry? Where is God leading us?” If you don’t, chances are you’ll become stuck and ineffective.

Small Groups
Blog
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First Steps on Bisbee Drive

We would love to form a neighborhood small group where everyone on our block knows each other well, joins in spiritual conversations, prays for one another, and finds ways to serve in our community together. It’s a wonderful dream that we talk about often. The problem is, we don’t know our neighbors!

Small Groups
Blog
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Reality Check

Secondly, I need to remember that part of developing a disciple-making, mission-shaped small group ministry means offering safe places for those who find themselves needing extra support as they go rough patches in life.

Small Groups
Blog
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Things I Learned from my Mother

Relationships began to be built and conversations were broadened. Because these strangers were included, they began to feel a sense of belonging and experienced a bit of “the communion of the saints.” 

Small Groups
Blog
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Spilled Salt: Contact

Technology is wonderful. We have phones that enable long distance communication. We have automated call service centers. But actually, God wants us to have personal relationships and face to face conversations with one another. 

Youth Ministry
Blog
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Waiting for the Spirit

Acts 1 begins with Jesus telling the disciples “wait”. It is not that the disciples were without skills or abilities. But that was beside the point. The basic principle is simple: not by might, nor by power, but by the Holy Spirit.

Elders
Blog
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Deacons, What Works?

Deacons, what's working? What excites and motivates the deacons in your congregation? Or, what blocks them? Share a story with us.

Deacons
Blog
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Interpretation For the Deaf Without a Human Interpreter

A group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) students from their Fluid Interfaces Group created a combination of hardware and software which allows people to use the movement of their hands in the air to interface with a computer. A wearable computer would allow a person who uses ASL to sign to a hearing person, and the computer would interpret the message into spoken English. 

Disability Concerns
Blog
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The Spirit of Missions

The staff at Christian Reformed World Missions produces a number of materials on Pentecost and missions. We hope that local churches and mission committees are also exercising their creativity to inspire and remind their members to be involved in God's missions.

Global Mission
Blog
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"The Kids"

I have heard it said before that the order of our priorities should look a little like this: God, Family, Church, Career. I'm not sure what source that comes from, or whether or not it is even Biblical. It seems pretty obvious that God should come first, but is it possible to always put the family next? Especially when one's career involves carrying out God's ministry?

Youth Ministry
Blog
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What Does It Take?

Would it be possible for two deacons to agree to meet regularly for prayer, for study of diaconal Bible themes, and for mutual encouragement? I wonder what God would do

Deacons
Blog
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Filling Broken Cisterns

Jon Foreman uses an image of “broken cisterns” in his song “Cure for Pain” that grabbed my attention:
I'm not sure why it always goes downhill Why broken cisterns never could stay filled

Elders
Blog
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Meeting Code Vs. Accessibility

I visited a church recently. They worship in a beautiful, newly renovated facility. Every aspect of the facility meets code for accessibility: all on one level, pew cutouts, wide doorways, sloped surfaces, accessible parking spaces, accessible restrooms. Unfortunately, code doesn’t always square with the reality of living with a disability.

Disability Concerns
Blog
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Pentecost

At Pentecost God creates a grace-filled unity in Jesus Christ that extends to "every tribe, language, people, and nation" — including Muslims. What is your church doing to share the Good News about Jesus with Muslims in your community and around the world? 

Global Mission
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

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