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Blog
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Reflections on Prayer While Reading HOME

Sometimes by the time we get to pray we have already fretted and considered. By the time we come to God, our prayers reveal the solution to our crisis. God give me what I believe I need so that this moment will pass leaving me with the “appearance of dignity”.

Elders
Blog
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Spilled Salt: Living in Community

One of my favorite aspects about being a Christian is living in community, being constantly surrounded by people who support me as a whole person – not necessarily because of my position, but because I am a fellow believer (I hope that’s what it is anyways …), and vice versa.

Youth Ministry
Blog
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Key Connections

It’s easy to feel isolated when you’re leading a ministry. If the attendance drops, a volunteer steps down, or parents are unhappy, everyone looks to you for solutions and direction. But who do you look to for support, encouragement, and advice?

Sunday SchoolChildren's Ministry
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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Leadership Forum

Live near Palos Heights? On Saturday, February 27, from 8:45 a.m. to noon, Trinity Christian College will host The Chicago Disability Concerns Leadership Forum for church leaders as well as persons with disabilities and care givers. Participants will learn about the church’s role in supporting families dealing with disabilities in an era of insufficient social services funding. 

Disability Concerns
Blog
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Spilled Salt: A Little About Me

In 2007, I was coming to the end of my bible college existence. I was coming close to putting almost 7 years of study behind me, and was going to receive that piece of paper that says I hold a degree. In my quest of searching for what was to come next, I came upon a little CRC church in a small town. Their youth pastor position had just become vacant...

Youth Ministry
Blog
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Worship That's Out of this World

A few weeks ago I was at a choir concert where the Magnificat from Arvo Pärt was performed (listen here). An absolutely stunning piece with the music washing over you and bringing you into the presence of the holy.

Worship
Blog
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Say NO to Food

Over the past number of weeks as I was considering what to add to this webpage that would be beneficial to you, the youth worker, I came across a list of 8 fun filled games that revolved around food.

Youth Ministry
Blog
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Youth Ministers: Elders in Disguise?

Each church within the CRC denomination has a different approach on how a Youth Worker/Pastor/Director reports to his or her superior. Take a look at this insightful article by Dr. Syd Hielema as he shares his experience when he was a Youth Pastor at Newmarket CRC.

Youth Ministry
Blog
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Do You Love Me?

It is the question Jesus asked Peter. It is the question every member asks the elder.  
When we become an elder, the tasks of the office loom before us. We will have to attend meetings, engage in church management, arrange visits with members, and take on leadership responsibilities. If you are a first time elder, these responsibilities can be overwhelming.

Elders
Blog
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How to Correctly Display Photos

I recently registered for my first sprint triathlon, the Hawk Island Triathalon. While visiting their site I was surprised to see how they displayed images.  It is a colorful, informative, and photo-filled site however I would like to point out one no-no.

Church Communications
Blog
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Haiti: Earthquake and Beyond

As I wrote to one of our missionaries, "Our job is done, but yours is just beginning." Over the months and years to come there will be lots of work for our Haiti team, which is called Sous Espwa (Source of Hope).

Global Mission
Blog
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Confusion in Communication Strategies

At a council meeting, we were talking about communicating a particular concern and decision to the congregation. That’s where it began. The ones who were dealing with the youth suggested that we put in on facebook. The ones with email thought that was adequate. The luddites suggested that the mailslots in the church were adequate. Everyone agreed that just putting it in the bulletin was inadequate: it is never read well enough. 

Elders
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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What Are You Reading?

We're just starting this Network project and I'm the so-called "Guide" for this page. I guess that makes some sense. I've been engaged in this calling for more than 30 years. (Yikes!) But for all the topics that we cover, I'd like your help. For example, what books are you reading that help with any part of our calling and task?

Pastors
Blog
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Try Out the Latest Version of Firefox

Yesterday, Mozilla released an incremental upgrade to it's popular browser Firefox 3.6. Even though this is a small upgrade there are numerous changes, which they detail in their blog post.  First, it's over 20 percent faster than the previous upgrade. Second, it includes better support for plug ins with a plugin updater. Firefox 3.6 has...

Church Communications
Blog
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Contentment and Spiritual Formation

Christians have always remarked that contentment is rooted not in the circumstances of our lives but in God who gives life. We would do well to ask: what is my source of contentment? How do the habits of my life display that I find more contentment in the Lord than a trip to the mall?

Elders
Blog
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A Spoon Full of Sugar

I appreciate Mary Poppin's spoon full of sugar adage, and invoke it often. For me, organizing is the medicine of ministry. Making sure that the supply cabinet is stocked and the substitute gets the lesson in time is not my cup of tea.

Sunday SchoolChildren's Ministry
Blog
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Mark Charles and Multicultural Learning in Siberia

I have learned a lot from Mark Charles. Mark is a veteran blogger and a long-time CRC member, who writes very thoughtful pieces on cross-cultural exchanges, especially for members of the church, from his home in Window Rock, Arizona. This piece is the fruit of Mark’s trip to Siberia for a gathering about culturally relevant worship practices. I especially like Mark’s honesty about the unsettling quality of encountering worship practices that are new to us.

Worship
Blog
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Sidelines: Turning the Frown Upside Down

So I'm on my own again. Me and the three kids. My husband, a youth pastor, is away for two nights for his job ... I'm going to share with you a few of the ones that help me through these times, and if you have some good ones to share, please post them and we can all help each other out!

Youth 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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Owning Baptism

How do you and your congregation decide when to say “yes” to out-of-ordinary requests for baptism? Recently a family who live in another country requested our elders to baptize their eight-month old baby.

Pastors
Blog
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I Do, God Helping Me

I admit I wasn't taking this as seriously as I should have been. Greg called one day saying my name was up for nomination to deacon. Would I prayerfully consider keeping my name in the ring? I went through the common process of debating the time constraints and responsibilities with the opportunity for church leadership. You know...

Deacons

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