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Q&A
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Are returning office bearers required to sign the Form of Subscription again?

The Supplement to the Church Order for Article 5 re signing of the Form of Subscription states that is " To be signed by professors, ministers, ministry associates, elders, and deacons when ordained and/or installed in office ". (emphasis added) As I understand it, office bearers are ordained/installed when elected to serve second and third (and more) terms. Is it then required that returning office bearers sign the form multiple times?
Church Admin & Finance
Q&A
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Organ and Praise Band - Have you had success with a blended worship style?

I graduated from Calvin two and a half years ago. At Calvin I was a part of the worship teams for LOFT and chapel (piano and organ). At those services we regularly used the organ as an "orchestral" instrument to supplement the rhythm instruments of the praise band. I am now the director of music at my church in New Jersey. Ordinarily, we just use the organ on the "traditional hymns" and the praise band on the "contemporary songs". (I really hate that lingo, by the way. But that's a conversation for another post). I am trying to convince the worship coordinator and praise band coordinator to...
Worship
Q&A
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What is your system for song tracking?

Currently I use an Excel Spreadsheet to track which songs I select each week. It basically is a database/library of all the songs that I've planned on which dates. This gives me a reference to go back to when I wonder: when did I last use that song, or have we ever sung that song here before? Are there any better systems, or maybe even programs out there for this type of thing? Ideally I would like to be able to categorize, or even search for songs instead of having to scroll through the whole list I have. What's your system for cataloguing and tracking your church's song repertoire?
Worship
Q&A
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When a pastor leaves a church, for any reason, what are the implications for church staff?

When a pastor leaves a church, for any reason, such as taking a call to another church, retirement, leaving the ministry, what are the implications for the remaining staff at that church? How do they continue doing ministry? Do they now have a new "leader?" Where do they look for direction? If you have experienced that situation and could guide others going through it, I'd like to hear from you, and I think others would, too. Are there resources, such as articles or books, that might inform that time of transition? This topic came up at a recent meeting of the Staff Ministry Committee (SMC)...
Leadership Development
Q&A
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Can you recommend any good resources for an Easter program for kids primarily in grades 3-6?

I'm looking into having a Sunday School Easter program instead of a Christmas program this year. (There are so many other special activities that occur during the Advent and Christmas season for kids to participate in.) Has anyone else done an Easter program? Can you recommend any good resources for a play for kids primarily in grades 3-6, but possibly including younger and older kids as well?
Children's Ministry
Q&A
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8 comments

Do you have any advice or information about starting up support groups for parents?

Hello everyone! I am looking for any advice and information about starting up support groups for parents. I have a wonderful lady in my church (who is our parish nurse) that has been really excited to start a parent group in our community. We have had a lot of expressed interest in this with other local parents.I am helping her get some contacts and some ideas on how to start it, how to organize meetings, what to discuss...anything! I would love to hear back from anyone that is part of a group like this and let me know how your group works....Looking forward to hearing from you :) melissa
Disability Concerns
Q&A
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Can churches offer a dual membership option (like dual citizenship) to their snow birds?

A not-so-hypothetical question: you have snow birds who have been attending your congregation for a couple of years. They've resisted membership because they maintain membership in their "southern" church. Now they are wondering if they can become dual members (like dual citizenship?) at both churches. Their hearts are in the right place - they want to have committed relationships with the congregation that they are in. They know that membership does not provide them with much in terms of benefits, since we will care for them regardless. They simply want to formalize the relationship. So,...
Elders
Q&A
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Do you do sermon series?

I was just wondering, what formats people use/like in preaching. I tend to do sermon series lasting roughly 3-5 Sundays each on a topic or section of the Bible. what about you? Do you do any of these? Or, do you like listening to sermon series or not?
Pastors
Q&A
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What are the guidelines for establishing minimum pass vote percentages?

In our Council, we're looking at establishing minimum pass vote percentages for various issues. One that has caused some discussion is the vote by the congregationn on office bearers. Currently, Council prepares a list of candidates to present to the congregation. The congregation then votes on these names. In the case where the number of names approved by the congregation is more than the number of vacancies, the vacancies are filled by lot from the names approved. currently the required pass is 50%+1. However, it was brought up that perhaps this is too low. At 50%+1, is this enough...
Church Admin & Finance
Q&A
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What's a good way to organize a special evening of worship?

I am looking at organizing a worship evening once a month (or every other month depending on how it goes) for music. I am envisioning a time for musicians to share their gift and a time for praise led by some of our musicians. I am wondering if anyone else has something like this going on right now in their church, and what words of wisdom might be shared? Thank you! Jennifer Dam
Worship
Q&A
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What's the best way to divide responsibilities when it comes to planning services?

Our worship director is going to be stepping down in the not-too-distant future, and I thought I'd see how other churches divvy up responsibilities when it comes to planning services. Do you have a single person identified as a director in some way? Does that person do the bulk of the planning/selecting songs? Does everything happen by a committee? Do you have some mix of the two? Thanks!
Worship
Q&A
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What suggestions do you have for a church prayer retreat?

One of the goals for our church in this coming year is to have a prayer retreat. I led one a couple of years ago, but I'd like to hear what other churches have done. If your church has had a prayer retreat what was the format? Was it one day or a weekend? Was it on your church campus or off site? What did you use for materials? Any other thoughts or suggestions? Thank you for sharing. Steve Nyenhuis
Prayer
Q&A
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Do you write a blog?

Two questions here: 1) Do you write a blog? If you do, could you please post it to this forum. I've enjoyed reading other pastor's blogs over this last year. It's been helfpul in gainging insight to different ways of preaching, doing ministry and in general what's out there. 2)If you don't have a blog, is there a blog you read on a regular basis that you really like? Could you please post it here as well and share? Thanks. by the way, here's mine www.spiritualmusclehead.blogspot.com
Pastors
Q&A
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Can you share your church's experience with "Strategic Prayer Initiative?"

Does anyone have experience with Strategic Prayer Initiative ? It was developed through Harvest Prayer Ministries (a group that CRC'er Al VanderGriend is on staff with). My church is considering it as a more systematic approach to our prayer ministry. But we'd really love to hear from churches who have checked it out or tried it. Anyone?
Prayer
Q&A
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What library software is low cost and effective for use with scanners?

Does anyone use any kind of library software along with scanners? Just curious if there is anything out there that is free (or relatively low cost), effective, and efficient. I've just gone through all the books in our library trying to make sure the titles were all located and correct - they weren't by a long shot - we're missing over 45 items ... (small library - this is a lot!). Anyway, any and all help is greatly appreciated! Renée
Church Libraries
Q&A
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What practices or disciplines are helpful when preparing for Communion?

Hello, All, This may have been commented on before, but I was just wondering how various churches who still have quarterly or less frequent communion handle the time of preparation. Do you just read the responsive reading in the Psalter the week before? Have you developed a devotional or "companion to communion" that helps in the process of preperation? One I have recently ran across is Andrew Murray's The Lord's Table. It has a week of devotions for the week prior to communion, for the day of, and for the week following. Other practices/disciplines that you have found helpful?
Worship
Q&A
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9 comments

What's the best way to do a Membership class for both new and transfer members and what resources do you use?

First, do you have a membership class targetted to adults coming into your church as new believers, from other CRC's, and/or denominations? Second, what materials do you use for that (self-made, denominational resource, video, etc.)? I've been using Louis Tamminga's booklet Church Membership and You . But it has recently gone out of print. I know it's been made available in PDF format, but it's inconvenient and expensive to print/copy/assemble. Still, I like the organization of the booklet, and the brevity with which it covers the topics. My practice is to invite everyone wanting to explore...
Pastors
Q&A
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What's the best practice for getting church visitors to fill out welcome cards?

Network readers, I need your help! I can't figure out why people aren't completing visitor cards. I know we probably have 1-2 visitors per week, but we're seeing 1-2 cards per month. Here's what we've been doing: - There is a "Communication Card" in every bulletin, and bulletins are handed out at the door each week - There are pens at the seats - Most weeks, whoever is leading worship makes an announcement about the card. We mention that we are glad to welcome any visitors, and ask them to fill out a card so we can thank them for visiting. The card also has a place for comments/questions/...
Hospitality

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