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Q&A
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What guidelines should a church have for helping those in need?

Our church receives a lot of requests for assistance. We regularly make food dishes and food and gas vouchers available. We make funds available to help pay bills. The requests for assistance come for our members, friends/neighbours of our members and from those outside our church. As deacons, we sometimes struggle with regard to how to distribute the funds collected in ways that maintain our accountability to the congregation. We currently have some 'understood' guidelines in terms of funds distribution but nothing in writing. There must be churches that have written guidelines - we would...
Deacons
Q&A
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What is the precedent for a "God's Greeting" in worship services?

Most CRC worship services begin with God's greeting. Does anyone know the origin of this tradition? I have a very hard time using a text out of context to greet the worshippers on a Sunday morning, and just as much difficulty hearing someone speak for God just because they have been ordained. I understand the parting blessing, it has its roots in Numbers 6, but what is the precedent for a "God's Greeting"?
Worship
Q&A
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Which office discusses and decides who is eligible for call to Elders and Deacons?

In the CRC Church Order, Article 4 seems to make clear that the calling of Elders and Deacons is entirely the responsibility of the Council and clearly spells the process out. Article 35a seems to give a little wiggle room where the Consistory can say it determines the qualities of who is eligible because 35a states the Council "Approves" the nominations as one of the example of its tasks. Throughout the Church order, it takes great pains to describe the tasks of each of the 3 offices and what they do. It goes to the extreme in 35b & c and states in those articles (paraphrased here,) that...
Church Order
Q&A
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What mentoring materials or activities do you use with youth and children at your church?

So, we're just beginning with the process of pairing adults and children into mentoring relationships as part of welcoming and guiding them to participate in the Lord's Supper as well as the full ministry life of the church, but we are sorely in need of more options or resources for mentors to draw upon. Currently, the "I Believe" mentoring book from Faith Alive is our only resource for junior high kids...Do you know of others? And what other activities or faith forming events would you recommend besides "going through the book?" Junior-highers are a first priority right now, but the same...
Faith Nurture
Q&A
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How Do You Encourage Faith in Children?

So often we see kids lose faith as they grow older. In many denominations and churches, we see a bigger population age shift than we do in general society. Why is that? What can we do about it? Do most people still participate in devotions with their children daily? And what do those devotions consist of?
Parenting
Q&A
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Who can recommend a resource to help optimize a church video projection system?

Our worship center is rather short from front-to-back and the screen which was initially installed (in the center) covers the cross which is behind the pulpit. In addition, there is a clear-story above the front of the room so we have ambient light conditions to confront. I'm researching the components for a dual screen/projector setup to solve these issues. Between screen gain ratings and projector brightness ratings it gets pretty confusing. Then there are references to "calibrating" projectors to the kind of screen you have. I've yet to find any impartial resources about how it all fits...
Worship
Q&A
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What are some best practices for filing sermons?

Just finished filing some sermons. It made me wonder, "How many people file a hard copy of their sermons anymore?" I'm wondering if I need to consider a well-backed up copy on my computer good enough. What are some of your practices? I currently: 1)File the hard copy of the preached sermon. 2) Enter the text, sermon title, date, location, series (if applicable), and some quick topic notes in a spreadsheet. Looking forward to hearing from some of you. Or else will listen to the crickets chirp as a wait.
Pastors
Q&A
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What's the best way for an Army Chaplain to stay connected to their sponsoring church?

I have been thinking for the past couple of years now, about how connected I feel to my local church. I am an Army Chaplain, so I am geographically removed from my sponsoring Church. In some ways, this has led to a sense of disconnection. It places a burden on my heart to stay connected with the families that I love, yet I struggle with the best way to do that. So far, connection has consisted of sending in the occasional prayer request or update when something is changing and submitting my annual report and having a telephone conference with the board. Duty and Deployment messed up my...
Chaplaincy
Q&A
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What resources are available for training church tech team members?

Wondering how you all train your potential tech team members. Sound, projection, lighting etc. Do you have someone in your church who is proficient in each department to teach others or are volunteers handed the keys and told to make it up as they go? I'm interested in making sure that our incoming techies have a good understanding before they are put incharge, are there any good resources out there for training in these areas? Doug
Worship
Q&A
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What guidelines or lock down procedures should a church follow when there's a threat of violence?

Does anyone have a "lock down" procedure in place for their church to use in case of a threat of violence? We do not have an intercom system but we do have a Bell/Buzzer that is audible throughout the building and located inside the office we plan to use as both a warning signal and an all clear signal depending on the number and length of rings. During our weekday programs there is always someone in the office who could signal the lock down, but what do you do on Sunday morning when all the adults are in the sanctuary?
Church Admin & Finance
Q&A
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What have you found effective to help church members discover their spiritual gifts?

A couple of the tasks in my job description are, "Develop and implement a process for identifying and developing members gifts, talents, and passions for ministry" and "Assist with finding gifted members to join in the ministries." My guess is that other Ministry Coordinators probably have similar tasks in their own job descriptions. I was able to get a great head start on some ideas for teaching about spiritual gifts from somone I connected with here on the network (Thanks, Denise!) but I was curious what other ideas might be out there for this aspect of ministry. What have you found...
Ministry Coordination
Q&A
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7 comments

Has the use of projection technology helped or hindered your worship experience?

There is some discussion in our church about projecting the words to songs or scripture verses on the large overhead screen above the pulpit. There are some who say this helps engage the congregation, and other who feel that it's intrusive, distracting, and disconnects us from our hymnals and bibles. How does your congregation use projection technology, and how has that helped or hindered your worship experience?
Worship
Q&A
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8 comments

Should church libraries be viewed as a ministry?

Hours of work go into creating and crafting a church library. Often it does not have a profile as a mininstry in our churches. How does your church view your Library Ministry? To any who are involved in a Church Library I am interested in a few of the following questions: Please copy and paste the questions into your reply and anwser the following How do you view the church library? Would you say your church library is part of the Ministry Team in your church? Do you have regular contact or input from the pastor, group leaders or council in your church? What would be the biggest area served...
Church Libraries
Q&A
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Should we still practice "mutual censure" at Classis meetings?

This perhaps is a question for Henry DeMoor, but I would assume there are others who might like to give an opinion. Prior to the Church Order revision in '65, there was an article that required "mutual censure" at Classis meetings- Art. 43: At the close of the Classical, and other major assemblies, censure shall be exercised over those, who in the meeting have done something worthy of punishment, or who have scorned the admonition of the minor assemblies. VanDellen and Monsma explain in their commentary this censure is done by the assembly and not the president or consistories as two other...
Church Order
Q&A
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Who has information on how to handle the training and support for the Council/Elder chairman?

To be council chair or officer can be a daunting and lonely task - especially for your first time. We are forming an area group of leaders from 6 to 8 local churches. We are seeking input and/or materials to help us be more effective in our roles and to train our replacements and get them up to speed so that they can be more effective right from the start of their tenure. There seems to be a couple of key elements that would be most helpful in carrying out these duties effectively; a) to provide continuity to the leadership and vision of the council with the scheduled "churn" of 1/3 of the...
Leadership Development
Q&A
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How can the church most effectively meet the pastoral care needs in the congregation?

Our church has been struggling with finding people to stand for the office of pastoral elder for years now, which is likely a problem encountered in many churches. Currently all our members are assigned to a Care Group with 1 elder and 1 deacon, with an expectation that the elders conduct an annual home visit. Two years ago we also introduced small groups, some of which are led by the same people, but not all. At any rate we have some overlap and as part of our visioning process which we're presently engaged in, we are looking at this overlap, at church leadership structures in general, as...
Elders
Q&A
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What are some good websites that deal with faith formation?

The Network's Sunday School Guide Joland Howe recenlty blogged about a website she came across as a great website dealing with the topic of Faith Formation and some specifically with children. To quote Jolanda: This website is packed with research, ideas, web links and recommended resources for children, teens, young adult, adult, family ministry. So check out the Faith Formation Learning Exchange website and the specific resources Jolanda mentioned . Also are there any other good websites out there?
Faith Nurture

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