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Hi Wendy,

#3 on the list "Can We Be Friends?" was written by Joel Huyser, not Joel Hogan.  I worked with Joel Huyser and Darryl Mortensen in Nicaragua and consider them both as friends til this day!

Thanks,

Ben Meyer

Posted in: But Is It Safe?

Dear Friends,

Just a quick response here partly in reply to Edward Gabrielse´s comment from a current CRWM missionary family.

My wife and I have been career missionaries now for just over 10 years in Guadalajara, Mexico. We have been extremely blessed by twenty CRC churches and several hundreds of individual/family supporters/partners (most of whom are also CRC) -- so much so that I suspect that the transition to raising 90% of our support will not be difficult, although it will require effort. 

When that happens, we will be receiving 10% of our support from CRC ministry shares, but the other 90% will not be coming from outside the CRC as Edward suggests.  In fact, my estimate is that, in our case, probably 90% of the other 90% will come from CRC members who will support us through their churches' missionary support programs or by sending their support directing to the CRWM office earmarked for us. We will continue to be 100% CRWM missionaries working under the authority and supervision of both CRWM and our sending church (Seymour CRC, Grand Rapids, MI)!

Most missionaries do not relish raising funds. At the same time I can testify to two things: 1. CRC members and others respond generously and cheerfully when presented with an opportunity to invest in God's Kingdom by giving to CRWM mission efforts.  2. While most CRWM home office staff do not raise funds for their own support in the same way missionaries do, they are extremely helpful in assisting missionaries to raise both their regular support and project suppport.

Personally, I lament thte Ministry Share program is in decline. I wish that, as a confessionally Reformed church, every congregation gave 101% of their designated annual amount per member. At the same time, I believe that CRWM's decision, ratified by Synod, to move to this new funding model is the right way to go.

Rev. Ben and Amy Meyer

CRWM Guadalajara, Mexico

[email protected]

P.S.  Please send your checks in support of our church planting and leadership development efforts in Mexico in partnership with the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico and Multiplication Network Ministries to CRWM, 1700 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI  49508 (Note on memo line that gift is for Ben and Amy Meyer Acct. #: 802198)!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hi Denise,

I recently read this book for a class that I took and could identify with the metaphor of "leading off the map" as a missionary, church planter, and church planter trainer in Mexico.

One concept that is sticking with me is the idea of making "blue zone" decisions instead of "red zone" decisions. Things can often look very different once everyone has "cooled off" a bit.

I also enjoyed this quote and am trying to live it: “When a leader and a people together resist the anxiety that would lead to throwing in the towel or relying on the quick fix…this enables them to gain the just-in-time experience necessary to keep the expedition going” (98).

Thanks!

Rev. Ben Meyer

Resonate Global Mission

Guadalajara, Mexico

A great question! As a CRWM missionary currently on home service in the U.S. visiting 21 different churches across six states over the course of a short six months, we get a quick church-health snapshot of a lot of different congregations. In some places the decline is obvious and disheartening. In other places there are refreshing signs of renewal and growth.

Half of our work in Mexico is with Multiplication Network Ministries (www.multiplicationnetwork.org/) whose motto is "More Churches, Stronger Churches." This ministry, in fact, was founded by several members of the CRC and others (their global office is housed in Emmanuel CRC in Sauk Village, IL).

One of the tools we use in Mexico from this ministry is called "Take Your Church's Pulse." It is available in PDF format from the website and it can also be administered by means of an online survey. The heart of the tool is a questionnaire with seven questions in each of ten vital areas and ministries for every church (Vision, Leadership, Church Body Using Gifts, Resources, Context, Proclamation, Discipleship, Service, Fellowship and Worship). The point is not to "grade" a given church, but rather to promote healthy conversations about the church's life and ministry at this point in time.

Rev. Ben Meyer

CRWM Guadalajara, Mexico

[email protected]

Allow me to share our experience on the mission field in Mexico where we work with the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico. We constantly offer a new members class called "Inicios" or "Beginnings" at our 11 a.m. Sunday School hour. The class runs for four months so we offer it three times per year. 

 

The course starts with the big questions: What does it mean to be a Christian? Who is God? What is our problem? Who is Jesus? What does Jesus do? How to receive salvation? We teach on justification, sanctification, adoption. From there we move to some sessions on the denomination and some Reformed history. From there we move to our local church: our values, how to grow in grace, areas to serve, our ministries, meaning of sacraments, importance of covenant, etc. And we end with the membership questions to asked at one's public profession of faith.

 

The course neither guarantees membership nor obligates anyone. If, at the end of the course, people would like to make their public profession of faith and be baptized (if not baptized before), then they fill out a membership sheet, meet with the elders and then set a date. We have almost all new folks go through the same course: new believers and those from other churches, although the needs are different. Also covenant youth raised in the church take the course prior to their profession of faith.

Rev. Ben Meyer

Seymour CRC (Grand Rapids, MI)

Missionary to Guadalajara, Mexico with CRWM

Posted in: Clogged System

Praise God for the surplus!

When I was in seminary (1999-2003), the word on the street was that the years ahead were going to be great years to enter the ministry in the CRC due to a foreseen shortage of pastors. Supposedly 50% of current pastors at that time were Baby Boomers who were going to be retiring in the next 10-15 years. That probably has been happening, but the influx of so many new candidates has more than filled the ranks. 

Rather than look at the lack of demand for so many pastors now in the system, we need to open our eyes and see the excess demand in the world. In other words, it is time to start even more churches and new ministries in North America and send out even more missionaries to other parts of the world. The decision to join CRHM and CRWM opens up all kinds of new possibilities for service in missions for pastors and other servant leaders.

Speaking from experience, I would invite those looking for work to talk to folks at CRWM or other agencies. Or talk to their home councils and classes about starting daughter churches. We have worked with CRWM in Mexico since 2004 starting new churches and developing leaders, and it has been a wonderful experience matching our gifts and calling with the vast need that is around us.

Rev. Ben Meyer

Seymour CRC, Classis GR East

CRWM Guadalajara, Mexico

 

Hi Greg,

May God bless the Muslim world through the Salaam Project!  I enjoyed reading your article; however your phrase "brothers and sisters" in reference both to Christians and Muslims at the end of your article caught me off guard.  Can you clarify?

Thanks,

Ben Meyer

CRWM Guadalajara, Mexico 

Benjamin Meyer on June 20, 2012

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Thanks, Greg, very helpful!

Yes, we are brothers and sisters with all of humanity, including Muslims, as sons and daughters of Adam and Eve. And we also hope that one day soon we will also be brothers and sisters in Christ with many from Islam.

Thank you,

Ben Meyer

Good job encouraging her to talk to her parents.  Sounds like she needs help understanding that, in baptism, God is the main actor.  Remind her of God´s promises to her in baptism when she was an infant and how her profession of faith now is a wonderful response brought about in her by the Holy Spirit in response to God´s promises several years ago.  Re-baptism is not necessary because God´s promises and God´s character do not change.  You might even talk about and even show the waters of baptism at her profession of faith (without re-baptizing) as a reminder as as a way of connecting the past with the prsent.

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