Pastor’s Corner – October 2015

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Congregational Update Meeting Report from Sunday, October 11

Pastor Paul shared updates of things that are happening at Rockford Reformed.

Ridder Church Renewal: Pastor Paul attended the first module of Ridder Church Renewal in Houston, Texas this past Tuesday through Friday (October 13-16). Ridder focuses on empowering leaders by training them to live out values of Love, Courage, Integrity, and Authenticity, as well as helping them to develop a model of discipleship, to understand relational dynamics in leading, and to equip high performance teams. Pastor Paul will begin the training, and will be joined by 6 others at the next module this spring. Over the next two years many of these principles will be imparted to other leaders and the congregation.

Prayer Ministry every week: We have begun a Prayer Ministry & Listening training course, and now have prayer teams available every Sunday morning to pray for anyone who desires prayer.

Upcoming Sermon Series – invite your friends! Our next sermon series will be The Blessing: How you can change lives through your words. We’ll discuss the amazing power of words to release life and success in your children, your spouse, your co-works, and your friends. We will provide a handout so you can invite unchurched friends and loved ones. Our advent series will be The Mary Miracle – How to release God’s work in our lives. This will be another great invitational opportunity.

Life Groups Launched: We have implemented Life Groups, which focus on Sharing, Study, and Support. We have two active groups and hope to add more in the winter. This winter we will have Life Groups that commit to meet 10 consecutive weeks, and other groups that will commit to meet 10 times every other week. The new groups are going very well. Other small groups are also meeting.

Men’s and Women’s Events: The Men’s ministry (1) launched its season with a football tailgate party attended by 40 men, (2) have begun an every-other-week breakfast group this is watching videos and having discussions that focus on authentic manhood, and (3) continue their Tuesday morning prayer breakfast. Two strong women’s Bible Studies are meeting this fall.

Outreach Focus: Our Outreach Influence Team (formally Outreach Ministry Team) has placed representatives on every Ministry Team at RRC and are leading us in questions that help turn our focus outwards. They are also sharing these questions with the congregation through emails and letters in mailboxes. Our desire is to create a culture of outreach at RRC. We also have started a Hospitality Team to improve our welcome of newcomers, and are beginning FIT –  the Facility Improvement Team – to explore ways we can enhance our building to feel more welcoming and relevant to newcomers, and especially young people.

Living Room Chats: Pastor Paul & Tammy have had over 100 people over to their home since they arrived, including a bonfire with about 2 dozen high school students and leaders this past Sunday.

Financial Update: Dan Triezenberg gave a financial update. He reported that our September giving was about $10,000 short of our expectations and the amount needed for budget. Scott Jacobs asked for prayer for the Consistory as they meet on Tuesday night, because hiring a full time Worship Director in light of the current financial reality is risky and needs discussion. Dan did share that the first Sunday in October had strong giving. Our hope is that financial growth will recover quickly and grow, allowing us to sustain a full time Worship Director. Pastor Paul thanked those in attendance who were tithing, and encouraged all to begin percentage giving with the goal of tithing so that the work at RRC might flourish.


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Consistory – October 2015

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We thank all the members of the Worship Director Search Committee for their long and diligent work in finding a candidate. The candidate was presented at the Consistory meeting and was approved for a full-time position with benefits for a one-year period. Members of the search committee are Stephanie Bergman, Tammy Bradford, Brian Fleetham, Luke Morgan, Eric Ringnalda, and Teresa Scholten.

RRC’s Annual Congregational Meeting is coming up on December 6 at 5 p.m. We will discuss and vote on the 2016 proposed budget and select new office bearers. The Consistory approved the final slate of nominees. Nominees for Administrative Elder are Megan DeVries and Dan Uthoff. Nominees for Shepherd Elder are Karen Bazen, Megan DeVries, Luke Morgan, Bren Shantz, Sandy Uthoff, Jason Vergouwe, and Tom Wright. Nominees for Service Deacon are Chad Kleis, Emillie Clayton, Peter Jolliffe, and Becki Pilko. We ask for your prayers about this important meeting.

The Consistory would like to draw attention to the church’s financial position at this time, especially in light of the new Worship Director coming on board soon and the budget that will be presented at the upcoming Congregational Meeting. Currently, we have about three months of reserve funds on hand, the amount recommended for healthy churches. This is similar to how a household is run, with 3-6 months of reserve funds available in case of emergencies. Total receipts (giving) for the 2015 fiscal year is below what was budgeted for the year and we have been depleting our reserve fund to cover expenses. In September alone, we dipped into the reserve funds for about $20,000. Each year, we as a congregation approve the budget and are aware of what money we are committing to give to the ministries and missions of our church, and the deacons rely on what is budgeted to come in. We ask that you prayerfully evaluate your level of giving for God’s ministry to be carried out in our church and community, through us at Rockford Reformed Church.


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Adult Ministry – October 2015

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Two new life groups started this fall. Childcare is now provided for the families of one of the new groups. We plan to start even more weekly groups in January. An option for a 10 session group to meet every other week may also be offered if needed. There are also a few dinner and Bible study groups that have stayed together from last year. We encourage everyone to make a commitment to one of our small group offerings for one of the 10 week options during the year. Our goal is to promote fellowship, mutual Christian support, Bible study, and prayer among members of the Rockford Reformed Church family.

Currently, two Wednesday classes are meeting at 6:45 during Pioneer Club. Feel free to check the church calendar and join in. Kevin Johnson leads an adult Sunday School class at 10:00. All are welcome to these classes as well.

Watch your announcements for various Men’s and Women’s group social events, prayer groups, and Bible Study groups. There are many opportunities to build friendships, enjoy fellowship, and grow in the grace and knowledge of God our Father, Jesus our Savior, and the Holy Spirit who blesses us. If you have an idea for a social gathering or for a class, please let us know.

Please plan to attend the January 3 Winter Fest and Concert of Prayer to kick-off the winter class/group sessions.


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Men’s Ministry – October 2015

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Men! Join us for an Amazing Journey! Last week, we launched our Men’s Friday Morning Breakfast. We meet every other Friday morning in the gym from 6:30 to 7:30 to begin to discover God’s real plan for men. We are watching “33” – a series of video talks that look at the 33 years of Jesus’ life on earth to give us a model of true manhood. We begin at 6:30 with a “real” Man’s Breakfast (not just muffins or fruit cups), then spend the rest of the hour watching and discussing the video.

The six sessions will include Manhood Realities (Oct 9), Create and Cultivate (Oct 23), Manhood Definition (Nov 6), King/Warrior (Nov 20), Lover/Friend (Dec 4), and Seasons (Dec 18).


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Youth Ministry – October 2015

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The year is well underway and we are tremendously pleased with the start we have had to our youth group year. If you are looking to learn more about our youth ministry, I encourage you to “like” the student ministry Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/RRCYM), or request to be a part of our weekly emails by contacting Brian Ellis (brianmellis@outlook.com).

What’s Coming Up?

MIDDLE SCHOOL

  • Youth Group is on Wednesday nights from 6:30 – 8:00 pm
  • Girls Bible Study (Middle & High School) on Tuesdays from 3:00 – 4:00 pm at Family Fare
  • Afternoon at Sky Zone on Saturday, October 24
  • Youth Group fundraiser dinner after second service in the gym, November 1
  • No Youth Group (Thanksgiving) on Wednesday, November 25

HIGH SCHOOL

  • Youth Group is on Sunday nights from 6:30 – 8:00 pm
  • Girls Bible Study (Middle & High School) on Tuesdays from 3:00 – 4:00 pm at Family Fare
  • All-Nighter at the 3 Mile Project Friday, November 6 – Saturday, November 7
  • No Youth Group (Thanksgiving) on Sunday, November 29

Parent’s Tip: I encourage you to share the story of how you became a Christian with your child. Hearing the influential pieces of a parent’s testimony can often help a child identify the meaningful aspects of their own faith. A child will often pay very close attention to the faith of a parent so sharing testimonies or favorite Bible verses can be impactful for the faith of a child.

What We’re Studying: We are studying the life of King Solomon and how his life can teach us to walk on a path that leads to God.

Other Opportunities: If you are looking for ways to get involved, the youth ministry has needs for volunteers outside of being a small group leader. From making snacks to driving vans, there are plenty of ways to help out.


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Children’s Ministry – October 2015

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On the Wednesday before Halloween, Pioneer Clubs will be hosting a “Spark in the Dark” party in place of having regular club meetings. We are opening it up to the community, so please invite your friends and neighbors! There will be games for kids of all ages, hot dogs for dinner, prizes, and of course, candy! Costumes are welcome if you would like to wear them. The party takes place in the gym from 6-8pm on October 28. If you would like to donate candy, please place it at the info desk in the back of the sanctuary. Thank you!


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Missions – October 2015

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The Missions Team was so blessed to meet Adrian & Bernardeth Bob-Kelly and their daughter when they visited our church on October 4th. They have not visited churches in the United States for several years. Adrian and Bernardeth serve on the east coast of Nicaragua in the poorest area of an already poor country. They shared that they provide public health and medical services, as well as spiritual and pastoral education, to that population. We discussed the possibility of having a mission trip in the future with a team from our church and they were eager to discuss this opportunity with us. Our team is committed to continuing support for their mission work.

Our team has been working on the Missions budget for 2016. We have been reviewing all of our local and international missions over the past year. We have also been discussing how we as a church can become more engaged with them. How can we actually get to know the leaders of local missions and missionary families well?

In the book Organic Outreach for Churches by Kevin Harney, he discusses this issue. He concludes that it is so much more impactful to support a few local and international missions rather than many. The church can then focus on those few with more dollars and develop a relationship with the mission leaders. He states, “Your congregation will have a deeper sense of being connected to them, and you might even plan a trip to visit and encourage the smaller number of missionaries you support.”  

When the budget is presented in December, you will see that we have tried to focus on a few local and international missions. This was a difficult and painful process as we worked to limit our list and inform those who we decided would no longer receive support from Rockford Reformed Church after 2015.

Take A Frozen Turkey to Church Day! Sunday, November 15

This year Rockford Reformed Church has committed to provide Thanksgiving dinner baskets for 40-45 clients of the North Kent Community Services (NKCS). On Sunday, November 15, we will collect frozen turkeys at church and they will be sent to NKCS. Then on Tuesday, November 17, at 6pm your whole family or life group can enjoy a light meal in the gym and pack all the other food and inspirational material that will accompany the turkey in the basket. This will be a fun evening as we work together packing the Thanksgiving baskets, creating cards for each basket, praying together for those who will receive the baskets and delivering them to NKCS. Watch for more details on what foods we will need for the baskets. If you have any questions regarding these dates and activities, please contact Dave VanderWiere, Dianne Bennett (dianneb49@gmail.com), or Pastor Paul (plbradford@me.com).


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Outreach – October 2015

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“Every follower of Jesus Christ has an outreach temperature. It can be hot, cold, or somewhere in the middle. This temperature impacts the way we live our life and interact with those who are far from God. It is our responsibility to steward this temperature and seek to increase it so that our hearts burn hotter for those who are spiritually lost. The One Degree Rule is the reality that all of us need to seek to increase our outreach temperature by one degree on a regular basis.” Kevin G. Harney, Organic Outreach for Churches.

The One Degree Rule is the outreach concept that the Outreach Influence Team is sharing with the ministry teams and the congregation during the month of October. We can use a scale of 1-10 to help us identify where our outreach temperature lies. A ten represents a heart that is sizzling hot. A one represents a heart that has cooled off or is cold. When we are at a ten, we are consistently praying for, and connecting with those who are spiritually lost, speaking of our faith, and naturally sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. When we are at a one, we are no longer praying for lost people, we are too busy to connect with those who are outside of our church family, and we do not feel much urgency to share our faith or communicate the gospel of Jesus.

This scale can be used to measure the outreach temperature of our church ministries also. When a ministry’s temperature is high, it is welcoming of those who are lost, it designs its programs to attract those who are not yet in a relationship with Jesus, there are consistently non-churched visitors attending, and many enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ.

We know a ministry’s temperature is low or cooling off when it invest most of its energy in planning activities for those who are already part of God’s family, when the participants are content to just meet with other Christians for fun.

The value of the One Degree Rule is that it doesn’t matter what the starting number is. The purpose is to identify our outreach temperature and then commit to raise it one degree higher. If I am at a 4, I can take steps to raise my outreach temperature to a 5. A ministry area that is at a 6, can take steps to raise their outreach temperature to a 7. The key is to continually be turning our temperature up a bit higher. As our temperature increases, our effectiveness in outreach increases.

Kevin Harney suggests several ways to increase your temperature…read God’s word, pray for those God has placed in your life who are spiritually disconnected, make time to be with those who are far from Christ, share how God is working in your life or in the lives of others, ask someone to hold you accountable.

OUTREACH QUESTIONS OF THE MONTH:

What is your outreach temperature today?

What can you do to raise your temperature by one degree?


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Worship – October 2015

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The Worship Director Search Committee presented their recommended candidate for hire to consistory at their meeting on October 13. Consistory voted unanimously in their approval of the presented candidate. Please join us in thanking God for His faithfulness in this process thus far, and continue to join with us in prayer as the candidate considers the offer we’ve presented.
 
On behalf of the Search Committee, I’d like to express my thanks to Bren Shantz and the rest of the invaluable members of our worship ministry. Their dedication to leading us in Christ-centered worship during the past 6 months of our search has been such an encouragement. I would also like to publicly express my thanks to the individual members of the Search Committee – Eric Ringnalda, Teresa Scholten, Brian Fleetham, Tammy Bradford, Luke Morgan and Pastor Paul – for the time, energy, prayers, and wisdom they poured into me and this process. To God be the glory. -Stephanie Bergman, Chair

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Hospitality – October 2015

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We’ve been working hard to help newcomers feel welcome here at the church. We’ve clearly labeled the main entrance. We now have a welcome table in the Lobby where newcomers can go to get questions answered and receive a bag with gifts and information about RRC. We are now filtering the water we use to brew coffee, and brewing high quality coffee.
 
But we need one more thing – friendly people to help us fulfill our vision! We need people who are passionate about hospitality and welcoming newcomers to staff the welcome table, to greet at the door, to brew coffee before first service, and to serve as ushers and greeters in the sanctuary. Even if you can only help once a month you can make a big difference. Thanks!

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