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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Pastor’s Corner – September 2015

_Paul-Tammy-Bradford-Portrait-Color-1 (2)This past Sunday we had an amazing day. Our Fall Festival and All Church Picnic were well attended. People had a chance to see all that is being offered this fall at RRC and to sign up for classes, small groups, and volunteer opportunities. Kid’s Hope had the largest sign up ever.
 
Sunday evening we returned for our first Concert of Prayer – an all church gathering of prayer and worship. We had about 45 attend. I was flooded with comments by those who attended. They shared the wonderful impact of the evening. God’s presence was felt, and people said the time flew by. We know that, as we pray according to God’s will, he hears, and his answers are on the way!
 
As we move towards our future, prayer will become increasingly central. We can accomplish nothing apart from the hand of God working in our midst, and as we ask, we will receive. Learning to highly value congregational times of prayer together is a very important area of growth together. Our next Concert of Prayer will be 6pm on Sunday, January 3, to launch us into the New Year.
 
Life Groups are a great new addition to the small group line up here at RRC. We have 4 groups forming, two of which still have plenty of room for people to join (the ideal group size is 8-12). Our groups include:
  • Jerry & Deb Coon – Sunday nights – full
  • Seth & Emillie Clayton – Sunday nights – full
  • Eric & Julie Ringnalda – Monday nights – space available (childcare included)
  • Stephen Bradford –Night to be determined (probably Monday or Tuesday) – for Young Adults age 18-30 – space available
 
To enhance our kids’ security, beginning this Sunday only Kid’s Life staff, parents, and children will be allowed in the hallways in the Children’s area. The stairs going into the Fellowship Hall will still be opened for general traffic. Also, our room numbers and Building Map have been updated to make them more newcomer friendly. You can view the Building Map here, or download it here.
 
I encourage you to read through The Beacon. You’ll find updates from Consistory (our church board), all of our Ministry Teams, and our Worship Director Search Team. The Beacon will keep you up to date on what’s happening here at RRC as we press forward into God’s future for us!

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Pastor’s Corner – August 2015

_Paul-Tammy-Bradford-Portrait-Color-1 (2)Tammy and I have now been at RRC for 2½ months. We believe the Lord has led us here, and are very thankful! As we’ve been getting to know the congregation, we have been encouraged and blessed by the depth of love for God and others we have seen in the people at RRC, and by the strength of caring community we have observed.
 
It’s been a busy couple of months. We’ve been meeting with members of RRC to understand the richness of the congregation’s history and the present strengths and opportunities. I’ve been working with leaders, staff, and ministry teams to set goals and envision together the future the Lord has for our congregation. Tammy and I have particularly enjoyed our “Living Room Chats”. In the past few weeks we’ve met with 39 members of RRC, listening to personal stories, as well as hopes for the future. We want to meet with everyone at RRC. If we’ve not met with you yet, you can sign up online by going to rockfordreformedchurch.org/living-room-chats.
 
We’re also excited about the launch of Life Groups this fall. Life Groups are high-commitment, short-term groups designed to help us grow spiritually and develop meaningful, supportive friendships. Each Life Group session will be 10 weeks long, and sessions will be held in the fall, winter, and spring. The focus will be on Sharing, Study of the Scriptures, and Supporting one another in life and in our faith. Existing groups that already have these focuses may want to become Life Groups. We’re hoping everyone will participate in Life Groups for 2 or 3 sessions each year (see the Adult Ministry update below for more info).
 
I urge you to read through the entire Beacon each month. By doing so, you’ll be kept up to date with the many great things that are happening here at RRC. What’s more, you’ll be encouraged and excited to see what God is doing! So, enjoy your read!

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