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Welcome! Our hope for this blog is to give you insight into the whys of what we do. We value open communication, not only from leadership to the congregation, but from the congregation to leadership as well. To learn more about RRC’s ministry philosophy and how we put it into action, check out our Leadership Principles section.

Adult Ministry – November 2015

adult-ministry

The Adult Ministry Team has a new leader/director, Luke Morgan. Luke has been part of the team and has transitioned to the leadership role. Since the Adult Ministry Team had been a new committee at the beginning of the year, Nancy Steenwyk and Karen Bazen started as co-leaders of the team, with the goal of identifying a team member as one who could eventually transition to being the leader. Luke, with his background in adult education, has gifts that match what is needed for the team and has accepted the leadership role. 

Recently, representatives of small groups and the Life Groups met to discuss how their groups were doing and to answer any questions they might have. We found that the groups are having good discussions, and growing in relationships with other people and with God. Most of the groups are continuing, but there are additional leaders identified who will have room for you in a group if you are interested. The next opportunity to join a Life Group will be to sign up for one on January 3, when the church will have a mini-Winter Festival, similar to the Fall Festival.

Kevin and Polly Johnson have a few weeks left of the Andy Stanley “Follow” series during the Sunday School hour. If you haven’t joined in yet, there’s still time – and room – for you. Bren Shantz will lead an adult Sunday School class on the four Gospels once the new year begins. 

For Wednesday night studies, Polly Johnson is just starting a brief series called “The Christmas Experience” with the ladies’ class. For the second half of the year, she will be leading the discussion on two video series from Andy Stanley, “Guiderails” and “Life Rules.” Ladies who would like to join the group are invited to attend. The other class offered after the new year will be a Discovery Class that will be led by Pastor Paul.


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Men’s Ministry – November 2015

mens-ministry

We still have three meetings left in our Friday Morning Breakfast: November 20, December 4, and December 18. Join us at 6:30am in the gym for a man’s breakfast followed by a video and discussion on Jesus’ life on earth as a model of true manhood.

On Friday, November 20, the men will have their own game night here at church. Join us at 7:30pm in the Fireside Room. Games and snacks will be provided, but you are welcome to bring more. Since there is a separate event going on in the gym during this time, we ask that you please use Entrance B (by the elevator).

Coming up on December 3, we will be having another Tailgate Cookout. Join us in the gym starting at 7:30 to watch the Packers@Lions game on the big screen! Food and drinks provided.


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Youth Ministry – November 2015

youth-ministry

Greetings Parents, I am loving the opportunity to minister to the youth of our church and enjoy the different personalities that each student brings to our group. If you have any questions or want to learn more about what we are doing in the youth group please feel free to contact me at brianmellis@outlook.com or 616-481-9843.

What’s Coming Up?

MIDDLE SCHOOL

  • Youth Group meets on Wednesday nights from 6:30 – 8:00pm
  • Girls Bible Study (Middle & High School) on Tuesdays from 3:00 – 4:00pm at Family Fare Starbucks
  • No Youth Group (Thanksgiving) on Wednesday, November 25
  • Christmas Party on Wednesday, December 9 from 6:30 – 8:00 pm
  • No Youth Group: December 16, December 23, and December 30

HIGH SCHOOL

  • Youth Group meets 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 Starbucks
  • No Youth Group (Thanksgiving) on Sunday, November 29
  • Christmas Party on Sunday, December 13 from 6:30 – 8:00 pm
  • No Youth Group: December 20, December 27, January 3

Winter Retreats! 2016 Winter Retreats will be at Spring Hill Camp in Evart, MI. Activities include an indoor pool with water slides, broomball, tubing, indoor athletic courts, and so much more!

  • MIDDLE SCHOOL:  Friday, January 22 – Sunday, January 24
    • *Total cost is $100. To sign up, a $50 deposit is due Sunday, December 20.
  • HIGH SCHOOL:  Friday, February 26 – Sunday, February 28
    • *Total cost is $100. To sign up, a $50 deposit is due Wednesday, January 27.

Parent’s Tip: If you are reading through any scripture consider sharing what you are learning with your child. It is a powerful thing for our youth to see the adults of the congregation learning and growing like they are.

What We’re Studying: God’s Word is powerful. It has the power to transform our hearts and our lives. RRCYM is currently doing a study called “Alive” in which we are learning about just how powerful, valuable, and vital the Bible is in our relationship with God. The 3-week series digs in to these 3 main points:  1) Give God’s Word a chance to change you; 2) Find a way to feed yourself spiritually; 3) When you memorize, it opens your eyes.


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Children’s Ministry – November 2015

childrens-ministry

Happy November!  A season to give thanks is upon us. We wanted to take a moment to say Thank You to the many volunteers that we have in children’s ministries. They all go above and beyond to make sure things are covered, that our kids are taken care of, and that all needs are met in each area. Your hard work and dedication truly means the world to us!

A huge thank you to those who grabbed an Operation Christmas Child box and filled it up. 100 boxes were purchased and they are gone! What an amazing impact RRC has on missions.

Speaking of missions, KidLife is collecting new socks for our “Sock Pile.” The pile is located downstairs in the children’s area, if you would like to help us make the pile grow. We will be collecting until December 13, and then they will be given to North Kent Community Services. Socks are the most requested items but the least given. The kids enjoy seeing the pile grow!

“Spark in the Dark” was a successful event. We were excited to see new faces and hear that people had invited friends and families to join us! We were also overwhelmed with the gratitude given to us by you all. We graciously accept it and are planning the event already for next year!

We are also working on our annual Pioneer Clubs Christmas Program, which takes place on Wednesday, December 16. Watch for details coming soon!


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Missions – November 2015

missions-ministry

What is a missionary?

  • A person sent by a church into an area to carry on evangelism or other activities, such as educational or hospital work.
  • A person strongly in favor of a program, set of principles, etc., who attempts to persuade or convert others.
  • A person sent on a mission.

Rockford Reformed Church as many missionaries. A couple of them came here this past month to talk to us about their mission field. Adrian and Bernardeth Bobb-Kelly came and shared about the mission in Nicaragua. Greg and Laura Yoder also came and shared about their mission with Christian World Outreach, which goes to many different places – Haiti, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Burkina Faso.

If there was one topic that they all mentioned it was to cover them in prayer. That is something that all of us at RRC can do. It is not just the financial aspect that helps, but prayer is so important to them. I know things are changing at RRC – we are changing the budget to try to have a better relationship with those missionaries that we work with. But those we stop supporting financially still need our prayers. Always keep them in mind.

A couple of specific prayers that are needed: The VandenHeuvel family is preparing to go to Kenya soon. Please keep them in your prayers. There was a request from the Haiti Foundation Against Poverty that we got for a young boy. He needs our prayers. Here is what we received:

O’Nelson has been part of Les Bours School of Hope since we first opened in the fall of 2008. He began his education as a 2nd grader. He is a quiet boy with a kind soul. He has always been a good student and has never taken for granted the gift of education. O’Nelson was one of our first students to graduate from the goat program and he was able to help support his family with the babies his goat would have. He lived with his mother and sister in a house not far from the school until this past summer. His mother was a kind woman who loved to spread laughter. She was the first face we would see as we turned our vehicles down the dirt road of Les Bours. She had a small business selling produce and other foods to the neighborhood.

In September she was shot and killed by members of a gang. O’Nelson witnessed his mother’s death and attempted to defend her. He was shot multiple times and stabbed in the stomach. The gang members thought they had left him for dead, but God had other plans. O’Nelson was immediately sent into hiding in a city far away. Even there, the gang members were tracking him and he feared for his life. Sleepless nights and panic attacks became all he knew. It was apparent we must step up and fight for this precious boy’s life. He is only 15 years old – he deserves to be in school, to play sports, and to sleep without fear each night. In the 7+ years I have known him, the only thing he has EVER asked for is a Bible. This child deserves a fighting chance! God has claimed his life for great things! Please be in prayer for this young man.

Mallery & Frentz Neptune

 

Kids Hope Update: Our Kids Hope program is off to a really great start this year! We have had 12 returning mentors start back up, 7 new mentors have started meeting with newly referred kids, and we have 3 kids who we are currently working on matching. We’ve made some updates to our Kids Hope room so it’s more fully stocked with materials to be used during the mentoring hour, and we’ve begun using an online room scheduling calendar. The principal and teachers at Valley View Elementary couldn’t be happier with our program. When you’ve got 20 people coming into the school each week just to work with and encourage a child, it really has a big effect. We’ve had a great amount of new mentors volunteer this year, but we already need more! We need about 7 more mentors ready and trained by January so we can be prepared to meet the needs of more children. Please contact Audrey Shantz (audreyshantz@gmail.com) if you can help!


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Outreach – November 2015

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Thank You to everyone who handed out gospel tracts with your candy this past Halloween. One thousand children received the gospel message while trick-or-treating in our community.

Reaching our Community with RRC’s Meal Train

For the past couple of months the Outreach Influence Team has been encouraging ministry teams to find ways to extend their ministry into the community. The RRC Meal Train is one such ministry that can be offered to our neighbors, co-workers, friends, and family members who do not have a church home. Please follow this process if you know of someone who does not have a church home and could really benefit from some meals.

  • Ask the person in need if they would like to receive meals from RRC. Also inquire about food allergies, likes and dislikes, and the preferred schedule for receiving meals.
  • Contact your Elder/Deacon team upon the consent of your friend/neighbor/family member or contact Laura Jolliffe in the church office directly.

Several things can happen through this process; bridges can be built, friendships forged, service offered, the love of Jesus Christ extended, and lives transformed.

Outreach Opportunities for You

North Kent Community Services is seeking individuals to serve on its various committees for 2016. “I am looking for people who have skills in media/public relations, finance, fund development, law, business, health & human services, construction, human resources, and marketing,” says Executive Director Claire Guisfredi. “It is not a huge time commitment. The committees meet once a month or every other month for an hour. If you want to give back to the community and don’t have a lot of time, this is a good way to get involved.” Check the website www.nkcs.org for a list of committee descriptions and to apply online by Friday, November 20

Outreach Questions of the Month

  • Who are you praying for who is not yet a follower of Jesus?
  • Who are you spending time with who needs to know God’s love and grace?
  • Who is someone you are hoping will come to church with you sometime in the future?

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Worship – November 2015

worship-ministry

The Worship Search Team has been interviewing two interim worship director candidates to fill our short term need. Both candidates are qualified and excited about RRC and we hope to have a decision made soon.

In regards to our search for a full time Director of Worship: the resumes are pouring in as we have opened this search up to a wider audience than we did in the first phase of our process. There are a few candidates that we are excited about interviewing based on their passions for worship, gifts, and skills set.

Our team asks that the RRC family would continue to pray for candidates who are considering whether or not RRC could be their church home and for our team to have clarity, wisdom, and encouragement moving forward in this search process. Our thanks is also expressed to all the worship team members who continue to step in and lead us in meaningful, Christ-centered worship each week during this time of transition.


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Hospitality – November 2015

hospitality-ministry

We are excited with the changes and responses to the Hospitality Team! People seem to appreciate the welcome table and being greeted as they come in, along with the coffee set up in the lobby! New banners are on the way, so look for those soon. We are looking for volunteers to help out before the first service at the welcome table and helpers to clean up coffee pots after the second service. Please let Tammy Bradford (tlbradford@sbcglobal.net) know if you are willing to help!


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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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