DAY OF ENCOURAGEMENT
Body Therapy: Caring for the Body of Christ
How do we care for each other, especially at times when we really don’t know what to say—family transitions like empty nest and divorce, catastrophic events like childhood illnesses and death, or other life-altering events? It’s not just elders and deacons who care for the body. This seminar will give helpful tools and tips for caring for those around us.
Feeding the Body: Thematic expressions of the Lord’s Supper for Seasonal Use
Paul Hansen and Karen DeMol
The form in the hymnal is comprehensive and useful, but how would you design a whole service including the Lord’s Supper around a holiday theme like the Lamb of God or the wedding feast of the Lamb? Numerous other themes in the Lord’s Supper lend themselves to Good Friday or the beginning of Lent as well as Advent and Easter. Discover how to weave a service of Word and sacrament together that gives glory to God, unveils the theme of the day and instructs, uplifts, and builds up your church in worship.
So You’ve Been Called To Be An Elder/Deacon
Where do you start, what do you do, and how do you provide care and feeding for the body of Christ? How do we do our best for the churches that God has given us charge over? This seminar is designed to help elders and deacons do the tasks described in the forms for officebearers in our songbooks.
The Healthy Church: Building Environments of Grace
What does it take to create environments that nurture spiritual maturity and strong relationships? This session will look at the role of church leadership in this process.
Three Points Were Good Enough for Grandpa
What has changed in the world and how do these changes effect the old tried-and-true three-point approach to sermons? In the early 1970s new approaches to preaching began to surface and the three-point form began to fall into disuse. How should people who listen to sermons think about these changes? Are they good, bad, or a mixed blessing? This talk will also offer some ideas about how to identify a “good” sermon.
It’s Not the House We Want to Visit
Bill Van Der Heide
House visitation has a long and, for many, infamous history in churches of the Reformation. This session is for those of you who are making or receiving these visits. Old and New Testament passages will provide a foundation for the visit. We’ll offer some practical dos and don’ts, suggestions on how to avoid an “inquisition” or “griping” atmosphere, and some caring ways to avoid the more familiar problems of family visiting.
What’s the Journey Like for You?
Bill Van Der Heide
Theory is one thing, but how do you actually do family visiting? This session will feature an actual visit with a family followed by a question and answer session and suggestions for follow-up. The follow-up strategies often make the visit an effective way to encourage one another.
God calls us to grow in our faith and then guide others. Leadership is crucial for healthy people, families, churches, and businesses. It is also crucial for the expansion of God’s kingdom in the world he loves. But sometimes leadership can stagnate, minimizing our potential and delaying the progress of God’s work. This session will look at five areas of personal growth that will help provide visionary leadership and touch on four dynamics that help “make it happen.”
What if you could get a clear look at what is really happening in your church? And what if you could use that information to develop a plan for the future—a plan that would give every member of your congregation a sense of ownership? This session will provide information about the Healthy Church Program, a process that can energize your congregation by involving them in a dynamic conversation about the future of your church and how you can get there together.
Stewardship Trends: The New Reality
The changing economic environment has had an impact on stewardship. Churches, along with all Christian ministries, are exhibiting a keen interest in resulting stewardship developments. This session will discuss changes in the competitive environment for our church in our community; how our church has changed as the times have changed; and ways to prepare for the future of financial stewardship.
A Stewardship Survey
How can a stewardship survey affect your ministry? In this session, we will share the value of a stewardship survey as a tool to help you understand the stewardship attitudes and practices of your church members. The church must be passionate about helping Christians be managers of all God’s gifts. At the root is a basic understanding that everything we are and everything we have are gifts entrusted to us. God owns it all and he has created us as managers. How can a church stewardship survey provide the starting place for developing a stewardship initiative for your congregation?
How to Build an Engaging Worship Service
In an interactive environment, learn how to connect with a media-connected and media-driven society.
Don’t Come to Save Us—Service Projects in Vulnerable Communities
“You know you’re living in a ghetto when the church vans come in for spring break,” said a tweet from a neighborhood teenager. Help from privileged outsiders through short-term missions and service projects can unknowingly lead to disillusionment and the reinforcement of destructive hierarchies. Yet spaces for reconciliation where the privileged encounter their own poverty and where the marginalized discover their worth, while exceedingly rare, are possible. This workshop explores how ministries can create redemptive, empowering, short-term interactions between privileged and vulnerable churches and communities.
Catechism 2.0: Bringing the Heidelberg Catechism Alive to the 21st Century Student
The Heidelberg Catechism was written to teach the key doctrines of the Reformed faith by reaching out for the hearts of believers. When we ask, “What is our only comfort in life and in death?” the Heidelberg Catechism sets out to fill heart and mind with the truths of the Gospel. What are the best ways that teachers are challenging our students to learn both the “knowledge and conviction” as well as the “deep-rooted assurance” of faith that the catechism shares? This session will be part seminar, part panel discussion as we look for the best practices for teaching the Heidelberg Catechism to today’s students.
A World Renew Partnership for Transformational Development
Ron De Weerd and Bill Adams, World Renew
Helping hungry people become self-sufficient is the primary concern of Food Resources Bank (FRB), its members like World Renew (CRWRC), and its project communities. However, individuals, congregations, and communities involved in FRB community projects are blessed as much as those served. Many small rural churches or communities, interested in mission but constrained by lack of cash resources, find that by inviting financial resources from city churches or civic groups, they can create partnerships that make it possible to contribute many thousands of dollars to World Renew’s programs and make a profound impact on the lives of hungry people. Churches involved in FRB projects are reinvigorated by working together and giving parishioners an opportunity to get personally involved.
Effective Church Websites in 2013
Mike Vander Berg
Churches encounter challenges and opportunities when they have a web presence. This session will look at ministries that are effectively using their online presence and focus on the tools they are using. Some of the tools and topics include Faithwebsites, social media tools (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), search engine optimization tools, video streaming tools (live streaming and on-demand), mobile websites, and more.
One Body, But Which Music? Addressing dilemmas in traditional and contemporary worship
Jon De Groot and Karen DeMol
Our objective is to assist churches looking for thoughtful and healthy dialogue about their congregations’ musical choices. The leaders will identify many of the issues involved and present some practical tips for helping churches address the “traditional” vs. “contemporary” worship conflicts that plague so many of our churches.
Parent to Parent
Parents of teens need to stay strong and healthy. Parents often face more emotions than they are prepared for. They love their teens but often have feelings of blame, guilt, pressure, frustration, anger, etc. If parents fall apart, how can they help their teens in their struggles? This session will help you understand how to remain healthy when your teens are struggling.
Welcoming Children to the Table
Jill Friend and Syd Hielema
Many Christian traditions are exploring ways to strengthen children’s faith development through participation in the Lord’s Supper. This session, led by two members of the Christian Reformed Faith Formation Committee, will explore their approaches and will provide guidance and resources for congregational leaders who seek to have the sacraments be more richly nourishing to young and old.
Keeping our Youth Engaged in the Church
Lee De Groot
There’s good news and bad news. Which do you want to hear first? The good news is that the youth of today who are being raised in the church are serious about their religious faith. I’ve heard it over and over again that they want to be a part of their church. Our youth want to be encouraged and heard. The bad news is that nearly half of our college-aged students are leaving the church that they were once a part of. In this workshop we will discuss ideas that can help parents and leaders keep our youth engaged in the church.
Understanding Other Gospels
This session will present an understanding of Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses. It will include their backgrounds and roots, what they believe and teach, and how to have a conversation with them.
From Doing Devotions to Living in Devotion: Re-examining How We Grow with God
The activities of our walk with God can so easily become a substitute for walking with God. In this session, we’ll get back to what these times of intimacy are about and suggest some practical steps to help recreate devotion as the best part of the day.
Fire or Ice?—A Reformed Look at the Rapture, Israel, and the End of the World
An introduction to a Reformed perspective on current events, biblical theology, and the last days.
Drug Abuse and Recovery in Northwest Iowa
Drug and alcohol abuse is prevalent in America among teenagers and adults. This session will focus on the leading substances abused, including alcohol, marijuana, prescription drugs, methamphetamine, synthetic marijuana, cocaine, and more. Swanson will also outline strategies for successful intervention and recovery.
Basic Christian Bioethics
This seminar will present an introduction to Protestant Christian Bioethics. The presenter will discuss the basics of a Christian bioethical worldview, biblical and traditional sources for bioethics, and leading bioethical issues such as euthanasia, abortion, and cloning.
My Encounter with Jesus the Therapist (Part One)
My childhood experience taught me about grace. But, I felt shame. Shame won out, and it had a toxic impact on my identify formation and faith. However, Jesus broke in to my shame and started me down a long road of training in grace.
Living in a Place Called Grace: Where Psychology and Jesus Meet (Part Two)
Though Jesus broke through my shame early in my life, the toxic remnants of shame had a lingering effect on my faith journey. My studies in psychology helped me see the teachings of Jesus in a healthier light and relate to him in a place he calls grace. Through this convergence of psychology and faith I have discovered that grace is more than a song or a theological construct. It is a way of living.
Psychology and Christianity have everything to do with each other. Psychological theory void of the gospel is incomplete and misses the mark. Christian faith void of good psychology becomes toxic and degenerates into a sick religious life. In his two-part series Dale D. Ellens, Executive Director of Bethesda Christian Counseling Midwest, walks through his personal faith journey from a place of wounds to a place of psychological and spiritual restoration. The series offers a gateway to rest in an anxiety-ridden world.