DAY OF ENCOURAGEMENT

Speakers and Sessions

Sessions are divided into three overarching themes:

Descriptions of each session can be seen below.


Mission: Encouraging community

Are Missionaries Still Needed? Tough Questions from the Changing Face of Missions

The world and missions methodology is changing dramatically. Some are saying that Western Christians should stay home and send more money to support the work of others. If Western missionaries go overseas, what should they be doing and how should they be doing it? We’ll explore some of the implications these changes have for Christian Reformed Church congregations and world missions in their global ministries.

Steve Van Zanen

Rev. Steven Van Zanen was a pastor in Minnesota for six years, a missionary in Eastern Europe for six years and now serves in church relations at Christian Reformed World Missions. His current work is to provide missions education, resources, and coaching to Christian Reformed Church congregations to enhance their work of global mission.

 

God-centered Missionary Care

Is missionary care by churches really necessary? We'll explore the biblical heart of the "sender/sendee" relationship, when care is critical, and practical examples of excellent care.

Steve Van Zanen

Rev. Steven Van Zanen was a pastor in Minnesota for six years, a missionary in Eastern Europe for six years and now serves in church relations at Christian Reformed World Missions. His current work is to provide missions education, resources, and coaching to Christian Reformed Church congregations to enhance their work of global mission.

 

The Healthy Church Discernment Process

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.

Rick Droog

Rick Droog is the ministry coordinator for the Siouxland Diaconal Conference. A stewardship education consultant for Barnabas Foundation, a member of World Renew’s (formerly Christian Reformed World Relief Committee) North America ministry team, Droog works with churches throughout the Midwest.

 

How Do You Support People with Mental Illness in Your Church?

People with mental illness attend many churches. Some feel supported, some not. This session will be looking at what mental illness is, some of the stigmas associated with mental illness, how churches can support people with mental illness, and how we as Christians need to look at how we can walk beside a person with a mental illness.

Doug Smit

Doug Smit is the director of mental health and family services at Hope Haven in Rock Valley, Iowa. He has worked for 20 years at Hope Haven. Smit had previously worked for the Iowa Department of Human Services working with children and their families in Sioux City and in Orange City. He has a bachelor's degree in social work from Northwestern College. Smit has been a deacon and elder in the First Reformed Church in Ireton for many years.

 

How rural and small town churches can improve the world

Looking at the Bible through rural eyes we discover eight ways the rural and small-town church can create constructive Christian change in our culture. These are simple, practical, proven steps that provide an impact far beyond the size of the congregation.

Jack Gray

Jack Gray is a retired pastor currently residing in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He served at churches in California, Washington, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Iowa, during his full-time ministry. He and his wife, Wanda, continue to serve churches as an interim pastoral couple. He has written materials to help pastors determine if rural church ministry is a good fit for them and convenes a group of pastors serving rural churches.

 

The Inclusive Church: Working Toward Full Participation of People with Disabilities

This session will identify the attitudes and physical barriers that limit participation of people with disabilities in a faith community. With God's guidance and these practical steps, your church can move forward on the journey of engaging people with disabilities and their families into the life of your congregation.

Dan De Vries and Scott Witte

Dan De Vries has served in a variety of ministry contexts, doing work in leadership development and serving as an overseas missionary and a regional diaconal consultant. He is an ordained minister with the Reformed Churches of America serving as the religious services coordinator at Hope Haven in Rock Valley. He has also served as elder at Maurice Reformed Church.

Scott Witte has worked in the disabilities field for 34 years and has a 30-year-old son with severe physical disabilities; he has served as both deacon and elder at Faith Reformed Church in Rock Valley, Iowa.

 

Innovative Stewardship Programs to Benefit Your Church

Where does stewardship fit in your church—and in the lives of your members? Or does it? What if you discovered a way to “make it happen?” Barnabas Foundation is committed to developing good stewards, and in this presentation you will learn about several different programs geared to grow good stewards in your church. You’ll discover specific programs and services to assist you in stewardship development. These include church stewardship consulting, an online church stewardship survey, a Planned Giving Partner program, and a turn-key Legacy Foundation program.

Rick Droog

Rick Droog is the ministry coordinator for the Siouxland Diaconal Conference. A stewardship education consultant for Barnabas Foundation, a member of World Renew’s (formerly Christian Reformed World Relief Committee) North America ministry team, Droog works with churches throughout the Midwest.

 

Nobody’s Children: Mission, Mutuality, and Bearing with the Marginalized

“Because they are nobody’s children, they easily become anyone’s children. For a price, they’re offered up for some pervert’s sexual gratification, often online.” The words jump off the page in the Kansas City Star article titled, “Sex trafficking raids highlight special dangers of foster children.” It’s estimated that a teenage girl on the streets will be approached within 48 hours by a pimp, 70 percent of the children trafficked spent time in foster care, and 50 percent of kids who age out of foster care will be incarcerated or homeless within the first year. This workshop will address how the church understands her mission and the development of a pilot ministry in Kansas City, The Spero House, for children aging out of the foster care system.

Kevin Schutte

Kevin Schutte is a church planter and Pastor in Olathe, Kansas. He has served on the Christian Reformed Church national church planting team and his currently serving on Christian Reformed Home Missions West-Central Mission Leadership Team. Schutte is a graduate from Calvin College (B.A. in political science), Calvin Seminary (M.A. in missions) and is currently a student at Northern Seminary (D.Min. in missional leadership).

 

Volunteers: your greatest asset!

Churches are full of volunteers. Yes, I understand many churches have paid positions, but the majority of roles are filled with volunteers. Learn how to build a solid volunteer foundation and keep them motivated to serve!

Rob Roozeboom

Rob Roozeboom is the founder and president of RISE Ministries, a nonprofit organization based in Sheldon, Iowa. Since 2001, RISE has been on a mission to inspire youth and walk alongside them as they discover hope. RISE has four core programs which consist of RiseFest (an annual Christian music festival), Rise on the Road (short-term mission/service trips), Rise Above Radio (60-second food for thought programs) and Roozeboom’s speaking engagements. Each year he and the RISE staff work with nearly 400 volunteers to make each program a success, inspiring youth and walking alongside them as they discover hope. 


Worship: Inspiring devotion

Faith Takes Practice

Athletes, musicians, artists, writers (and many others!) spend countless hours practicing their craft. Through repetition, discipline, and practice they become better skilled at what they do. Yet the words, "repetition" and "practice" have fallen on hard times in the Christian life. For centuries, key Christian practices have been vital to a walk with God, and recovering them is important for individual Christians as well as the church. We'll try to take some of those ancient practices out of the mothballs and discuss how a robust life of the faith takes practice.

Eric Dirksen

Eric Dirksen is the founding pastor of Christ Church of Davis, a church plant of the Christian Reformed Church in Davis, California, a place he calls a highly skeptical, educated, university community.

 

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.

Aaron Baart

Aaron Baart is the dean of chapel at Dordt College. Baart was previously the pastor at Bridge of Hope Ministries in Sioux Center, Iowa.

 

Hospitable Preaching

The statistics are everywhere: people, particularly young people, are leaving the Church and the "nones" (as in, those who have no religious affiliation) are on the rise. How can preaching engage these groups? What does preaching look like that remembers or imagines what it's like not to believe? In this section we'll discuss what preaching looks like when you expect some of those listening to be disenchanted with church, left the church, or skeptical of Christian faith.

Eric Dirksen

Eric Dirksen is the founding pastor of Christ Church of Davis, a church plant of the Christian Reformed Church in Davis, California, a place he calls a highly skeptical, educated, university community.

 

How to Build an Engaging Worship Service

Troy and some additional team members will share basic nuts and bolts on planning engaging worship moments for a media driven and technology saturated culture. They will also cover some critical tools needed to make worship planning and leading easier.

Troy Kooima

Troy Kooima is the executive director and primary worship leader for Happy the Dog Ministry, whose mission is to go anywhere, anytime, on any budget to help with worship. The team travels and assists in worship more than 130 days a year all over North American. Kooima has been a youth pastor for more than a decade and has led worship with young people and congregations for more than 18 years.

 

Missional Liturgy

The statistics are everywhere: people, particularly young people, are leaving the Church and the "nones" (as in, those who have no religious affiliation) are on the rise. Often a solution is proposed that the church needs to "update" itself, in particular, renovate its boring, dusty old worship services and be more "relevant." But what if liturgy and mission could be combined? In this section, we'll discuss how traditional elements of the liturgy can be a missional encounter for those who don't believe, as well as encouraging the maturity of faith of all who participate.

Eric Dirksen

Eric Dirksen is the founding pastor of Christ Church of Davis, a church plant of the Christian Reformed Church in Davis, California, a place he calls a highly skeptical, educated, university community.

 

Solitude: A Portable Sanctuary of the Heart

Many of the Psalms tell us that God is "our refuge and fortress." Have you ever wondered what that means? How is it related to trusting God and living in peace and joy in everyday life? The ancient spiritual practice of solitude can teach us some important lessons and addresses some of these core questions about life, faith, and living the abundant life of Jesus. We'll look at Scripture, focusing on the practice of solitude in the life of Jesus, and offer a few practical tips for cultivating the practice of solitude in our own lives.

Tanner Smith

Tanner Smith serves as one of the pastors of First Reformed Church in Sioux Center, Iowa. He loves his wife and kids and is an enthusiasm enthusiast.

 

Strengthening Our Core

This session is an exercise in song selection to strengthen the worship practices we hold in common.

Jon De Groot and Karen DeMol

Jon De Groot served as the worship pastor for nine years at The Crossing (a Reformed Churches of America church plant) in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He helped build a culture of worship by training worship leaders and teams. Now campus ministries coordinator at Dordt College, De Groot trains worship leaders through the worship arts program, oversees worship events on campus, and leads worship in weekly chapel.

Karen DeMol has been involved in worship planning for 20 years. As co-chair of the worship committee at First Christian Reformed Church in Sioux Center, she has taught courses in music and worship at Dordt College and is the author of Sound Stewardship: How Shall Christians Think About Music? Recently retired as professor of music, she continues to work at Dordt part time.


Culture: Equipped to serve

Bridges to the Gospel: The Quran and the Hadith

Sinclair will compare the Quran, the Hadith, and the Bible to build understanding and respect for Islam. He will also expose bridges to the Gospel as a practical way of sharing our faith with Muslims. Many people have not had exposure to either the Quran or the Hadith—yet there are signs of common grace that can lead to interesting conversations and ultimately, Jesus the Messiah. Sinclair will compare the texts and together discuss both similarities and differences.

The goals of Salaam Project are three fold: helping people learn about the Islamic faith, improve our witness, and increase dialogue between Christians and Muslims.

Greg Sinclair

Greg Sinclair served with Christian Reformed World Missions from 1992 to 2002 in Mali, West Africa, among an unreached group of people. The goal of this mission was to contextualize the gospel into the culture of the people, and this involved learning about Islam. From 2002 to 2005, Sinclair attended Calvin Theological Seminary after which he took a call to the Iron Springs (Alberta) Christian Reformed Church. In November 2011, he became project manager for a new initiative called Salaam Project. This is a multi-agency project committed to helping the Christian Reformed Church engage with Muslims both in North America and around the world.

 

Christ in Me: What does it look like?

Character is a key component for leadership and influence. What are you like? What are some strengths and limitations to your personality? Are you at your best when you relate to people or when you’re doing a task? Just what does “Christ in you” look like? We will spend a few minutes with a personal “test” that explores these and other questions; then we will discuss some implications.

Sam Keyzer

Sam Keyzer helped start a church called the Northern Lighthouse in Lincoln, Nebraska. Keyzer is currently a chaplain to the Lincoln, Nebraska, Re-Integration Program (RIP), a ministry that grew out of the Northern Lighthouse to serve inmates transitioning from prison to society. He has specialized training in Christian caregiving (Stephen’s Ministry), evangelism (Training 2000 Network), leadership development (Strategic Global Assistance), and family systems (Clinical Pastoral Education).

 

Developing High Trust Cultures in Churches, Organizations, and Families

It’s been said that without trust goals take twice as much time and money to accomplish. Developing trusting relationships is key to accomplishing the tasks that are set before us. We’ve all been in situations where trust is lacking and have felt the hurt, frustration, and failure that often follows. This is felt in our businesses, boards, organizations, churches, families, and friendships. This session will put words to what we experience when there is a lack of trust, the building blocks needed to produce high trust cultures and practices that can help make trust a reality.

Deon Wynia

Deon Wynia is a church health professional and mental health therapist with Bethesda Christian Counseling Services. He has been a licensed counselor since 1994, working with churches for the past 17 years. He has served as an elder for nine years and assisted in two church plants. Wynia has training and experience with life coaching, mediation, conflict coaching, and reconciling church conflict.

 

FLESH…Incarnational Living and Leadership for Everyone

Bottom line: Nothing changes in our culture or in our churches unless people learn to live the life Jesus lived. The word that reflects this is “incarnational,” and Hugh will help us understand how to put the word and the life of the word back into the very essence of being a disciple. If you and your people learn to live like Jesus, everything else comes naturally.

Hugh Halter

Founder of Missio, lead pastor of Adullam, and author of The Tangible Kingdom, AND, and Sacrilege, Halter speaks extensively across the country, encouraging and equipping pastors in incarnational ministry and missional leadership.

 

Fourth World—Part Of Our Body Too

Imagine living in a world where you make less than $2 a day with constant threats of abuse, violence, crime and human trafficking. This is reality for increasing urban migrants in developing countries, known as the “Fourth World.” In this session, we will listen to personal stories about challenges of the “Fourth World” and how to address them through the work of World Renew and your local church.

Carl Bruxvoort and Harlan Vander Griend

Carl Bruxvoort is the executive director of New Roots in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. New Roots ministers to the immigrant and refugee populations of Sioux Falls and provides physical, emotional, and spiritual support. He is the World Renew board representative from Classis Iakota.

Harlan Vander Griend is an optometrist from Sheldon, who has traveled to Central America, South America, and Africa on 14 eye care mission trips. He is the World Renew board representative from Classis Heartland.

 

Healing Principles for Hurting People

Bousema will give a glimpse of her life story. In the midst of walking the road of widowhood, Bousema was forced to learn a lot of healing principles through the Holy Word, but she admits to having to learn them the hard way as her life was laced with shame-based living. Bousema will speak candidly about healthy, helpful, and healing principles to put into practice to move toward grace-based operation in your life when either you or a loved one experience trial, loss, or grief. Come and learn about the God of redemption and grace, not shame and guilt.

Bethany Bousema

Bethany (Bep) Bousema is a teacher, speaker, and worship leader from Hull, Iowa. At the age of 25, Bousema’s life was forever changed when her husband’s faith was made sight after he valiantly fought a grueling illness. In the five years since her husband’s death, Bousema has spoken to thousands of people about the redemption and restoration of Jesus in the midst of brokenness. She utilizes both her passion and humor to reach young and old alike with a variety of spiritual teaching topics. Her teachings will leave you with a desire to seek God’s will for your life, and passion to live a life of unconditional worship for his glory. Bousema also runs the Ebenezer Benevolent Fund Ministry, a non-profit ministry that raises funds to support individuals suffering from life changing illness through financial gifts and prayer.

 

Helping the Hurting

Broken and hurting people surround us. Christ tells us to reach out to them and to love them, but we often don’t know how. This workshop explores ways to reach out effectively with the love of Christ. We will discuss helping strategies that can be used in your churches, homes, and neighborhoods. You will be empowered and equipped.

Sandi Altena

Sandi Altena has been the executive director of The Bridge Transitional Housing Program for more than five years. Prior to that she served as the director of residence life at Dordt College for 11 years. She has her doctorate in adult and higher education and is passionate about leadership, spiritual and community development, and healthy connecting relationships.

 

Leadership

Are you a leader who wants to create an environment of excitement and passion? Do you want to keep your followers motivated? Do want to see things happen and people grow? Explore a model of leadership that you can build on and that really works.

Sandi Altena

Sandi Altena has been the executive director of The Bridge Transitional Housing Program for more than five years. Prior to that she served as the director of residence life at Dordt College for 11 years. She has her doctorate in adult and higher education and is passionate about leadership, spiritual and community development, and healthy connecting relationships.

 

Learning to share: Mission as collaborating community partnerships

“They are not like others; they actually care for our people as much as we do.” This comment was a reflection of the Christians in the room offered by a social worker in response to a colleague questioning the partnership which had developed between a few local churches and the government agency she was representing. Often the church is perceived as unwilling to work with those who are different: different denomination, different agency, or groups not affiliated with a faith-based group. This workshop will explore how collaboration is a required posture in our current cultural environment. We will explore the practices of humility, honesty, and hospitality in the collaborative efforts of the faith based community and government agencies in the evidence-based program, Strengthening Families.

Kevin Schutte

Kevin Schutte is a church planter and Pastor in Olathe, Kansas. He has served on the Christian Reformed Church national church planting team and his currently serving on CRHM West-Central Mission Leadership Team. He is a graduate from Calvin College (B.A. in political science), Calvin Seminary (M.A. in missions) and is currently a student at Northern Seminary (D.Min. in missional leadership).

 

Living Intentionally

What would it take for us to live a more intentional and purposeful life? It’s easy to fall into survival mode succumbing to the tyranny of the urgent. Maybe we’ve been lulled into a slumber and end up sleepwalking through life. However, we who were once darkness are now light! Be inspired from Ephesians 5:14-16 to awaken fully to the light of Christ, to walk purposefully and to redeem the time.

Michelle Christy

Michelle Christy believes there is a defining word that is true and life-giving. Christy is passionate about encouraging and leading others toward a personal and transforming encounter with God through the study of his Word. She brings 15 years of experience to her inspirational-speaking and Bible-teaching ministry, Defining Word. Her natural and sincere style reveals her journey through life as a wife, mother, daughter of the Most High King, and recent cancer survivor.

 

Making Sense of Teenage Nonsense

Have you ever asked yourself, "Why did he do that? It doesn't make any sense!" Using real life scenarios of seemingly senseless teenage actions, Vander Leest will integrate theology, psychology, and his own first-hand experiences to help explain the driving forces behind teenage behavior. Participants will gain a better understanding of the "nonsense" that motivates and effects the development of teenage faith, relationships, and decisions.

Luke Vander Leest

For the past 15 years, Luke Vander Leest has ministered to teenagers and their families as a teacher, counselor, coach, mentor, and youth pastor while serving at Hanford Christian School in California, Shalom Christian Reformed Church in Sioux Falls. He is currently a counselor, coach, and spiritual director at Sioux Falls Christian School.

 

Open Panel Discussion with High School Students on Engaging Youth in the Church

Have you heard this said about our youth: “Our students are the ‘future’ of our church”? Our covenantal children are not just the future of the church but they are right now the church. Statistics say 50 percent of our high school graduates are leaving their faith during their college years. Through this question and answer session with high school students. We’ll wrestle together with these very important questions of how we can embrace our youth as part of the church now. You will be encouraged to ask probing questions as to why this exodus is happening and how we can embrace them so they feel passionate about their faith and their church through those years when they are making life changing decisions. Let’s discuss together how we can keep our youth engaged in the church so it is a lifetime commitment.

Lee De Groot and Kandace Brands

Lee De Groot is a youth coordinator for Minn-I-Kota Youth Network. She is also a volunteer youth leader in her church. De Groot enjoys going to her kids’ activities, playing with her grandkids, writing lesson plans, and speaking to youth groups about teen issues, speaking to adult groups about keeping our youth in the church, and giving her testimony about God’s perfect plan/timing and his amazing grace in her life.

Kandace Brands is a youth coordinator for Minn-I-Kota Youth Network, a ministry that helps support youth leaders in the area by providing resources, retreats, summer mission travel, help in leading lessons, and more.

 

Partners Worldwide—business as ministry for a world without poverty

Partners Worldwide connects businesspeople in long-term partnerships, transforming the lives of everyone involved. They work with more than 17,200 businesspeople in more than 20 countries around the world. The Farmer-to-Farmer program began in 2002 with a shared vision to empower landless farmers in Nicaragua. Today this partnership includes more than 100 farm partners living in six different farming communities in Nicaragua. In this session you will learn more about Partners Worldwide and also the Land for Landless Farmer Program.

Terry Hubers and Stan Wynia

Terry Hubers and Stan Wynia are part of the Partners Worldwide Farmer-to-Farmer program, a group of farmers, agri-businesses, and others who have the collective desire of giving hope by partnering together to help alleviate poverty in farming communities around the world.

 

Poetic Youth Ministry: A Response to Young People Leaving the Church

Current research suggests that young people—adolescents and emergent adults ages 18-30—are leaving traditional forms of Christian faith. What should we make of this situation? How should the church respond? Engaging the theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, this session will make the case for a "poetic" approach to the church and youth ministry that exists "with" and "for" young people.

Jason Lief

Jason Lief teaches theology and youth ministry at Dordt College. He is working toward his Ph.D. in pastoral care at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota.

 

Transformation

Would you like positive changes to take place for you, your family, or an organization? One word for these desired change is “transformation.” During our time together we will explore four connections that will move us toward the goals to which Christ calls us. We will also look at five key areas of personal development that will help us reflect Christ’s glory.

Sam Keyzer

Sam Keyzer helped start a church called the Northern Lighthouse in Lincoln, Nebraska. Keyzer is currently a chaplain to the Lincoln, Nebraska, Re-Integration Program (RIP), a ministry that grew out of the Northern Lighthouse to serve inmates transitioning from prison to society. He has specialized training in Christian caregiving (Stephen’s Ministry), evangelism (Training 2000 Network), leadership development (Strategic Global Assistance), and family systems (Clinical Pastoral Education).