On a Mission
Essential news from Christian Reformed Home Missions
Christian Reformed Home Missions serves the churches, ministries, and members of the Christian Reformed Church in North America through partnerships that work to fulfill Christ’s mission.
Multiethnic Church Reflects Diverse Community
When Rev. Albert Chu looks out into the pews at The Tapestry on Sunday mornings, he sees quite the melting pot smiling back at him: Hispanic, Asian, Black, and White faces from the richly diverse city of Richmond, British Columbia. “Our congregation really does look like a colorful tapestry,” observes Chu. “The city of Richmond has 200,000 people, and it’s made up of 60 percent ethnic minorities. Our main goal is to be a multiracial church that reaches out to this colorful community.” It’s a strategy that seems to be working. The Tapestry, which just celebrated her third year in existence, is growing. In the past two years, Chu has baptized twenty-seven adults and a number of children. Currently averaging be-
In the past two years, Chu has baptized twenty-seven adults and a number of children.
tween 250 and 300 worshippers each Sunday, the congregation also just purchased a new church building and is in the process of hiring an associate pastor. Chu is also using the church to reach out to economically challenged community residents. “We also have a preschool here, and we’ll soon be starting an after-school program for at-risk kids,” Chu says. “Diversity, to me, also means diversity in age and economic status. It’s part of our mission to reach people from all walks of life here.” That diversity is also reflected in the church’s worship style, which Chu refers to as having “a little bit of everything.
Rev. Albert Chu (left) at a recent baptism ceremony
We have drama, small group discussions, movie clips, pipe organ and modern music, songs in other languages —it’s very diverse.” Chu says The Tapestry is also able to connect with the Richmond community through its annual baptism ceremony. “Every summer, we have a big baptism service at a local beach, complete with food and drink,” he explains. “It’s actually a great way to tell people about Jesus, because a
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Christian Reformed Home Missions
Following Christ. In Mission Together.
Chicago Congregation Reaches Local Kids
Lawndale is an old, gritty neighborhood on the west side of Chicago. An innercity, predominantly African-American community, its streets are plagued with gangs, drugs, and crime. But for a growing number of teenagers who live there, Lawndale is becoming a neighborhood of hope and transformation, thanks to the presence of Lawndale Christian Reformed Church. The church, founded in 1963, had suffered from years of decline, as had the neighborhood. Church leaders won-
“In spite of the trend of kids staying away from church these days, we do have the younger generation here, every Sunday morning.”
dered what they could do to bring in new members from the economically challenged city. The answer came three years ago when Lawndale CRC applied for a Christian Reformed Home Missions mission-focused church grant. That grant, designed to help “churches in transition,” gave Lawndale CRC the ability to help several of its young adult members do outreach. Soon after the grant started, those young adult members began developing friendships with local kids. “Before we knew it, we had a dozen or so kids coming to our Sunday morning service regularly,” reports Rev. Jim Wolff, pastor of Lawndale CRC. “These were unchurched kids, kindergarten to high school, whose parents didn’t go to church at all.” These children, teenagers, and young adults were also attracted to Lawndale CRC because the church’s doors are open five days a week. Wolff explains: “A local Christian school and an educational network for young men
also use our facility. So on any given day, we have mentoring and tutoring programs going on. Many of those kids choose to come to our church because they see what it’s like. In some ways, it seems like we don’t even have to evangelize. They’re just coming.” Now, more than one-third of the one hundred people who attend Sunday worship at Lawndale are under twenty-five years old. “It has changed our church for the better,” states Wolff. “We’ve had to refocus and redesign our worship to meet the kids’ needs. It is livelier now and very much a place of celebration every Sunday.” The church recently held a special baptism service for many of these youth, during which twenty people, ages four to twenty-four, were baptized in a special immersion tub. Wolff celebrates that “that was the culmination of three years of outreach. It was an amazing worship service that showed clearly what our church has become: an uplifting place that has been transformed by Lawndale’s youth.” The same people who were baptized on that Sunday, following completion of a preparatory class, also recently celebrated their first Lord’s Supper with the Lawndale CRC congregation. “The questions we have now are: can we keep them coming? Can we reach their parents? Those are challenges,” Wolff observes. “Yet at the same time, we’re so thankful. In spite of the trend of kids staying away from church these days, we do have the younger generation here, every Sunday morning.”
Waiting to be baptized at Lawndale CRC.
A young man prepares to be baptized.
Assessment Center Helps Identify, Recruit Church Leaders
Home Missions recently re-launched its annual Assessment Center for church planters, a three-day training event that had not been held for several years. “This is a great way for us to identify and recruit new leaders for the CRC,” reports Rev. Jul Medenblik, who leads the Home Missions Church Planting and Development Team. “It helps people interested in church planting discern their gifts, passions, strengths, and growth areas.”
During the survival exercise phase, those in attendance participated in an exercise during which they demonstrated character, skills, and behavior competencies common in church planting leadership.
Six prospective church planters attended the most recent Assessment Center, held in March in Holland, Michigan. Although the majority of attendees were seminary students, one was a CRC pastor interested in pursuing church planting. This year’s session combined a series of intense behavioral interviews with some realworld survival simulations. Attendees completed several pre-assessment writing tests before the event and then prayed and wrote about their church
Assessment Center participants during the event’s first day.
planting vision during the event’s first day. A small group of people with current and direct involvement in church planting then met with attendees to help identify gifts and calling. During the survival exercise phase, those in attendance participated in a simulated exercise during which they demonstrated character, skills, and behavior competencies common in church planting leadership. “Throughout this phase, they are exposed to the process and strategic activity for starting a new church,” Medenblik says. After completing the three full days of assessment exercises, attendees receive
feedback reports from assessors. These reports provide recommendations for personal growth and development, along with potential ministry opportunities. “That report is shared with Home Missions’ ministry team leaders, who can then call these people in to interview for specific leadership positions,” says Medenblik. “Hopefully, by the end of the event, attendees are able to discern where God has led them and also where he might be leading them.” Home Missions plans to present another Assessment Center next spring.
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lot of people out walking on the beach stop to check us out. That’s been a good opportunity for us to witness.” Going forward, Chu expects The Tapestry to continue to minister to the many cultures living outside the church’s walls. “We are excited about what God has in store for
The Tapestry in the upcoming years,” he says. “We are excited to be able to have a building and to be able to use it as a springboard for mission and ministry in Richmond and beyond.”
CRC Churches Get Involved in Calgary Campus Ministry
“Several of the female students were really impressed with Michelle’s talk at our dinner,” comments Verhoef. “So they started going to Lantern soon after that.” Most importantly, the dinner meetings are impacting the lives of young people, even though, as Verhoef admits, some students are simply drawn to the idea of a free hot meal. “But once they The dinner fellowship come and experience the group, they can see how has also unexpectedly God is working here,” he drawn some students says. One student, Esteinto the CRC. ban Ginez, attended the fellowship most Wednesdays last year. Ginez describes his experience this way: “I felt enriched and blessed by this group of people, not because they were doing something special but because they were being themselves over a warm meal. I look back and I thank God for the people I met at this place, the ones that constantly came and the ones that only showed up once. I truly believe I was shaped by them, and I suspect that now they are asking some of the same questions I asked. That makes me feel like I belong to a community.”
Campus minister Paul Verhoef, right, and his family.
When University of Calgary campus pastor Paul Verhoef started his Wednesday Dinner Fellowship several years ago, he usually made a pot of soup for the small gathering of students. But now, with the weekly meeting averaging twenty students, Verhoef has turned to outside sources to take care of the food: local Christian Reformed Churches. “We’ve got a great CRC community here in Calgary, and they enjoy cooking meals and bringing them to the gatherings,” Verhoef explains. Those gatherings are the “backbone of our campus ministry here,” says Verhoef. Each Wednesday during the school year, “Those gatherings are students get together in a conference room on the backbone of our campus and eat dinner campus ministry here.” while listening to a guest speaker. “We always try to bring in speakers who talk about how their work connects to their faith,” he adds. “For example, we’re having an Information Technology employee come talk about how his faith influences his job working with computers.” The dinner fellowship has also unexpectedly drawn some students into the CRC. Several months ago, Verhoef hosted Michelle Top, pastor of Calgary’s Lantern Community Church. Lantern was a Home Missions supported church back in 2003.
University of Calgary students gathered together for a recent Wednesday Dinner Fellowship.
Home Missions Appoints Small Group Team Leader
Christian Reformed Home Missions has appointed Canadian pastor and church planter Karen Wilk to lead its Small Group Ministry Development efforts. In this newly established position, Karen Wilk will provide leadership to the thirteen Home Missions Small Group Ministry Developers in the United States and Canada who provide training and consultation to CRC leaders and members across the denomination. “God definitely led me to this position, and I’m thrilled to be helping our Small Groups strengthen our churches” says Wilk, who is currently pastor of Community Life and Discipleship at The River Community Church in Edmonton, Alberta. She is also the Small Group Ministry Developer for the Home Missions Western Canada Ministry Team. Wilk says Home Missions has established this new position because it wants to help churches grow and become more mission-minded through Small Group ministries, such as Coffee Break, Little Lambs, Story Hour, and other programs. “I believe that Small Groups play a key role not only in the strength of a church, but also in reaching out to the local community,” Wilk explains. A graduate of Tyndale Seminary, Wilk will be assisting church developers in their evolving relationship with Home Missions ministry teams across Canada and the United States. She will call together consultations as needed for direction and vision. As her first action in her new role, Wilk will be meeting with the Small Group Ministry Developers in Denver, Colorado, in May. “I will be listening to them and dreaming with them about the future of Small Group ministry,” she explains. “We will be discussing ways in which we can best be the presence of Christ in our communities, whether at church, at home, or in the workplace.”
Along with preaching and teaching in numerous places, Wilk has written a number of children and youth curricula, a family devotional entitled Walk with Me, Jesus, and the Together All God’s People guidebook for churches.
Small Groups Conference: Still Time To Register
“Then will I purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the name of the Lord and serve him shoulder to shoulder” (Zephaniah 3:9). Registration is still open for In Community, the July 18–20, 2008, Small Group and Evangelism Conference in Lombard, Illinois. Conference information, online registration, and a link for hotel registration are available at www.crhm. org/conference. Those registering before May 15 will receive a special “early bird” discount rate. Thirty-seven breakout sessions will be offered for leaders of Coffee Break, connect with others ministering in similar areas. Attendees will enrich and transform their lives, their churches, and their ministries through these sessions, along with four worship celebrations based on the themes Restored by Grace, Created to Worship, Equipped to Serve, and Gathered Home. For more information, contact: www. crhm.org/conference or 888-644-0814.
Children’s Preschool Ministries, Small Groups, Campus Ministries, and new churches. Eight pre-conference training options will offer specific training in participants’ own area of leadership. An interactive lunch option will allow for the opportunity to network and
Canadian Church Celebrates “Grand Opening”
It wasn’t exactly a grand opening, since The Well in Kelowna, British Columbia, had been meeting for monthly worship for the past year. Rather, the party celebrated the church’s first service in full-time, regular Sunday worship. “To me, that was worth throwing a party for,” celebrates Rev. Ron Vanden Brink, pastor of The Well. The day after the wedding reception-like bash, The Well held its actual “grand opening” worship service. “We put a lot of effort into it,” Vanden Brink says. “We sent out a mailing to twelve hundred people in the community. About sixty people came to the service, including a local newspaper reporter, community representatives, and a City Council member. During the worship service, Vanden Brink showed a fictional video message from
“Jesus sees her coming to get some water and asks her, ‘Will you give me a drink?’ That’s an invitation to dialogue, an invitation to enter into relationship.”
the woman at the well who Jesus appears to in John 4. “In that passage, Jesus broke the cultural, social, and religious rules of his day by talking to a Samaritan woman at the well,” Vanden Brink explains. “He sees her coming to get some water and asks her, ‘Will you give me a drink?’ That’s an invitation to dialogue, an invitation to enter into relationship. And that’s what we believe Christianity is really supposed to be all about: loving relationships. That’s exactly what we’re trying to do in our church.”
Starting the service with prayer.
Picture this scene: a crowded reception hall. A DJ spinning dance tunes. A big cake. Must have been a wedding reception, right? Nope. Believe it or not, it was a party to celebrate a church’s grand opening.
Home Missions Seeks to Reach Youth
Where did all the young adults go? Unfortunately, that’s younger CRC members by designating two at-large seats to a question the Christian Reformed Church is grappling younger CRC members.” Suh believes younger people tend with today. Consider these sobering statisto have a “negative perception of Christianity tics, presented at a recent Home Missions and the church.” In an effort to help board meeting: stem the tide of young “This move is one way for Home Missions • From high school graduation to age the need for campus ministries people departing the to address out to undergrads,” adds Rozetwenty-five, there is a 42 percent drop in that reach CRC, Home Missions boom. Home Missions, he says, also needs weekly church attendance. • By age twenty-nine, the drop in weekly has decided to look for to make “a large investment in younger attendance increases to 58 percent. mission leader coaching and development two people under the in other ways.” • In the one hundred Korean-speaking CRCs, 80 percent of youth leave the church. age of twenty-three to A slate of candidates for these two posiserve as members on tions will be selected with the assistance of In an effort to help stem the tide of young people departing the CRC, Home Missions its board of directors. Suh and Home Missions Educational Mishas decided to look for two people under the sion Specialist Peter Schuurman. Nominees age of twenty-three to serve as members on will then be presented to Synod 2008. Diits board of directors. Home Missions director John Rozeboom versity will be encouraged. says the move “reflects the axiom that if you want a demoHome Missions is looking at other ways to get young people graphic in your church, that demographic must be reflected involved as well, recognizing this will require major commitin leadership.” ments of time and effort from churches, campus ministries, The idea started with a recent presentation by Joyce Suh, an and other Home Missions-funded ministries. Campus MinisEducational Mission Specialist for Home Missions who asked try is one area in particular where Home Missions hopes to the Home Missions board to “enhance its relationship with make a greater impact in young lives.
M i S S i o N S iN Fo C u S
Home Missions West Coast U.S. Ministry Team
Beginning with this issue of On A Mission, we plan to include a regular column on what’s happening in the twelve Home Missions Ministry Teams. In this edition, we turn the spotlight on the West Coast U.S. region. From Peter Holwerda, regional leader for the West Coast U.S. Ministry Team: “Praise God for forty-three churches in our region who reported receiving five or more people through evangelism last year! Also, praise God for the following West Coast churches and their pastors who each welcomed ten or more people into their membership.” Grace Christian Artesia, Calif. Elmer Tandayu Rosewood Bellflower, Calif. Dan Brink Grace Christian Carson, Calif. Elmer Tandayu CrossPoint Chino, Calif. Tim Spykstra River Rock Folsom, Calif. Tim Blackmon All Nations Lake View Terrace, Calif. Jin So Yoo Grace Valley Las Vegas, Nev. Steve Wunderink Granite Springs Lincoln, Calif. Kevin Adams Long Beach CRC Long Beach, Calif. Brent Wassink Community Los Angeles, Calif. Tom Doorn Journey Christian Los Angeles, Calif. Charles Kim Joy Community Los Angeles, Calif. Kyung H. Lee Community Oakdale, Calif. Gary Westra Sol del Valle Sun Valley, Calif. Carlos Aranquiz Community Tacoma, Wash. Rod Vander Ley Community Thousand Oaks, Calif. Jeong Jin Yoo Korean Westminster, Calif. Sam Nam Ephesus Whittier, Calif. Heung Rok Lee
Home Missions Ministry Prayer Requests
You can help support individual Home Missionsfunded ministries by keeping them in your prayers. Please read the requests below to find out what some of our ministries are praying for this spring. Ministry: The Gathering, Walker, Michigan Prayer request: Pray that we develop ways of speaking the gospel into each other’s lives as well as the lives of everyone around us so that Jesus is magnified. Ministry: Hispanic Campus Ministry, Paterson, New Jersey and Jersey City, New Jersey Prayer request: Please join us as we pray for more students to assume leadership roles in our campus ministries to students at Passaic Community College and New Jersey City University. Ministry: Living Stone Church, Rochester, Minnesota Prayer request: Living Stone is growing and, thankfully, kids are a big part of that. Please pray for our church leaders as they make decisions about how best to include kids in the life of the church and how best to teach kids in the ways of Jesus. Ministry: City Fellowship Church, New York, New York Prayer request: Continue to pray for us as we seek to grow City Fellowship Church into a community that pours out God’s love and grace on a broader scale within New York City. Ministry: Watershed Church, Traverse City, Michigan Prayer request: Pray with us as we attempt to shed the light of the Kingdom in Traverse City by helping those who deal with poverty, hunger, homelessness, unemployment, and family difficulties. We want to bring life and hope to our community! Ministry: International Harvest, Worthington, Minnesota Prayer request: Pray for our six new members and their children, that the Lord strengthens their faith. Also, ask Him to continue blessing us with more new members. Ministry: Global Vision Church, Edison, New Jersey Prayer request: Pray that nonbelievers we have contacted will accept Christ and come to our church. Pray also that our cell groups will be active and multiply. Ministry: Wings of Eagles, Albuquerque, New Mexico Prayer request: Please pray for God’s strength and wisdom for area Native American college students as they face trials with relationships, school work, and finances. Pray also for the Holy Spirit to lead us toward a more holistic approach using the arts. Ministry: Victor Ko, Church Planter, Edmonton, Alberta Prayer request: The Holy Spirit has sent three families to join us and we have been meeting once a month. Soon, this team will meet every Sunday evening to break bread, worship, grow, pray, and strategize for laying the foundation of the new church. Please pray for us during this process. Ministry: New Hope Church, Hamilton, Ontario Prayer request: We ask your prayers for encouragement and faith as we continue the hard work of sowing the seeds of the gospel with our lives, our words, and our deeds. This is God’s mission and we must continually remind ourselves that He will do it through broken people like ourselves.
Honoring Lives and Legacies through Gifts to Home Missions
Memorial donations to Christian Reformed Home Missions through March 26, 2008. Those memorialized or honored are listed in bold, with respective donors indicated below each name.
in Memory of Marge Boelkins Anonymous Anthony and Charlotte Betten Esther M. Betten Stanley L. and Gilda R. Boelkins Florence A. Bosscher Julian H. and Carolyn G. Bouwer Dr. Roger and Cornelia Brummel David and Erica Collins Eric and Lizbeth S. Dean Kurt F. and Rita C. Fendius Carroll and Lois Groenenboom Sidney J. Helder Gordon J. and Marge Konyndyk Maverick Investment Club J. Lee and Susan B. Murphy Eleanor M. Nicholson Precision Metalworking Equipment LLC Shaun and Gail M. Quinn Gary J. and Neda L. Raterink Silver Lake Assoc. of Cannon Twp. Inc. Sound Off Signal Duwane A. and Susan L. Suwyn Larry J. and Lori E. Tilma John S. and Maribeth Weadock David G. Zandee in Memory of ida Boeve Owen and Eileen Baas
Sylvia Becksvoort Graafschap CRC Jerold and F. Jean Hulst Wilma S. Le Febre St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church Johanna Sankey Barbara J. Vander Haak in Memory of Ray opperwall Norene L. Botts Doris M. Brondsema Dr. Marvin S. and Elizabeth A. Hoekstra James and Jayne Quist Rev. John H. and Nadine R. Stek Rev. Leonard and Clara R. Sweetman Jr. in Memory of Gert Wiersma Anonymous James E. and Elinor A. Bonthuis Albert and Jennie De Haan Ronald and Patricia De Weerd Bruce and Connie Lefever John and Claretta Lobbes Marvin and Linda Toering Nelson Wielenga in Memory of Effie Dykema Roger C. and Donna J. Lefers in Memory of Kathryn R. Noble-Schlamm Rev. and Mrs. William Goudberg in Memory of Marian Harken Marlyn and Marcia Allspach
in Memory of Frank Hart Jr. Carolyn E. Hart in Memory of Mary Huizenga Thomas D. and Sharon A. Visser in Memory of Peter i. Noteboom The family of Peter Noteboom in Memory of Harris G. Nieuwsma Gladys L. Nieuwsma in Memory of Henry and Nellie Rindels Mary E. Dahl in Memory of Rose Saprenza Ebenezer CRC in Memory of Calvin Schaap Jean Schaap in Memory of Emily Vandenbos John R. Vandenbos in Memory of Jake VanEps Margaret Vander Plaats in Memory of Dewey Vander Leest Janice Vander Leest in Memory of Michael Vander Wal Pearl Koning in Memory of Viola Van Der Weele Dr. Steven J. Van Der Weele in Memory of Carol Zylstra Blackport Arthur D. Blackport
Charitable Gift Annuity: The Gift That Gives Back
Ken and Betty then funded their Charitable Gift Annuity with a gift of $25,000. They received an immediate tax deduction for a portion of their gift and began receiving annual fixed payments of $1,575, based on their ages. Their payment comes out to 6.3 percent of their gift—a better return than what they were earning on their CDs and money market A friend from church who used to serve on council with Ken funds. Ken and Betty were also pleased to learn that 64.4 mentioned that he is receiving regular, fixed payments for percent of each payment was tax-free, thereby effectively life from Home Missions through something called a Chariincreasing their after-tax return even more. 2850 Kalamazoo Ave. SE table Gift Annuity. Ken looked into it further and learned Christian Reformed Grand Rapids, MI Gives Back,” that a Charitable Gift Annuity is a great way Home a gift For our FREE report “The Gift That 49560-0030 simply contact to make Missions email@example.com to the ministry in exchange for a tax deduction and regular, Home Missions at PO Box 5070 STN LCD 1 or 800-266-2175. Following Christ. In Mission Together. fixed payments for life. Burlington, ON L7R 3Y8 Ken and Betty are both seventy-five years old and concerned about disappointing and decreasing interest rates on their CDs and money market funds. They want to do more to financially support Home Missions, but they don’t feel they can because of their need for cash flow.
To learn more about the ministries of Christian Reformed Home Missions, visit www.crhm.org, call 800-266-2175, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christian Reformed Home Missions is an agency of the Christian Reformed Church.