small groups | coffee break | story hour little lambs | men’s life
Calling All Small Group Leaders!
Small Talk is for you. Notice the new format, We will talk to you by sharing resource With this mailing we’ve included the
new look. Read about the transitions suggestions, stories of small groups, and Small Groups Big Impact brochure which
we’ve experienced at Home Missions. It’s encouraging evangelism and kingdom lists many of the resources available from
been a time of prayer and new direction. service through community. We invite you Christian Reformed Home Missions. We
This newsletter invites you to also pray, to talk back to us by responding to articles are committed to assisting you on your
seek God’s direction and respond to His and sharing your stories of what God is small group journey.
winds of change as you lead men, women, doing in small groups, touching lives and
Christian Reformed Home Missions
and children in biblical communities. answering prayers.
Following Christ. In Mission Together
I Didn’t Recognize Jesus …but you’re missing God in this, and Too Busy to Listen?
It’s true, I didn’t recognize Him. While vacationing are headed for a dead end. –Jesus
We’re busy. Our schedules are packed.
in Texas, a tour guide pointed to a statue of Saint
(John 8:21, The Message) Church schedules, too. We reassure
San Antonio holding a child. “Who’s the baby?”
ourselves all this activity is for God.
I asked. “That’s baby Jesus!” he replied.
Ever wonder what He has to say about
Surprised and embarrassed I admitted that I hadn’t recognized Him. I pondered my
our lives, our plans, our small groups?
curious response. How could I miss Jesus? I wanted to explain how I was a Christian and,
Ever dare ask? Ever listen? What if our
of course, knew Jesus. I just didn’t recognize that Jesus. Was it because the child was
service for Him gets in the way of a
held by an unfamiliar saint? Was it because I was outside my cultural comfort zone?
relationship with Him? Would we
The baby Jesus I remember was cradled in his mother’s arms. Add a halo and I would
want to know?
have known instantly!
Some resources I’ve found helpful on
Do our preconceived notions of Jesus cause us to miss Him? Do we only look in places
the journey of listening prayer are Brad
we expect to see Him? Does culture skew our vision of the servant Savior? Spiritual
and Eden Jersak’s books by Freshwind
discernment in our personal lives and ministry sometimes requires that we step back,
Press – Can You Hear Me? Tuning Into
reflect and ask God to help us see Him. To whom is Jesus bringing a message of healing
the God Who Speaks, and Rivers of
and forgiveness? How is the Spirit leading us to love?
Eden, Forty Days of Intimate Conversa-
Perhaps we need to call a time out, like a coach does when the team needs a fresh tion with God.
perspective. Small groups can take ‘time outs’ to ask God to reveal Himself. They can
I encourage you to talk to God. Then
pause to look intently and listen carefully to the One in charge … to recognize Him.
listen. Your Abba wants relationship
They don’t want to miss Him!
with you more than all your service
Back home my 4-year-old granddaughter, Kate, sat on my lap as vacation pictures for Him.
scrolled on the computer screen. When the photo of Saint San Antonio holding a
Marjo Jordan, Project Manager
child appeared, without hesitation she delightfully exclaimed, “Baby Jesus!”
She recognized Him. Oh, that I would become more like this child.
Diane Dykgraaf, Small Group Ministry Developer
Following Christ. In Mission Together.
Winds of Change
@ Talk Back Even now, the blizzard of ’07 is changing the West Michigan landscape. We are forced
Joyce Suh, Educational Mission indoors, to ‘hunker down,’ to spend time with family. It’s not all bad!
Coordinator for Home Missions,
Home Missions is also experiencing the winds of change. God has brought several new
talks back regarding the Small Group
partners in ministry. James and Darleen Litson live in Arizona and are passionate about
Evangelism Conference held last
teaching the benefits of small groups to Native American churches. Karen Wilk is the
summer in Long Beach California.
Small Group Ministry Developer for all of Western Canada. Karen lives in Alberta with
“I believe that the entire conference her family, and brings a passion for evangelism as well as experience in small groups,
was a penetrating and prophetic youth work, and church planting. Welcome James, Darleen, and Karen!
challenge to the Christian Reformed
Other Home Missions leaders have been called to new endeavors. Todd Wessels worked
Church (CRC). It was a call to move
for small group development in Illinois and Indiana and now fully devotes his time to
beyond itself and do whatever it takes to
ministry with his church, New Life CRC. Melody Jobse encouraged British Columbia in
reach out to and engage the people and
evangelism and discipleship and small groups for the last 10 years. Melody is now tak-
culture around us.
ing up new challenges with her family and ministry. And finally, organizational changes
I was challenged on two fronts. First, led Diana Klungel, former Director of Small Groups and Spiritual Formation, to pursue
would I hear and heed the call to the a Master’s degree in Spiritual Formation. Diana graced us with her passion for prayer,
CRC at large? And secondly, I had to evangelism and God Himself! Her life and presence radiated the love of Christ, and
make a decision early on as to whether her courage and boldness have left a lasting imprint on Home Missions. We have been
I was going to let God speak to me on a blessed by the ministry and influence of these people of God. Thanks Todd, Melody,
personal level. What I heard was a call to and Diana!
come out of my box, to a different level
Winds of change have also impacted our communication networks. Small Talk will continue
of boldness and engagement. I repented
and we have added Direct Connect, an electronic newsletter, specific to leaders of Coffee
of my own sin of silence. I’m not sure
Break, Story Hour and Little Lambs programs. If you are involved in these particu-
how it will all work out, but I pray that
lar ministries, please subscribe at www.crhm.org> Subscribe. This resource will come
my response will be more than just a
directly to your email inbox soon.
Let’s be honest. Changing winds can bring uncertainty and fear into our lives,
We invite you to talk back to us. Please
especially when it involves ministries we love. But a large tree weathers the storm
send your stories, feedback, and ideas by
because its roots are deep and its branches are strong. When the wind blows we cling
e-mail to email@example.com.
to the truth and draw from the certainty of God and His Word. Our roots are strong—
Newsflash! A Small Group and besides, our God controls the wind!
Evangelism Conference is being
planned for the summer of 2008 in the
Chicago area. Details coming soon.
First Christian Reformed Church in Highland, Indiana, invited Ruth Kelder, Small Group
Ministry Developer, to lead an Everyday Evangelism training as part of a kick-off to an
Resources/Training evangelism series using Bill Hybels’ new book, Just Walk Across the Room. That morning
the congregation had participated in a meaningful “linking experience.” Pastor Randy
• Discover Hebrews. New Leader
Guide and Study Guide, nine Each person was given three strips of colored paper and asked to write a name on each
lessons, available from Faith Alive strip representing the following: 1) a person instrumental in connecting them with Christ,
Resources. www.FaithAliveResources. 2) their name, and 3) a person God may be calling them to link to. Stations were set
org; 800-333-8300. up with multiple staplers. Each person stapled their strips together in loops, placing their
• Can You Hear Me? A listening prayer name in the middle. Then they stapled their loops to the longer chain being formed.
book for children. Brad Jersak, The praise team sang appropriate songs during this time with participants joining in as
www.FreshwindPress.com. they worked. Pastor Bergsma spoke of the significant linkage within and outside of the
church body. The elders prayed over the chain. The colorful visual will remain on display
for the duration of the series.
2850 Kalamazoo Ave. SE PO Box 5070 STN LCD 1 www.crhm.org
Grand Rapids, MI 49560 Burlington, ON L7R 3Y8 800-266-2175