Calling All Small Group Leaders!

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					small groups | coffee break | story hour little lambs | men’s life

               Small Talk
                                                               spring 2007

               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.
                                                                                                                                Christian Reformed
                                                                      Diane Dykgraaf, Small Group Ministry Developer
                                                                                                                                Home Missions
                                                                                                                       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> 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
                                             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.
                                             Linking Experiences
                                             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
    Resource Notes
                                             Bergsma explains.
 • 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                  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.

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