Updated: Feb 25
Informational, inspirational, and interrogational? That's what we were going for at our church Town Hall meeting! We wanted to give a chance for the congregation to be informed of what is happening in the life of the church and our ministries. We wanted a chance to be inspired to continually say yes to Jesus. And we wanted a chance for people to ask questions if something wasn't clear. We didn’t know exactly how it would go, but I was inspired! I wanted to give you a bit of a recap of what he heard and some things that we learned. It's a lot of information and names but it's evidence of the Holy Spirit equipping our members to grow disciples! First, we saw a big picture of how God has guided our church through seasons of challenges and changes and into a season where we anticipate growth. Not just growth in numbers, but growth in terms of how we engage each other and our community with the gospel. Then we got to hear from our ministry team leaders and what is being planned for the coming year. Each one of these ministry teams are designed to help us grow disciples of Jesus through grace-filled and authentic relationships. Outreach team seeks to help us engage our community in places of need and opportunity. Hospitality/enfolding seeks to help people get and stay connected to each other in our church family. Next Generation Ministries seeks to grow disciples through our kids ministries from birth through high school. Discipleship seeks to help adults grow as followers of Jesus through bible studies and learning how to do life together. Finally, worship and prayer is what fuels who we are and what we do for Jesus. We invite people to worship personally and collectively because tit is in worship that God speaks to us through his word and we offer him our lives of praise. Here are some highlights. Outreach and Evangelism led by Laura Kuperus has been busy helping our congregation engage our community through Compassion Project and our Spring GriefShare Ministry. Griefshare will be starting back up again this September led by Eric and Lisa Thiessen. We will also be looking at some helpful tools to help us as a congregation grow more into people who live evangelistically. Stay tuned for a church-wide book study! Also, Mothers of PreSchoolers (MOPS) will be starting up in our church soon led by Larissa Bast to connect young moms! Hospitality/Enfolding led by Jennifer Kuperus is all about helping us get and stay connected to each other. They do this through refreshments after church to enjoy conversation around, picnics to get us together for some fun, ushers and welcome team members for Sunday morning worship. Something that came out of this team was also a Connection Center where worshipers can get the information we need to connect with our church and our ministries. Something this team is also working on is an official logo for our church to help us and others identify who we are and how we value the work of Jesus on the cross. Next Generation Ministries led by Jennifer Vander Groef covers a lot as this includes all our kids ministries. Nursery and Preschool church ministries are led by Breann Sytsema and Amy Everett, teaching the gospel to our youngest churchgoers. Sunday School will be starting up again September 19 led by a great team of teachers and helpers overseen by Jen VDG. GEMS Girls ministry led by Tiffany Jeltema and Cadets Boys Ministry led by Zack Vander Groef will start soon. Catechism led by Mark Kuperus and other council members teaches the truths of our Reformed Faith to our 7-12th graders. Jr. High Youth Group led by Troy and Rita Yanoff will be starting soon helping our middle schoolers engage with the God of all Creation through outdoor adventures. Sr. High Youth Group led by Owen Valkema and Mitch and Hannah Jurius is set to begin a new format meeting on Wednesday nights. We remembered that we have a LOT of kids connected to our church community and see many young families who are new with us. This is an incredible opportunity to raise up a generation of passionate Jesus followers. Discipleship led by Kim Sytsema equips adults with tools for discovering God and connecting with others. Women's Bible Study led by Tracy Vander Groef is starting soon, Senior Bible Study organized by Henny Sytsema is lined up, Men get together for pickup basketball led by Mitch Jurius at a local park and 6 life groups are actively meeting to help us "do life together" and dig into the sermon content together. Worship directed by Karisa Talen helps to align our worship service to our mission and values and helps to equip people to worship with their whole lives. This includes a team for worship planning, support personnel like our AV team and custodians. We announce a plan for restarting our evening worship services in some revised formats each week. Finally, Operations directed by Ryan Tilley supports the work of our ministries through systems and structures that best help us align everything we do with Jesus' command to make disciples. The work behind the scenes is so important to how we proclaim the gospel in everything we do! I'm almost certainly forgetting many important aspects of our ministry here at Sussex CRC, but a major thread we heard was the importance of connection. No matter what season of life we find ourselves in, connection matters. Connection matters for our children, adults, single people, married people, those who are full of joy, those struggling, looking for meaning, and just going through the motions. We all need connection. Now, we've talked about a lot of stuff our church does, but make no mistake--what we do as a church is nothing without God first making a connection with us. Even though we were dead in our sin, cut off from relationship from God, God sent us his son Jesus to join with us, to die for us, and to rise again to assure us that NOTHING--not even death itself--separates us from God's love. In that spirit of love and connection with our Father God through Jesus Christ, we gratefully and joyfully begin a new Fall season full of ministry. I am inspired to partner with you all.