Earlier this month the Christian Reformed Church in North America hosted a conference in Detroit, MI designed to inspire and energize more than 700 volunteers and leaders from local churches from around North America. It was called Inspire. Conference goers took part in powerful worship, learned new ideas for ministry, received new resources, and made new friendships. And ReFrame Media and others from Back to God Ministries International were there offering workshops and breakouts, and providing gospel resources in the Expo. Here are the topics our team members shared in their session presentations:
Christian Conversations Online
Josh Larsen, editor of our Think Christian, led a panel including Mary Hulst, Chaplain at Calvin College, Shiao Chong, Editor-in-Chief, The Banner Magazine, and James Lee, English Ministry Pastor, Korean Grace CRC. The group tackled the question: How can we discuss tough topics online in a Christ-like manner? This is a tough proposition considering the state of Christian conversation in these rancorous, divided times. Yet the panelists offered thoughtful responses. Chong reminded us that we are brothers and sisters and that we ought to approach difficult conversations from a posture of communion rather than competition, citing Micah 6:8 as a guideline: speaking justly, speaking graciously, and speaking humbly. Hulst urged we consider the value of the other interlocutor even when they are clearly off-base, while Lee emphasized the importance of not working from stereotypes when engaging with those we don’t know.
Uplift Your Community Through Marriage and Family Ministry
Family dynamics are a struggle for many! Deb and Steven Koster, co-producers of Family Fire, discussed how churches can leverage resources for marriage, parenting, and relationships to invite their neighbors into their congregations and into relational healing. Deb outlined some simple steps to meeting people where they are at in their marriages and parenting. They outlined books, curriculum, seminars, and on-going tools for churches to help families stoke the Holy Spirit's flame at home.
Your Church Online
Technology is playing an increasingly important role in how churches reach their community and equip members to share their faith. Our brand new Church Juice producer, Bryan Haley, and I, walked folks through best practices and practical tips for making sure your church effectively uses its website and social media to share God’s story. It boils down to this: know your audience, prioritize their needs, and address them simply and authentically. We got to answer loads of questions about the challenges churches are facing.
Several of our producers and staff were on hand, along with colleagues from our parent ministry, Back to God Ministries, to visit with attendees in the Expo. When visitors left Inspire, we sent them loaded down with all kinds of exciting resources from ReFrame Media. We’re grateful to God for this awesome opportunity to serve those attending Inspire 2017.