The Renewal Team Meetings from November - January and Renewal Lab 7

We continue in the second and final year of the Calvin Seminary Renewal Lab.  The Renewal Team has met twice since our last report.  Pastor Mark and the Renewal Team attended Learning Lab 7 from January 12 – 14, 2017.

 The Renewal Team met on November 16, 2016.  They discussed chapters 1-4 of The U-Turn Church.  They discussed the meeting of the Elders and Worship Planning Committee on October 12 about making our worship more hospitable for visitors.  Pastor Mark shared a list of tentative SMART goals based on team input.  They also discussed the other Quarter 6 assignments.

 The Renewal Team also met on December 15, 2016.  They discussed chapters 5-13 of The U-Turn Church.  Merle Koops shared how he wanted to make a personal invitation to the congregation to participate in The U-Turn Church discussion groups in January.  Renewal Team members agreed to be leaders of these small groups.  They also discussed Quarter 6 assignments.  Pastor Mark put a summary of the Reveal survey results in the November newsletter.  The congregation was encouraged to read the Mercy/Justice Scripture guide in October and November. It was reported that the Elders approved 3 of the 4 proposed Worship SMART goals at their November meeting.  A new website was mentioned as another Quick Win for the congregation.

  Learning Lab 7 took place at Calvin Seminary from January 12-14, 2017.  The theme of the lab was “Continue.”  Pastor

Mark met with the other pastors of Cohort 3 on Thursday, January 12, and Friday, January 13. 

 On Thursday, January 12, Pastor Mark and the other pastors were delayed in coming to Calvin Seminary due to icy roads from freezing rain.  The leaders of the Renewal Lab decided to postpone the start of the lab from 8:30 to noon that day.  They met in the Upper Room at noon for boxed lunches and the opening talk.  Larry Doornbos began with a reflection on Psalm 3.  Larry then talked about “Marks of a Missional Church.”  He talked about the importance of sharing God’s Big Story which goes beyond just focusing on individual salvation to God’s plan to renew and restore all things.  Keith Doornbos shared a “Hand and Five Fingers” gospel presentation that is easy to share with others.  Larry defined “missional” as being “for God, for others, and for shalom (which involves restored relationship with our Creator, human flourishing, justice, and relational wholeness for everyone).”  He talked about the focus, structure, and leadership of missional churches.  Larry talked also about creating a missional imagination with Scripture and practical ways to let the outside world into the church.  He closed the talk by asking: How can we be the best missional community that God is calling us to be?  He then encouraged us to list 5 things that need to happen to pastors personally for the church to become more missional.  He also asked the pastors to list 5 things that need to happen in the church for the church to become more missional.

 After a coffee break around 2:30 p.m., the group reconvened at 3 p.m.  Larry Doornbos talked to the pastors about “Breaking the Cultural Code.”  He talked about the 5 Cs of today’s worldview that is permeating the church:  Moral Therapeutic Deism.  The 5 Cs of this worldview include what Larry called Creation, Cars, Candy, Café, and Clouds.  He then showed how God’s Big Story is the counterweight to the Cultural Code.  The group wrapped up around 4:30 p.m.

 On Friday, January 13, Keith Doornbos convened the group again in the Upper Room.  He led a talk and discussion about “The Grand Vision for Church Renewal & The Visioning Tool Assessment.”  He reminded the pastors about the tools that the Renewal Lab has given for the renewal process: The Visioning Tool, the Gospel-Telling Tool, The Disciple-Making Tool, The Church Vitality Tool, and The Implementation Tool.

 After a midmorning coffee break, Larry Doornbos talked with the pastors about “Creating a Culture of Change that Leads to Continual Renewal.”  He talked about beginning with an activity to get something done.  He talked about identifying a community’s current culture, identifying the local church’s place in that current culture, and showing the power of the new culture that God is forming in the church.  He also talked about grafting the new culture with the old culture and ending pieces that are inconsistent.  He closed by talking about 10 Common Change Mistakes.

 After lunch, Larry talked about “Personal Habits for Continual Renewal.”  Renewal needs to be rooted in God’s Story.  He talked about important emotional habits for both churches and leaders: knowing ourselves and responding rightly, living in reality, and healthy professional habits for pastors and ministry leaders.   The lab concluded in mid-afternoon.

 On Saturday, January 14, the Renewal Teams from both Cohorts 3 and 4 met at Calvin Seminary for the Renewal Team retreat.  After getting our name tags and schedule for the day, the teams gathered in the Calvin Seminary Chapel for worship from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.  One of the worship coaches and students from Kuyper College and Calvin Seminary led the worship.  Keith Doornbos welcomed everyone.  Rev. Reggie Smith gave a message on Luke 5:1-11.

 From 10:45 to 12:15 the members of the Renewal Teams met with their different departments for coaching.  Pastor Mark and Merle Koops met with other pastors and elders.  Larry Doornbos summarized information that he had shared with the pastors over the past couple of days about encouraging a church culture of continual renewal that inspires mission.

 At 12:15 p.m. the cohorts met for lunch.  12th Avenue Church’s Renewal Team met together and shared some of the insights that they had received at their different coaching sessions.

 At 1:15 p.m. Cohort 3’s Renewal Teams met again in the Chapel.  Larry and Keith Doornbos gave a Vision Talk summarizing the teaching of the past couple of days.  They also talked about the assignments of Quarter 7.  Because 12th Avenue’s Renewal Team met over lunch, they were able to leave right after the talk.

 The Renewal Team did not meet in January because there was a schedule conflict on the evening that the team planned to meet.  The team plans to meet next during the last week of February to discuss next steps.

 The 8th and final Renewal Lab at Calvin Seminary will take place from Thursday, March 9, through Saturday, March 11.  The theme of the final lab is “Celebrate.”

 If you have any questions or comments about the renewal process, please contact Pastor Mark or any member of the Renewal Team (Merle Koops, Pastor Jim and Helen Evenhouse, Jack Buys, Rene’ Baatenburg, Jane Krol, Peggy Camiller, or Bob Schut).

Pastor Mark




Mark Bennink