Category Archives: Articles & Events

Posts & articles on Rejoice’s website that don’t naturally fit into our purposeful categories: Discipleship, Evangelism, Fellowship, Ministry, or Worship.

Leadership Lab 2018

Developing future leaders with Leadership Lab

Leadership LabLeadership Lab takes place July 23rd – 28th, 2018.  Mike Willis encourages everyone to attend this transformative experience!

Leadership Lab is designed to assist youth in acquiring skills that will be useful in congregational, synodical and national youth ministry settings and in their local communities and the world.

Each level of Lab is structured to help participants progress in their ability to be responsible youth ministry leaders. It helps them grow their relationships with God, self, and others.

Register for the Lab 2018 now.

Leadership Lab is an intense week of study, worship, and building relationships. The participants spend from 8:30 am – 11:00 pm each day in small and large group gatherings. They work on planning, learning, praying and discovering where they are in their faith journey.

While very spiritually rewarding, the week can be stressful and hard work. As a participant need prepare yourself for this type of an experience.

We will be staying in the dorms of Augustana in Rock Island, IL and the cost is $390 per student which includes boarding, food, and programming.

If you have any questions or would like more information contact Mike Willis, or visit the Leadership Lab website.

Register for the Lab 2018 now.

Dear Friends and Members of Rejoice!

Last week staff, council and other servant-leaders of Rejoice had a great day of retreat and reflection. This was led by Intentional Impact, a coaching team recommended to us by our synod!

seasonal priorityThe project of the day was to reflect on what we value most as a congregation, and from that think about what our ministry-energy and service might look like in the next year to 18 months!

It is always powerful to be able to stop and think about what we value most in life, both personally, and what our church values most!  For me it was moving to hear the various ways Rejoice has been a blessing in the lives of people both in our community and beyond!

At the core of it all – we determined that what we value most is the primacy of relationships … relationships between ourselves and God, and the relationships we have (or want to have!) with each other!

With this clarity we have a focus for ministry in the next year to 18 months.  This is what we call our Seasonal Priority:

  • We will cultivate relationships that connect us to Christ and each other,
  • We will work on relationships that will empower us in our growth as servant leaders here at Rejoice, and
  • We will work on relationships that include people who are not yet part of our community!

Focusing on these relationship dynamics will be at the core of our thinking on priorities.

For me one of the blessings of this event was to see how it harmonized authentically and organically with our essential DNA … that Rejoice is a place where God is Experienced, Community is shared and Lives are Changed.

Our seasonal priority is clear: We will honor these relational values with focus and with love!!!!!

The purpose of this note is simply to give you a vibe on what we achieved and how we felt the Spirit bless us on this day of reflection.

Thank you for your prayers for this event and your ongoing partnership in ministry.

With much love, Pastor Lou

Pastor Lou

 

Geneva Beautification 2018

beautificationVolunteers are needed to beautify the little garden located in front of the Geneva Post Office.

Our little ‘knuckle’ is located on the corner that has the Winnie the Pooh hydrant. Plants and trash bags are provided by the Geneva Beautification Committee.

Kudos to Amy Frazer who planted the flowers and Debbie Matthiesen who weeded and fed them.

We could use your help to keep the garden in tip/top shape. Weekly watering and weeding help would be appreciated. Our next community workday is August 25, 2018 at 8 am. On that day we will be putting some fall plants in the garden.

Thank you for keeping Geneva a beautiful place.   Volunteer here!

A Vision For Our Future

There is a great opportunity ahead for Rejoice!  At the end of the month, some of Rejoice council, members, and staff will be meeting for a retreat with Intentional Impact.

Intentional Impact is a consulting firm that has worked with many churches in our synod and has been recommended to us by Pastor Sarah Stumme, the associate to the ELCA Bishop.  Rejoice has carried out these focus retreats in 7-year intervals so they are helpful ways to examine where we are now and how we can best use our gifts in service to Christ and his Kingdom!

The purpose of the retreat is three-fold:

  1. to name our vision and communicate it clearly!
  2. to focus on that vision with the love, talent and energy of Rejoice.
  3. to develop the organizational structures that will best serve us in carrying out our vision.

This is a great time for Rejoice to pause, ponder and pray about what it means for us to be faithful. My ask is for you who read this to pause and pray for our May 29th retreat.

We look forward to sharing with you what comes out of the retreat … and seeing what God has in store for us as we look to the future!

God bless you!

With much love,

Renewing our Mission

stewardship pledge

Recently we put together a mailing highlighting your giving at work… stories of FAITH in ACTION!  Just a few of the many ways your financial offering helps Rejoice be a place where God is experienced, community is shared and lives are changed.  If you did not receive a brochure, click here to read how God is at work through the people of Rejoice.

This year’s stewardship focus is entitled ” Renewing our Mission” were we make our pledge towards God’s mission at Rejoice.  We ask that you pray about your financial commitment for 2017, and bring your completed pledge card with you Sunday. Or if you prefer, you may click the button below to safely and confidentially make your pledge online.

Thank you. Timely receipt of your pledge will help us plan and budget for next year as we seek to honor your faithful stewardship by using your gifts wisely as we carry out God’s work in our congregation, our community and throughout His world.

pledge-online-button

Turbo Group Leadership Training

Are you interested in growing your skills as a leader?
Would you like to learn from our youth minister Mike Willis and Pastor Lou how to lead a small group bible study?

If you are interested in taking your involvement in spiritual growth to the next level and want to help others do the same… this TURBO GROUP IS FOR YOU!  Youth minister Mike Willis and I invite you to join them for a 5-week training experience where we will talk about spiritual leadership and the practical aspects of leading discussions and choosing great resources.  Our meeting dates will be Sept 20, Oct 4, Oct 18, Nov 1 & Nov 15 – we’ll meet from 7-8:30pm at Rejoice.

The expectation is simple: graduates of this class will commit to leading a group, with our support.  Mike and I are here to help you, so let’s do this!!  Sign up below by Sept 18th.

Yes, I\'m interested in Turbo Group Leadership Training with Pastor Lou and Mike Willis

Kairos Torch Prison Ministry

Thank you to everyone that supported Dennis Morgan and me this past weekend on the Fox Valley Kairos Torch Prison Ministry Weekend.  With your prayers and contributions you were part of this powerful weekend where we sat alongside 18 incarcerated youth at the Illinois Youth Center.  Yes! that prison that you see on the north side of Route 38.

Adult mentors from churches around the Fox Valley, Pentecostals, Roman Catholics, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Congregationalists, Methodists, and Baptists joined together to serve the youth on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with a mission to engage the youths’ reasoning skills to help them make better life choices going forward.

kairos torch prison ministryThis was an opportunity for us to follow the example of St. Ignatius who said that we can “See Jesus in the lowly places”.  The Illinois Youth Center is absolutely the place where Jesus would be today.

When you stand with these youth you create kinship with them, and once you do that it is impossible to despise or discard them … you can only love them.  They are beautiful individuals who are God’s creation … just like you and me.

There are few moments in my life that I have ever felt closer to God than I did this past weekend.

Kairos Torch Ongoing Mentoring

Under the guidance of Kairos Torch, both Dennis and I are committed to providing  ongoing mentoring to the some of these youthful offenders with weekly visits until they are released.

kairos torch meal ticketsYou will hear more about this ministry in the coming weeks and months and you will have an opportunity to become more directly engaged as we plan Kairos Torch #7.  In the meantime, thank you, thank you, thank you for:

  • your prayers,
  • your donations of meal tickets,
  • the creation of meal place-mats by our Club Wow children.
Torch Keep Me Informed

If you are interested in supporting future Torch Activities you can let us know by filling in this short form.

Roles of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit, the third person of the Holy Trinity, plays an active role in our lives as believers. Here are some of the wonderful things the Holy Spirit does for us, as we talked about last Sunday!
  • He gives us boldness to share our faith.  (Acts 1:8, Acts 2:1-4, Acts 4:31, Matt.10:20)
  • He helps us to live according to our new nature. (Gal. 5:16-26)
  • He provides us with gifts and talents to serve God. (I Cor. 12:1-11)
  • He is our Comforter, our Counselor, our Helper, our Advocate (John 14:16, 26; 15:26, Acts 9:31)
  • He is our Teacher of all things spiritual. (John 14:26, John 16:13, I Cor. 2:9-16, Eph. 1:17)
  • He convicts us of sin in our lives  (John 16:8-11)
  • He intercedes for us before the throne of grace when we have no words. (Romans 8:26,27)
  • He sets His seal of ownership upon us until we reach heaven’s doors. ( II Cor. 1:21-22, I Cor. 3:16, II Cor 5:5)

What is to give light must endure burning – Lent at Rejoice

Lent is coming… and fast!

Lent is the time for the church to “amp up” its reflective nature.  It’s a time to take our faith to the next level.  This is often done by intentional serving in specific ways. Additionally, we take time for silence and devotions, fasting and prayer.  Ultimately the church wants to engage with Jesus on a deeper level.  Is it possible for us to do this?  Are we really interested in taking this journey??

If we give attention to spiritual disciplines, good things tend to happen!

The in the Old Testament we often hear God say through the prophets: “Draw near to me and I will draw near to you.”  Lent affords us the opportunity to “draw near!”

This year we will follow closely the life, message and teaching of Jesus from the gospel of Luke.  Our overall theme comes from one of my favorite writers, Viktor Frankl: “What gives light must endure burning.”  His words give us a profound image to ponder.  Jesus the light of the world flames out on the cross, but in that mysterious and grim tableaux of crucifixion God removes the sin of the world.  Thanks be to God this is not the end… for after Good Friday there is Easte

How might we make the most of Lent this year?

My invitation to you is to take the journey with us and attend every service throughout Lent, as our messages will have a deep and meaningful theme that will span the arc of Lent and take you from the significance of the imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday all the way through the resurrection on Easter Sunday.  Come to each service but before you do pray for yourself, the service, the ensemble, our children’s ministry with Janeen and Jessica, me (!!!), and ask God to open your heart to new dimensions of grace.  Make a real spiritual investment in our community.

We want to grow spiritually, we want to grow in our relationships, we want to grow in our stewardship… and here is one way to honor these worthy ambitions.

Let me state it again: make the effort to be here at worship consistently, prayerfully, and expectantly each and every service in Lent.  I believe you, your family and our church will be blessed by this ambition!  Lent is a great opportunity… let’s make the most of it!

God bless you as we journey on the path of faith together!

Pastor Lou

The Light we need NOW

Advent is over, Christmas is celebrated… what’s next?  Where are we going as we journey towards Easter??  Our theme for the next few months will be: The Light we need NOW!

Jesus whole ministry is about illumination!  He shows us who God is and what he is like.  He illuminates for us how to live by faith, what reconciliation looks like, and he opens our imaginations to the promise of eternal life.  Can we seek that light now?  Yes we can and we will!

In these weeks, we will seek God’s light to shine fully on us and give us the clarity we need in the confusion and darkness of this time.  In the beautiful words of John: “The True light which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world…”

Light is a great image of our faith!  Jesus is:

  • the light that shines in the darkness
  • the light of the world
  • the light which lights our path
  • the light so powerful that all the darkness of the world cannot overpower it
  • the light that illumines God and ourselves

In the Sunday readings between now and Easter we will ponder how God’s light can give us the clarity we need to live boldly and at peace in this historical moment.  Make the effort to seek this light in the community at worship in the New Year!

~With much love, Pastor Lou