Category Archives: Articles & Events

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,

Holy Week & Easter Worship

holy week & easter worshipAs the season of Lent comes to a close we invite you to join us in the journey to the cross with services during Holy Week, and a celebration of the Risen Christ on Easter Sunday!  Note days and times below – childcare is offered for children age 3 and under in our nursery.  Need directions?  Click here!

Maundy Thursday Service
Thursday, March 29th at 7PM

Good Friday Service
Friday, March 30th at 7PM

Easter Sunday
Sunday, April 1st – services at 8AM, 9AM* & 10:30AM

  • *Special activities for children preK-5th grade including an egg hunt!
  • Easter breakfast served from 8:30AM – noon – join us before or after Easter worship for a delicious homemade breakfast of eggs, sausage, pancakes and more prepared by our high school youth – a free-will offering will be collected with all proceeds benefiting the summer high school mission trip

An exciting new look!

It was time for a little different perspective and we think it’s an exciting new look!  Hey everyone… Patrick here!  You have probably noticed a change in the layout of our worship space this week.  The Rejoice Worship Ensemble has migrated to the north half of the room after being in the opposite corner for over a decade!  Yes, that’s a long time! (Out of town last week?  Click here for a little sneak peek video!)

Marco Saporito (Rejoice’s Ensemble Director) and I, in conjunction with members of the Hospitality Team and Council, decided it was time to review how we use God’s worship space.  Our purpose was multifaceted.  For RWE, we wanted to shake up our layout by resetting more like the modern band we’ve become, to position ourselves in way that is more physically connected in our worship and overall cleaner.  We knew this move would also foster a better location for our weekly Hospitality event, Gathering Ground!  It also creates opportunities for future expansion of our hospitality corner… more on that later!  You’ll notice more activity from the Creative Design team throughout the worship space in the coming months too.  Their artwork is designed to enhance the worshipful nature and beauty of our church.

While we get to know this setup, I want to invite you to join us!  Try viewing worship at Rejoice with new energy and new perspective!  I know you probably have a favorite spot to sit each week.  Maybe now is a time to view things differently!  Try getting closer to the band… come join us in the corner!?  Or possibly now is a time to sit up front and answer Pastor Lou’s ‘Where are my…?’ questions!  Either way, thank you for the love and energy you bring to worship at Rejoice!

Interested in learning more about serving on the ensemble, media team or Creative Design Team – click here to reach out to me! God’s blessing… Patrick

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

Our Week in Eureka Springs

2016 High School Mission Trip

“To do a common thing uncommonly well brings success.” -Jesus

Okay, let me clarify this quote isn’t actually from Jesus. In fact, I bet you won’t find it anywhere in Scripture. This quote was shared with us by Ketchup Ken, one of two men (Ken and Joe) whom we worked with directly at our mission site.  Two men we affectionately referred to (at least among ourselves) as the Jesi.

Right now you might be asking yourself what about the setup to this mission trip blog sounds common? And why were our youth referring to the two guys at our mission site as Jesus?

Well, you are right that this mission trip was the opposite of common. For starters, when I think of youth mission trips I usually think of doing repairs on an underprivileged person’s home or place of living, or natural disaster recovery work like “Mission on the Bay,” or something in that vein. This was not the case in Eureka Springs, AK.

When we arrived, TEAMeffort told us that Eureka Springs is organized different than all of their other locations. Eureka Springs is an economically poor area, however it is also uniquely a tourist area in the summer. Most people in Eureka and the surrounding towns have a hard time finding full-time work year round. In the summer during the tourist season people can find jobs in the small shops downtown, at the area caves, and at one of their biggest employers and sources of income in the area, a not-for-profit organization called the Great Passion Play.

TEAMeffort prayed about how they could be most effective at serving the people of this area and found that as a construction-based mission organization that operates in the area 10 weeks out of the year, the biggest impact they could have is to partner with other ministries who serve the area year round to help them be as effective in their ministries as possible by doing work on their facilities and grounds, freeing them to be able to focus on other tasks of the ministry.

rakingOur group was assigned to work at The Great Passion Play. The Great Passion Play is “America’s #1 Attended Outdoor Drama” with seating for 4100 people in an outdoor amphitheater. The multi-level set, special lighting and sound effects, live animals, and a cast of 150 Biblically-costumed actors come together to create the epic drama of Jesus Christ’s last days on earth. The play is not the only on-site attraction on the 167 acre park though, there is the Christ of the Ozarks statue, the Holy Land Tour, Moses Tabernacle in the Wilderness, a section of the Berlin Wall, the Church in the Grove, the Bible Museum (the second largest collection of Bibles in the U.S.), the History Museum, and the Sacred Arts Museum are also on the grounds.  This is where our team, along with our TEAMeffort leader Cali, got the chance to meet the people maintenancewe would be serving for the week – Ken and Joe, the “Jesi.”  Ken and Joe are really the heart and soul behind the ministry at The Passion Play.  They do everything from strategic planning to construction work and marketing, not to mention they both play the role of Jesus in different areas of the park as well as in the play. So they both have an uncanny resemblance to what we typically think our Savior looks like. They also represent Jesus in their love for his people and in their desire to use this place to help people experience Jesus’ life death, and Resurrection and bring people back to God.

concreteWe had various tasks from watering the flowers (which takes 3-4 hours a day), construction work, roofing an area in the market place, painting, lots and lots of painting, weeding/deforesting an area for a future Noah’s Ark petting zoo, cutting down trees, extracting boulders, and building a 3 mile walking path through the woods to the sea of Galilee (which is going to be dedicated to Rejoice). We did a ton of work even though many of things we did just seemed ordinary in and of themselves. Such as watering the flowers and painting garbage cans. However, our youth worked extremely well together and accomplished a lot. I shouldn’t leave out we also had a lot of fun in small-group, caving, zip-lining, playing volleyball, and dizzy flash bangs.

cave

passion playAt the end of our last day of service they asked us if we would like to be extras in the play and 14 of us took them up on the offer – what an amazing experience! We were able to see what our efforts all week went toward.  We had the privilege of being a part the cast who are a dedicated group of Christians from all walks of life who come together 150+ strong 4-5 nights per week to share the gospel with everyone in attendance, and to share Christ’s love with everyone they interact with. The lady we partnered with as an extra just arrived back in town that morning from Berlin, as she works as an international flight attendant but takes time to do this as her ministry whenever she is home.  When all was said and done at the end of our last night, Joe and Ken took pictures with us and Ken left us with the opening quote “To do a common thing uncommonly well brings success.”- Henry John Heinz.

Ken said when he was 16 years old he read that quote at youth group on the back of a Heinz ketchup bottle and it changed his life. It is what inspires him to approach all of the various tasks and challenges at the Great Passion play with an uncommon passion and zest. He told us that all of the tasks we performed this week no matter how common they might have seemed were done uncommonly well by our youth! I couldn’t agree more. I couldn’t be more proud of the work effort that our youth put forth in the 100 degree plus heat each day. In the end I think each one of us would say that we were blessed to be a blessing to such a wonderful group of Christ followers who are on a mission to share Chris’s love with the world. No, Ken and Joe aren’t Jesus, but we sure saw a lot of Christ in them!

Mike Willis
Rejoice Youth Minister

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)

Volunteer Opportunities in Children’s & Student Ministries

Here at Rejoice, we are passionate about leading kids to know Jesus. That’s why we value our volunteers who are instrumental in helping to nurture their developing relationship with Jesus.

Our programs for children as well as students in middle and high school are vital for a strong, thriving ministry and we need the help of many volunteers committed to this goal.  No previous experience is necessary to lead a group.  Your biggest investment is simply your time and love  – much of the preparation and lesson planning has already been prepared in advance!

We ask that you prayerfully consider how you can serve the children of Rejoice with your time and talents and fill out the form below.

Yes, I\'m interested in helping!

Help Local Moms in Need

Movers for MomsAgain this year Rejoice is honored to partner with Two Men And A Truck in their annual Movers For Moms Project, where we will be a collection site for donations of care package items which will be delivered to mothers in need at Lazarus House  in St. Charles and Mutual Ground in Aurora on Mother’s Day to help them create a better life for themselves and their families.  Items can be dropped off here at Rejoice any time between now and Sunday, May 3rd – read on for a list of donation suggestions:

  • Manicure supplies
  • Tweezers
  • Make-up and items such as brushes, remover
  • Cotton pads/squares
  • Women’s/children’s socks
  • Underwear (l/xl)
  • Sweatpants/sweatshirts (l/xl)
  • Gift cards – fast food, grocery stores, gas cards, bus passes
  • Hats
  • Gloves
  • Scarves
  • Shelter items, such as – cleaning supplies, Lysol wipes, toilet paper, Kleenex, paper plates, garbage bags
  • Non-perishable pantry items, such as – snack/cereal bars, cereal, fruit snacks, pasta