Skip to main content


Q My church has too many meetings! Can technology help?

A There are too many options to list them all, so I’ll just mention two of my favorites. First, the telephone conference call. It’s old-school technology, for sure, but it allows your group to meet at any time with no travel. Instead of meeting in the evening, maybe a lunchtime phone conversation would work. Conference calls are very easy to set up—in fact, your phone plan may already offer three-way conferencing (perfect for little subcommittees). Larger groups can sign up for services that cost only pennies per minute per person. Get a plan for your whole church so others can use it too.

A lot happens between meetings, though, so a second tool to consider is Google Groups. It brings order to the inbox chaos of group e-mail discussions, and it allows you to store documents in a secure, members-only website. With so many church committees changing membership every year, it’s great to have that online repository of all past minutes, conversations, schedules, and more. Google Groups even allows you to collaborate on documents so, for example, people can add their own names to a schedule or do some virtual brainstorming.

Whichever tools you choose, keep in mind that they are just tools. How and when to use them requires good judgment, and they always work best when your group has had enough face-to-face time to build relationships, trust, and a little team spirit.

—Tim Postuma

Tim Postuma is web and e-communication manager for the Christian Reformed Church in North America.


Q Because of the downturn in the economy, jobs are much harder to find. Now that I am graduating I’m afraid I won’t find a job. How can I best prepare myself for the job search?

A Congratulations on your graduation! I’m sure that it took a great deal of perseverance to not only finish school, but to finish well. The perseverance and determination you developed over the past four years will serve you in your job search, because that’s essentially what finding a job is all about—perseverance, determination, and, let me add, faith. Faith that the Lord has not carried you this far only to drop you.

In addition to these qualities, you’ll need to prepare the job-search essentials: an effective résumé, a 30-second self-introductory “speech,” a basic professional wardrobe, and a plan of action for the coming months.

Since most positions are filled through referrals, I suggest starting your search by drawing up a networking list consisting of friends and acquaintances who might be willing to help you. And don’t forget social media sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook, which are useful tools.

I’d also encourage you to be flexible. The position you find upon graduating does not need to be the one you’ll hold for 30 years. And sometimes jobs that initially don’t seem to offer much can open the door to more desirable positions.

A number of years ago I moved to a new city where, despite my best efforts, I was unable to find a teaching position. After a great deal of effort I finally landed a job with a software company. But within three months, the company’s demise was obvious to all, so I wound up where I started—looking for another job. This time, however, I could list employment within the software industry on my résumé, which was one of the things that caught my subsequent employer’s eye when he hired me as a corporate trainer to teach computer languages.

So as you step forward in faith, remember that God sees the end from the beginning and will guide your steps.

—Bonnie SpeyersBonnie Speyers is a career counselor at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich.


Q What does Scripture say about cremation?

A Historically, Christians followed the Jewish practice of burial. The New Testament mentions burial a number of times and refers to the dead as those who are “asleep,” a reference that would be inappropriate if the body were incinerated. Some oppose cremation because in the Old Testament burning bodies was a punishment for serious offenders (cf. Lev. 20:14, 21:9) and perhaps even an attempt to deprive the spirit of the deceased “of the rest that was widely believed to result from decent burial” (cf. Today’s New International Version Study Bible note on Amos 2:1). Others oppose cremation because the enemies of Christianity sometimes burned people to ridicule the belief that God is able to raise the dead.

It’s a mistake to link such texts to the respectful practice of cremation or to assert that cremation makes it impossible for God to raise the dead. There are no legitimate biblical or theological grounds to prohibit cremation.

—George Vander WeitGeorge Vander Weit is a retired pastor in the Christian Reformed Church.

(Note: For more on the topic of cremation, see Al Hoksbergen’s article in the April 2010 Banner.)

We Are Counting on You

The Banner is more than a magazine; it’s a ministry that impacts lives and connects us all. Your gift helps provide this important denominational gathering space for every person and family in the CRC.

Give Now