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Wisconsin Church Offers New Ways to "Get Our Hands Dirty"


Spurred by the needs of new elders and deacons for training, First Christian Reformed Church of Waupun, Wis., held its second annual leadership training conference, which was open to members of other churches. This year, the conference was expanded to include Sunday school teachers, worship leaders, and others.

Rev. Craig Van Hill, pastor at First CRC, said that the idea for the conference, called “Focus on Leadership,” started with a growing awareness that many elders and deacons struggle to understand their role as officebearers. Van Hill found that the need for leadership training extended beyond his own church, so he worked with a small team to develop a practical workshop for church leaders.

Attendance at this year’s event in late August was 120, up from 80 last year. In addition to sessions for elders and deacons, there were sessions on leading worship, outreach, parenting, prison ministry, healthy congregations, and sharing your faith story.

Al Ven Huizen, an elder and catechism teacher, especially appreciated a session he attended on community transformation. Ven Huizen said that the opportunity to learn and share information was helpful “especially for those of us not in urban areas who feel far away from the denomination.”

Van Hill hopes to continue expanding the conference to include additional topics, such as youth ministry.

“One of the realizations we want to come out of this conference is that everyone is called by God to do something,” he said. “It is our desire to instruct, to grow our passions, and to find new ways to ‘get our hands dirty.’”

—Doug Evenhouse

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