Church ministry staff members at Immanuel Christian Reformed Church in Hamilton, Ontario, help the congregation focused on the Word of God through the whole week.
Rev. Henry Kranenburg prepares weekly email to help members prepare for and reflect on Sunday morning’s message.
As each Sunday approaches, pastor Henry Kranenburg prepares a brief introduction to the week’s message. That introduction, along with links to the Bible passages and offering causes, is emailed to members to help them prepare their hearts and minds for worship. Mid-week, members receive a second email, “Take 2,” that includes a summary of the main point and encouragement to apply the message to daily living.
“We want to not only be hearers of the word, but doers as well, as we are instructed in James 1:22,” Kranenburg said. “Preparing for and following up the message is an important spiritual activity because it becomes about engaging and becoming engaged with the Word.”
He said that preparing the emails is not as time consuming as one might think and can be a helpful tool in the process of researching, writing, and delivering the sermon.
A question sheet is also prepared to help students in grades 5-8 focus during the message and to guide a post-sermon discussion after the service. It goes home with the students to encourage further discussion within the family.
The idea surfaced after members expressed that although they remembered enjoying the message, they had a hard time recalling the topic and points. It was a compilation of ideas Kranenburg and former associate pastor Mark Knetsch had seen and heard about in other congregations, as well as some of their own vision.
Members nearby and those who have moved away or who are no longer able to worship regularly at the church for various reasons have shared their appreciation for the emails that help them stay connected to God’s Word and to their home church.
Doreen Van de Ban said that the preparation email helps her to become familiar with the Bible passage beforehand so she can focus more clearly on the sermon, and that the follow-up email is a great refresher in the midst of busy day-to-day living.
“I like that it helps me to reflect [on the message] throughout the week and to be reminded that Sunday’s sermons aren’t just for Sunday,” she said.