Presbytery of Lake Huron
Bi-Weekly Brief 
"The mission of the Presbytery of Lake Huron is to partner with congregations, helping people to know, grow, share and serve as disciples of Jesus Christ." 

November 29, 2017 

Psalm 96: 1-9

O sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth. 
Sing to the LORD, bless his name;
tell of his salvation from day to day. 
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples. 
For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised;
he is to be revered above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
but the LORD made the heavens. 
Honor and majesty are before him;
strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. 
Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. 
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
bring an offering, and come into his courts. 
Worship the LORD in holy splendor;
tremble before him, all the earth.
We Pray For 
We Lift Up In Prayer...  

Bruce Graham, husband of the Rev. Linda Graham, Pastor of Cass City-First and Cass City-Fraser who is recovering from surgery earlier this week.

Michael Hosler, son of Elders Alan and Cheryl Hosler, Croswell-First  who is doing very well following recent open heart surgery.

The Rev. Jim Neumann, Pastor of Saginaw-Second  who is doing well and recovering from back surgery.

Pam Brackbill and the Rev. Tom Brackbill, Pastor of Alma-First as they deal with all that encompasses Pam's diagnosis of Younger Onset Alzheimer's Disease. Pam is under the care of Masonic Pathways. 

Mission Co-Workers:
The Rev. Cathy Chang and family who are serving in the Philippines.

Michael and Rachel Ludwig , our Mission Co-Workers who are serving in Niger.



For those Teaching Elders (Ministers of Word and Sacrament) and Commissioned Ruling Elders (CREs) who are celebrating Ordination or Commissioning Anniversaries in November and December:

The Rev. Tom Cundiff (11/27) - 40 years - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Lucy Der-Garabedian (12/19) - Member-At-Large
Elder Kathy Grimes (12/5) - Commissioned Ruling Elder of Elkton-Chandler and Kinde-First
The Rev. Dr. Shimon Pak (11/8) - Pastor of Saginaw-Korean
The Rev. Dr. Dan Saperstein (10/2) - Executive Presbyter
The Rev. Dr. Rodney Shoemaker (12/2) - Member-At-Large
Elder Chris Wolf (11/14) - Commissioned Ruling Elder of Marlette-First and Marlette-Second
Presbytery Office
Dan Saperstein
From the Lion's Den

Growing Young

The most common question I encounter when dealing with congregations in decline is "How can we get more young people into our church?"

Often, the desire is stated in terms of the congregation's own needs: "If we don't get younger members then we will have to close / go broke / not be able to keep a pastor (choose one)." This is an expression of what I have called "the downward spiral of negativity," and is bound to fail because it doesn't change the fundamental reasons why the church hasn't attracted or retained young people in the first place. Mission and ministry that seeks to solve a congregation's own problems or needs is toxic. Young people, especially, recognize when a church is interested in them as means to an end rather than out of a genuine interest in the young person's own spiritual needs or concerns.

But, churches of all sizes and ages can develop vibrant ministry to and with youth if they genuinely desire to serve and include them with selfless concern and authentic faith. Our presbytery meeting on December 5 at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Bay City will focus on developing ministry to and with youth. Our equipping time will feature the Rev. Daniel Deprez, a church consultant with the Fuller Youth Institute, which is dedicated to improving youth ministry in congregations. Deprez will be sharing insights from the Institute's research published in the book Growing Young: Six Essential Strategies to Help Young People Discover and Love Your Church.

The six strategies, based on their study of hundreds of congregations with successful youth ministries, are "core commitments" that reshape a congregation's mission culture in ways that not only resonate with youth but will help transform the congregation into a healthier, more effective church. The book identifies them this way (p.43):
  1. Unlock keychain leadership. Instead of centralizing authority, empower others - especially young people.
  2. Empathize with today's young people. Instead of judging or criticizing, step into the shoes of this generation.
  3. Take Jesus' message seriously. Instead of asserting formulaic gospel claims, welcome young people into a Jesus-centered way of life.
  4. Fuel a warm community. Instead of focusing on cool worship or programs, aim for warm peer and intergenerational friendships.
  5. Prioritize young people (and families) everywhere. Instead of giving lip service to how much young people matter, look for creative ways to tangible support, resource, and involve them in all facets of your congregation.
  6. Be the best neighbors. Instead of condemning the world outside your walls, enable young people to neighbor well locally and globally.
Regular readers will identify these commitments as avenues toward becoming what I have called an "inside-out, upside-down" congregation engaging in "sticky mission." In our equipping time we will be introduced to the research foundation of all six commitments, and will explore interactively how to develop the leadership and community components. The meeting will also feature special contributions from youth ministries around the presbytery, both in person and on video. Churches are encouraged to bring Christian educators and youth leaders as well as commissioners to the morning worship and equipping portions of our meeting. Copies of the book will also be available at a discounted rate to take back to your congregations.  

Dan Saperstein,  Executive Presbyter
Presbytery Meeting Documents

All of the documents for the December 5th stated meeting of presbytery at  Bay City-Westminster  are available on the Presbytery Meetings page of our website. 

Each December is always special as we install our new Moderator and Vice-Moderator of the Presbytery for the coming year and a sermon shared by the outgoing Moderator.  Our Equipping Time will be led by the Rev. Matthew DePrez and will focus on "Growing Young" and how the church can reach out to youth and young adults in today's world.  (See article below for details.) We will also have sharing from several of our congregations and what their youth have done.  For Business, we will hear reports from an Administrative Commission, approve 2018 Minimum Terms of Call, adopt the 2018 Budget and, most significantly, vote on the proposed By Law changes that were presented for a first reading at the September meeting.  Please be sure to read those changes over before the meeting.  There will be a time for questions and answers as well as discussion.
Presbytery Meeting To Emphasize Youth Ministry

On Tuesday, December 5 churches will have a special opportunity to learn about the cutting edge of youth ministry during our Presbytery meeting equipping time. We are pleased to welcome the Rev. Matthew Deprez, the Church Engagement Specialist for the Fuller Youth Institute. Matthew was pastor of Frontline Community Church in Grand Rapids for nine years before turning his energies full time to developing vibrant youth ministry in congregations.

Matthew will share with the presbytery core findings in the groundbreaking "Growing Young" research study of the Institute, an arm of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. The study identified six core values that undergird successful youth ministry in churches of every size and context. Copies of the study book based on the research will be available at the meeting at discounted prices to take back to your congregations.

Our time with Matthew will be beneficial not only to pastors and commissioners, but to others in the leadership and youth programming of our congregations. The event is open to the whole church, and we encourage churches to bring those people to our morning worship and equipping time at Bay City-Westminster. The meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. with worship starting shortly thereafter. Guests are also invited to stay for lunch.


Matthew Deprez is the Church Engagement Specialist at the Fuller Youth Institute. As the Church Engagement Specialist, Matthew equips, trains and resources churches from around the country, while also leading FYI's cohorts. Holding a Master's in Children, Youth and Family Ministry (Wesley Seminary), Matthew speaks internationally at colleges, conferences, and churches on issues surrounding intergenerational and family ministry. He has over 12 years of pastoral ministry experience as an ordained minister in the Wesleyan Church and is the author, or coauthor, of multiple books. Matthew lives in Grand Rapids, MI, with his wife, Megan, and have adopted both of their sons, Isaiah and Silas.
Growing Young Books Available

We will have 24 hard cover copies of the book Growing Young: 6 Essential Strategies To Help Young People Discover and Love Your Church available for sale at the  December presbytery meeting at  Bay City-Westminster . They are just $10 each while supplies last.

All churches grow old. Strategic churches grow young. 

Across the United States, churches are losing both members and vitality as increasing numbers of young people disengage. Based on groundbreaking research with over 250 of the nation's leading congregations, Growing Young provides a strategy any church can use to involve and retain teenagers and young adults. It profiles innovative churches that are engaging 15- to 29-year- olds and as a result are growing--spiritually, emotionally, missionally, and numerically. Packed with both research and practical ideas, Growing Young shows pastors and ministry leaders how to position their churches to engage younger generations in a way that breathes vitality, life, and energy into the whole church.
In Our Congregations
Holly Invites You
Holly Presbyterian Church is inviting all to join them on  December 3rd at 7:00pm  for an evening of music fellowship. There is no charge for this concert. There will be an offering that will go to our local needs this season.  Refreshments will be served.
Saginaw-Second Invites You
Celebrate Christmas with Saginaw-Second!
Join us as we kick off the month with a festive Christmas concert by the Saginaw Area Concert Band on Monday, December 4 at 7:00pm.  Donations will be split between the band and church to help with future programs. Stick around afterwards for refreshments!
Mt. Pleasant-First Hosts Annual College Study Nights
A couple of years ago Mt. Pleasant-First was featured in the Mission Yearbook For Prayer and Study for their annual College Study Nights outreach ministry to CMU students. This year the dates are December 10th through the 12th beginning at 6:00pm. If you know a student at Central Michigan University please pass along this invite.

Here is the article that was published:

First Presbyterian Church of Mount Pleasant sits just five blocks from the main campus of Central Michigan University.  This proximity to one of Michigan's most popular colleges provides for a perfect opportunity for outreach to students.
For nearly a decade the church has had a College Study Night outreach ministry.  At the end of each semester during the week of final exams the church opens its doors - and kitchen - to students.  For three evenings professors at the college who are also members of the congregation cook a meal for students and stay to assist with questions or lead study groups. Members of the congregation help with the other aspects of the twice a year event.
The students are not only fed a delicious dinner but are encouraged to stay and study either individually or in groups for as long as they would like to. While there they have access to free WiFi and may pack a goodie bag to take home from the Grab-A-Snack-Table filled with baked goods.
While the students who attend the study nights do not return to worship, that is not the goal of the congregation.  They view it as an outreach mission not a recruitment opportunity. Most students who participate do however return the next semester, often bring a friend and are not shy about expressing their appreciation for a home cooked meal and a comfortable place to study during a very stressful week.
Communications Corner
Headlines of Interest

Here are links to articles that we hope you will enjoy and perhaps spend some time discussing them with others. 

The Power of Unlikely Pairs, I recently came across an in-depth article in Wired magazine about one of Amazon's secret weapons. During the incredibly busy holiday shipping season they employee a growing number of seasonal, RV-loving, retirees. This strategy is more than just a fluke or a PR stunt. It fills a specific need for Amazon during their peak shipping season. What Amazon needs is affordable, reliable warehouse workers in strategically located warehouses across the country. These retirees fit the bill perfectly. The strategy has been dubbed "Camperforce". They have invested heavily in it, and Jeff Bezos has even claimed that he believes Amazon will employ 1 in 4 "workampers" by 2020. The full article is a fascinating read of what life is like for some American retirees post-2008, and how one of the largest companies in the world has inexplicably become part of the sunset of their lives. So, what can churches learn from this unlikely pairing?  Here are 3 takeaways from the Camperforce and Amazon pairing . .. continue reading .

Ah.... Advent calendars. Those lovely calendars that help us celebrate the Christmas season to the fullest and prepare our minds and hearts for the coming of the Christ Child.... Except that most Advent calendars don't. Most Advent calendars these days are awash with chocolate and countdown activities, but they have nothing to do with Christmas itself.  So, I wanted to create something for my kiddos that would fill the season with a bit more intentionality and thoughtfulness. We already had an Advent calendar that walks through the birth story of Christ, so I wanted something that would help them engage more deeply in service to others, especially since the cold winter months are also packed with family holidays, which are often some of the most difficult for people who are either lonely or at the ends of their means. .. continue reading .
NOTE: The articles listed do not necessarily reflect the opinion of or intended to be an endorsement by the Presbytery of Lake Huron but are shared to encourage discussion of various topics.
Connect With Other Churches In The Lake Huron Presbytery

There are so many wonderful things going on in all of our congregations.  Several of our churches have set up Facebook pages to help spread the good news not only to their members but to all who may be interested.  Liking other church Facebook pages is a great way to connect with others in the presbytery and to share ideas with each other.  Here are some of the churches that have Facebook pages:


If your congregation has a page and it is not listed here, please contact Staci Percy at

'Like' Us On Facebook

The presbytery has a Facebook page and would like you to join us.  Get updates and information faster. Connect with others to share ideas and to post information about events happening in your congregation.  Join us today! 

Contact Information

Staci Percy

Communications Manager/Recording Clerk 

989-799-7481 x2

In This Edition
In Our Prayers
From The Lions' Den
Presbytery Meeting
In Our Congregations
Communications Corner
Connect With LHP Churches
Join Us On Facebook

Who We Are
About the
Bi-Weekly Brief

Hundreds of elders, educators, and church leaders read the Presbytery of Lake Huron's email sent out every other week. 

You can reissue or modify this content for your own church bulletin or newsletter, without crediting the Bi-Weekly Brief, but please credit any organizations, photographers, etc, that we credited.


NOTE: The Presbytery of Lake Huron retains permission to modify submissions for clarity and length. Inclusion of an item in the Bi-Weekly Brief means that we think it's interesting and/or important, and does not constitute an endorsement of its point of view or its journalistic accuracy.


Like us on Facebook  



Presbytery Meeting
December 5
9:30 am

Staff Development Day - Office Closed
December 6

Commission on Preparation for Ministry
10:00 am
December 20

Presbytery Office Closed for Christmas
December 22-January 1

Details on these meetings can be found on the presbytery's website on the calendar.