THE CENTRAL CONNECTION
July 2021
"We are an organization of churches that is committed
to the mission of Christ to multiply disciple-making churches
through evangelism, leadership training, and connection with
other like-minded churches."
FROM THE DIRECTOR
Gospel Centered Churches and People

Values determine our destiny. Matthew wrote something along these lines when he said, “Where your treasure is there your heart will be also”. In other words, what we truly value (treasure) that is what we will invest in with our whole heart. You can always tell what someone values because that is what they will spend time, money and effort on. Think of your favorite hobby. People who have a passion for something have no problem spending time learning about that subject. If the hobby requires equipment or training, most people who truly value that activity will have no problem spending the money to get what they need to engage that pursuit. We usually do not have to “make” time for that activity because when people have a passion for something they simply utilize every spare minute jumping into their hobby.
Pastor Brad Little, Regional Executive Director
Venture Church Network Midwest (CBNC) 
A WORD FROM OUR PRESIDENT
As the president of Venture Church Network, I would like to say thank you. It feels like pastors have been through more in the past 16 months than decades combined. I know everyone’s saying this, but take a step back and really think of all that’s happened recently. Read More

Dr. Dave Whitaker, President
Venture Church Network
The ENGAGE forum has been suspended
for the months of July and August,
but you will be invited to RE-ENGAGE in September.

AROUND THE REGION. . .
CONGRATULATIONS!
Winners of the 2021 Henry C. Spicer Scholarship
It is again the privilege of VCNMidwest to award the Henry C. Spicer Scholarship to several of our graduating high school seniors. All graduating high school seniors from our region's churches are eligible to apply for the one-time non-renewable scholarship. The scholarship aims to help with the costs of continuing education. Having made us a kingdom of priests, we rejoice that the Lord desires to place these young men and women as a faithful presence in different vocational fields.
This year's scholarship committee has selected three graduating students that excelled in many areas. Selection is made based on a number of criteria, including personal testimony (most importantly), future pursuits, academic excellence, and financial need. We would like to acknowledge that every candidate who applied this year was truly outstanding, and reading through each student's testimony and future plans greatly encouraged the committee.
Griffin Mears
Calvary Baptist Church, Muscatine, IA
Attending Moody Bible Institute
Chicago, IL
Education Focus Pastoral Studies
Tristen Harder
Bloomer Baptist Church, Bloomer, WI
Attending University of Wisconsin Milwaukee
Milwaukee, WI
Education Focus Civil Engineering
Alyssa Grover
Ganson Street Baptist Church, Jackson, MI
Attending Cedarville University
Cedarville, OH
Education Focus Business Marketing
Jackson Outreach Center
As I continue to grow in my relationships with Christ, I have learned to walk through the open doors and opportunities He places before me. Having walked through several doors and opportunities in the past, I have come to seek, watch, and listen with anticipation knowing the Lord has and continues to prepare a path before me. The story you are about to read was an open door the Lord provided not only for me, but for the church family I serve, and through it glorifying Himself each step of the way.
Three years ago, the Lord stirred in my heart a vision to open a youth center, a place where the youth of our community in Jackson, MN would be able to land, build relationships and “call their own”. As I sought the Lord and began to pursue potential locations, I quickly found out there was little to no opportunity within our city. A little discouraged but not defeated, I placed it in the back of my mind and over the next two and a half years I would pray about it, asking the Lord what His plan and purpose was for it, knowing the location situation had not changed. Read More

Thor Kurtz, Youth & Family Pastor
First Baptist Church, Jackson, MN
Source of Encouragement
Ministry is a great call on our lives, but there are many ways ministry can lead to discouragement in our life, causing ministry to become burdensome or end in burnout. At our last Youth Pastor Collaboration meeting, the friendship between David and Jonathan was discussed. Chapter 19 of 1 Samuel has stuck with me, how having even one person in your corner at the lowest point of your life/ministry can be enough for us to continue in the call God has given us.
As I continue to connect with VCNMidwest Youth Pastors, the encouragement I receive from talking with fellow Brothers and Sisters in Christ is incredible. Taking time to get perspective of everything God is doing in our region is revitalizing. In 1 Samuel 19, Saul is beginning his rampage to kill David, then in steps Jonathan. Even though Jonathan did not stop Saul’s rampage, he gave David support, protection, and a friend in dark times. Being in youth ministry we all need someone to speak truth and encouragement into our lives. I would encourage you to reflect who in your life is a source of godly encouragement to you, and who have you encouraged recently?
Chuck Babbitt, Youth Pastor
Bloomer Baptist Church, Bloomer, WI
3 Shifts in your Thinking on Debt to Improve your Stewardship
Last month I wrote about your personal budget and now I want to talk to you about debt. When you are managing the financial resources God is providing for you and your family well, through a budget, then
Debt Is Not God’s Means of Provision
Take careful note of this, debt is not a blessing – and it is not God’s means of provision.
Think about it. God created the planet as a latent resource. The earth just waits for the first Adam to work and cultivate the ground for produce and shelter (Genesis 2:15). The curse of sin interrupts fruitfulness, but God’s means of provision for us is through the simple process of cultivation and harvest (Genesis 3:17-19). 
In the simplest of terms, debt is taking from our future harvest, and with interest. Why would we pay 5% or 23% more for future apples?  Read More




Pastor Rob Buhl, First Baptist Church, Whitehall, WI
Venture Church Network (CBAmerica) Chaplaincy
Would He Have Ridden a Motorcycle? – Chaplain Reaches Bikers for Jesus
The Christian Motorcycle Association has a pamphlet with the title; “He Would Have Ridden a Motorcycle.” The inside text continues…
“Jesus The Biker: He was a lot like you and me. The government didn’t like him. The church thought he was weird. His friends were few. What friends he had, denied him. He was persecuted by hypocrites. He hung around people like you and me, not the goody-two-shoes Pharisees.

Yes, if Jesus were on this earth in the flesh, he would be next to you on his motorcycle telling you he loved you…enough to die for you. Read More
-by Shawn Taylor, Motorcycle Chaplain, Phoenix, AZ


Rev. Randy L. Brandt, Chaplain, Colonel, USA Ret.
Director of Chaplaincy, Venture Church Network
Cell: 913-904-8746
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT. . .
Dangerous Assumptions That Will Kill Your Message
"False assumptions can be costly. Assuming the wrong thing can at least hinder our communication; at worst, it can cost us our audience. There are five dangerous assumptions in preaching, and the extent of the damage they do may vary, but the fact that they are costly does not." Read More
-by Dr. Larry Moyer, Sermoncentral.com
Object Lessons on Attitude: Free KidMin Materials
"For children as well as adults, keeping our attitude in check can definitely be a challenge. But with God’s strength and the Bible’s guidance, we can learn to maintain a Godly and God-pleasing attitude in all situations. These free object lessons on attitude will help kids discover the importance of having a joyful, grateful attitude, no matter the circumstances."
Read More -by Stephanie Martin, Churchleaders.com
Ready to Quit? 'Thus, the Cross'
"Unless we have someone whispering encouragements to us — and sometimes, even in spite of someone doing so — most of us have a quit point. Most of us have a place when it comes to others, ourselves, or even God, that we quit, we’ll go no further."
Read More -by Dr. James Scott, Jr., Churchleaders.com
Should Your Church Be Revitalized or Replanted? A Post-COVID Reality
"Very few church leaders and members are opposed to their churches being revitalized.

"The problem is that many church leaders and members really don’t want substantive changes with their revitalization. For them, revitalization is a process of tweaking and making small adjustments. Add a program or ministry here and there. But don’t change our church!" Read More
-by Thom Rainer, Churchanswers.com
Venture Church Network Midwest (CBNC) CLUSTER GROUPS
Illinois
To Be Decided

Iowa
To Be Decided
Jay Jentink, Calvary Baptist Church, Cedar Rapids, IA
319-396-3233 office@calvarycr.org

Michigan
Wednesday, July 21, 9:30am (Eastern time)
Virtual Meeting - Zoom
Allen Grover, Ganson Street Baptist Church, Jackson, MI
517-740-8961 pastorallen@gansonstreet.org

Northern Minnesota/North Dakota
Tuesday, August 3, 1pm (Central time)
Virtual Meeting - Zoom
Josh Emmel, Faith Baptist Church, Kenmare, ND
218-368-9292 emmel.josh@gmail.com

Central Minnesota
Monday, July 19, 10am
Meeting at River of Life Church
Steve Schoenwald, River of Life Church, Hastings, MN
651-437-3965 sdschoenwald@gmail.com

Southern Minnesota
On break, will resume in September
Walt Moser, First Baptist Church, Luverne, MN

Wisconsin
Thursday, July 15, Noon
Contact Wade for meeting place.
Wade Duroe, Crossroads Church, Chippewa Falls, WI
715-723-1054 wljc12@hotmail.com

VCNMidwest Youth Pastor Collaboration
Thursday, August 12, 10am
Virtual Meeting - Zoom
Chuck Babbitt, Bloomer Baptist Church, Bloomer, WI
515-230-0774 youth@bloomerbaptistchurch.com
NEED DIRECTION, NEED A RESOURCE???
Check out some of the services of Venture Church Network Midwest/CBNC here. Other items can be found by visiting our website
or contacting Brad Little, Regional Executive Director.

Venture Church Network Midwest
(CB North Central)
PO Box 490441, Blaine, MN 55449

Dr. Brad Little
VCN Midwest (CBNC)
Regional Executive Director
763-350-4263

Eldon Carlson
VCN Midwest (CBNC) Networking Director
715-559-1979

Wendy Jonasen
Administrative Assistant
763-205-9330
Administrative Office Hours:
Tues. thru Fri. 8am - 1pm

All articles and submissions are the view of the individual writer and are not necessarily the official position of Venture Church Network Midwest.
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