RE-MEMBER – a 2016 TGO Recipient

At Re-Member’s Annual Meeting & Banquet this year, Christ Memorial Church received special recognition for supporting the Lakota people on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The award is a painting by Lakota Sioux artist Merle Locke.  Entitled “Wopilia,” (thank you, with a blessing), the painting features double eagle feathers.  An eagle feather is only awarded to those who are “highest, bravest, strongest, and holiest.”*

In South Dakota, Re-Member works to improve the quality of life through building relationships, sharing resources, and offering volunteer services to repair deteriorating homes. Christ Memorial has become a Ministry Partner with Re-Member over the past few years.

“We are deeply thankful that Christ Memorial Church has been called to support the mission of Re-Member and the Lakota Sioux people,” said Ted Skantze as he presented the award.  “Volunteers from this church have donated their time and skills to help repair Lakota homes, many without water, heat, or even electricity.  As CMC Ministry Partners, we are grateful for CMC’s yearly financial support.  And, as recipients of their 2015 Thanksgiving Offering, the church has helped Re-Member develop our campus. We are excited to continue to work together to build shared blessings on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.”

Although Pine Ridge is located in the dramatically beautiful Badlands of South Dakota, it is almost totally devoid of resources. It is in one of the three poorest counties in the United States, unemployment runs almost 90%, there is 8 times the U.S. rate of diabetes, the alcoholism rate approaches 80%, and teen suicide is four times the national average.  Life expectancy on Pine Ridge is the lowest in the United States. Only Haiti’s is lower in the Western Hemisphere.

“The hopelessness indicated by these statistics is real and the children of Pine Ridge suffer the brunt of it all,” states CMC member Jeannie Slenk who has volunteered with Re-Member for the past 16 years.  “However, our work there is incredibly rewarding as we are privileged to offer hope to the hopeless…we get to see the children smile.”



After School Program brochure: If you are interested in joining CMC’s After School Program on Tuesdays and Thursday for the 2017-2018 School year, check out our information BROCHURE.



Below is a letter written by CMC member Nick DeVries sharing the about the 70X7 ministry and his experiences . . . 

Becoming involved with 70×7, the “Reentry Ministry” established originally by Pastor Jim Liske while he was at Ridgepoint, was as simple as my friend, Dave Goetz, saying: “COME”.

I realized that getting some physical exercise on Monday mornings could be accomplished while sharing my “gift of Gab” with others.

70×7 arranges for 4 – 9 guys, of all ages, to come to CMC from 8:30am – 1pm to learn how to act,  take responsibility and lead in a workplace environment.  We form teams, wash windows, vacuum carpets, arrange tables & chairs as well as wash and wax church vehicles.  This spring we’ll clean-up sticks and rake lawns too.  Some of the participants have never held a job in their life, others are reentering the work force and need to be guided into “best practices”.  From my perspective the really tough part is working alongside those who are highly skilled and yet because of their choices now have to “humble” themselves and take a menial job, until they can rise up the ladder by earning the confidence of management,  to fully utilize their skills once again.

I want to invite each of you to consider coming alongside these teams as a mentor to guide them into positive, Christian behaviors that will help them achieve reentry to the local workforce.

Many local companies are in need of employees who can take direction and do a variety of tasks.  70×7 is helping evaluate and train these individuals who have either never worked or are returning to work after incarceration.  They come from all walks of life. Most are pretty much like you and me . . . they just got caught or “snapped” under the pressures of life.

Please let me share (I‘ll call him) “Jim’s”, story.  His teenage daughter was being “disrespected” by her boyfriend, so he drove to Muskegon and confronted the boyfriend.  They got into a fight, the police came so “Jim”  backed-off and left.  While driving back to Holland he stopped and picked-up some booze to ease his pain.  “Jim” realized that he shouldn’t be drinking and driving so he got off the road, parking in Grand Haven’s theater parking lot, to “sleep-off” the effects of the alcohol.  The police woke him up by knocking on his car window.  Now “was he “Driving” drunk“?  The police reminded him before he answered the question that the theater had video surveillance.  Following the last 6-months in jail, he has voluntarily chosen to work through 70×7 Ministry to get employment with this offense on his record (and now on his job applications).  “Jim” has learned that there are other choices he could have made to help his daughter get into healthier relationships.  His choice of alcohol, also, was not a positive way to treat his ANGER.  “Jim” OWNS his choices and really appreciates CMC and our support through, love and acceptance, that is showing him his “NEW PATH” is a so much better LIFE.

70×7 Ministry, with Rev. Ron Bechtel as a certified counselor, is here to walk “Jim” through the ways to healthy life choices . . . CMC, with us as “group mentors” are here to provide a Monday morning, “regular friend” who shares our listening ear and provides a “short term” (3-6-week) mentorship relationship that helps “Jim” know there are Christians out there who care and want to see him succeed.

Our Monday schedule begins at 8:30am, sharp with prayer, work time, coffee break fellowship, more work time.  We conclude with a 12:00 – 1:00pm fellowship luncheon provided by staff at CMC (Thanks to Pastor Ben Aguilera).  Following this “group mentoring experience”, the 70×7 Ministry program has the participants move to Moran Park Church where they spend the remainder of Monday afternoon in classes geared around life skills, relationships with their probation officers, their responsibilities to the court system, workplace etiquette, housing availability, clothing appropriateness and how to fill-out the forms that are required for full-time employment.

If  YOU would show “Jim” what a positive role model looks like, he will be better able to show his daughter what a transformed DAD, with proper, God-honoring, biblical relationships was meant to be.

I invite and challenge you to use your lifetime of experiences to make a real difference by joining us in, CMC’s Group Mentoring, 70×7 Ministry, on Monday mornings.

-Nick DeVries




Christ Memorial Church