July 2024


The Expectation to Forgive

Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors Matthew 6:12

“I forgive but I won’t forget” was the actual verbiage of one upset person to the other standing in front of them. This came on the heels of an attempt to resolve some awkward differences. The problem was a feeling of disrespect which was discovered as the expectation to do exactly what the other dictated. The veiled statement of forgiveness was couched in such a manner as to control the other.


God requires His children to forgive. The basis of forgiveness never starts with us, it begins with God. Matthew 6:12 is taken from the Lord’s Prayer where Jesus taught His men to ask the Father to forgiven them, as they forgave others. God demonstrated the nature of forgiveness by forgiving those who would repent and believe in the gospel. His forgiveness releases broken and fallen human beings from the guilt of their sin and from the penalty of the transgression. Read More

Pastor Brad Little, Regional Executive Director

Venture Church Network Midwest 

Relationally Committed

This past week, I took a team of students to partner with our sister church in Jackson, MI. This was our third year walking alongside Ganson Street Baptist Church, reaching their community with backyard Bible clubs. Over the years, Jackson, MI, has transformed from a location into an extended family. As I reflect on the impact of our time there, I see so clearly God’s hand upon the community of brothers and sisters in Christ and the blessings of relational ministry. Read More

Chuck Babbitt, Youth Pastor

Bloomer Baptist Church, Bloomer, WI

VCNMidwest Youth Ministries Director

Should my Church Share Budget Updates in the Bulletin?

I grew up 20 miles south of Seattle. After serving in the Navy and graduating from Corban University I was hired at a church in Oregon just 200 miles south and served there until 2014. I mention this for two reasons. 


First, during that time I learned to question (probably like you) whether church guests, seekers, and casual attenders were getting the best impression of the church if we were printing the monthly financials in the bulletin or other circulations. Read More

Pastor Rob Buhl

First Baptist Church, Whitehall, WI

The ENGAGE forum has been suspended

for the months of July and August,

but you will be invited to RE-ENGAGE in September.

The Purpose of ENGAGE is to address gospel and missional critical issues and challenge our thinking related to pastoral ministry, leadership and the purpose of our churches.

The Goal of ENGAGE is to continue to become gospel-centered, grace driven, biblically anchored churches passionately committed to fulfill the mission of Christ. 

It is again the privilege of VCNMidwest to award the Henry C. Spicer Scholarship to some 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 four 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.

Allison Volante

Discovery Church, Sauk Rapids, MN

Attending Oak Hills Christian College

Bemidij, MN

Education Focus: Addictive Counseling and

 Biblical Studies

Meghan Johnson

First Baptist Church, Windom, MN

Attending Biola University

La Mirada, CA

Education Focus: Business

Noah Bennett

Bethany Community Church, Edwards, IL

Attending Bradley University

Peoria, IL

Education Focus: Mechanical Engineering

Titus Buhl

First Baptist Church, Whitehall, WI

Attending University of Wisconsin-Stout

Menomonie, WI

Education Focus: Computer Networking and Infrastructure Engineering

Camp Lebanon in Burtrum, MN has opened up two full time positions, and one part time position. To read more about each position, please click here.

First Baptist Church

Jackson, MN

First Baptist Church, Jackson, MN is looking for a Family and Youth Pastor. To read more about the position, please click here

First Baptist Church, Pekin, IL is looking for a Next Gen/Family Pastor/Director. To read more about the position, please click here

Venture Church Network is happy to announce a new partnership with Moody Bible Institute, which has been known for equipping people for effective ministry for more than 135 years. Through this educational partnership, congregational leaders and church members of VCN can enroll in all continuing education, undergraduate school, and seminary programs at a reduced cost. We believe this partnership will be another way in which we, as a network of churches, can assist in encouraging and opening doors for the next generation of church leaders.


Moody will offer awards of 30% for Venture Church Network staff and members. All cohorts/groups of students will receive an award of 30%.

Visit Website

Venture Church Network has had a special and long-term relationship with Western Seminary for over 75 years. The heart of our partnership has continued to further a common purpose of providing theological education and advanced training for training pastors, counselors and related ministry leaders (whether vocational, bi-vocational, or avocational). Western’s vision is to be an educational community that promotes gospel-centered transformation in every aspect of a student’s life and work. Western Seminary serves as a catalyst and resource for spiritual transformation by working with and for the church to equip men and women for strategic ministry roles.

Along with its in-person offerings through its Portland, OR campus, Western also offers global distance learning, and in alignment with their mission “with and for the church,” they have partnered with churches around the nation to offer local cohorts. Cohorts allow a small group of students, often fellow ministry leaders, to journey through their program together from start to finish.

Students who are not only on staff, but active members of a VCN church are eligible for a generous grant of 25% reduction in tuition. Contact the Financial Aid Office for details. If you are considering a master’s or doctoral program, we strongly encourage you to consider Western Seminary.

Visit Website

Venture Church Network is excited to announce a new partnership between VCN and Denver Seminary. Founded in 1950 by the Conservative Baptist Association (Now VCN), the school was initially called the Conservative Baptist Theological Seminary before changing its name to Denver Conservative Baptist Seminary in 1982. In 1988, it changed its name to Denver Seminary, reflecting its appeal to students from a wide variety of denominations and its embrace of a nondenominational identity. The school is based in Littleton, Colo. Denver Seminary identifies as an “evangelical” school and as multi denominational, enrolling 900 students from more than 50 denominations. A grant of 25% reduction in tuition costs are available for VCN members. This includes master's and doctoral-level courses.

Visit Website

Corban University is a liberal arts university whose mission is to educate Christians who will make a difference in the world for Jesus Christ!

Venture Church Network has partnered with Corban University to offer employees of a VCN church a 20% graduate tuition discount.

Visit  Website

Cedarville University, an exceptional Christian university is located in southwest Ohio. As one of the top Christian colleges in the Midwest, Cedarville University attracts 5,082 undergraduate, graduate, and dual enrolled high school students to more than 175 areas of study.

Venture Church Network has partnered with Cedarville University to offer employees and members of a VCN church a 15% graduate tuition discount.

Visit Website

VCN is excited to offer a specialized retirement plan option through GuideStone to pastors and staff of churches in the Venture Church Network family. Read More

Ministry-focused conversations, financial experience

At Christian Investors Financial we love hearing stories from churches and individuals, and sharing a few of our own. Communication is at the heart of all we do in financial services. Christian Investors Financial is providing faith-based financial solutions that serve Kingdom expansion. Learn more about CIF by visiting our website.

Amending a Minister’s Housing Allowance

Q: Our minister would like the church to increase his housing allowance due to the fact that he will be incurring more housing expenses than expected this year. Can our church board amend the allowance for the rest of the year, or must he wait until next year?. ChurchLaw&Tax

Church Health Consultant

Brian A. Thorstad

Need a Church Health Consultant? Brian’s consulting, coaching, training, writing, preaching and teaching are all about HELPING CHURCHES THRIVE.

My ministry today is all about helping churches thrive. I love the Lord of the Church and I love His churches. You can find out why by visiting the Brian’s Story page. I believe that because of the powerful presence of Christ with His churches that every church can be a great church. I would be honored to be able to help your congregation. With today’s technology, I’m available to help any English-speaking

pastor and any congregation.

Visit Website

An Israel Trip will be offered March 2-13, 2025

(Flying out of ORD Chicago).

Cost: $4959.00

(Deposits due before Oct. 1, 2024 w/ final payment by Dec. 1, 2024)

Price does not include travel to ORD, in-country lunches, souvenirs, passport fees, travel insurance, or other personal expenses.

If you or anyone you know is interested, please feel free to contact Pastor Andrew Powell at for more information.  

An Invitation from Andrew Powell

Venture Church Network Midwest 


Central Illinois

No meeting in July

Andrew Powell, Grace Church, Mahomet, IL



To Be Determined

Location: Creekside Bible Church,

Marion, IA

Jay Jentink, Calvary Baptist Church, Cedar Rapids, IA



Thursday, July 18, 2:00pm (ET)

Meeting by Zoom

Allen Grover, Ganson Street Baptist Church, Jackson, MI


Central Minnesota

Monday, July 15, 10:00am (CT)

Leader: Brad Little

Location - River of Life Church, Hastings, MN

Contact: Dan Vesta


Southern Minnesota

To Be Determined

Jackson, MN

Walt Moser, First Baptist Church, Luverne, MN



No Meeting This Month

Pizza Ranch - Eau Claire

Rob Buhl, First Baptist Church

Whitehall, WI


VCNMidwest Youth Pastor Collaboration

Monday, July 29, 10:00am (CT)

Meeting by Zoom

Chuck Babbitt, Bloomer Baptist Church, Bloomer, WI


To Be Decided

Northern Minnesota/North Dakota


Venture Church Network Midwest

1410 44th Street, Marion, IA 52302

Dr. Brad Little

Regional Executive Director


Administrative Office

Gina Perry, Administrative Assistant


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