REV. DAVID S. VAN BRAKLE

Welcome! Here is a little about me. I love the local congregation and believe that when the church is striving to live out Christ's teachings that we are the hope for our communities. While the church and culture are going through various shifts, Jesus' call to discipleship always included a call to change. I enjoy walking with others as they discover and rediscover how God's call and the core values of our faith are continually inviting us to live out Christ's vision and mission within our lives.

Community News

We are always looking to engage our surrounding community in meaningful ways. Here are some places where our congregation and the ministries we are participating in made the local news. Click on images for the full article.

Core Values

We all have values that drive us. Here are some of mine:

COMMUNITY

Creating brave spaces where conversations can occur with mutual respect is a goal of mine. I am grateful for the different communities that have shaped and challenged my faith.  

 

This post was picked up by Christian Citizen  looking at Dietrich Bonhoeffer's view of building Christian community at the decline of Western Christianity.

I am also passionate about the diversity of my own American Baptist denomination. Involvement in denominational activities, leadership, and groups provides the opportunity to listen and learn from others. Authentic community helps me become aware of my blind spots and better appreciate this diverse body of Christ that calls us together.

DEVELOPMENT

A strong development plan should be more than asking for donations but should revolve around nurturing stronger relationships between individuals and the narrative of an organization.  

Below is my recent project where leadership found creative approaches to holding value conversations within our congregation. Our goal was to create consistent messaging in how we shared our stories from leadership to others within our community. The project happened as part of my Executive Certificate of Religious Fundraising through Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

DISCIPLESHIP

For me, one of the marks of leadership is the ability to point out concerns within the system without pointing fingers and providing tools for others to deal with these challenges. 

Here I am preaching on the importance of addressing the confines that often hold us back.

VISIONING

Developing and clearly articulating a clear vision and mission has been vital for success in each congregation I have served. I have had experience using various tools and models such as Future Search and Conversation Café. I recently trained with Auxano in the Church Unique program.

Having worked in various settings has provided different tools in working with congregations and groups to think through values, mission, and future strategy. 

Below is a visual and simple explanation of our congregation's strategy that comes from our vision.

STORYTELLING

I am continually working towards finding new ways to communicate our traditions, values, and mission. Finding ways to share stories of the impact of Christ the church on other's lives is essential. A world of new media mediums means that we have an opportunity to find creative ways to communicate timeless truths. 

 

Below is a video I put together for our annual pledge drive, celebrating our past and current ministries.

CURIOSITY

Naturally curious as a child, I have always had a deep appreciation and willingness to learn from others and different situations. With the number of changes the Church has seen over the last few decades, curiosity is a needed trait if we are going to find creative ways to communicate the timeless truths of our Jesus' teachings.

Continually reading and studying, I am always looking at people across the theological and methodological spectrum to see where others are struggling and finding success.

 

Below are some of my continuing education experiences.

COMMUNITY SEEKS TO ASSIST WILMETTE COAST GUARD AMID GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

January 21, 2019

Our congregation spearheaded a collection for our local Coast Guard station during the government shutdown. Working collaboratively with our interfaith community and other organizations, we were able to find a way to bypass laws that prevented us from providing large donations to our local Coast Guard members.

JESSE JACKSON JOINS MOURNERS AT WILMETTE SERVICE TO REMEMBER PITTSBURGH SHOOTING VICTIMS

October 30, 2018

Our congregation participating with our local synagogue and interfaith community in a community healing service following the shootings of 11 Jewish worshippers in Pittsburgh.

August 29, 2018

Our Place, a nonprofit that shares space within our building and provides programming for adults with developmental disabilities, almost lost the ability to stay within our building when a group of neighbors tried to block Our Place's special use permit. Our congregation partnered with Our Place in meeting with the local zoning board, village board, and with neighborhood groups.  Our Place was able to obtain a special use permit and enter into a long term space sharing agreement with our congregation.

WILMETTE VILLAGE BOARD: WILMETTE OPTS INTO MINIMUM WAGE ORDINANCE; REMAINS OUT ON SICK LEAVE

June 27, 2018

We participated with Chicagoland community organizing group Arise Chicago and met with local village board members to advocate for a minimum wage increase within our village, opting in to match our local Cook County's recent minimum wage increase.

Want to Know More?

Feel free to reach out. I am passionate about congregations and ministry and am always willing to hear more about what others are doing. When the Church is working well, I believe it is the hope our communities need!

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resume

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American Baptist Profile