In this Banner you will read about Synod 2009, starting on page 30. Synod is a compound Greek word that marries the words for “with” and “road.” So literally it means “a merging of roads.” In church lingo it’s a place where representatives come from different congregations to walk together for a while, wherever their journeys started or will take them.
The Christian Reformed Church convenes a synod every June. The CRC’s 47 classes (regional clusters of churches) each delegate two elders and two pastors to the weeklong meeting. There the assembly sets policy for our denomination, hears from and gives direction to denominational leaders, and spends considerable time worshiping the God we seek to serve in all of this.
Synod takes some getting used to, but I’ve heard from a number of delegates who were state legislators that if their shop ran the way synod does, our governments would get a lot more done and with greater unity.
I believe them.
It’s amazing how 188 people can slog through an agenda of some 500 pages and finish their work without committing mayhem on each other. Without fail they do so with wisdom, grace, and good humor. I can’t describe how that works. It just does.
Synod is made up of Canadians and Americans, Koreans and African Americans, women and men. It’s also made up of old and young . . . sort of. The oldest delegate at this year’s synod was 82; the youngest, 25; and the next youngest, 32. That’s not very young because, remember, you need to be an elder or a pastor to be a delegate.
So where do our younger members get to lend their voices to synod? Shouldn’t we hear from them too? The apostle Paul told his colleague Timothy, a gifted evangelist, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young” (1 Tim. 4:12). The church needed Timothy’s gifts.
This year, for the first time, synod invited six young adults to attend its meetings as official observers
(see p. 43). That’s a significant first step.
But it’s only a first step. We need to hear from this generation. They are, and represent, not only the church of tomorrow but also the church of today. They should be given the floor so they can enter into synod’s discussions and debates. Their views matter. Their fresh perspectives and insights into a rapidly changing world can help us make better-informed, more savvy decisions. Their enthusiasm and love for the Lord and his kingdom are infectious and will encourage and energize us. And their involvement will better connect them to our churches.
Next year let’s take that second step and ask Synod 2010 to turn youth observers into youth advisers with the full right to speak at synod. Let’s invite them to fully engage with us in seeking the well-being of the denomination, our congregations, and the world we seek to disciple in Jesus’ holy name.
I look forward to the day when young and old will walk this fascinating stretch of road together. Needless generation gaps have made us walk apart for much too long.
About the Author
Bob De Moor is a retired Christian Reformed pastor living in Edmonton, Alta.