In the past, when synod appointed a committee to study an issue, the committee would toil away in isolation for two to three years, then come back to a future synod with a report and specific recommendations to be either adopted or rejected.
But the mandate that Synod 2007 gave to the Faith Formation Committee has, in effect, created a new kind of study committee for synod—one that interacts with the churches throughout the process.
The Faith Formation Committee was appointed to clarify church policy on infant baptism, children at the Lord’s Supper, and public profession of faith.
Within the CRC there is a great diversity of practices, so the committee was struck to provide guidance, be a resource for discussion, and provide material and advice.
“The idea is that these topics . . . are not just a motion on the synod floor but a matter of having churches deepen their practices,” said Rev. John Witvliet, the committee’s chair. “The insights we need for our work and the ultimate impetus don’t happen at synod itself, but in the congregations.”
Another unique feature of the Faith Formation Committee is that it reports to synod five years in a row. This allows for a more gradual, communal growth process.
“We’re very grateful for the very strong responses that we’ve received from congregations, so it’s going very well,” Witvliet said.