Synod upheld the current wording of Church Order article 23 concerning ministry associates Tuesday morning.
Rev. David Koll: “The current church order wording serves us well.”
“The current church order wording serves us well, and the flexibility that is there is helpful rather than harmful,” said Rev. David Koll, the denomination’s director of candidacy.
The decision was in response to an overture (request) that there be more clarity in the description of a ministry associate.
“Some are very appreciative of the flexibility and would even like more flexibility. There were others that are much more cautious,” said Koll.
There have been a growing number of ministry associates in the denomination, and some are leading congregations alone. “The churches are finding many ways to use the position of ministry associate,” said Koll.
“It’s really quite something to watch what is happening in the CRC with the provision of leadership,” said Rev. Dan Gritter, Classis Grand Rapids South. “There are a lot of men and women who are [becoming ministry associates], and there are many churches that are utilizing this wonderful way of serving in the CRC.”
A ministry associate is able to lead a congregation alone in certain situations, including the planting of a church or the departure of a senior pastor.
However, the specific conditions of these arrangements are often left to the discernment of synodical deputies.
For more coverage while synod is in session, including webcasts, photos, discussion forums, reports, and more, visit the Synod 2011 website.