“This is my fifth day in office. I was told ‘you’re supposed to speak about the state of the church.’ I don’t think there is much I can say.”
That was how Rev. Joel Boot, interim executive director of the Christian Reformed Church, started his address to Synod 2011 on Saturday evening.
Boot recounted some events of the last few weeks, a whirlwind that found Boot planning to finish out his ministry career in the congregation he has served for 19 years. Instead, he now leads the denomination’s administration for the next two years.
Boot’s appointment comes on the heels of resignations of both the executive director and the director of denominational ministries in the past two months.
“God called,” Boot told delegates. “He came to my door, kicked it off its hinges, and said, ‘I have something in mind for you that you didn’t know about.’ It was unmistakable.”
Boot said the Board of Trustees asked him to do three things: accomplish the business of the church as expected of the executive director, provide wise counsel and a healing presence for staff, and analyze the culture and organization to develop a thriving ministering community.
He paraphrased that for delegates as: do absolutely everything possible, perform miracles, and develop and display omniscience.
“I’m nervous. I’m scared. I’m uncertain. I’m uncomfortable,” Boot said. “But over the past five days, I have begun to sense again the state of Joel Boot. I am not my own, but I belong body and soul, in life and death, to my faithful Lord and Savior.
“He held me in his everlasting arms. I have never in my life been as aware of being prayed for as the last two weeks. And then, in his grace, God sent me here this week.
“The 188 or so of you, and many devoted staff people, … sacrificing your time and energy, opening your heart, available to God, enjoying this work, giving up vacation for [the equivalent of] a marathon council meeting of 70 hours… if that doesn’t say something about the state of the church, I don’t know what does.
“It says, we belong to our faithful Lord and Savior, at home and here, church and classis, classis and synod. I can say with confidence, the state of the church is good. The future of the church is certain. The hope of the church is boundless. Because the arms of God are everlasting and they are beneath and around us all.
“Next year, I may be able to add more detail, but I have never had more confidence than I have right now that the church, and we, are in God’s hands. Therefore, the state of the church is great.”
Delegates responded with a prolonged standing ovation.
For more coverage while synod is in session, including webcast, photos, discussion forum, reports, and more, visit the Synod 2011 website.