Four regions of the United States will be test sites for a new church-multiplication effort involving both the Christian Reformed Church and the Reformed Church in America.
Called “Kingdom Enterprise Zones,” the four regions include San Francisco/Sacramento; Tucson/Phoenix; Wyoming, Mich.; and all of Florida.
The regions were chosen because they are already church planting sites for both denominations. The planned cooperation between CRC and RCA leadersis not limited to church planting but may also involve campus ministry and community development.
“Working together will enhance our individual efforts and combined efforts. We hope that one plus one equals three,” said Rev. Jul Medenblik. Medenblik helped launch the effort as church planting team leader for Christian Reformed Home Missions before assuming presidency of Calvin Theological Seminary this summer.
A team made up of CRC and RCA leaders will ensure coordination between the two denominations as they launch the first phase of the effort in 2011-2012.
At the same time, an implementation team will develop the new strategy and put it into action in the four target zones. The work is being funded through a major grant from the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation.
Kingdom Enterprise Zones are so-named because they will be part of an entrepreneurial approach (enterprise) to bring about the kingdom of God by focusing on specific areas (zones), Medenblik explained. The goal is not to establish united RCA-CRC churches—though that could happen—but, rather, to build on the knowledge and practices of both denominations for the spread of the gospel and the multiplication of churches.
New strategies may later be implemented in other regions, including Canada.
“[The RCA and the CRC] are coming together to be a witness to Christ’s unity,” said Rev. Andrea DeWard. She and her husband, Rev. Nate DeWard, are RCA church planters in Tampa, Fla. “We’re bringing together the best of our resources so that we can come together for the benefit of God’s kingdom.”