Film Explores Issues Facing Young Adults Leaving the CRC

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“Shift,”a video about young adults leaving the Christian Reformed Church, has been gaining in popularity among congregations and Bible study groups across North America.

A series of 11 scenes featuring young adults in different situations, the film sheds light on multiple factors that contribute to young adults leaving the CRC.

Scriptwriter Beth Terpstra and her husband, Paul, produced the film through Terpstra Creative, their production company in Hamilton, Ontario. With a cast and crew of 42 people, “Shift” was shot in 4 days at 5 locations. Productions costs were $30,000, most of which was donated.

Help and donations came from more than 50 people. “We were surprised at how many people were not only willing but eager to be involved in this project,” Beth Terpstra said. “It’s a topic that a lot of people feel strongly about.”

Terpstra said that her vision for the film was not to identify one or two problems, or to lay blame, but rather to bring the issues to the table to get discussion started.

The film was originally made for the young adult re:kindle conference held last June in conjunction with Synod 2012, the annual leadership meeting of the CRC. It has since been made available for sale as a DVD. Almost 100 copies have been purchased so far.

Rev. Mark Hilbelink, a member of the Young Adult Leadership Taskforce (YALT)has taken the DVD back to his home church in Austin, Tex., to Calvary CRC in Orange City, Iowa, and to Dordt College, where it has been a catalyst for discussions about the issues facing young adults within the denomination and what possibilities the future could hold.

“What’s so great about the format is that it is not only easily reproducible, which helps us extend its impact, but it also presents issues in a way that takes the pressure off all parties at the local level in terms of broaching difficult issues,” he said. “‘Shift’ breaks the ice, so to speak, and then everybody jumps in to work on a solution together.”

“It was an incredible experience directing this film,” said director Jason Hofing, a member of Meadowlands Fellowship CRC in Ancaster, Ontario. “I think we did a great job [of] telling a variety of Christian Reformed experiences and stories. ‘Shift’ brings together our collective experience of the CRC and gives opportunity to reflect on what we are doing right and other things that can be improved upon.”

About the Author

Monica Kronemeyer deRegt is a stay-at-home mom and former news writer for The Banner. She enjoys freelance writing, classical music, and gourmet cooking.

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The CRC is full of such good people but its an old denominations that functions like an old organization and carries so much baggage along with it.  As the immigrant community that founded it moves out beyond the initial cultural enclaves that the first immigrant generations functioned within they'll inevitably need to move out into different churches that aren't tied to the old cultural enclave.  I know the CRC has worked hard to transform itself but the foundations it was built on, the baggage it carries and organizational inertia will always keep it the Dutch Reformed Church that so many of us needed to step away from in order to break free of some of the things that were hindering us and to begin to build a new broader identity us and our families.  I'd also have to admit that some of the directions that change in the CRC is taking seemed to be the wrong ones to me and are hollowing out the church rather than transforming it.  May God continue to bless the CRC and the people who organize their lives of faith under its organization whatever the future may hold.

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