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Synod 2013 Accepts a New Concept for Denominational Priorities

Nicole Veenkamp, a young adult representative to synod, said, “I’m really glad to see us applying our strength of thinking hard to what we do rather than just what we believe.”

In the age of Twitter and text messaging, the Christian Reformed Church needs a new way to communicate its core message.

“It’s a different day, folks,” said Rev. Scott Greenway, speaking on behalf of the Board of Trustees. “We need a tool that can capture the imagination of every generation (and) that can explain in very simple terms what we’re about as a denomination.”

That new tool is a concept called Five Streams that sums up the denomination’s top priorities. The concept comes from the Task Force to Review Structure and Culture (TFRSC), appointed by a previous synod to review the structure and culture of the denomination’s administrative structure.

The top priorities named are faith formation; servant leadership; global missions; loving mercy, doing justice; and gospel proclamation and worship.

While still a work in progress, the model will help Christian Reformed churches and agencies communicate with each other as well as reach younger people, supporters said.

The working document is based on a similar model adopted by the Evangelical Covenant Church called Five Smooth Stones.

Task force members stressed that they welcome feedback on the exact wording and content after several delegates expressed concerns.

“How are we going to be sure this is more than a reshuffling, but a real change in the culture of our denomination?” asked Rev. Kory Plockmeyer, Classis Lake Erie.

 However, Nicole Veenkamp, a young adult representative to synod, said she was “excited and encouraged” by the concept. “I’m really glad to see us applying our strength of thinking hard to what we do rather than just what we believe,” Veenkamp said.

Delegates voted unanimously to endorse it for discussion among churches, agencies, and boards.

Synod 2013 is meeting at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. from June 7-14. For continuous Banner coverage of Synod 2013, please follow The Banner on Facebook or @crcbanner on Twitter. You can find more tweeting by following hashtag #crcsynod. News stories will be posted at several times daily. For CRC Communications releases, webcast, and live blogging, please visit Unless noted otherwise, all photographs are by Karen Huttenga.

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