The proposal to unify Christian Reformed Home Missions and Christian Reformed World Missions into one global mission agency of the Christian Reformed Church cleared another hurdle when the Board of Trustees of the CRC endorsed a detailed plan to transition to a single agency last week. The plan goes to Synod 2015 for approval.
The Board of Trustees, as well as the individual boards of both agencies, approved the plan in principle in February, contingent on seeing this more detailed plan.
Trustees had some questions, wondering whether joining the two agencies was ignoring the wisdom of earlier generations that decided there should be two separate agencies for overseas and North American ministry. Home Missions director Moses Chung noted that the structure of two separate agencies was an inherited one that has served the church well, but the fact that today’s world is so different is a compelling reason to rethink the structure. “The structure that has served in the past will be actually inhibiting, hindering the way forward,” he said.
Chung and World Missions director Gary Bekker noted that Home Missions brings experience in coaching congregations and individual leaders to the table, while World Missions has more cross-cultural experience and knowledge. “In North America today, we have to cross many cultures,” Chung said. “The world is here. World Missions has been working with [many cultures] for decades and we can learn a lot from that.”
The plan includes creating two new boards (one in Canada, one in the U.S.) joined as one operational entity by a joint management agreement similar to that of World Renew. Part of the transition plan includes retaining all non-retiring members of the existing agency boards as members of the newly joined parent board to provide continuity. That board will govern both agencies as the programming, staff, and financial resources of both agencies are successfully combined.
Throughout the transitional phase, anticipated to be completed within two years, the role of co-directors will be filled by the current agency directors, Bekker and Chung, under the supervision of the executive director and the board of the new agency. The transition executive team must include at least the current World Missions-Canada director. In the long term, it is expected that the two co-directors will come from Canada and and the U.S.—the same as World Renew.
If Synod 2015 approves the unification and transition plans, the co-directors will recommend mission and vision statements for the new agency no later than winter 2016 and recommend a new name by spring 2016.