“Let me clear up a misconception [about the denomination],” Executive Director Steven Timmermans told delegates to Synod 2015. “I hear over and over ‘we’re shrinking, ministry shares are declining.’ Don’t tell me we’re shrinking!”
“We have a wonderful way of seeing the glass half empty,” he noted. “We are a dour bunch. . . . The news around us can make us discouraged.”
But membership statistics show that the church has turned a corner, he said. The CRC has more total members in 2015 than it did the year before, and the year before. “God is blessing us with growth.”
He also noted that although the income from Ministry Shares is less than requested, the amount has been relatively stable.
“I’m not minimizing those situations where numbers are declining. That pain is real,” he said. “But we must not avoid seeing that God is doing amazing things.”
Timmermans also touched on the many ways the CRC is cooperating organizationally and in ministry with the Reformed Church in America, and how our Korean brothers and sisters are helping the CRC assume a posture of prayer.
But, he said, he doesn’t want delegates to look at graphs and charts and be excited. “It’s not about the numbers,” he said. “We have to avoid hoping in ourselves, our accomplishments. Our hope is grounded in the Word of God.”
He said that the church is facing issues that will pull at us and challenge us. “Despite this, we should remain patiently hopeful,” he said. “Whether the glass is half empty or half full, it is God who holds the glass, and us, in his hands.”
Synod 2015 is meeting at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, from June 12-18. For continuous Banner coverage, please follow The Banner Magazine on Facebook or @crcbanner on Twitter. You can find more tweeting by following hashtag #crcsynod. News stories will be posted at thebanner.org several times daily. For CRC Communications releases, webcast, and live blogging, please visit crcna.org. Unless noted otherwise, all photographs are by Karen Huttenga.