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Multisite Church Task Force Assigned by Synod 2024

Multisite churches give opportunity “to revitalize churches in the CRC who are struggling,” Gavin Schaefer, young adult representative to Synod 2024.
Steven Herppich

Synod 2024 appointed a task force to study multisite churches with a mandate to research current iterations of these churches and report back to Synod 2026. Synod is the annual general assembly of the Christian Reformed Church in North America. It met June 14-20 in Grand Rapids, Mich.

The task force is to provide direction, advice, and guidance on selecting models that best align with Reformed theology and polity, as well as advising against models deemed unsuitable for Reformed churches, synod said. It also wants a roadmap for churches interested in becoming multisite campuses or incorporating campuses into their structure. Recommendations of changes to Church Order supplements to clarify and support the proper functioning of such churches also should be in the task force’s report.

Erik Pluemer, Classis Southeast U.S. was in favor of the task force noting, “This may be a different avenue for church planting.”

Meanwhile, Todd Ritzema, Classis Grand Rapids North, was against the recommendation because, “church, by its nature, is a gathering, and a multisite church does not gather”—at least not as one. He also was concerned that this wasn’t the best use of denominational funds. Patrick Anthony, Classis Central California, echoed Ritzema’s understanding of church as a gathering and said the idea of multisite churches “doesn’t seem like it fits with Reformed theology at all.”

The reporter for the committee, Aaron Greydanus, Classis Heartland, tried to clarify that the goal is for the task force to look at existing models and to make recommendations. Mark Vande Zande, Classis Zeeland was on the committee. He suggested the financial component could be limited by having the committee meet via Zoom. The formation of the task force is in response to a request (Overture 7) from Classis Chicago South, which experienced the joining of two congregations into a multisite and would “like to see a process developed to allow for churches to move forward without multiyear exploration processes” to make the concept fit in their frameworks.

Gavin Schaefer is a young adult representative who attended synod for the second year. He said, “I love this idea” because “it gives opportunity to revitalize churches in the CRC who are struggling and bring new life to them.” He commented on how there is a pastoral shortage, and this is an opportunity to “raise up more leaders.”

Before adjourning on Thursday synod received names to consider for who would be on the task force. It is to include “at least two pastors from multisite congregations, at least one biblical or systematic Reformed theologian, a Church Order expert, and a young adult representative.”

According to the Rules of Synodical Procedure for appointments to committees, this can be completed within two weeks of synod, selecting from synod’s suggested nominees, “entrusted to the officers of synod, the chair and reporter of the advisory committee, and one additional person chosen by the advisory committee from among its members.”

Synod 2024 met June 14-20 at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Mich. Find articles from The Banner’s daily coverage at Visit for the Agenda for Synod, advisory committee reports, and recorded plenary sessions. Synod is the annual general assembly of the Christian Reformed Church.

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