At the second meeting of the Council of Delegates of the Christian Reformed Church, delegates moved past the initial ‘getting to know each other’ phase that took place last October and dove into a lengthy agenda. [The council acts on behalf of the CRC’s synod, the church’s annual leadership meeting, when synod is not in session.]
The council heard about the momentum in Faith Formation Ministries in terms of funding and producing materials for churches and families. It received a paper discussing the biblical theology of church planting and renewal that included a list of resources available to congregations. And it talked about desired ministry priorities in the face of tough budget issues.
The council took note of the establishment of a Classis Renewal Advisory Team to help classes address challenges and to develop ministry plans. The council is going to recommend that Synod 2018 ask each of the 48 classes (groups of churches) to develop and share a ministry plan with the advisory team so that the it can provide a summary of the plans (to be forwarded to Synod 2020).
Council is also recommending that Synod 2018 adopt a change in the Church Order, Article 39 (p. 82), to expand on the definition of a classis. Rather than just defining it as a group of neighboring churches, it wants the definition to include “A classis is a group of Christian Reformed churches that come together to seek, discern, and submit to God’s will, offer one another mutual support and accountability, find ways to live out a collective calling within their region, and allow for a healthy and sustained connection to the wider denomination.”
In Other News:
- The next Canadian National Gathering will be May 23-25, 2019, in Edmonton, Alta.
- The second Inspire conference will be held August 1-3, 2019 in Windsor, Ont.
- Ministers who are deposed, released, or dismissed from CRC ministry will now be noted as such on the denomination’s website, rather than just noted as withdrawn, to be consistent with the CRC Archives website.
- The Mercy and Justice committee of the council asked staff to coordinate a time of learning and conversation with the committee regarding LGBTQ+ issues.
- The Palos Heights office of Back to God Ministries International will close on March 2; the keys will be handed over to Trinity Christian College on April 2. A new recording area is being constructed in the Grand Rapids, Mich., offices of the CRC.
- Also from BTGMI, director Rev. Kurt Selles notes a new memorandum of understanding with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Synod of the Nile for media ministry in Arabic. With the retirement of Spanish language leader Rev. Guillermo Serrano, BTGMI is looking to locate that ministry in a Spanish-speaking location.
- The renovation and expansion of the Burlington, Ont., office of the CRC is nearing completion. The Canadian finance team is addressing a projected overrun of $77,000 on the budgeted target of $2.5 million.
- The Sustaining Congregational Excellence program is slated to be discontinued next year.
- Synod 2018 of the CRC will meet jointly with the synod of the Reformed Church in America. In addition to worshiping together, there will be some joint advisory groups and an evening session focusing on areas of collaboration.
Tasks Given By Synod 2017
- A face-to-face visit initiated by the executive director between Classis Minnkota (a regional group of churches) and representatives of the CRC’s Centre for Public Dialogue and the Office of Social Justice to discuss issues raised by the classis about the Do Justice blog was scheduled for February 28, 2018. (See Acts of Synod 2017, p. 638.)
- Footnoted comments with the Belhar Confession to provide biblical and confessionally grounded clarity to the parts of the Belhar that are widely recognized to cause disagreement and alarm are completed. Translations into Korean, Spanish, and Chinese are still in process. (See Acts of Synod 2017, p. 708.)
- A list from the executive director of current denominational resources related to church renewal is ready for Synod 2018, including church planting with emphasis on training for evangelism, along with a paper on the biblical theology of church planting and evangelism. (See Acts of Synod 2017, p. 706.)