We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. —Romans 12:6-8
On numerous occasions over the past year, I have reflected on COVID and the other huge events going on in our society. In the midst of these ongoing challenges, the Christian Reformed Church is also having intense debates about human sexuality, the nature of systemic racism, and our denominational structure. These two latter matters were subjects of the Council of Delegates meetings in May.
I won’t say that the conversations were easy, but I can report that out of these hard discussions the COD made several recommendations that will help the CRC move forward. These included a recommendation to thoroughly examine and assess our justice ministries while also committing to do better at supporting them in their synodical mandates. The COD also considered our two-nation structure and how we can realign senior leadership positions to allow for greater direction and control within Canada while maintaining unity as a denomination.
I thank God for the members of the COD—for their commitment to the denomination, for their energy and determination to find solutions to seemingly intractable issues, and for their courage in embracing solutions that will require some sacrifice on the part of many.
I’m also grateful for the leaders serving beside me in all of the CRCNA ministries. They have had to pivot and adapt multiple times throughout the past year and a half because of the COVID pandemic. As we begin to prepare for reopening our denominational offices, they are adapting once again, finding the best ways to incorporate lessons from the past year into best practices from years before.
In the midst of all of this, we recognize the continued suffering in numerous countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America who do not have adequate access to vaccines. Even here, I see CRCNA leadership as World Renew responds. Difficult times call for focused, steady, and diligent leadership, and I see that happening all around me.
Please join me in praying for the people called to be leaders in the CRCNA. This includes COD members and agency directors, but also leaders in our classes and local churches, pastors, and volunteers. All of us are called to lead diligently.
And as we lead, may we remember that we must do so according to Christ’s example. We are not called to lord it over anyone; as servant–leaders we pray for the Holy Spirit to give us eyes of faith to see others’ God-given talents, lifting them up for the good of the kingdom so that through it all we may recognize the reality that we are all part of the same body, and no part can operate without the others.
For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. —Romans 12:4-5