Christian Reformed Church pastors who have started new churches across North America and worldwide are applauding the formation of the Institute for Global Church Planting and Renewal at Calvin Theological Seminary.
Set to start this fall, the institute will offer courses and internships that help students better understand successful approaches to starting new churches.
“The institute presents an opportunity to marry the best of the academy with the best insights and experiences of on-the-job practitioners, a way to learn from each other and a way to equip current students—whether they become church planters or pastors—for their work,” says Kevin Adams, a successful church planter in California.
The primary focus of this institute, approved by the CTS Board of Trustees, will be to train men and women to start new churches and renew struggling churches, especially in multicultural urban centers.
Besides using CTS resources and tapping church planters in the field, CTS will link with groups and organizations including, but not limited to, the Center for Excellence in Preaching, the Calvin Institute for Christian Worship, the Meeter Center, the Nagel Institute, the Bavinck Institute, and the Timothy Institute.
Creating relationships with a range of educational institutions and making use of online learning are part of the institute’s plan.
Carl Bosma, a professor of Old Testament at CTS and a long-time missionary to Brazil, where he helped to start many new churches and revitalize others, is one of the developers of the institute.
A main idea behind the institute, Bosma says, is that there are so many people "dying to hear the gospel, but there are so few people to tell them about it."
The seminary faculty, says David Rylaarsdam, a professor of historical theology at CTS, “appreciates the perspective of Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York, who says that ‘continual planting of new congregations is the single most crucial strategy for the numerical growth of the body of Christ, the renewal of existing churches, and the overall impact of the church on the culture of any city.’”