Why Do You Attend a CRC Church?

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With members making more choices as to which church they attend, why are they attending your church?

Why do I attend a CRC church?  It is a relevant question for my wife and me.  Presently I am a member of a church that is twenty five miles from my home.  Within a five mile area there is a Presbyterian Church (USA) that because of travel distance we attend rather frequently.  In fact I was asked to participate in a Good Friday Service preaching a meditation on one of the words of the cross.  I also attend a men’s discussion group twice a month.  Because of this dilemma I have been wrestling with the question, “Which Church should I attend on a regular basis?” 

That caused me reflect on my membership in the CRC with more urgency.  I have been a member in the CRC since our family immigrated to the United States when I was only three years old.  I attended Christian Schools, Calvin College and Calvin Seminary.  I am ordained in the CRC and continue to be “pulpit supply” in the CRC churches in the Phoenix area.  As I reflect on the CRC many changes have taken place over the years.  In fact some of those changes I agree with and others are not always to my satisfaction.  It is also true that at one time that almost every CRC church worshipped using a familiar order of worship and conformed to the church order.  That is not the situation today.  It is also true (at least in our area) that we have many former members of the CRC worshipping at community churches.  Allegiance to a particular denomination is not as strong as it once was.  So a relevant question is, “Why do I attend a CRC church”

I would suggest that elders (as leaders in the church) ask themselves that same question.  I believe it would be a good exercise to write five reasons why you attend the church you presently attend.  In fact it may be a good question to ask the households that you oversee. 

We advertise  churches today with more creativity than we have in the past.  It may well be a good advertisement to include some the reasons your congregation give to that question.  It will also help you define your ministry and the things you are doing well.  I would love to receive some of your answers to the question in the coming weeks. 

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This, to me, is one of the most fascinating questions. My story begins in a traditional, liturgical church, which I attended from birth until late High School where I first understood the call of Christ on my life and changed from a passive observer of Christ to an active, adopted son of God. Admittedly, I was in a very non-reformed church, but I loved Jesus and that was all I knew. Eventually, I began attending a Bible College that was by no means close to the Reformation. In fact, I recall many of the Church-folk then commenting about those TULIP Calvinists are a bunch of legalistic people who don't understand the believer's freedom in Christ, or the grace of God. And so, I developed a distate for Reformed theology; Calvinism, yuck.

Fortunately for me, the school did teach me how to analyze and think about theology. This independant analysis of Scripture and theology eventually led me to accept Reformed theology as the most accurate, systematic presentation of biblical truth available, and that if you truly understand the heart of Calvinism, you do understand the grace of God and develop a true appreciation for everything that God has done. For me, it is like Isaiah's experience in chapter 6 of his book. I feel at once the full glory of God and at the same time, the terror of understanding what I am in relation to his perfection.

As to attending a CRC Church, in my period of disgust for legalistic, dry Calvinists I continuously drove by a church down the street from my house. After having my eyes opened, I noticed that under the big letters of the Church's name was the small printed phrase, "A Christian Reformed Church." That prompted a visit for me and my family. Upon entering the Church, any fear that traditional Calvinists would be dry and stodgy were soon flushed away as we were greeted by the friendliest faces and most loving hosts. We were immmediately accepted and loved and shown, in true form, what it means to be Christlike to visitors. My wife and I fell in love with the Church and the family we found there, and it is now our home church. I am now a MInistry Associate operating as an Army Chaplain out of that Church.

To summarize, I attend a CRC church because of its faithful presentation of the Word of God, and because of the acceptance and love of the people at my local church. I am a proud member of the CRC, even if I too don't always agree with "official" decisions of the governing body.

I very much appreciate your response and your "faith journey".  Thank you for expressing it.

 

 

I like the idea of asking that question, because if we can't answer it for our selves how do we expect our kids to stay in the CRC with us.

Great point.

Last year we moved 30 miles from First Everett (WA) CRC. I  continue to attend Everett CRC because I like the old fashioned  worship service (no electronic music, no rock band, no "worship team" and no drum set), the Dutch people, and Pastor Jim Wiersum.

Pastor Jim is a peacemake in council meetings, doesn't dumb down his sermons, enjoys talking about Christianity and the Church, and understands "off the record." 

The Sunday morning freeway traffic is still tolerable and I intend to continue meeting at Everett CRC as long as I can safely drive the trip. I'm to old to change churches and when I quit Everett I will probably quit attending church. I spent most of my life as a Baptist and "got Reformed" before I knew the CRC existed. When we moved to Everett, Everett CRC was 4 blocks down the street. I have congregation loyalty, not denominational loyalty.

 

Bill Wald 

Thanks for the comment.  I still attend Palm Lane but like you I like traditional worship (even though our church plant was contemporary) The Presbyterian church is very traditional and make some comments on that in next week's blog.

al

Great question! My husband and I served the Lord as missionaries to Spain for twelve years. When it was time for us to return to live on the States, we had nowhere to go. The church that reached out to us was a CRC church that was in the process of seeking a new pastor, and had a vacant parsonage, that they offered to us,and where we ended up living for six months. This church welcomed us with open arms, and within a week we were invited to join a home group bible study. The Lord not only loved us through this church,but when our mission board later sent us to Toronto for a further year of service, we sought out another CRC church and were immediately welcomed by the leadership and other members of the congregation. Again, we joined a small group Bible study through the church.

While we have studied, and agree wholeheartedly with the Calvinist teachings and doctrines of the church, it is the love of Christ that first drew us into the CRC. It is also the structure of the service along with the strong evangelical beliefs that are so meaningful to us. Having grown up in traditional denominations, we both have come to appreciate the liturgy in the Christian Reformed Churches that we have attended.

We have recently moved to an area of the Southeastern US that has no CRC within a reasonable driving distance. My husband and I are now in a Presbyterian Church with similar teachings.

Thanks for your experience in the CRC.  Interesting that at one time all CRC's worship style was the same but now depending on what part of the country you are in they differ.  But what is important your faith in Christ and findinga church home where you can continue to grow in that faith.

One more thing that really has impressed me in the Reformed churches that I have attended is the depth of understanding of the doctrines of the church among the general church members. This is something that I had found lacking in the independent Bible churches that I had attended over the previous twenty-some years. People know what they believe in the Reformed tradition, which makes for a greater depth of fellowship within the small groups, and a congregation that faithfully interacts in ministry to the community.

I think with the emphasis on Christian education and Sunday School curriculum helps that happen.  In fact I was wondering if the present generation is being taught the way I was many decades ago where we had to study the catehechism and doctrines.  In my case with many others, we had Christian School, Sunday School and also Cathecism during the week at church.  I always thought that was a bit much but my parents did not.

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