WCRC Reflections

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The uniting general council meeting of the World Communion of Reformed Churches is now history.  It's hard to know what impact this merger will have on the mission effort of the 80 million Christians who belong to one of the member denominations.  Concepts of mission certainly vary within and across denominational lines.  For some, particularly in the historic denominations of Western countries, the focus is on justice issues within their own countries and cooperative relationships internationally.  For others, particularly in those denominations in the Majority World, much attention is given to their deep desire to see their countrymen know and love Jesus. 

The missio dei, or mission of God, includes all of these and much more.  It seems to me that all of us have a lot to learn from each other on this.  The God and Father of Jesus Christ has a comprehensive plan of restoration and renewal for His fallen Creation, that no one person or tradition can fully live out.  The risks of ecumenism include adopting a "lowest common denominator" approach to mission (and theology for that matter), and being swept away by the hot issue of the moment.  The potential is that in dialogue we can actually learn something from one another and begin to see our own blind spots.  My prayer is that the WCRC will provide more of the latter and less of the former. 

For more information on this new organization you can check out their website. www.reformedchurches.org.

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I joined with three colleagues from the PC USA, UCC, and RCA to do two workshops on domestic church planting. Those attending were primarily from Reformed denominations in European countries. They were passionate about starting new churches as a primary way to share the good news with people in their very secular countries. However, they voiced deep concern about not having the support of the leadership of their denominations for planting new churches. They spoke of negative responses to their promotion of domestic mission and evangelism. They pleaded with the four of us as presenters to help discover ways we could use our denominations to influence theirs to have a more positive understanding of domestic mission and church planting. It was challenging. We prayed together that the new WCRC would have a voice for domestic mission and help provide supportive networks for denominations that are or are wanting to engage in church planting.

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