In trying to determine whom they might nominate to attend the 2016 Canadian Gathering, local churches and their councils are asking themselves the questions: Why do we need to go? Who should attend? And what is the purpose of the gathering? By knowing the answers to these kinds of questions, they will better be informed on who to nominate.
In that vein, I offer the following information. I hope you find it helpful:
The National Gathering is being held for the purpose of setting direction for the Christian Reformed Church in Canada. It is a gathering meant to inform the direction of the church in our nation not from elders and pastors alone, but from the leaders of ministry in local churches who are “the boots on the ground.”
As such, the gathering will not be a time of voting and deliberating as per Synod. Instead, led by three keynote addresses the delegates will spend time in worship, conversation, and deliberate discernment exercises as they represent their classis and local churches in an effort to understand the fundamental question: “What is the Holy Spirit doing in our midst and how do we respond?”
Discernment of the kind aforementioned is meant to go deeper than our own administrative planning and conversations. There is also a fundamental connection to the role of prayer and listening to the Holy Spirit that will occur in parallel to the administrative exercises. Key leaders in the area of prayer from the local setting in Canada are helping to frame how that is carried out during the weekend.
On the side of this fundamental task, the representatives from local churches will also be attending in part to make connections, or gain some exposure to the denominational servants who can work and assist the local church in reaching a broken world through their local church. This is being done through a Ministry Fair that will be part of the weekend – tables where agencies and ministries will be available to speak with. Note: the agencies and ministry leaders are fundamentally meant to take a listening posture over the course of the weekend and will not be giving speeches, leading workshops or the like.
The hoped for outcome at the end of the weekend is that there will be content for local churches/classis to take home and implement as well as content that informs the Ministry Plan and denominational board the appropriate steps to take as it moves into a healthy future for the CRCNA in Canada (locally, classically, and nationally)
The Canadian National Gathering is to be held every three years and is part of a series of new behaviours which allow for the Canadian side of the CRCNA to contextualize. That is, to determine how the Ministry plan of the CRCNA is applied and directed within our unique context. Other parts of this series of behaviours include ‘how the board is structured, the role of the Canadian Ministries Director, etc. Collectively, the hope is that there will be increasing traction in proper national behavior in a binational organization.
In summary, the purpose statement of the Gathering sums it up:
The purpose of this 2016 CRCNA Canada Gathering is to connect and inspire local, regional, and denominational ministries by
Sharing our stories,
Sharing our priorities, and
Imagining our shared future.