Contact between congregations and ministries of different denominations has become a normal part of our lives. Sometimes this contact leads to a desire for a closer and more formal relationship.
The point group in the CRC for such connections is the classis. The classis has the opportunity to provide a hospitable atmosphere where congregations interested in joining the CRCNA can do so with simplicity and care. A report approved by Synod 2016 outlines a three-phase process for congregations wishing to join the CRC.
- Getting Acquainted
- Mentoring and Orientation
- Formal Affiliation
Resources (see attached) have recently been gathered for the process of affiliation of congregations. The set includes a basic curriculum with six modules that address topics any affiliating congregation would need to know. The curriculum is designed to be flexible and able to be contextualized by whoever is serving as the mentor and guide. It should be noted that there are parallel processes for ordination transfer of the pastors of such congregations.
There is also a list of brochures and booklets that can be distributed, including a brochure called Welcome to the Family, which can be distributed early in a conversation about congregational affiliation. This one-page, attractive brochure is available in English, Korean and Spanish.
There have been several CRC churches that have successfully welcomed other congregations in the past couple of years. Princeton CRC in Classis Thornapple Valley, welcomed an independent-Chin congregation who had been using Princeton’s building for their worship. Another congregation is Stephensville CRC, located in Texas in Classis Rocky Mountain. They have welcomed the International Peace Making Church of Dallas, Texas, a French-speaking immigrant group from the Congo.
If you know of a pastor or a congregation that may be interested in joining the CRCNA, don’t be afraid to offer them a word of encouragement. Maybe you can even set up a time of coffee to talk about it!