Why I'm Excited for Synod

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Earlier this week I noticed a veritable Twitterstorm from some other young leaders in my denomination, the Christian Reformed Church, over our upcoming binational synod, at which I will be serving as a delegate. It started when one person wondered whether this gathering would be marked by the same spirit of unity that accompanied the recent annual prayer summit. The responses from these other young leaders were, by and large, tepid and distrustful towards the role that this national gathering can play and anxiety about the politics and personal agendas that can mark this kind of meeting.

In preparation for my attendance at Synod, I have been listening to the audio orientation files and was surprised to hear that I should expect that Synod will “change my life.”

I found the juxtaposition of these two attitudes towards Synod surprising and amusing (yes, I have a church-nerd type of humor).

I have this sense that among young leaders there is a growing attitude rejecting traditional forms of church governance. A lot of us have a hard time with the idea that the decisions made by this binational gathering will have any helpful impact on the day to day work of the Kingdom of God.

At the same time, some of these young leaders have started a hashtag #crcgroundswell looking for stories of God’s Holy Spirit at work in our churches.

I think I would add the work of synod to that groundswell.

Don’t get me wrong. I am fully aware of the challenges, politicking, and agenda-izing that accompanies such gatherings.

There are a number of questions facing the Christian Reformed Synod this year that cause me to scratch my head and wonder if we really need to spend time thinking about it.

At the same time, what’s about to happen is a gathering of diverse people, men and women, of diverse ethnic backgrounds, coming together to explore what it means to build for the Kingdom of God together. While some of the questions that we are addressing as a Synod may seem irrelevant to me, they arise out of specific contexts as a body of churches somewhere in the U.S. and Canada have wrestled with how to faithfully witness the work of the Holy Spirit in their local context.

Will I agree with everyone there? Certainly not.

Will there be moments where I want to throw my arms up in frustration? Probably.

Will there be moments when some of my brothers and sisters will disagree with me and maybe even want to throw their arms up in frustration? Probably.

To some, it may seem like a waste of time and resources to gather together to discuss the issues before us.

Some will get frustrated with what they will perceive as someone else’s agenda.

I trust that what’s about to happen at Synod will truly be God working through us, working through our disagreements, to further the work of God’s church.

Will it change my life? I’m skeptical to go that far, but it’s possible.

But I think it could just be a moment of #crcgroundswell.

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Hi Kory, I appreciate your blog. I attended my first synod (two years ago, not having grown up in the CRC). I was truly amazed at the respectful dialog that took place, amid the passion people felt on all sides of an issue,and  frustration and disagreement about the issue's relevance. I was encouraged. My second synod (last year) was a very draining and discouraging experience for me, closer to the politics and agendas; it almost lead me to despair for this denomination. Yet here I am this year at Synod, wondering what will happen now, knowing that the Lord is here with us as we struggle in our human frailty to honor him. I am praying that the Holy Spirit will fall down on open hearts; that we will be able to recieve all that the Lord has for us here, at Synod 2013. May he use this gathering to build his kingdom, and may He have mercy on the church that bears his name. God bless synod 2013.

Thanks, Bonnie, for your encouragement. I've been thrilled already to see what feels like a tremendous spirit of unity and have been amazed by the prayers being offered on our behalf through social networking sites like Twitter.

Hi Kory:

Thanks for the comments and for your excitement at what you are experiencing at Synod.  I and many others are praying for you and all the delegates and participants.  Grace and Peace, Ben B.