For ten days beginning this weekend, about 1000 delegates from every continent will gather on the Calvin College Campus for the Uniting General Assembly of the new World Communion of Reformed Churches. Two existing Refomed ecumenical groups decided to merge. The Christian Reformed Church is a member of both. The complexion of this group demonstrates that God is growing his church around the world in remarkable ways.
In 1875 when the older of these groups was formed, the family of Reformed churches brought together European and North American churches for the most part. In the years since then Reformed churches, and the whole Church of Jesus Christ, has grown exponentially in Asia, Africa, and Latin America while the last decades have seen North American churches holding steady at best and European ones mostly declining, sometimes catastrophically. It has become a truism to observe that the average Christian today is a Brazilian woman or Nigerian young adult.
The maturity of the worldwide Church that this gathering exemplifies is something to celebrate and to ponder. Although there is still much that North American churches can contribute to the world in terms of ministry among unreached peoples, leadership training and the application of Christian worldview, there is also much that we can learn and receive from our brothers and sisters in the Majority World (Asia, Africa, and Latin America). The vigor of those churches, their deep commitment to the LORD, and their devotion to Biblical truth challenge us to renew our covenant to be faithful to our LORD.
What are your thoughts on this gathering and its implications for how we do missions?