I choose to post this on the Global Mission site because this is where I tried to nudge conversation a year and a half ago (see the blog: Concept of a Global World Missions Agency). At first it went nowhere, then veered off. There would be a logic to posting this on the Synod page, because of to whom this Open Letter is addressed. But as a lifetime missionary pastor who was never to Synod, and because this topic is (re)born out of a response to CRWRC's survey about a possible name change*, and the history that the question has in the denomination/agencies, I choose this site. The issue is at the same time old and new; my hope is that a constructive "conversation" (last year's appearance was "in house") can now take place both here online and with/in the Task Force and its "listening sessions." Pray with all that ensuing decisions will lead to the necessary, concrete steps to getting the CRCNA's world-wide witness "together again."
An OPEN LETTER to the
Synodical Task Force on Structure and Culture
The Bible speaks of both Moses and Jesus as “powerful in word and deed.” While our gracious God has used the Christian Reformed Church in many wonderful ways in both “word and deed,” I contend that we have been weak and off-balance in meeting the challenge of being fully faithful to the Word and the world. Half a century ago Word and Deed became separated organizationally and functionally in the CRCNA, and our holistic witness has been severely compromised in many places ever since.
Will the CRCNA reflect the Biblical “prophets’ power” alluded to (Acts 7:22, Luke 24:19), or will we continue to reflect the divisions and divisiveness that so plague and debilitate the Church’s witness to the world?
Simply put, for nearly 50 years we have let “deed” be too divorced from the word, and vice versa. And the word that for well over half a century had been closely and integrally accompanied by the deed has later on in many places lacked the compelling evidence of a holistic witness.
You as a newly appointed Synodical Task Force “to conduct a review of the organization, culture and leadership within the CRCNA” are at a most opportune time for recommending getting “word and deed” explicitly together by restructuring CRWM and CRWRC, two principal CRCNA faces to the world, into a world-class organization. If other agencies such as Home Missions and the Back to God Hour are also included in this, so much the better, as long as an organizational structure that is not so centralized as to be unworkable is developed.
- We must be faithful to Scripture, and our holistic missiological heritage.
- Now with the extensive survey circulated by CRWRC seeking suggestions about a possible name change, this is the time for an explicit and definitive decision on this crucial question.
- World Missions is working with “partnership initiatives”; what better than to fully “partner” as CRCNA agencies under one administration.
- Home Missions is under new leadership and studying its future.
- The Back to God Hour International leadership also would seem to be at a turning point.
- “Leadership” decisions will be made over the next year; this is crucial as we rethink by whom and how we are organized for mission.
- In the light of funding difficulties, and out of principle, redundancies must be eliminated, and proportionately more workers deployed on the front lines.
- These realignments must take place to really be “Christ-centered, church-based.”
Please consider the above in the light of this Scripture: “... what Christ has accomplished through me (Paul) ... by what I have said and done.” (Romans 15:18, NIV) When will this be said of the CRCNA everywhere where agencies of the same denomination fail to work together? Like charity, transformation begins at home.
Fraternally, (signed) Rev. Lou Wagenveld, D. Min.
* The name I submitted to the survey means to communicate a lot: CHRISTIAN REFORMED GLOBAL MINISTRIES