Can you imagine a Christian Reformed Church in Canada that is known for the following?
- Wholistic missional engagement with the community
- Advocate for justice together on behalf of aboriginal peoples and the poor
- Work ecumenically locally and nationally for impact
- Vigorous faith formation and discipleship
- Intergenerational connections and bridging
- Embrace diversity and cross-cultural work together
- Mature, organic empowering denomination
- Vital reformed identity
- Articulate, competent leadership
(Imagining Ministry in the CRC in Canada: A Review of Canadian Ministry and the Canadian Ministry Director Position, April 2013)
This is the vision for 2020, based on dialogue with CRC members across Canada in 2013. Now it is 2016 - time to focus on the next steps on the path to 2020. Last month, Canadian Ministries Director Darren Roorda, posted a blog about the upcoming Canadian National Gathering. The Gathering, which will take place from May 6–8 in Waterloo, Ontario, is meant to build on progress made and shape the next steps. Participants will refresh our reading of our context in Canada, share local strategies for more effective ministry, link them nationally, and renew our energy for making a difference in Canada.
A new CRC ministry plan works from the local church up to achieve this vision, along with similar plans by churches in the US. We have a new leadership team and they are working together with a fresh approach to what it means to be one church in two countries, which are both similar and different in important ways for ministry. The board of the Canada Corporation now has a clear mandate and the tools it needs to shape a Canadian face for the CRC that can relate well to what is happening around us in Canada. The table is set.
Now it is up to members and churches in Canada to engage in shaping the next phase of CRC ministry in Canada and then doing it, together, from the local level to the national level. The National Gathering will bring together local ministry leaders for a time of inspiration, reflection on what God is doing in Canada and what God wants us to do next, and practical sharing of what works and what does not. This is about ministry in context, not doctrine or the structural questions that have taken time to refresh in the last five years. The outcomes, along with outcomes of gatherings in the United States, will be shared with classes, boards, and Synod to help shape how we together move forward in ministry.
After spending more time than I would have liked on necessary structural changes, I am hopeful and keen to see flourishing ministry that speaks more richly to our context in Canada and the US, and thereby adds value to our global mission as well.