Earlier this year, I was appointed by Synod 2022 to the new position of General Secretary of the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA). It's an honor and a blessing to be asked to serve in this way, but it's also intimidating.
After two-plus years of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, many pastors and other leaders in our denomination are worn out. Congregations are asking difficult questions about what their role is in their local context. Increased political polarization has made dialogue challenging, even with those we call brothers and sisters in Christ. And on top of all of that, our denomination is in the midst of transition. We have restructured to better reflect our identity as one church in two countries. We have also made some strong decisions at synod that have affirmed some people’s beliefs and values, but have left others wondering if they still belong.
Being asked to take on a role as a shepherd of the church in this challenging time is not something I take lightly. And yet, I truly believe that—like Esther—God has called me to this position “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14).
As I look around, I see so much to celebrate in our denomination. We are about halfway through a five-year ministry plan called Our Journey 2025. While the challenges of the past few years may have forced us to adapt our original plans, I also see a lot of growth in all four milestone areas of this ministry plan.
As individuals, congregations, ministries, and communities, we are cultivating practices of prayer and spiritual disciplines. I see us doing a better job of listening to and incorporating the voices of every generation in how we do ministry. We have been growing in diversity and in unity as we welcome newcomers and immigrants in our midst. We have also been actively looking for ways to share the gospel, live missionally, and plant new churches. These are things to celebrate.
The following pages share stories and highlights from the many ministries of the CRCNA. I hope that as you read them, you will be encouraged in your own local context. Whatever your challenges or unique situations may be, we are here to walk alongside and assist you. God loves his people, and he loves the Christian Reformed Church. He will continue to work in and through us if we continue to seek him and do his will.
Your partner in Christ,
Rev. Zachary King, Ph.D.