I think what binds the Christian Reformed Church together as a denomination is not so much what we do as compared to what we believe. Over the years of our existence our confessions have not changed much (if at all). However, how we practice what we believe as changed. One area that has changed significantly is our worship services.
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Why do I attend a CRC church? It is a relevant question for my wife and me. Presently I am a member of a church that is twenty five miles from my home. Within a five area there is a Presbyterian Church (USA) that because of travel distance we attend rather frequently. In fact I was asked to participate...
To belong to a specific denomination means more education as to the specific church one joins. One is being a member of the body of Christ; the other is being part of a specific denomination of that larger body. I confess that I believe I did have a “handle” of what it meant to profess ones’ faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, but besides having ...
Article 65 of the Church Order went through an interesting editing process in recent years. The article addresses the age old custom of “Family Visiting” in the Christian Reformed Church. It formerly read, “The minister of the Word and elders shall conduct annual home visitation”. Presently it reads, “whenever possible..."
Today, I retire from writing this blog. The regular writing and posting has been demanding. And yet the simple exercise of writing a few words has forced me to give attention to passing thoughts and deepen my reflections. For this I am grateful. That some took time to read these thoughts humbles me.
When looking for solutions to problems, the cross and the resurrection aren’t the pragmatic solutions we are looking for. It does not put food on our table, get our loved ones out of the hospital, pay our bills or get us to work on time... And yet, God sent Jesus into the world to the cross
If your congregation is like many we’re in conversation with, you’re seriously considering Synod 2010’s decision to welcome baptized children to participate in the sacrament of communion. But with change comes challenge—along with the need to replace old processes and practices with new ones. That’s the challenge we’d like to address
On April 16-18, a first-ever Prayer Summit for our denomination will take place in Los Angeles, Calif. By way of the “Each Church Send One!” campaign, I am inviting — and strongly encouraging — your congregation to send at least one person to this event.
There is a journey of renewed identity that some churches experience. They remember fondly the fruitfulness in their land of the past. Then they cross the first holy river into the desert where, through prayer and holy conversation, they climb the jagged mountains to discover renewed vision. They cross deep valleys
I’m writing to ask for your help with an issue that affects all Christian Reformed churches. Faith Alive, as you know, is the publishing ministry of the CRC. But like many denominational publishers, Faith Alive is facing significant financial headwinds in today’s tough economic times.
Recently I read about Circles of Support and Accountability that helped many sexual offenders as they transitioned out of prison and into our neighbourhoods. It got me thinking not just about this particular engagement as a way of serving Christ in the neighbourhood, but more generally about discipleship.
It occurred to me that perhaps one way of training elders (and pastors) in the work of pastoral care is to encourage the memorizations of the psalms. And then I wondered: if we had a program of training for elders, which psalms should be memorized?
Family and friendship ties may help us keep somewhat informed about life in other congregations, but these informal relationships are inadequate. The quality and depth of the relationships require deeper conversation and shared life. This happens by taking seriously the
Is there any "Social Justice" in our concern for retired pastors? Should elders be concerned about the welfare of retired pastors?
How many visits have we made? Have we prioritized our efforts well? Are there particular issues that we need to address? What are some key issues for the spiritual formation of our members that we ought to highlight? How can we help each other fulfill our responsibilities?
Spiritual formation never happens in a vacuum. It always happens when the call of the gospel challenges our habits of thinking and our way of living. Tension alerts us and invites us to pay attention. Amid the tension we can speak words that encourage new faithfulness.
If a person is trustworthy, we give trust easily. If a person is unreliable, we learn not to count on that person. If a person is vindictive, we become wary. So it ought not be a surprise that our understanding of God – the attributes and images we carry around in our head – make a difference in ...
It is hard to imagine that weeds are a sign of grace, yet that’s what the Parable of the Weeds and Wheat is suggesting (Matthew 13). Everyday I drive by fields (now harvested) of various grains. The farmers I know prefer fields without weeds. Jesus words are striking...
The title may seem a bit crass -- and actually it is -- but that is precisely the question that I am asked most often as a stated clerk by elders: "How do we get rid of our minister?" I vividly recall the conversation from the chair of council who actually began our phone conversation with that question. I quickly learned that he was the one having difficulty with his pastor and he simply wanted him 'gone'.
Every Thanksgiving Day – Canadian thanksgiving just passed - becomes on occasion for a preacher to reflect deeply on the very act of gratitude. This year was no different. If we want to help people grow in the life with God, practices of gratitude are a...
Each of the responsibilities of elders is important for transformation, but I have become convinced that one of the most important signs of kingdom transformation is increased unity. Our worship, our fellowship, and our witness are damaged when Christians are at odds with each other. Disunity is unattractive and even repugnant...