CRC, RCA Launch Joint Church-Planting Movement
The Christian Reformed Church (CRC) and the Reformed Church in America (RCA) have announced that they are pooling resources in an innovative church-planting movement that will spread the gospel by reaching out to people in the places where they live.
Denominational leaders described the project as "a movement of Christ-followers" that will bring God's redemptive love into cities, towns, and villages across North America.
They said the strength of the joint approach will be its ability to develop visionary leaders and church planters who are theologically prepared and equipped to start and multiply churches that present the gospel in a way that is biblical, authentic, and contextual.
Seed funding for this project is being provided by the two denominations as well as a significant grant from the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation. A spokesperson for the Foundation said Rich and Helen have a deep interest in expanding the Reformed witness through evangelism and "are very enthusiastic about the two denominations working together."
Tim Vink, coordinator for church multiplication for the RCA and leader of the joint implementation team, said the church-planting project "will increase our ability to plant the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in many more lives and communities across North America.
"The collaboration will accelerate a sustainable, integrated multiplication system that will raise our hopes higher, stir fresh vision and strategic plans, and match the strengths of both denominations" in a way that will maximize an expanded Reformed witness in North America, Vink added.
The two denominations are creating what they describe as "an integrated, seamless process that will focus on advancing evangelism in North America." A Multiplication Movement Implementation Team made up of passionate church planters and leaders from the CRC and RCA will work to catalyze a united effort in planting churches.
This is an intentional journey, moving from collaboration to greater integration of our church planting support systems for increased gospel impact, said Jul Medenblik, church planting team leader for the CRC and president-elect of Calvin Theological Seminary. He said, "Together we want to discern the movement of the gospel of Jesus Christ in North America and to follow that leading."
To launch the project, the two denominations have selected four test areas called Kingdom Enterprise Zones, where a combination of leadership, resources, and opportunity provide "a laboratory of learning." The four areas are in Florida, Arizona, California, and West Michigan.
Although this will be the most high-profile example of collaboration, denominational leaders pointed out that the CRC and RCA have been working together in many areas during recent years, including church planting.
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