About the RCA

Our Mission

The Reformed Church in America is a fellowship of congregations called by God and empowered by the Holy Spirit to be the very presence of Jesus Christ in the world.

Our shared task is to equip congregations for ministry—a thousand churches in a million ways doing one thing—following Christ in mission, in a lost and broken world so loved by God.

Who we are

History

In the small colonial town of New Amsterdam, on a Sunday in 1628, about fifty people gathered around a crude table in a mill loft. Their celebration of the Lord’s Supper marks the birthdate of the Reformed Church in America. In the nearly 400 years since, the RCA has seen and been part of a lot of history.

The history of the RCA

Theology

Reformed Christians are a people of hope. Though we grieve the brokenness of our world and confess our complicity in it, we are confident that God is redeeming all things through Jesus Christ. God’s unconditional grace and loving providence free us to follow Christ. We joyfully join in the work God’s Spirit is doing within us as individuals, within our churches, within our wider communities, and in communities across the world.

The foundations of Reformed theology

Government

The Reformed Church in America (RCA) has a presbyterian government. Those who hold an ordained church office serve on governing bodies that oversee different levels of ministry within the denomination. But unlike in a political democracy, those in church office do not represent the will of the people; they represent the will of Christ.

RCA government and church order

Worship

Worship is at the center of the church’s life. Through worship, we acknowledge God’s worth. In the Reformed tradition, worship is so essential that its forms—the liturgy—are part of the RCA’s Constitution. Historically, Reformed worship services have a particular flow that reflects our encounters with God: approaching God, receiving the Word of God, and responding to God.

The beliefs and practices of Reformed worship

Vision

The Reformed Church in America’s shared vision for ministry is focused on transformation in Christ, equipping leaders, and mission.

The vision of the RCA

Our ministries

Starting churches

Planting churches in North America and around the world to share and embody the gospel.

Equipping churches

Walking alongside churches and church leaders as they fulfill God’s unique vision for their ministry.

Global mission

Sharing the love of Christ through mission around the world.

Organizations affiliated with the RCA

Seminaries

The two RCA seminaries, New Brunswick Theological Seminary in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan, have long, distinguished histories. As the oldest Protestant seminary in North America, New Brunswick traces its roots to 1784. Western was established in 1866.

Colleges

The Reformed Church in America has a tremendous resource to help nurture the on-going faith formation of our young people–its three colleges, Central College in Pella, Iowa; Hope College in Holland, Michigan; and Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa.

Camps

Children and adults find camp settings a relaxing get away. The natural beauty and solitude of these camps make them ideal places for summer camp as well as conferences, retreats, workshops, and family picnics.

Ecumenical Partners

The RCA believes in Christian unity and expresses this belief by belonging to several “families” of churches. In 1996, General Synod unanimously adopted an Ecumenical Mandate for the Reformed Church in America. The RCA also expresses Christian unity through partnership and collaboration with other denominations.

Learn more about the RCA’s ecumenical relationships.