Reformed Church in America (RCA)
Pressing Forward into Our Multiracial Future Freed from Racism
The RCA 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. In Transformed and Transforming, the RCA commits to embracing our diverse world and striving for a multicultural future freed from racism. The Five-Fold Test will help us get there.
Ours is a missional motivation--maturing the body of Christ for its work of discipleship and justice, evangelism and mercy. We seek to grow into the entirety of this mission in all the places where we live, work, and worship. The population of the United States and Canada is diverse. The world is at our doorsteps. For the sake of Christ's kingdom, we must address unique mission opportunities with and among diverse populations.
We are likewise motivated by our commitment to the unity of Christ's church. Sin sustains strife among races, ethnicities, cultures, languages, and genders, all of which are gifts God gives to humanity. But Christ, through his death and resurrection, overwhelms sin and is reconciling the world to himself. His coming kingdom will transcend all efforts which divide. Therefore, the church on earth is richer and stronger when it lives now in the light of that future reality.
The RCA has made significant strides toward its multiracial future. However, we believe that multiracial/ethnic ministry has multidimensional implications. Unless we engage this dimensionality with wisdom and resolve, the RCA cannot expect to fare differently than other groups that have had similar intent, only to pull back. This Five-Fold Test, therefore, empowers us to move forward on multiple fronts.
1. Population: How is the RCA--congregationally, consistorially, classically, regionally, and denominationally--identifying, reaching, and embracing increasing numbers of people among diverse racial and ethnic populations?
2. Participation: How effectively are we intentionally looking for ways to engage life together through congregational, consistorial, classical, regional, and denominational events, as well as with others outside the RCA?
3. Power: Are the positions and structures of leadership (boards, commissions, committees, and positions at the congregational, consistorial, classical, regional, or denominational levels) influenced by the perspectives and gifts of diverse racial and ethnic populations? Specifically, how can we improve our preparations and performances to include racial and ethnic leaders in decisions such as nominations and budget?
4. Pace-Setting: Having been informed by the additional perspectives, burdens, and gifts that our racial and ethnic diversity bring to us, what new mission opportunities is the RCA now better positioned to strengthen and initiate?
5. Purposeful Narrative: In what ways do we know and honor our various cultures and traditions? How do the stories of new backgrounds become incorporated into the RCA's history? How do all of these streams flow together into one story, moving forward together?
While the RCA is uniquely positioned to press forward in multiracial/ethnic ministry, we must remember that our movement, ultimately, is not solely about structure and mechanics. It is only as we relate to one another as sisters and brothers in Christ, spiritually earnest in our desires and continually dependent on the Holy Spirit to be shaped as the family of God, that we have hope. When we engage each other at such high standards, we will emerge to our best future as we truly engage life and service together in Christ.