The Latest: Winter 2016

Date Posted: 
Monday, January 25, 2016

Updates on Transformed & Transforming

What’s Transformed & Transforming?

"Transformed & Transforming: Radically Following Christ in Mission Together" is the RCA's 15-year strategy for mission and ministry. Adopted in 2013, it's our commitment to:

  • Cultivate transformation in Christ
  • Equip emerging leaders of today and tomorrow
  • Engage in Christ's kingdom mission

Here’s a peek into some of the ways we’re making this vision a reality. You might find something here for you and your church, too!

New leaders limber up on culture

Learning about cultural agility is part of the training for all new General Synod Council (GSC) members, commission members, and GSC staff. In October, Earl James, coordinator of congregational missional mosaic and advocacy, led a cultural agility workshop for 31 of these new members. The group learned about the effect of unconscious biases on our openness to all God’s people. Since it’s difficult to become an expert on another culture, James trained the group to recognize varying degrees of culture—from clothing to worldview—and to put this agility into practice in their work for the RCA. If you’d like to increase your congregation’s cultural agility, email Earl James at ejames@rca.org.

Worship resources for congregations

As the RCA continues to live into Transformed & Transforming, you may want to help your church incorporate this vision into your worship services.

To help, RCA staff have put together a Transformed & Transforming worship toolkit. The toolkit includes worship liturgies, devotions, prayers, litanies, a Bible study, and a few sermons. Each piece is inspired by the mission of Transformed & Transforming. The resources were created by RCA pastors, members, and congregations. They represent the varied worship experiences in RCA churches. You may use the resources as written or let them spark your imagination as you put together your own worship series or Bible study. Find the toolkit at www.rca.org/worshiptoolkit.

Did you say “mission coworker”?

Perhaps you’ve noticed some new language coming from RCA Global Mission in the past few months. You won’t hear “missionary” anymore; now you’ll hear “mission coworker.”

We’re making the switch for a few reasons. First, the word “missionary” carries the sense that one group of people (typically Westerners) is bringing the gospel to another. But this is only part of the truth. Much mission work is done in partnership with local leaders, and it’s also the case that other nations send mission workers to the West. Second, historical associations with the word “missionary” have made people in many countries suspicious of mission coworkers and may even put those workers at risk. Finally, the language of “mission coworker” is biblical. In 1 Corinthians 3:9, the apostle Paul writes: “For we are God’s servants, working together.” This is true in the RCA, too. All of us—mission coworkers, partner organizations, and church members—are working together to proclaim and live out the good news of Jesus Christ.

Training for elders and deacons

If you’re an elder or deacon at your church, maybe you’ve wanted some better training to serve in your role well. You’re not alone. Other churches across the denomination are saying the same thing. And the RCA is listening!

This year, the RCA’s emerging leaders team will gather classis leaders to develop a training manual for local churches to use as they train and equip elders and deacons for leadership. Why is this important? Because elders and deacons—along with pastors—are the primary leaders of the local church. All of them ought to be well equipped to carry out their tasks. If you or your church would like to be part of this project, email Eddy Alemán, director of strategic leadership development and coordinator of Hispanic ministries, at ealeman@rca.org.

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