An RCA restructuring team was created by General Synod in October 2021 to propose updated structures for the denomination in order to ensure sustained institutional and spiritual health. Here is an update from the team about its March 2023 in-person meeting.
The restructuring team met in person in Grand Rapids March 6-8. It was a very fruitful time of hard work and significant strides forward.
For the first year, our work focused on spiritual discernment and determining what we should be restructuring toward, which outcomes we want to result from these new structures. Our team discerned that as a denomination, we should be working toward an outcome of making disciples who grow disciples. We have been presenting this idea at in-person roundtable discussions around the denomination, testing it and getting feedback from people across the RCA.
We greatly appreciate the feedback and engagement we have received as a team from these meetings so far. It has been a great encouragement to see how these conversations are going, and to be able to refine our work with input from hundreds of people who are part of the RCA as members, deacons, elders, pastors, commissioned pastors, chaplains, church planters, children’s ministry leaders, and more. This is the work of spiritual discernment, of discerning the mind of Christ together. We’re in this discernment work together, not just as a team, but as a covenantal family of the RCA.
We are intentionally listening to the feedback and listening to God’s voice in the midst. We are diligently striving to put systems in place to engage the denomination, to build momentum, and prepare us for a new envisioned future.
Once this series of roundtable meetings concludes on May 11 with a denomination-wide Zoom call to receive feedback from anyone who could not attend an in-person meeting, the team will analyze all the feedback it has received from the meetings and will share that feedback through a communication to the denomination.
Pivoting to work on the structure
At our March meeting, we spent a lot of time discussing the framework for a new structure. A subteam had done significant research and exploration around structure, and they brought their ideas to this meeting. Those ideas were discussed at length, leading to strong consensus on an outline of the structural framework our team will be proposing in 2024.
The team plans to share a rough draft of the proposal with General Synod this summer, where delegates will have the opportunity to discuss and provide feedback.
Request to the Commission on Church Order
Out of this meeting, our team also sent a formal request to the Commission on Church Order to begin to explore the possible size and shape of the church order and of judicial bodies within the framework that the team has discerned.
A representative from the commission has attended the restructuring team meetings to offer advice to the team, and now the full commission is being asked to do more extensive work. The commission will report back to the restructuring team at its next in-person meeting this fall.
The restructuring team also agreed on a timeline for the remainder of its work, which will incorporate multiple rounds of connection with and feedback from the denomination:
- March to May 2023: The first round of roundtable discussions will conclude, and the team will write a rough draft of the restructuring proposal.
- June 2023: Share a rough draft of the restructuring proposal at General Synod and seek feedback from General Synod delegates.
- September 2023: The restructuring team will meet in person, incorporating feedback from General Synod as well as the work of the Commission on Church Order. The team will refine and add detail to the framework for a more detailed second draft.
- October to November 2023 (possibly into early January 2024): A second round of roundtable discussions will be held in-person around the denomination to explain the second draft, answer questions, and seek feedback.
- January 2024: The restructuring team will meet in person, and, utilizing input from the fall roundtable meetings, will develop the third and final draft of the team’s report and proposals.
- February to April 2024: A third round of in-person roundtable discussions will be held across the RCA, to share and explain the final proposal and to answer questions, hoping especially to give General Synod 2024 delegates a chance to understand the proposal in detail, so that it is widely understood and known before the report comes to General Synod.
- June 2024: The team’s final report and proposals come to General Synod for consideration.
The team is grateful for and encouraged by signs of God at work in this season. We invite you to join us in looking for those signs, seeking where God is at work in this season.
Please continue to pray for our team and the work before us. Also, please share this update with anyone who might be interested.
May God bless you,
The RCA restructuring team
For previous updates from the restructuring team, visit www.rca.org/synod/rca-restructuring-team/.