The Vision 2020 Team was formed by General Synod 2018 to prayerfully explore three different scenarios for the future of the RCA: staying together, significant reorganization, and grace-filled separation.
The team was proposed by interim general secretary Don Poest in response to deep divisions in the denomination. The theological differences within the RCA have led us to a point where we are not sure how to continue ministry together. Poest identified human sexuality as a point of significant division in our denomination, but he acknowledged other divisions as well, including polity and lack of alignment with Transformed & Transforming, the RCA's strategic goal.
The Vision 2020 Team's task is to discern how God is calling the RCA to move forward. This group of 12 people from across the denomination will present their recommendation to General Synod 2020.
The Work of the Team So Far
In its first year, the Vision 2020 Team researched a number of possible next chapters and their implications for the RCA. The team imagined what the impact of each scenario might be on both the people within the RCA and the ministry of the RCA. Based on this work, the Vision 2020 Team prepared three draft impact statements, one for each of the scenarios, to seek feedback from General Synod 2019 delegates. You can read the statements in the Vision 2020 report, published in the General Synod workbook.
The Vision 2020 Team sought input from delegates on these statements so that their insights can inform the team's process of discernment over the next year. And now they are inviting RCA churches to participate in a similar discussion process, aimed at both informing RCA members about the scenarios and giving them a chance to offer their feedback to the team. Learn more and download tools to hold these discussions in your church here.
Vision 2020 Scenarios
If the denomination were a house, this scenario would keep the structure of the house the same but may rearrange some of the furniture.
If the denomination were a house, this scenario would be like tearing down the house and rebuilding it.
If the denomination were a house, this scenario explores the possibility of splitting into several groups that will live in different houses.
Watch the video overview of the three scenarios:
Frequently Asked Questions
What is this team doing?
The Vision 2020 Team has been tasked with prayerfully exploring three different scenarios for the future of the RCA: staying together, significant reorganization, and grace-filled separation. They’re also able to explore additional scenarios that arise as they do their work.
What’s being voted on at General Synod 2019?
Nothing. The Vision 2020 Team’s report to synod outlines a number of possible future scenarios, which they’re asking delegates to spend time with, discuss, and discern. Delegates’ feedback will be important as the team continues its work over the next year before bringing final recommendations to General Synod 2020.
How are delegates offering feedback?
Delegates will be meeting in small discussion groups, spending several hours reflecting on each of the three scenarios for the future: staying together, significant reorganization, and grace-filled separation. Feedback will be collected and synthesized by the Vision 2020 Team.
What divisions are so bad that we have a team doing this work?
The theological differences within the RCA have led us to a point where we are not sure how to continue ministry together. Interim general secretary Don Poest, who proposed the team in 2018, identified human sexuality as a point of significant division in our denomination, but he acknowledged other divisions as well, including polity, biblical interpretation, and lack of alignment with Transformed & Transforming, the RCA’s strategic goal.
What’s the timeline?
The Vision 2020 Team was formed by General Synod 2018. It will give its final report and recommendations to General Synod in June 2020. At General Synod 2019, the Vision 2020 Team is presenting an intermediate report [LINK http://images.rca.org/docs/synod/2019Workbook.pdf#page=98] and asking for significant feedback from synod delegates, who will spend time considering each scenario in discussion groups.
How was the team formed?
Don Poest, who was wrapping up a year as interim general secretary at General Synod 2018, proposed the formation of the group in his report to synod. The proposal came in response to what Poest saw as deep divisions in the denomination. Synod voted to create the group, which first met in August 2018.
Who’s on the team?
Charlie Contreras, spiritual formation and leadership pastor at Faith Church (RCA) and pastor of Faith’s Munster, Indiana, campus. He also serves on the GSC.
Barbara Felker, pastor of leadership development at Highbridge Community Church (RCA) in the Bronx, New York, and a member of the board of trustees at New Brunswick Theological Seminary. She is vice president of strategic community partnerships at Northwell Health (Brooklyn region).
Tom Goodhart, pastor of Trinity Reformed Church in Ridgewood, New York.
Brian Keepers, pastor of Trinity Reformed Church in Orange City, Iowa. He previously served congregations in Holland, Michigan, and Spencer, Iowa.
Kristen Livingston, pastor of congregational care at Ann Arbor Christian Reformed Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
John Messer, regional executive of the Synod of the Great Lakes. Previously, he served as pastor of Good News Community Church (RCA) in Okoboji, Iowa, and was a former strategic intelligence officer in the U.S. Army.
Christa Mooi, ministry operations catalyst at ReNew Community (RCA) in Ames, Iowa. She is a past GSC moderator.
Rudy Rubio, pastor of Reformed Church of Los Angeles, an RCA church plant in Lynwood, California.
Diane Smith Faubion, an elder at First Reformed Church of Scotia, New York. She serves on the board of the Church Growth Fund and is executive vice president of First National Bank of Scotia.
Marijke Strong, executive secretary of the Regional Synod of Canada. She previously served Fellowship Reformed Church in Holland, Michigan.
Scott Treadway, pastor of Rancho Community Reformed Church in Temecula, California.
Imos Wu, copastor of Bogart Memorial Reformed Church in Bogota, New Jersey.
Eddy Alemán, RCA general secretary, and Don Poest, who was serving as interim general secretary when he proposed the Vision 2020 Team, are ex officio members.
Jim Herrington, Trisha Taylor, and Ryan Donovan are consultants working with the team.
June 10, 2019
If two-thirds of classes approve, only a simple majority will be needed for any amendments that next year’s General Synod proposes in response to the Vision 2020 Team’s work.
June 9, 2019
“You all—we all—have made this a very, very different General Synod.” —Christa Mooi, Vision 2020 Team member
June 8, 2019
Delegates offered their feedback on the scenarios to the Vision 2020 Team
June 7, 2019
Presenters also give delegates practical skills for hard conversations in the face of loss.
March 7, 2019
The team has been researching the implications of possible next steps for the RCA. They ask for authentic engagement and feedback on their work.
November 27, 2018
An update from the Vision 2020 Team's November meeting. This team is tasked with exploring three different options for the RCA's future.
September 26, 2018
On September 11-12, 2018, the RCA Vision 2020 Team met at the Cenacle Retreat Center in Chicago.
June 29, 2018
Members of the 2020 Vision Group will research and identify strategies and consequences for three possible scenarios for the future of the RCA: staying together, radical reconstituting and reorganization, and grace-filled separation.
June 8, 2018
The group will examine three possible scenarios for the denomination’s future and make a recommendation to General Synod 2020