Desired Future 4: Churches Telling Our Story
We will grasp—and be grasped by—a richly Reformed world and life view so that we are able and eager to express what it means to belong to God’s diverse and unified family. Transformed by that story, we will learn to tell it so compellingly that people from many cultures and experiences are drawn to see and know themselves as God’s beloved ones, entrusted to bring the good news to others.
Our congregations and ministries will
- learn to tell, in ways that are clear and compelling, the story of God’s grace and restoring love, and of God’s call to join him in renewing all creation.
- live out that story so that our churches radiate welcome and a sense of belonging to people of all ages, abilities, genders, and ethnicities.
- joyfully answer the call to do justice and walk humbly with our God (Mic. 6:8).
- see, affirm, and robustly carry out the unique role that God has called us to fulfill in his church worldwide.
“My father was a Jewish immigrant from Germany. My mother was raised Episcopalian; then her parents became Christian Scientist. As a child I went to a Lutheran church with neighbors and to a Catholic high school.”
“One day I was driving around completely lost, and I passed this little school, Calvin Christian School. My son was having difficulties in his school at the time, and I thought, ‘Let’s try something totally different.’
“He entered in the fourth grade and told me, ‘Mom, I finally have a teacher who likes me.’ We met a family there who invited us to their church, Cottage Grove CRC. The rest is history.
“I’ve worked with cancer patients for over 30 years. I don’t think I could keep doing this work if I didn’t have the worldview I picked up in the CRC, one that keeps the Bible at the center. I know that there is a God and that although we are sinners, there is hope in Jesus and a life after this one. And the only way we make headway in this sinful world is to spread that message by serving others.”
Stephanie Williams, M.D., Division Chief, Adult Blood and Marrow Transplant Program, Spectrum Health; Loop Church, Chicago, Illinois
“I was born and educated in Nigeria, in the CRC. After college I was a missionary for over 12 years, engaging a lot of cultures. That journey shaped my view about how to do church with people of many different cultures.”
“Something I love about Reformed theology is the message of irresistible grace. In our church we’re constantly reminding people that although we’re broken, although we all are burdened by so many expectations, there is hope, there is freedom, there is rescue. That’s a message that crosses cultures, that everyone wants to hear.
“The other side of that grace is our Reformed understanding of costly discipleship. We’re invited to carry the kingdom into every sphere of society. We invite people to see themselves in that bigger story. And when they begin to see that they have a part to play in the bigger story, that they have a mission they’re not scared by the cost. They’re excited!”
William Karshima, Pastor, Oasis Community Church, Winter Garden, Florida
“I grew up in a Reformed church. In that church we were the only ones to go to Christian schools. When I got married, I joined my husband in the Christian Reformed Church because we both were teaching in the Christian schools. So I’ve been Reformed for 90 years.”
“I’ve known people with the view that this life isn’t so important as long as we have our eye on heaven. The Reformed view is that every square inch of this life is important. So we should teach young people that if you want to be a mechanic, be a good mechanic. Be a caring mechanic. Take part in your church and community. And vote! Whatever you do, do it for the glory of God.
“It’s all in God’s hands—we emphasize that. It’s hard to remember always that everything is in God’s plan and that the little things we do count in life. But I believe they do.”
Phyllis Boonstra, East Paris CRC, Grand Rapids, Michigan