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Frequently Asked Questions

Gather is a series of events that will be held over the next 18 months. At each gathering, five Christian Reformed classes will come together to bear witness to what has been happening in their local contexts. Participants will also discern where God may be leading them into renewed ministry and mission.

The idea is not to come to these events with preconceived answers or prescribed strategies. Instead, we will pray together, worship, share our stories, and discern collaboratively what God is telling us. As we take turns sharing about our own churches, we hope that everyone will be encouraged in their ministry, inspired with new ideas for their local contexts, and equipped to return home and give witness both to where God is already at work and where he is leading us. Gather events are the first steps in response to synod’s encouragement to assist CRC congregations in their renewal.

Synod 2023 talked frankly and openly about the challenges our churches are facing and the membership decline we have seen across the denomination over the last thirty years. In this time of upheaval in our denomination and our culture, we believe God is calling us to orient our congregations with the vision for ministry and mission he has set. We've heard it from congregational leaders, our classes, and from our synod in 2023: God is not done with us. Gather is about faithfully discerning and acting on that call as congregations.

The first Gather event will take place in Minneapolis, Minnesota from April 19-21, 2024.  It will include representatives from classes Columbia, Hackensack, Huron, Lake Erie, and  Lake Superior. Additional gatherings will be held over the Fall of 2024 and Spring of 2025. See List.

Thanks to generous support from several sponsors, Gather will be free to participants. Covered costs include meals, accommodations, and transportation to and from the event.

Every classis will have a delegation of about 15 people invited to attend one event. Classis Interim Committees, chairs, clerks, and/or other leaders in the classis should work together to select 10 participants to represent their classis. Where possible, this delegation should reflect diversity in terms of gender, age, race, ability, congregations, lay/ordained leadership, and location (balance of urban, suburban, and rural where possible). Ideally, this slate of names would be endorsed at a classis meeting.

Five additional participants will be selected by denominational staff to share specific stories of renewal and ministry innovation. These participants (chosen by denominational staff) will be communicated to classis to ensure coordination.

Gather is intended to bring together five classes at a time for worship, fellowship, and mutual sharing and encouragement. In an effort to ensure that classes hear stories happening in a variety of locations within the CRCNA, we tried to bring together classes that weren’t necessarily right next to each other. However, we also wanted to try our best to avoid making people cross multiple time zones to attend an event. With the exception of the first event (that included classes from across North America), we tried to divide North America into vertical slices and bring together classes from North to South. Wherever possible, we tried to have at least one Canadian classes in each event, and to avoid having neighboring classes at the same gathering.

Yes! Non-English speaking churches are a vital and important part of the Christian Reformed Church in North America. We want to hear your stories, and also have you be inspired and reinvigorated in your ministry context. When you register to attend, please let us know if translation will be required and we will make sure it is available to you.

Gather will be a time for us to truly listen to each other and hear what is happening in our unique congregational contexts. We hope that people will share their challenges and find comfort in knowing that others are going through something similar. At the same time, we also want to help people find next steps for facing the challenges in their midst. We hope that by sharing some stories of innovation and renewal, we will spark creative imagination in all participants about what might be possible, and where God is leading them.

No. Gather events are not spaces for making denomination-wide decisions. The focus is on prayer and corporate discernment. With that said, we hope that all participants will be inspired with new ideas to take home to their congregations and regions. We also anticipate that denominational staff will listen for trends – both in what churches are facing, as well as the innovations being tried. A report will be developed from each gathering and the gatherings as a whole in order to fulfill the request from Synod 2023 to create a report or pathway for congregational renewal. This will be processed in subsequent ecclesiastical gatherings and shared with classes and congregations for feedback.

CRCNA leaders are working with private donors and foundations to support this work. Much staff time will come through ministry shares support.

We hope that participants will share what they learned in these events with their classes and congregations. We hope that a significant number of participants will want to go back to their own churches and organize something like Gather on a congregational level. Participants will also meet with and connect to other CRCNA resources and people to walk with them in a journey toward congregational renewal. In this challenging time God is inviting our members and congregations to be renewed for ministry and mission. Come and see what God is doing!