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Church Order Review Task Force Report Available

March 13, 2024

Synod, the annual assembly of the Christian Reformed Church in North America, made a request in 2022 that a task force be appointed to comprehensively review the CRCNA Church Order, specifically those articles relating to “pastors and churches in times of conflict,” and the “oversight of individuals in specialized ministries.” It further tasked this group with developing guidelines for how these matters should be dealt with in the future (Acts of Synod 2022, p. 849).

Over the course of 18 months, the Church Order Review Task Force (CORTF) carefully reviewed Church Order Articles 8, 12, 13, 14, 16, and 17 and their Supplements. The group had conversations with Thrive staff members who assist congregations and pastors during times of transition. The task force also presented an interim report to Synod 2023 through the Council of Delegates and received feedback. 

The CORTF report is now available and will be presented to Synod 2024 in June for discussion and decision. In the meantime, congregations and classes are asked to review the document. 

“Over the past several decades, the Christian Reformed Church in North America has seen an increase in the number of issues and concerns related to the calling and supervision of ministers of the Word in what are often called ‘specialized ministries,’ and to the release of ministers from congregations and/or from the denomination as a whole,” the report explains in its introduction, noting that these situations often create stigma for the churches and pastors involved. 

The report also explains that while it is important to have agreed-upon guidelines and processes for how to handle these situations, “it is not possible to create a separate set of rules or procedures to address every situation.”

Instead, the CORTF report encourages an approach of both flexibility and wisdom, using guidelines grounded in theological commitments. It further outlines some specific suggestions in two broad categories: 

  • “issues dealing with supervision, accountability, and support for ministers of the Word in noncongregational settings”
  • “issues related to transitions in ministry, especially when a minister of the Word is released from a particular call without another call in place, or when a minister resigns from ordained ministry in the denomination as a whole”

The full report is available online. An executive summary is also available in English and Spanish (with a Korean translation to be available soon). These can be found at