New Director of Synodical Services Appointed
At a special meeting of the Council of Delegates held via video conference Nov. 16, the council appointed Rev. Scott DeVries to the role of director of synodical services.
DeVries will take on the role as Dee Recker, who has served in this position since January 2007, plans to retire in January 2023.
“I call good polity ‘preventative pastoral care,’ because when used in wise and patient ways, it can help us avoid unnecessary and painful situations,” said DeVries when he applied for the role.
“A careful read of the Church Order itself reveals that it intends to be used in deliberate (and deliberative) processes that enable our covenant relationship with each other to endure. The very fact that we continue to have annual meetings of our synod displays that our Church Order has never been as simple as static rules to be followed thoughtlessly or without discussion but, rather, forms the backbone of an organic institution that Scripture speaks of as both a body and a family,” he added.
DeVries studied mechanical engineering before going on to earn a master of divinity degree at Calvin Theological Seminary. He pastored two churches in West Michigan, served as classis ministries coordinator for Classis Holland, and has spent the past five years working in the CRCNA’s Grand Rapids denominational office as the project manager of Connections – an initiative aimed at bringing together denominational ministries and developing closer relationships with classes and congregations.
“The search team was very impressed by Scott's sense of calling, his love of the CRC Church Order, and his deep desire to serve the congregations of the Christian Reformed Church,” said Rev. Zachary King, general secretary and chair of the recruitment team for this position. “We know that Dee Recker will be missed, but we trust that Scott will be a great partner to our churches, classes, and synod."
In his new role, DeVries will be responsible for managing the annual Yearbook survey, hosting a biennial gathering of classis stated clerks, planning Council of Delegates meetings, supporting classes in their governance, and coordinating all of the logistics for the annual synod meetings. He said that strong spiritual practices will be key for these roles.
“I believe that the director of synodical services has a lot of influence on how spiritual practices make their way into the structure of COD and synod meetings. The more our governing bodies can exemplify solid relationships and spiritual health, the easier it will be for the whole CRC to continue growing spiritually,” he said.
He also said that he feels humbled and blessed to be stepping into the role at this particularly challenging time.
“The relevance of synod became very clear this summer,” he said, referring to Synod 2022’s discussions and decisions about organizational restructuring as well as human sexuality. “Churches are going to be looking to future synods to flesh that out for day-to-day ministry in their congregations and in denominational ministries. That means the spotlight on synod will carry on to future synods for a while at least – and that spotlight brings increased scrutiny.”
He pointed out that this additional scrutiny is a blessing. It will ensure that deliberations are handled with the utmost integrity, and it will provide an opportunity to live by example.
“The way delegates treat each other despite deep differences is an opportunity to demonstrate what I like to call being ‘courageously relational,’” he said. “There’s an opportunity for synod, especially when the message is countercultural, to lead the rest of the denomination in what it looks like to truly love one another. I hope each classis will take that seriously and delegate people who are deeply spiritual, wise, and loving.”
King added, “[This appointment] is an answer to my fervent prayers that God would provide a qualified and called person for this significant role of leadership in a very consequential period of our denominational life.”