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Photo: Karen Huttenga
Dr. Steven Timmermans, Executive Director of the CRCNA, addresses Synod 2016.
Photo by Karen Huttenga

Dr. Steven Timmermans gave Synod 2016 a snapshot of challenges and opportunities facing the Christian Reformed Church in North America, and introduced the new ministry plan.

Timmermans, the executive director of the denomination, told synod that although the CRC has experienced a slight dip in membership, the number of organized churches is on the rise.

In addition, the support provided through Ministry Shares, church offerings, and gifts is remaining steady, allowing the CRC “by God’s grace” to continue doing its ministry in North America and beyond, he said.

Another positive development is the ongoing work to unify Christian Reformed World Missions and Christian Reformed Home Missions. “As I travel, the need and opportunity for this to occur is immediately recognized,” he said.

Building up the offices of elder and deacon—and especially Synod 2015’s decision to include deacons as delegates to this year’s synod—are also signs of progress.

“The changes we made last year are evident in the deacons sitting here today. It show that our work continues,” said Timmermans.

Yet another positive sign is a nearly $1 million grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc. for a pilot project that is developing new ways to resource churches and help them grow their ministries.

Timmermans also told delegates that the CRC is moving forward with a new ministry plan, the result of listening to churches and church members about ministry challenges and how to best meet them.

Called “Our Journey 2020,” the ministry plan focuses on five areas:

  • Church and Community
  • Discipleship
  • Leadership
  • Identity
  • Collaboration

He said the CRC is developing communications and resource material, including a brochure, booklet and videos, for churches to use in understanding and applying the ministry plan.

“We have a strong foundation as a church and we have been called, and we have a journey we will be taking based on those five areas (in the ministry plan),” Timmermans concluded.

For continuous coverage of Synod 2016 including the live webcast, news, video recordings, photos, liveblog, social media links, and more visit www.crcna.org/synod.