By Pastor Kevin Van Wyk
How do you deal with conflict? Fight or flight? Nearly all churches and denominations have been dealing with conflict for a long time. Some “discussions” have gotten heated and out of hand. While Jesus certainly called us to love, he also turned the tables over in the temple and called the leaders thieves. So, how do we move forward in a conflicted denomination? Fight for change, wait for a split, or leave?
As one who would love to take flight and ignore the issues altogether, I’ll be part of the General Synod discussions this week.
My request is simple… pray for me as I attend the RCA General Synod (GS).
Many of you know the organizational structure of the RCA. For those that are unfamiliar… A classis is made up of pastors and elders from each church within its bounds. GS is the highest governing body for the RCA. It includes representatives from each of the 46 Classes. (See http://images.rca.org/docs/synod/2018OrgChart.pdf for an org chart.) The Classis of Wisconsin will send three elders and three pastors to GS.
The GS makes changes to our by-laws, otherwise known as the Book of Church Order, the BCO, or the Orange book. While the Bible has supreme authority, the BCO is our attempt to articulate how we will live and work together. The GS can also make changes to our Liturgy and can adopt, interpret or remove Confessions and Creeds (like the Apostles Creed).
These changes happen through Overtures. Any church can send an Overture to their Classis, which can send it to the GS. At this point there are 25. Some are in the GS Workbook (p.85), others are in the Supplemental overtures. All can be found at https://www.rca.org/rca-basics/general-synod/general-synod-2018-workbook.
Most of these overtures address the conflict within the RCA over the definition of marriage. There is potential for productive, God-honoring decisions to be made that could lead the RCA toward a fruitful and missional future. There is also potential for divisive, destructive behavior. So, I ask you to pray.
Please pray for…