Reformed denominations join to plant churches

May 4, 2011

After splitting more than 150 years ago, the Reformed Church in
America and the Christian Reformed Church are joining together to launch
a church planting project in four "test areas" across the United
States.

The project, dubbed Kingdom Enter­prise Zones, aims to
plant ten to 20 congregations in western Michigan, Florida, Arizona and
California. Both denominations are funding the plan with help from a
"significant" grant from the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation.

The
only real difference between the two churches is the CRC's greater
emphasis on Christian schools, said Wes­ley Granberg-Michaelson, the
outgoing general secretary for the RCA.

"This is not related to
church buildings but a gathering of a community of faith," said Julius
Medenblik, the president elect of the CRC's Calvin Theo­logical
Sem­inary. "The implication would be that this pilot program would
affect many more churches than the ones started."

Granberg-Michaelson
said traditional church steeples and wooden pews are not part of the
new church planting movement. "They're going to take on a variety of
forms because we're discovering the subcultures that are represented in
our society require a diversity of styles," he said. "The message of the
good news of the gospel is consistent, but the way in which it's
expressed in different subcultures will and should vary a great deal." 
—RNS