October CATALYST out now!


CATALYST October is out!

The next edition of CRCA Catalyst has been released and is ready for download here.

This new edition includes

  • news about a CRCA Church Planting ministry in Madhya Pradesh, India
  • how Crossroad Bible Institute is partnering with SWIM to bring transformation in the Solomon Islands
  • how social media can be used for ministry and mission
  • US Church Planting researcher, Ed Stetzer, shares his observations about Australia
  • an interview that outlines some of the ways the TRAIN workgroup manage accountability with Jack de Vries, the CRCA’s Ministry Development Coach

We encourage you to view and download the latest Catalyst, and share the link as widely as possible.

If you want to leave feedback, feel free to make a comment on the blog. Various articles will be released as separate posts over the next weeks.

Happy Reading!


CRCA Catalyst October 2012  P1

Summerleas Christian Church (Tasmania) How God is using a church to show he is real

[The ministries of the CRCA come to expression in many different contexts. In many instances, ministries supported by the CRCA come to expression at the level of the local church, so while many things receive denominational funding, it’s the local church which benefits most. In the following article, Clinton Berends, Chairman of the Church Planting Taskforce, writes about one of the CRCA’s latest church plants, Summerleas Christian Church. As you read about lives impacted by the Gospel, be encouraged to see CRCA denominational funds supporting wonderful Gospel ministry. – DG]

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Summerleas’ Pastor Dave Lynch baptises a new believer at Kingston Beach, Tasmania

Just over six years ago, in line with the four-fold task, the CRCA established the Church Planting Taskforce (CPT) with the mandate of encouraging and resourcing the work of Church Planting throughout the denomination. At the most recent CRCA Synod it was reported that, under God’s grace, four new churches have been instituted in the last three years and many more church plants are underway or in the planning stages.

“…God used people here to show me that he’s real…”

One of the churches is Summerleas Christian Church, in southern Tasmania. Summerleas was planted in 2008, and since that time has been blessed greatly, growing from just over 50, to nearly 100. It has been exciting to see the Lord at work in the lives of people.

Pastor David Lynch says “It has also been exciting to see our vision begin to take shape and to actually work as we seek to disciple one another and reach out to others. It has taken a good 3 years or so (and we’re still working at it) to get our heads around what it means for us to live as a Gospel centred organic community (our vision) and so to see this finally start to happen is such a joy.”

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Summerleas people relaxing and building community – the smiles say it all

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While some of that growth has been transfers from other churches, there have been conversions and reconnections to church and Christ that had been dormant for some time. While we don’t want to get hung up on numbers, it’s worth remembering that every number is a person who has come to life in Christ. Here are some comments by those who have come to faith in Summerleas:

I realise that God knew exactly what I needed – to be overwhelmed and surrounded with Christians, not just on a Sunday but every day, all the time, so that I didn’t have a chance to not think about it, or let it slip into the background.

When [my son] was in grade 1 [a friend from S’leas] talked to me about her church (now ours) … and how kid – friendly it was.  [my son] had been to church a few times with my mother but not with me.  I took the chance and came along to church. I guess that’s when I started being more aware of my sinful nature and I am different from the person I was.

I also believe that God used people here to show me that he’s real. I have met so many genuine, generous, kind people since I’ve been here, and every one of them has been a Christian, and it got me thinking that if these people are Christians, and this is how good they are, there must be something to it!

Joining in … on rhythms and family meals was a great way to get to know the members of the church better. I have met lots of Christians who have an active relationship with God – it is not a once a week event…it is their life.

The impact has not just been felt by those who have come the church in that time. There has been great benefit for those who were involved in the original core team. David Lynch says

“(this impact has been) huge, everyone has grown immensely and I would say that almost all of them are more active in making disciples than before. Many have grown into wonderful church leaders, and others have stepped up in ways that they would not have done had they not been part of a church plant.”

As a denomination we have much to give thanks for, including the ministry of church planting, as seen in places like Summerleas. We ought to continue to pray that God would continue to raise up leaders, church planters and church planting teams as he continue to draw the lost to himself through his people.

Clinton Berends

CRCA Church Planting Taskforce

Note: you can also read more about Summerleas Christian Church on the CRCA Ministry Formation Website – DG

Ministry Formation: A short History

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We have all heard about Ministry Formation, but why was this work begun, and what is it seeking to do now?

In 2003, Synod established the Ministry Formation Workgroup. This committee got to work with developing ways that local churches can better engage in the work of developing leaders and engaging in mission in their local communities.

In 2006 this work was expanded as Synod appointed a Mission Training Coordinator (Rev Jack de Vries) to spearhead this work. Jack worked hard with the Ministry Formation Workgroup to promote the Four Fold Task, adopted in 2006. The Four Fold Task had the basic mission statement “The Christian Reformed Churches of Australia are churches reforming to reach the lost for Christ.” We call this a ‘mission statement’ because it outlines the core task that we are working toward. This mission was divided into four main tasks:

Pray: To call upon God for such an outpouring of his Spirit that his people will be assured of his love through his Word, seek to please the Saviour in all things, manifest the godly life and be filled with prayerful and sacrificial compassion for the lost in all the world

Multiply: To enable local churches to expand numerically, equip and nurture their members, and become the mother-churches of as many fellowships and congregations as possible; and also to take further initiatives to create fellowships by penetrating structures of society with the gospel.

Train: To multiply the number of well-trained persons (ordained, non-ordained, full time, part time, voluntary) lovingly dedicated to the creation and development of such fellowships and congregations by proclaiming the gospel

Align: To reform continually the life of the denomination (including our church ethos, customs, church order, use of resources, denominational committees, support staff and agencies) to encourage and enable the fulfilment of the fundamental aim

Synod 2009 affirmed these core tasks, and embarked on some restructuring work that would enable local churches to pursue these tasks more effectively.

Both before and after Synod 2009, however, some thought the Four Fold Task was too narrowly focused around mission work, and that it did not give enough emphasis to important tasks like pastoral care and preaching. For reasons like these, Synod 2012 modified the tasks to include aspects of church health – which obviously includes aspects like preaching and pastoral care. The hope is that these decisions will see local churches with growing emphases on matters of

Discipleship: growing disciples is an all of life process. Whether we are talking about children, youth, young adults, middle aged or young people, we are to encouraged them and develop them as disciples of Jesus. The overall goal is to move people toward maturity in Christ (see Col 1:28). We will be working hard to help local churches find effective ways to encourage people of all ages to grow in their faith, to be positively engaged in their local church, and to develop their determination to express the Kingdom in their daily lives.

Leader training: a specific work group has been developed to provide resources to help local churches train and develop elders, deacons, and other leaders. Obviously, a decision at Synod cannot make things happen at the local level. These resources need to be embraced and fully implemented in local churches.

Growing and developing healthy churches: in addition to the core tasks of faithful preaching, proper administration of the sacraments, and faithful application of church discipline, there are many resources local churches can use to help them assess how they are going and find ways to become more healthy.

In the same way that no person can ever say that they have ‘made it’ and that they don’t have to grow any more. Local churches, too, can never say ‘we’ve arrived’ or ‘we’re doing everything perfectly. Church health, then, will only ever be relative.

With a view to assist local churches in this work, Synod agreed to establish Church Health Networks in every Classis. Jack de Vries will work with Classes to help local churches do the sort of things that will lead them to greater health.

So Synod 2012 has made a good move: the denomination has a more simple structure which, Lord willing, will help members move more effectively toward maturity, which will help train elders and other leaders, and which will result in the sort of growth that honours Christ our Saviour.

CRCA Structure 2009

2009 Structure

CRCA Structure 2012

2012 Structure

“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”” (Matthew 28:18–20, NIV)

– Dave Groenenboom