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Innovative Church-Planting Movement to focus on four U.S. states
Joint CRC and RCA initiative
Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill
GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan - Two denominations with roots in the Netherlands are pooling resources in church planting, helped with seed money from a family foundation set up by Amway billionaires Richard and Helen DeVos.
The Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA) and the Reformed Church in America (RCA) announced recently that the two denominations plan to spread the Gospel through an innovative church-planting reaching out to people in the places where they live. The four areas they will focus on are Florida, Arizona, California, and West Michigan.
They said the strength of the joint approach will be its ability to develop visionary leaders and church planters who are theologically prepared and equipped to start and multiply churches that present the gospel in a way that is biblical, authentic, and contextual.
Seed funding for this project is being provided by the two denominations as well as a significant grant from the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation. A spokesperson for the Foundation said that its principals have a deep interest in expanding the Reformed witness through evangelism and "are very enthusiastic about the two denominations working together."
Two years ago, Amway Co-Founder Rich DeVos promised in an interview with the Grand Rapids Press, to work towards reunification of the RCA and the CRC, saying no one remembered anymore why the two went separate ways. The 1857 split occurred when followers of the Secession of 1834 in the Netherlands, after joining the RCA a few years earlier, perceived that their new denomination tolerated modernistic influences.
The two denominations, which are both strongly represented in Western Michigan, have about 525,000 members belonging to about 2,000 local churches, with separate headquarters, seminaries, colleges and even rival college basketball teams.