Yesterday Pastor Hyde forwarded The Trumpet, an informal missions newsletter from Cornerstone URC in Hudsonville, MI. If you would like to receive the newsletter, contact:
Publisher: Cornerstone United Reformed Church
Newsletter Staff: Don Van Dyke, Elaine Keyzer
Mailing Address: 6442 36th Ave., Hudsonville, MI 49426
E-Mail Address: office at cornerstoneurc.com
The most recent edition of the Trumpet is mainly concerned with short-term missions and filled with reports from various lay missions teams. This is fine, but we still want information about our ordained ministers and their church planting and gospel-preaching ministries. After all, Church Order Art. 47 says:
The church’s missionary task is to preach the Word of God to the unconverted. When this task is to be performed beyond
the field of an organized church, it is to be carried out by ministers of the Word set apart to this labor, who are called, supported
and supervised by their Consistories. The churches should assist each other in the support of their missionaries.
We’ve agreed together, as a federation of churches, that the church’s “missionary task” is the “preach the Word of God to the unconverted.” Amen. So, lay missions trips may be a good idea (that’s a topic for another discussion) but the principle vocation of Christ’s church is to preach the gospel. In our reading of Scripture men are ordained to that task. Of course the agency that is called to supervise this ministry is the consistory. The preaching of the gospel must be done in conjunction with the planting of churches. It is not as if Reformed folk send missionaries to preach the gospel and then walk away from those who come to faith. No, those who are converted form congregations. Indeed, perhaps the first thing a missionary does is to begin to find and form a core group in order to begin planting a church so the gospel can be preached, and the sacraments and discipline be administered.
Thus, according to our own church order, the preaching of the gospel by ordained missionaries is at the heart of our understanding of missions. Yet, strangely, this sort of information seems to be difficult to find. The official URCNA website remains unfinished. It has links to “missions abroad” but the templates have no data. It’s good to see the list of missions but why is it so difficult to get information?
Because no one is charged with collecting and organizing missions information. Once again, we have Synodical committees to pursue ecumenicity that is fine. We now have two Synodical study committees. Great. Why can’t we have a Synodical Missions Committee to collect and distribute information?