What are we doing in home missions? Events this year have left our churches without a home missionary and a calling church. Our only home missionary, Rev. A. Spriensma, took a call to our Cornerstone PRC in Dyer, IN in January of this year. Due to the loss of her minister and half of her congregation, the Byron Center PRC decided that she could no longer serve effectively as the calling church for another home missionary. So, what is happening in the work of home missions? What is the Domestic Mission Committee (DMC) doing?
The DMC is busy not only in seeking another home missionary but also in laying the groundwork for what we pray will result under God’s blessing in more effective mission work.
Let’s begin with seeking another home missionary.
The DMC informed the 2021 Synod of its intentions to find another congregation in the West Michigan area to recommend to the 2022 Synod to be the calling church. In conjunction with this potential calling church, the DMC would make plans for future mission labors to be presented to Synod 2022.
Rather than wait until the 2022 Synod to move forward with the calling of another home missionary, the 2021 Synod authorized the DMC to designate a calling church from the West Michigan area who would call a missionary as soon as possible and work with the DMC in developing a new field of labor according to the mandate of Synod 2016 (PRC Acts, Art. 17). The mandate of the 2016 Synod was for a missionary to develop his own field of labor, thereby implementing the policy for mission work set forth years ago by the 1965 Synod. Synod’s motivation was that missions is one of the primary callings of the church. The calling of another home missionary, therefore, is urgent enough that Synod should not wait until 2022.
And so the DMC is in the process of finding another calling church in the West Michigan areas. The DMC has three criteria for choosing a calling church. First, how active her Evangelism Committee is and whether this reflects the spirit of the congregation. Second, her resources in terms of “manpower” to work effectively as a calling church. Finally, her ability and willingness to contribute financially to the work. The DMC has approached three different congregations with the request to be considered as the calling church for home missions.
Pray that the Lord provides not only a calling church for home missions but also a man to serve as home missionary.
Next, the DMC is working on better use of technology and the denominational website for future mission work.
The 2021 Synod directed the DMC to expand greatly its use of technology, Internet, and radio to establish a concrete field of labor for a missionary. Technology unknown to us a few decades ago has been developed and is part of the daily life of our society. Our churches should make use of this technology to reach prospective contacts in our efforts to develop a new field of labor. But synod would also have the DMC make more use of the older technology of radio that continues to be used widely and for which we have ready-made materials in the Reformed Witness Hour radio program. To implement this mandate, the 2021 Synod also instructed the DMC to form a new sub-committee of qualified individuals to oversee and maintain the denominational website (prca.org) and all other denominationally related technology (social media, podcasts, etc.)
The DMC has appointed an eight-member subcommittee to carry out this mandate. This committee includes members of the DMC as well as various members of the denomination who have expertise in website and Internet technology. This committee is discussing better ways to outline and organize the content of an updated website. It is considering three categories on the home page that will target those new to Christianity, those new to the Reformed faith and those who are members of the PRCA. It is also working on hiring a new webmaster to replace Chuck Terpstra, who has faithfully served in this capacity for a number of years and desires to be relieved.
Finally, the DMC is working on the formulation of a mission manual.
The DMC has been working off and on for the past decade on a Domestic Missions Policy Manual for use in our churches. As reported to Synod 2021, the DMC has been collecting and researching various documents produced by our churches on the topic of domestic missions, as well as resources produced by other conservative Reformed and Presbyterian denominations. The committee has outlined several subjects to be included in this manual:
The DMC is currently enlisting writers experienced in missions to participate in writing this manual.
The DMC anticipates this mission manual to be of great value in the work of missions. First, it will help our churches crystalize their thinking on the principles and practices of home missions. Much has been written in the past by former missionaries in our churches. Much also has been written by conservative Reformed and Presbyterian churches concerning missions. The DMC seeks to pull from this wealth of material the biblical principles and practices of home missions for inclusion in this mission manual. This then can be the basis for further study and development of home mission work in the future. In addition, the vision of the DMC is that such a manual would be used to familiarize our churches on the principles and workings of home missions. Home missions will flourish under God’s blessings only when the work of missions lives in the hearts of God’s people. Our prayer is that this manual will be an important part of promoting a heart for missions.
And so, what is the DMC doing? It is busy finding a calling church. It looks to call a home missionary soon. And it is laying groundwork for what hopefully, under God’s blessing, will be more effective home mission work in the years to come.
The DMC covets your prayers. And as you pray for the work of home missions, also pray that the Lord raises up men in our churches who aspire to the work of missions. “The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest” (Luke 10:2).