Last night the Classis of Illiana-Florida met for one of its regularly stated meetings at Faith Church in Dyer, IN. One of the pieces of business on the agenda was the petition of Missio Dei Church and four other churches' request to be transferred from the Reformed Church in America (RCA) to the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).
There were two motions on the floor for Missio Dei Church. The first motion was:
To approve the application from Missio Dei Church in New Lenox, IL for leave to withdraw from the Reformed Church in America (RCA) for the purpose of affiliated with the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) together with its real and personal property, when the conditions in motion #2 (j) are met.
The classis voted in 61 – 3 in favor of this motion.
The second motion on the floor for Missio Dei Church was:
That Missio Dei Church pay to the Illiana Florida Classis a 10% mission tithe based on the $120,000 provided by Classis to Missio Dei to be paid over 5 years or pay to Illiana Florida Classis the 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 Classis assessment to the Illiana Florida Classis (paid based on number of average adult attendance multiplied by the approved Classis assessment for that current year or a onetime upfront lump sum payment based on the prevailing Classis assessment rate) along with the following conditions:
i. Take such action as is necessary to release the denomination or any assembly, board, or agency thereof, from any secondary or contingent liability of the church and from any guarantee of payment by the church.
ii. Take appropriate action to notify the general public that the church is no longer affiliated with the Reformed Church in America. A name change may be the best way to communicate this new reality.
iii. In no event shall the property of Missio Dei Church or the proceeds of sale of any such property, become the property of individual members of the church, so as to be capable of being divided among them; nor may the property or the proceeds of sale thereof be devoted to any but a church-related use. In the event of dissolution or withdrawal of Missio Dei Church from the PCA within a period of five years after the classis has approved a petition for withdrawal from the RCA, such property, shall be conveyed, transferred or delivered to the Classis of Illiana Florida from which the right of withdrawal was received.
iv. And finally, if this recommendation (or an amended version of this recommendation) is adopted by the Classis of Illiana Florida, that the Classis Executive Committee be authorized to prepare any and all legal documents necessary to implement this withdrawal of the Missio Dei Church from the Reformed Church in America and guarantee that the provisions of this agreement are honored.
Classis voted 55 – 7 in favor of this motion.
Well, at the end of the day, we have been released from the Reformed Church in America to the Presbyterian Church in America! As we looked to the future, our vision and mission, convictions, and consciences drew us to our new denominational home, the Presbyterian Church in America. Knowing that there is no such thing as a perfect denomination, we believe we will find greater unity on issues that we consider to be of great importance.
In our preliminary planning, we are anticipating that in January of 2015 we will have a worship service where all five churches will be received into the PCA together. This will be quite the celebration that you will not want to miss out on!
Another obvious implication of Missio Dei transferring is that there is cost to leaving. The Consistory will be determining which of the two payment options would be most advantageous to our church.
The leadership of Missio Dei Church is grateful for the support we have received from the Classis of Illiana-Florida over the past seven and a half years. We appreciate our relationhip with the classis and earnestly hope that our future relationship with them will continue to be a fruitful and joyful despite our withdrawal. Our request to withdraw was not a divorce, but of redefining relationships. We trust that although our formal relationship has come to an end, our work together for the King and His Kingdom will be done jointly… until He comes again!
This has been quite a journey for all of us so there are many thank yous that need to be said:
Laura – My greatest human cheerleader in the whole process has been my wife. She has believed in me and encouraged me each and every step along the way. Without her support, this road would have been far more difficult! Proverbs 18:22 nails it in regards to the blessing of a great wife!
Our Elders and Deacons – Many, many conversations and meetings have taken place regarding this transfer. It has been a blessing to me to work with Elders and Deacons who share the same convictions regarding Scripture, the gospel, and the love for our local church. God has blessed Missio Dei Church with these elders and deacons.
Missio Dei Church - God has gathered unique but amazingly beautiful group of people that I can affectionately call family. Together we have echoed the PCA's motto: "Faithful to the Scriptures, True to the Reformed faith, Obedient to the Great Commission of Jesus Christ."
The 5 – Four other churches were a part of this petitioning process. Through this all, our friendships have grown deeper as we leaned into each other’s strengths and supported each other’s weaknesses. I’m thankful for these brothers: David Smith at Crete Reformed Church in Crete, Ben Kappers and Ken Kuiper at First Reformed Church in Lansing, Andy Nearpass at Grace Reformed Church of Lansing, and Kurt Kruger of Peace Community Church in Frankfort.
The Chicago Metro Presbytery – Part of our process as a church is my process of transferring my ordination into the Chicago Metro Presbytery. It was never easy, but I was cared for and encouraged each step of the way. I am looking forward to many fruitful years of ministry with these brothers.
God – This is a journey that God has taken us on and has sustained us through. It is for His glory and for the good of His Church, both locally and globally. It is obvious that where God leads he also provides. Ultimately, all glory, honor, and praise goes to Him!
For Christ, the Gospel and His Church,
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