In my work as executive director of the Christian Reformed Church in North America (July 2014 - February 2020), I am blessed to have a front-row seat to much of what is happening in our congregations and through our ministries.
Almost daily I see and hear stories of people around the world coming to Christ; of individual men, women, and children growing and maturing in their faith; of congregations flowing like rivers of love and witness into their communities; and so much more.
As I think about these stories, I am reminded of two things. The first is that none of this is possible without the amazing and mysterious work of the Holy Spirit. The second is that no matter how large and daunting the tasks before us may seem, God is even larger and greater.
I think of Inspire 2019 as a great example. For two years a team of staff and volunteers worked to plan all of the details for this binational conference, held August 1-3 in Windsor, Ontario. While the task was huge, and it sometimes felt like we’d never pull everything together in time, Inspire 2019 ended up being a wonderful event with more than 720 people in attendance.
As we look back on those three days of workshops, worship, plenary speakers, and fellowship, we can see that God was at work in so many ways we hadn’t even considered. For example, note the two young men on the previous two pageof this booklet: LeMarr Jackson and Scott Hofman. They blessed Inspire 2019 with their powerful spoken-word poetry. The Spirit was at work through their testimony. Glory be to God!
On the following pages you’ll find more examples of what God has been doing with and through the Christian Reformed Church in North America. I hope that as you explore these, you will join me in thanking God for the power and gift of the Holy Spirit. I also hope you will see reflections and reminders of God’s work in your life.
While these ministries are powered by the Holy Spirit, they are also supported by your prayers, ministry share gifts, and offerings. Thank you!
Before he ascended to heaven, Jesus told his disciples they would receive power when the Holy Spirit came on them. ”And you,” he said, “will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
That promise and pledge is for us as well. We have been given the Great Commission to spread the gospel message, and God has not left us to our own devices to get this work done. The Holy Spirit opens our eyes to the opportunities in our midst, equips us for the task at hand, encourages us when we make mistakes, and sustains us all—together—for the long road of kingdom work.