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Reformed denominations join to plant churches

After splitting more than 150 years ago, the Reformed Church in America and the Christian Reformed Church are joining together to launch a church planting project in four "test areas" across the United States.

The project, dubbed Kingdom Enter­prise Zones, aims to plant ten to 20 congregations in western Michigan, Florida, Arizona and California. Both denominations are funding the plan with help from a "significant" grant from the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation.

The only real difference between the two churches is the CRC's greater emphasis on Christian schools, said Wes­ley Granberg-Michaelson, the outgoing general secretary for the RCA.

"This is not related to church buildings but a gathering of a community of faith," said Julius Medenblik, the president elect of the CRC's Calvin Theo­logical Sem­inary. "The implication would be that this pilot program would affect many more churches than the ones started."

Granberg-Michaelson said traditional church steeples and wooden pews are not part of the new church planting movement. "They're going to take on a variety of forms because we're discovering the subcultures that are represented in our society require a diversity of styles," he said. "The message of the good news of the gospel is consistent, but the way in which it's expressed in different subcultures will and should vary a great deal."  —RNS

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