Reflection on the More and Better Disciples Conference 2023

Written by Kris Vos
March 29, 2023

It is truly a blessing to gather in person with the pastors in our current cohort of the Church Renewal Lab.

“Thank you so much for leading the More and Better Disciples conference! I believe I got more out of that than any other conference I’ve been to (and I’ve been to a lot). Your pastoral heart and desire to see the church renewed were evident in a big way.” – Pastor Ken Krause

What a blessing to hear feedback like that from our most recent More and Better Disciples Conference (Feb 25-March 1). It is truly a blessing to gather in person with the pastors in our current cohort of the Church Renewal Lab. We also had a couple from past cohorts and one leader who will be joining us in the upcoming cohort.

This annual conference is a great opportunity for personal interaction. Since most of our cohort meetings happen on Zoom, it is incredibly valuable for us to meet in person for this event. Though the financial investment is considerably higher, it is worth every penny as we experience shared community in the process of learning. Thanks to those of you who support the ministry of the CCR. You make it possible for us to keep the conference affordable for the leaders who attend!

As I spend more time talking to pastors and church leaders and offering our services, I have been reflecting on how the work we do is unique. There are a host of consultants out there and even more resources for churches. What makes the Center for Church Renewal unique? Here’s what I think stands out:

  • Personal Experience: Our team of leaders at the Center for Church Renewal do not approach church renewal from an academic or consultant perspective. We have all been in the trenches of church renewal. We do this work because we are passionate about helping the local church. God has used us to bring various levels of renewal in a variety of contexts and we want to see renewal happen in every local church.
  • It’s Not About the Money: The services we offer, the time we invest, and the resources given to churches, compared to the money we ask churches to invest is significantly disproportionate. In other words, you get a lot for your money! Our founder set the tone from the very beginning of this ministry. It is and always will be about serving the local church.
  • Comprehensive: Churches can go to denominational agencies or other consultants and find specific training in areas like spiritual formation for renewal, strategic planning, evangelism, discipleship, assessment, and a whole host of important pieces of the puzzle. And that is great. However, at CCR we believe that all these elements work together over time. We offer a two-year journey towards renewal and we equip leaders in all the areas that are essential for renewal.
  • Denominationally Connected but Not Denominationally Bound: We are thankful for our relationship and connection to the Christian Reformed Church in North America and the Reformed Church in America. Serving the churches of our denominations is central to our ministry. However, being a separate entity, apart from the denomination, allows us to color outside the lines. We can creatively serve the churches with experimentation and innovation. It also allows us to serve churches outside our denominations.
  • Relationships: The Center for Church Renewal was born out of one church asking Keith Doornbos for help on the journey of renewal. That one relationship led to more churches being involved and more leaders engaging in the journey. This is not about filling a position or sustaining a ministry for our team. It is about relationships with people. Our relationships have led to new avenues for renewal. The Renewal Legacy Project was developed to serve churches desiring to complete and bless. A Doctor of Ministry in Church Renewal was developed for leaders desiring to wrestle with the challenges of renewal. Relationships gave us life and those same relationships move us forward.
  • Movement: Ultimately, our desire is to be a part of a movement of renewal. We pray that the cohorts in our Renewal Lab, More and Better Disciples Conference, and Doctor of Ministry program will lead to networks of renewal leaders that will generate a movement of renewal. We are keenly aware of the decline of the church in our culture and we are actively doing all we can to reverse the trend. Our weekly publication of “Fresh Ideas” is a great way you can connect with the movement of renewal.
  • Reformed and Reforming: Beware of consultants who come to you with a binder filled with “answers” that were developed ten years ago. The principles we teach are grounded in the orthodoxy of the historic Christian church but the practices we teach change and adapt from year to year. The Renewal Lab of five years ago is not the Renewal Lab of today. We are constantly learning and adapting our material to a changing landscape.
  • No Cookie Cutters: In that same vein, we don’t come to churches with the answers to all of their problems. We come alongside churches to equip them with the tools to answer the questions that only they, guided by the Holy Spirit, can answer for their context.

I am grateful to God to have the privilege to lead such an amazing organization. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions about how you can engage in the movement of renewal. The local church is a sleeping giant. Pray with me that God will ignite a movement of renewal across the US and Canada.

In His Service,
Kris Vos
Director of the CCR

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