There are techy nerds and perhaps there also are synod nerds. I am a synod nerd. What an experience! My daughters think meetings are boring. At times they are. A good cup of coffee helps. Hearing stories of the gospel at work all over the world and watching the church in it’s broader form work together is also invigorating and life-giving.
On the second day of synod, as our advisory committee (which would later report on the floor of synod) did it’s work, I could not help but notice that doing church together is much harder than doing church alone. 30 or so of us sat in a room for most of Saturday afternoon. Before us was an overture from two churches requesting a form of separation from other churches in their vicinity. The reasons for their requested separation were weighty and with merit. We as a committee wrestled deeply with the recommendation we would bring. Churches’ ministries were at stake. The gospel’s witness t
o the world was at stake. Our unity as churches trying to work together was at stake. We deliberated. With 30 people in the room for three to four hours, 100 to 120 hours was spent in deliberation. Some might argue that’s inefficient. Maybe it is. The church trying to do church together is at times hard.
I would also argue it’s more beautiful. It’s beautiful because it expresses our unity. While opinions in the room certainly differed, we were able to present one report, one recommendation to the larger body. There was not uniformity in our thoughts, but there was unity in our decision. And it’s that unity that I came to appreciate and the broader church is now able to celebrate.
Throughout the week, on question after question, our unity was always at stake. We discussed the presence and work of deacons in the church and at larger assemblies (such as synod). We discussed the church’s response to same sex marriages, the culture and structure of the church as a whole, plans for greater diversity at all levels of leadership, the plight of those suffering from religious persecution and those whose religious liberties have been cut short. We discussed much more. Uniformity was rare; unity was everywhere.
In addition to the debate of issues and celebration of gospel ministry, synod is also an opportunity to catch up with old friends from seminary and beyond. It is an opportunity to hear how folks I once knew in training are now serving around North America and even around the world. Coming together at synod is an opportunity to be with those who share a passion for the work of the church in a thousand different local contexts. We at Granite Springs are just one context connected by Jesus to so many more.
So I am a synod nerd. I have no problem with that. I’m grateful for the experience. Someday, I look forward to going again. Thanks for the opportunity to be away from Granite Springs to participate.