Synod 2024

President’s Report on the State of the Church

It is truly both an extreme honor and a humbling experience to serve the church as president of Synod. So many of you have been very gracious with your words of encouragement, counsel and support. Thank you for all your kindness. Above all, I praise and thank our Lord Jesus Christ for His faithfulness and without Whom we are all wholly incapable of serving the church in our appointed roles. 

Our appointed roles are indeed many. As I consider what I believe to be the state of the church I am reminded that those serving in leadership roles, such as our beloved pastors, elders, deacons, members and chairs of committees and officers of each Classis and Synod, are deeply committed and continuously give tirelessly of themselves. This can only happen by the grace and strength of our Triune God. 

And indeed, our Triune God has given us His grace and blessed the abundance of work taking place on the local, Classical and Synodical levels. 

This is unquestionably an exciting time for the church. What follows are the reasons for such excitement. 

Most importantly, as reported by the president of each Classis, the Word of God is faithfully preached. In a world gone mad in so many ways, our pastors continue to faithfully stand upon the rock of Christ and unashamedly proclaim, “Thus saith the Lord!” I can’t begin to describe the rich blessing it is to tune in to Sermon Audio and listen to our pastors. 

Of course, as we learn in Romans 10:14-15, the Word preached requires a preacher. Classis reports show that ten men were examined for licensure and/or ordination this past year. This takes a tremendous amount of time, expense and effort, yet proves to be the hallmark of ensuring sound doctrine from the pulpit. 

Like the diligent farmer spreading the seed, Classes, the Synod Welcoming Committee, Foreign Ministries Committee, Communications Committee and Home Missions Committee are faithfully scattering the Word of God through bringing in new churches, hitting the mission field with Bible studies, effectively using technology and adding clarity and support for home missions through a proposed new manual. While you can see the details in reports from Classis presidents and the report from each of these committees, the result, by God’s grace, is a 3.2 percent increase in the number of communicant members as reported this year over what was reported a year ago. 

Another exciting development is the increased interest and engagement from our young people through greater enrollment in Heidelberg Youth Camp in three of the Classes while the Church in Casper, WY hosted a mid-year Youth Rally. Add to this the Young Adult Reformed Fellowship (YARF) that began through young adult grass roots efforts. They have now met several times in several different cities for community service projects, learning and fellowship. 

All these efforts also require financial support, which is primarily generated through Guidelines. Recognizing that the greatest expense for Guidelines is with Ministerial Aid, the Synod Finance Committee thoughtfully and with great care tackled this concern on both ends: expense and income. Designed to mitigate expenses are proposed strategies being presented to Synod to ensure fairness while keeping our promises to aged pastors and widows in need of assistance. On the income side, is the Mission 2025 campaign to raise endowment funds, that has thus far resulted in nearly $900,000 of pledges and over $124,000 in cash for a total of $1,124,000 raised. This was accomplished through presentations at 33 churches and 45 members of the Legacy Society. Plus, the Synod Investment Committee reports a 14.31 percent gain since last year on investments. 

The excitement is also evident in many other areas. The Interchurch Relations Committee continues with relationship-building and is even hosting NAPARC next year. The Publications Committee completed much-needed updates with Stated Clerk and Constitutional forms while also collating historical study papers. Foreign Ministries continues to provide great oversight and connection with partners in the Philippines, Kenya and Congo along with our Spanish-speaking ministries, Reformed Faith and Life, Middle East Reformed Fellowship, and Westminster Biblical Missions. 

There is certainly much to be thankful for as we bear witness of all the labors and the fruit thereof through our Lord’s blessings. 

But all this effort also comes at a cost. 

We are still a small denomination. This means that with relatively few laborers the workload is immense. One result is the growing number of reported physical ailments requiring surgery, hospitalization and long recovery periods. Another result is increased isolation. To combat this, the Christian Education Committee has submitted proposals promoting extended learning opportunities, making Sabbatical guidelines available and providing support for Biblical counseling. The Nominations Committee is working hard to identify and recruit more leaders from across the RCUS to serve in Classis and Synod committees, thereby reducing the workload. Two Classes also reported efforts to add times of fellowship among pastors. 

By God’s grace these strategies and more will help ease the burden, increase the laborers and in turn allow for an even greater support for the ministry of the Word. We must make this a matter of incessant prayer and thoughtful consideration of how all of us can lift up the arms of our pastors. 

The bottom line for all these efforts brings us right back to the Great Commission. The church is to make disciples and to teach the disciples to observe all things Christ commanded. 

This commission underscores our faithful labors to fill the pulpit with godly pastors proven to be of sound doctrine, to support and care for pastors, to reach out to the community near and far through purposeful evangelizing, to provide good organizational support, to be good stewards of resources entrusted into our care, to share with like-minded laborers and to engage, excite and equip the congregation and beyond of all ages. And we can do all these things, for, lo, Christ is with us, even to the end of the age. 

The fact is, Christ has been with us all along. Next year, Lord willing, we will be celebrating 300 years of God’s goodness and grace in what was first known as the German Reformed Church and is manifest today as the Reformed Church in the United States. All honor, glory and praise on high to the King of kings and Lord of lords as we gather next year rejoicing in His providence that brought us through wars, threats of false doctrine, a fatal merger and a protracted battle that kept the RCUS intact and on solid footing to rightly minister the Word of God. 

Under the capable leadership of the Tricentennial Special Committee there is much preparation taking place toward this celebration, which is slated for Mount Rushmore on June 12, 2025. In fact, this committee has already raised over $40,000 in support of this joyful observance that will feature singing, notable well-wishes, video, fellowship meal and above all, giving glory to our faithful God and Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Finally, I present to you a summary of what I believe to be the state of the church: We are the body of Christ on the firm foundation of God’s Word with renewed focus on making disciples and tasting, by God’s grace, the fruit of growth and the marks of good stewardship. 

From here I believe that this next year we must keep our eyes on the Great Commission in every aspect of the church on the local, Classical and Synodical levels while zealously supporting the pastorate in bolstering the ministry of the Word. 

And then celebrate with all glory to God alone. 

In the Service of Christ Our King, 

Elder Roger Gallimore

Synod President’s Report

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